Now in its third year, the annual Travel Reading List Challenge was founded by Mary Jo Manzanares out of a love of reading and curiosity for the world – and as a means of exploring new topics, writers, and points of view. It’s also a way to decide what to queue up in the Kindle so there’s always something to read while traveling.
The reading challenge is designed for those who love travel and who love to read. For people who have a curiosity about the world around them, those who are always looking for their next great read (whether picking it up in an airport bookstore or finding wi-fi to download to their Kindle), those who want more ideas about what to read, and those who want to explore the world in person and through a good book.
The basic reading challenge has a pace of two books per month, for a yearly total of 24 books. The advanced portion of the reading challenge adds on another six books, bringing the yearly total to 30 books.
The challenge is self-paced. Read what you want, when you want it, there’s no order you must follow. Feel free to interpret the list in any way you wish, choosing the type of books that you enjoy. However, we also hope you’ll be encouraged to try some new authors, genres, and add new voices to your reading list – that’s part of the fun of the challenge.
Your guides for the 2020 reading challenge are:
Mary Jo Manzanares – Mary Jo is an avid traveler and reader. With a bag always packed, and a Kindle always full of books to read, she and her husband travel the world in search of value luxury destinations and experiences. She loves a good legal novel – John Grisham, Scott Turow, and Richard North Patterson are favorite authors – as well as an eclectic mix of historical fiction, biography, chick lit, and random topics that catch her eye. Mary Jo enjoys the reading challenge as a way to discover new authors and books that wouldn’t typically be on her to-read list and loves getting ideas from other book lovers in the Challenge Facebook group. Mary Jo blogs at Traveling with MJ.
Mary Jo will be start off the challenge reading: Cilka’s Journey for the prompt a fiction book based upon a real person.
Carol Guttery – Carol is the chief wordsmith for the travel website Wayfaring Views where she helps her readers explore beyond the obvious. She is also a first-class book nerd and a recovering bookseller. For Carol, travel and reading are intrinsically connected and all her trips are paired with a reading list. She’s a big fan of fiction and loves dystopic stories like Station Eleven, hacker fiction like Alif the Unseen, and books about bookstores like The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. Carol’s goal for the reading challenge is to stretch into some new genres and get ideas for her ever-expanding TBR list.
Like all of you, both of us are starting the challenge from scratch and we’ll be tackling the challenge right along with you. We will be updating our selections here throughout the year, so check back often.
Comments are turned off on this site. For suggestions of what to read, lively discussions about our favorite books, and recommendations of what to take along on your next trip, please join our Facebook Group. We are directing all discussions, comments, and questions about the reading challenge to that group. Please join us!
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Basic Challenge (an average of two books per month)
- A book with a destination in the title
- A book published in 2020
- A book with a white cover
- A book with an animal on the cover
- A book with the word “travel” in the title
- A book set in South America
- A fiction book based upon a real person
- A book with a two-word title
- A book with a subtitle
- A book with a number in the title
- A book set in a destination that you haven’t visited
- A book that takes place during the winter
- A YA book
- An alternative history novel
- A book about politics or politicians
- A banned book
- A book that takes place on an island
- A book with a badass chick as a lead character
- A book recommended by a local bookstore or librarian
- A book set in Eastern Europe
- A book set in Scandinavia
- A book written by one of your fave authors from 2019
- A book with magic
- A bestseller from 2019
Advanced Challenge (an additional six books)
- A book in a genre that you don’t typically read
- A book featuring climate change
- A book set in India
- An essay anthology
- A book written by someone over 60
- A book recommended in the TRL Facebook group
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