This is the fifth year that we’ve done the Travel Reading List Challenge and we’re excited about it every single year. The 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. When we haven’t been able to travel in person over the last two years, a good book has kept us interested in and involved with the world around us.
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 think you will enjoy. However, we also hope you’ll be encouraged to try some new authors, genres, and will add new voices to your reading list – that’s part of the fun of the challenge, expanding your view of the world around you.
Your hosts for the 2022 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 historical fiction, biographies, and debut authors. 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 is the author of Secret Seattle, and blogs at Traveling with MJ and Discovering Washington State.
Mary Jo will be start off the challenge by reading The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd.
Carol Guttery – Carol is the chief wordsmith for the travel website Wayfaring Views where she helps her readers explore beyond the obvious. She also helps travelers explore California with California Crossings. Carol is a first-class book nerd and a recovering bookseller. She believes that 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 (to be read) list.
Carol will be start off the challenge by reading Amari and the Night Brothers (a Young Adult book for the prompt set in a school).
Like 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.
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!
You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter here. We anticipate quarterly updates with recommendations on what to read, new releases, and more.
Basic Challenge (an average of two books per month)
- A book by an author from sub-Saharan Africa
- A book set in Canada
- A book set in Colombia
- A book set in Egypt
- A book written by a Native American author
- A book featuring one of the seven deadly sins
- A book set at the beach
- A book with a female spy
- A book with a royal character or setting
- A book about books
- A book that involves a swindle
- A book about or set in a National Park
- A book with a political theme or setting
- A book about an explorer or exploration
- A book about wine or vineyards
- A book set on, in, or about a river
- A book set in a place you have been and would like to visit again
- A book featuring an animal as a main character
- A book set in a small town, real or imaginary
- A book with a city in the title
- A book featuring nature as a central theme
- A book about language or lexicology
- A book set in a school
- A book with a season in the title
Advanced Challenge (an additional six books)
- A book published in the year you turned 21
- A book with a spooky theme
- A book from a celebrity book club list
- A book by or about a lawyer
- A book with a plucky Victorian heroine
- A book with a found family theme
Click on the link below for a printable check-off list and keep track of the books you are reading in the challenge.