Join our 2019 Reading Challenge!

January 2, 2019 | Book Buzz

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Looking for the TPL Reading Challenge 2020? It officially launches on January 13, 2020!

Check back at on or after the 13 for a whole new challenge list!

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Welcome to the Toronto Public Library (TPL) Reading Challenge for 2019. Want to read more? Try new authors and genres? Learn new things? This challenge is for you!

Join the challenge

From January 3, 2019 to December 31, 2019, we’re challenging you to read widely. To complete the challenge, you need to read a book to satisfy each of the 14 challenge categories we’ve proposed. That gives you three weeks per book. Sounds too easy? There’s also an advanced challenge with an additional 11 categories (one of which requires reading 2 books!), for a total of 26 books.

Download Reading Challenge and Advanced Challenge (PDF).

Reading Challenge List-14 categories


Track your reading

There are several ways you can keep track of what you've read:

Share your accomplishments

Keep us posted on your progress. We'd love to know how you're meeting the challenge:

Get inspired

If you need inspiration, several of our staff members have committed to taking the challenge. Throughout 2019 we’ll be checking in to see how their reading is progressing, and sharing their picks for the different categories. Check back here each month to find all of their recommended reads.

Win prizes

As an added incentive, at the end of the challenge we’ll be offering the option to enter into a random draw for three prize packs for those who have completed the Basic Challenge. If you complete the Advanced Challenge you can also enter an additional draw for another prize pack. Be sure to keep track of what you’ve read throughout the year and register for a Toronto Public Library card to be eligible to enter.

Are you up for the challenge?

Prize draw rules

The draw is open to all individuals who have completed the 2019 Reading Challenge and have a valid TPL card. Complete the online entry form by 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, January 12, 2020 to enter. Limit of one entry per person. On Monday, January 13, 2020, three individuals will be randomly selected to win a prize pack of books and library merchandise. A fourth winner will be drawn from those who have completed both the 2019 Reading Challenge and Advanced Challenge. Prize packs will be available for pickup at the winner’s choice of TPL branch. Winners will be required to answer a skill-testing question to claim their prize.

For participants who know that an author identifies as LGBTQ+ or has a disability, but the author has not publicly disclosed this information, you are welcome to put “Book by an author I know personally” in the appropriate field of the form.

Enter the draw

The draw is now closed and winners have been contacted!

Reading Challenge Lists

Throughout the year we'll be adding more lists with recommendations from staff and from our discussion groups for specific challenge categories. Here are the lists:

Other Reading Lists

We have many other reading lists to help you complete the challenge. Here are a few suggested lists:

Find more lists on our Books page.


Who can participate in the challenge and prize draw?

The challenge is for anyone who is interested in reading more.

To be eligible for the prize draw, you will need to have a valid Toronto Public Library card and complete the challenge (don’t have a card yet? Here’s how to get one). Those who complete the advanced challenge as well will be eligible for an additional draw.

You don't need to participate in the online discussion to be eligible for the prize draw. Check back here in December 2019 for details on how to enter.

Do I have to read books from the library?

You can buy, borrow from friends, read from the library, raid your personal collection… any source of books is fair game.

Do I have to read books in English? Can I read books in French?

You can – in fact, you can read books in any language, not just English or French. 

How should I track the books I’m reading?

There are several ways you can keep track of what you've read:

I prefer audiobooks. Do those count?

Absolutely. If you prefer your books in audio, you’re welcome to listen to books for the challenge too.

I read a book that can fit into two of the categories on the challenge. Can I use it for both?

Nice try, but each book can only be used for a single challenge category.

My child is interested in the challenge. Can they participate?

The challenge is generally aimed at adults, but children and teens are welcome. They will also be able to enter the prize draw in December 2019.

Do I have to visit a library branch to get a recommendation from a TPL staff member?

You can, but we also have recommendations online:

  • browse the reading lists on our Books page
  • ask a #TOpicks staff member on Twitter.


What is a “non-prose book”?

Any book that doesn’t have typical sentence and paragraph structure. This could be a novel in verse, a book of poetry, a cookbook, a wordless book… there are many possibilities.

How can I find books for these Advanced Challenge categories?

Follow these links to find out more:


In the Advanced Challenge, what do you mean by “a book related to the Periodic Table of Elements”?

2019 is the International Year of the Periodic Table, celebrating 150 years of the periodic system. A “related” book could have an element in the title or author’s name (like Iron John by Robert Bly, or Dark Embrace by Eve Silver) - or it could be related to chemistry (like The Periodic Table, by Primo Levi, or Cosmicomics, by Italo Calvino). Be creative!


January 2019

February 2019

March 2019

April 2019

May 2019

June 2019

July 2019

August 2019

September 2019

October 2019


Looking for the TPL Reading Challenge 2020? It officially launches on January 13, 2020!

Check back at on or after the 13 for a whole new challenge list!