Sunday, November 24, 2019

Book Jar/Book List Challenge - Randomize Your Reading 2020 #Bookjar

I originally created this challenge last year as a personal challenge. As I was thinking ahead to my 2020 reading, I realized I had not done so well keeping up with it. So I thought, maybe by creating a challenge for all to participate, it would hold me more accountable. We shall see.

First, an explanation (some history) on why I created this challenge in the first place...

One of my biggest problems is thinking about the long term and perpetual challenges (many hosted by me) I take part in. I find I'm not making much headway and I started thinking of a solution.

Here is a list of those long term and perpetual challenges:

13 Ways of Looking at the Lifetime Reading Plan
The Classics Club

My other dilemma is my massive home library of over 3000 books. I know I'll never read them all, but I know there is a way to read more of them (I mostly read from my own books, but I'm always buying new ones...I'm sure many can relate).

I had been kicking around the idea of a book jar for years, but then it dawned on me. Why not include in the book jar only the books on my lists for the above long term and perpetual challenges? So that's exactly what I did.

Book Jar portion of the challenge
  • Find the books you want to list - perhaps books from long-term challenges, as mentioned above, or even a yearly challenge you've signed up for, have picked your books, but want to read more randomly.
  • List your books on paper. I created a Word doc, added titles, printed them out, cut each title into a strip, folded up and placed in a jar. I know it seems like a lot of work, but drawing slips of paper from a jar makes me feel like a kid again.
  • Draw one book per month (or as often as you like)
  • Three draws allowed, in case you're just not in the mood for that one, or you can't find the book (or maybe your hold hasn't come in at the library).
  • That's it! Easy!
Book List portion of the challenge

To tackle the second part of my dilemma, this is where the Book List portion comes in. In my case, I have a book catalogue (see image in challenge button - that's one page from my catalogue) which I use to keep track of the books I own. It is arranged by author last name, alphabetically. Each letter has it's own section and I number each book. What I do is randomly select a letter of the alphabet (1-26) and then randomly select a number from the section of that letter. So, if the letter 'A' has 115 titles, I would randomly select from 1 - 115. (I use for this.)
  • You may have a book catalogue like me, or maybe you have a Goodreads list, or a list somewhere else. Whatever your list, get the total number of books, say 95 books, plug in 1 - 95 in the randomizer and Voila!
  • Draw one book per month (or as often as you like)
  • Three draws allowed, in case I'm just not in the mood for that one, or I can't find the book (same as book jar guideline above). 
Final challenge parameters
  • You can do both Book Jar and Book List, or do one or the other. If you do both, that will be 24 books in a year. If you do just one, 12 books in a year.
  • Note: If there's a month you just have too much on your plate to do a draw, don't beat yourself up about it. We all have A LOT to read.
  • I will do a post at the beginning of each month sharing the books I've drawn for myself. Participants can share their random read picks in the comments. Also, every month after January, in the month beginning post, we can share how we did with the previous month's choice(s), share review links, etc.
  • Challenge runs January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020
Let me know if you have any questions. Sign up below!

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Easy-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.



  1. Deciding what to read next is sometimes the most difficult part of reading. I love this idea.

  2. Love this idea! I used to do this years ago so I'm super excited there's a challenge for it!


Comment moderation is active. I get a lot of spam comments here. If I continue to get bombarded, I will have to turn on captcha. Thanks for understanding.