May Reading Challenge: Find the Beauty in Some New Books


Find the beauty in some new books by joining our May Reading Challenge. Each week, we have a different topic and some book suggestions just for you!

I think the snow is finally over here in Utah, so I’m taking as much time as I can to luxuriate in the beautiful weather. Just because the dreary winter months are over doesn’t have to mean less reading time. No, you’ll just have to occasionally take your reading outside instead.

Feel free to enjoy your May Reading Challenge selections while lounging on a super comfortable chair on your deck. Or if you are a mom of little ones like me, sitting on a bench next to the playground at the park with one eye on your book and one eye on your kids.

Regardless of where you end up reading, if you are participating in our 2019 Reading Challenge, you have 4 more books to read in May to maintain your book a week status. Though you don’t have to do the categories in order, here are the four we have up for the May Reading Challenge.

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May Reading Challenge

1. An Award-Winning Book

To start off the May Reading Challenge, pick up a copy of a book that critics loved. Choose an award-winning book that intrigues you.

Notice that we didn’t say a Pulitzer Prize winner. While such a book would be a great option, it’s certainly not your only option. If you like children’s books, read a Caldecott or Newbery winner. Prefer science fiction? Choose a book that scored a Hugo or Nebula Award. Perhaps you don’t want to go mainstream, so you chose an Indie Book Awards winner.

Feel free to look beyond the awards you’ve heard of and research some different ones. Just remember, just because it won awards doesn’t guarantee you’ll love it.

Book Suggestions

Book cover for All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin


2. A Book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge

Maybe it’s not the best marketing tactic to advertise someone else’s reading challenge in our own. Oh well. We are too big of Gilmore Girls fans to care.

If you haven’t discovered the magic of Stars Hollow, you are truly missing out. However, no tv viewing is actually require to finish this category of the May Reading Challenge.

For those of you who don’t watch the show, one of the main protagonists is Rory Gilmore – a brainiac of a teenager who is always reading. Throughout the seven seasons of the show, Rory is spotted with an impressive 339 different titles!

You’ll find classics, modern fiction and pop culture all mixed together on Rory’s eclectic reading list. Basically, there’s something for everyone from our favorite tv bookworm.

Book Suggestions

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Grab the tissues because this book will definitely make you cry. You really ought to read My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult


3. Book Published A Decade Before You Were Born

Throughout the year, we’ve gotten plenty of questions about our reading challenge categories. They usually come in the form of “What do you mean by?” or “Would it be cheating if?”

So, what do we mean by a book written the decade before you were born? The literal interpretation would be a book exactly 10 years older than you. Thus, if you were born in 1982, it would be a book published in 1972.

However, since when have we been confined by literal interpretations? For us, if you were born in 1982, feel free to read any book written in the 70s … or the late 60s for that matter. Just attempt to get a nice look at what life was like about 10 years before you were born. You know, see what you missed out on.


4. Historical Fiction From Your Favorite Time Period

Admit it, you have a favorite time period. Some point in history that you just find captivating. For your final choice of the month, let’s finish the May Reading Challenge off with some historical fiction.

It’s no secret that Rachael loves World War II historical fiction. She’s already written 3 posts about it, with more sure to come. However, don’t feel like you have to choose the same time period.

Maybe you like reading about World War I or the American Civil War. Possibly you’ll skip wars altogether and go the Elizabethan era or all the way back to Rome or ancient China. Find a fun story that either teaches you about a time long gone or just has a blast telling a story, even it it’s not very historically accurate.

Book Suggestions

Book cover for Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Imperium by Robert Harris (Cicero Trilogy #1)
Circe by Madeline Miller

What books will you choose for the May Reading Challenge?

May Reading Challenge 2019 // Read a book a week this year by starting with these categories for your May Reading Challenge

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  • Reply Terra W May 3, 2019 at 9:40 am

    1. Book that has won an award -> “Late Nights on Air” by Elizabeth Hay (won the ScotiaBank Giller Prize in 2007)
    2. Book from Rory Gilmore Challenge -> “Atonement” by Ian McEwan
    3. Published the Decade before born -> “FutureShock” by Alvin Toffler
    4. Historical Fiction -> “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth E. Wein

    • Reply Rachael May 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      Oh, Atonement and Code Name Verity are some of my favorites. I love WWII historical fiction. I think I might actually use Code Name Verity for my “reread a favorite.”

      • Reply Terra W May 8, 2019 at 5:25 pm

        I am actually ahead so I read it already… OMG its sooo good!! .. It should almost be as part of my library.. too bad it was a borrowed copy haha! I will have to watch for it (we have a used book sale here twice a year – more than 60 000 books and they are all like 3 or 4 bucks – it’s amazing!! )

        • Reply Terra W May 8, 2019 at 5:27 pm

          (and I’m halfway through Atonement – and enjoying it very much as well!!!) 🙂

  • Reply Kelly May 3, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    What I’m anticipating reading in May, after I finish The Gown by Jennifer Robson.
    ~ Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (A book recommend by a friend)
    ~ The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
    ~ The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (A dystopian novel)
    ~ The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (A book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge)

    Like I previously mentioned, I’ve been in a reading rut, so these picks are only tentative. Happy reading!

    • Reply Rachael May 8, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      I’ll be curious to hear what you think about The Gifts of Imperfection. I read it earlier this year, but I don’t want to influence you, so I won’t say how I found it.

  • Reply Melissa May 28, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    –An Award-Winning Book: The Friend (ugh, I don’t recommend this one)
    –A Book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (on audio)
    –Published the Decade Before You Were Born: Slouching Towards Bethlehem (Wow, I discovered a family connection with the people in first essay, very weird!)
    –Historical Fiction from a Favorite Time Period: The Alice Network (both WWI and WWII!)

    For the next group, I’m trying to figure out what “A Book That Will Keep You Up All Night” means…The only books that have ever kept me up most of the night are And Then There Were None, The Hunger Games, and Catching Fire.

    • Reply Rachael May 28, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      Great list! I still need to read The Alice Network.

  • Reply Sarah H June 11, 2019 at 4:30 am

    1. Book that has won an award – “Where’d you go, Bernadette?” (won American Library Association Alex Award in 2013), have also read “Eggshell Skull” by Bri Lee (won Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for People’s Choice 2019), “Milkman” by Anna Burns (won Man Booker Prize 2018 and National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2018) and had hoped to read “Boy Swallows Universe” by Trent Dalton (won 2019 Indie Book Award, MUD Literary Prize 2019, shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards), but I’m waiting in a long list at the library!
    2. Book from Rory Gilmore Challenge – “1984” by George Orwell – have always meant to read it but haven’t.
    3. Published the Decade before born – “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath
    4. Historical Fiction – I was going to put “The Secret Queen: Eleanor Talbot, the Woman Who Put Richard III on the Throne” by John Ashdown-Hill, which I finished last month, but ultimately decided it was non-fiction, so am going to read “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak (another one which has long been on my to-read list) instead.

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