Short Story Reading Challenge 2023

short story reading challenge 2023

With each new year, it’s fun to set up new reading goals and challenges. This year, consider challenging yourself with this list of bookish prompts. You can choose to follow them all throughout the year or just pick the ones you like.Either way: Happy reading!

The Lives of Writers

Writers tend to write what they know. If you’ve ever read a story that’s touched you, there’s a good chance the author is writing from personal experience. Get to know the author behind the stories you love by reading one of these:

  • A collection of personal essays from an author 
  • An author’s biography
  • An author’s autobiography
  • A book about writing that was written by an author of nonfiction
  • An anthology of essays about writing with essays written by different authors

Books In Fiction

If you enjoy reading about authors and their work in real life, then you might also enjoy reading about authors in fiction. There’s likely some truth to the writing life in these stories, too. Try one of these:

  • A story about a successful author
  • A story about a struggling writer 
  • A story about a Southern writer
  • A story about a female writer
  • A story about a Native American writer

Library Stories

Where do you get your books? If you borrow them from the library, consider some of the wonderful stories about those superheroes, aka librarians, who work in them undercover. For example:

  • A librarian who falls in love
  • A librarian who solves a crime
  • A librarian who rides horses
  • A librarian who inspires someone to do something great, like reading or saving the world
  • A librarian who was inspired by another librarian to become a librarian
  • A librarian residing in one of your favorite cities, like New Orleans, New York, or New Haven

Inside the Library

You could also read a story that takes place in a library. They are perfect settings for lots of things other than reading, but sometimes only in fiction, of course. For example:

  • A vampire sighting in a library
  • Romance in a library
  • Arson at a library
  • Magic in a library
  • A dinosaur at a library

Behind the Scenes

There are also plenty of people who work behind the scenes to help books get published and sold. Sometimes they are authors themselves. Toni Morrison is one such famous book editor who also had an impressive career as a writer. Consider reading stories written by professionals in some of these other occupations:

  • Proofreader
  • Book maker
  • Printer
  • Graphic designer
  • Publicist
  • Marketing assistant
  • Bookstore owner

People Who Read

Of course, there are stories about the people for whom writers write and for whom the publishing team works to bring the stories to your nearest shelf. They are books about you and other readers! You’re sure to find a good one in this list:

  • A book club that solves a mystery
  • A book club threatened by vampires or other otherworldly things
  • A book club whose members are all male
  • A book club that crosses the seas
  • A book club that brings people of different backgrounds together

The Things We Read

There are stories about the things we read. Whether we realize it or not, we read a lot. Of course, everything we read may not be a story or a book. Here are a few examples of the things we read besides books that you can also read stories about:

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Advertisements
  • Blogs
  • Product labels

Those Who Publish

The financiers of our favorite stories are publishers. Although, they are perhaps best known by their imprints. See if you can find a story to read from each one of the publishers below:

  • Penguin/Random House
  • Hachette Book Group
  • Harper Collins
  • Simon and Schuster
  • Macmillan

Those Who Publish Independently

Beyond the “big 5” publishers, there are indie authors and small presses publishing some of the best stories in literature today. Check these out: 

  • Catapult Press
  • Two-Dollar Radio
  • Mason Jar Press
  • Tin House
  • Milkweed Editions


Now, anything goes. Read a story that is about or that features one of these themes:

  • A football player who falls in love with a fan
  • An animal who takes an unexpected trip
  • A witch who is good
  • A social media influencer

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