The 2021 Novel Pairings Reading Challenge

Hey readers! Welcome to our (very casual) Novel Pairings reading challenge. Neither of us is great at completing prescriptive reading challenges, but we do enjoy perusing them for inspiration when it comes to choosing our next reads. With that in mind, we created this bingo board filled with reading prompts so you can choose your own adventure! Want to go for blackout and read a book in every category? We love it! Shooting for a bingo? You’re awesome! Checking off the Austen box and calling it a day? Go for it! The goal of this reading challenge is to inspire readers (including ourselves) to pick up a wide range of books and to expand the boundaries of what we consider classics.

If you do participate in any way, please share your board on Instagram (see our story highlights for the template!) and tag us @novelpairingspod so we can see what you’re reading! We can’t wait to see what you pick up.

We’ve picked out a few categories to tackle ourselves this year (not necessarily for the podcast, but you never know!). We’ll share recommendations for every category on Instagram or here on the blog as the year continues. You’ll see from our selections that we’re interpreting the categories broadly. For example, Dust Tracks on a Road was published in 1942, after the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance, but it’s an autobiography from one of the most iconic Harlem Renaissance writers. We hope you find inspiration rather than limitation with our reading challenge and the following suggestions.

Chelsey’s Reading Challenge TBR

1970’s: Sula by Toni Morrison

Poetry: What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer

Audiobook: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Harlem Renaissance: Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston

Shakespeare: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Sara’s Reading Challenge TBR

Austen: Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomlin

Baldwin: Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

Play: Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz

Short Story: from The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty

Classic Genre Fiction: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

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