Skip to main content

Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Reading Challenge

I've decided to host a challenge to motivate myself and others to read more nonfiction. To make it more of a challenge, the Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Reading Challenge will exclude memoirs, which seem to be the most read type of nonfiction among the book blogs I follow. Instead, we'll focus on learning about a variety of different topics and discovering new facts. The challenge will run from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

What Counts:
- Books can be any format (bound, ebook, audio) but must be written for adults or young adults.
- Books can cover many different topics, including science, technology, religion, sociology, business, biography, politics, economics, history, food, art/design, etc.
- How-to, self-help and travel books are permitted, as long as you actual read them cover to cover, and don't just use them as a reference.
- Crossovers with other challenges are permitted.

What Does Not Count:
- Reference books, cookbooks and instruction manuals that are not meant to be read cover to cover
- Essays and articles
- How-to, self-help or travel books that are not read cover to cover
- Memoirs, journals and autobiographies
- Books written for children
- Re-reads don't count since the point is to learn something new

Elementary - 5 nonfiction books
Diploma - 10 nonfiction books
Bachelor's Degree - 15 nonfiction books
Master's Degree -  25 nonfiction books

- Write a starting post that states which level you will be working toward, including a link back to this post. You can include a list of books, but it is not required. Link to your post in the Linky below.
- If you don't have a blog, leave your information in the comments on this post.
- Reviews are not required, but I will have a post set up where you can link up to your reviews throughout the year.
- There will be quarterly update posts to which you can link up, and at least one giveaway at the end of the year. I may host others throughout the year as well. [Note to authors: I'll gladly accept your nonfiction books as giveaways.]
- A wrap-up post at the end of the year will be required to be considered for the final giveaway. If you don't have a blog, you'll need to comment on the wrap-up post with your accomplishments.
- You can sign up for this challenge through November 30, 2012.

This is my first time hosting a year-long challenge so please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions! And here's a button to grab for your sidebar:


  1. I love this, I read a lot of non-fiction and I love to learn new things, so this is perfect for me. I'm looking forward to see what other people will be reading.

  2. For some reason the html for your button didn't work for me. I had to change the url for the image, and I had to retype the quotation marks, for some obscure reason.

  3. @akika - Thanks for letting me know. I think I've fixed it. If anyone else has issues with it, let me know!

    @Jedediah - I hope you enjoy the challenge!

  4. Glado have found tis challenge! Lov non-fiction anyway, so I'm going for the Bachelor'sDegree level of 15 books......

  5. Hmmm...I will have to give this one some thought, Julie. I read a fair amount of nonfiction, but it is almost all memoir! This could be a challenge for me, in the true sense of the word! I'll go check out my TBR shelves and think about it...


  6. I'm in! I like the idea of this challenge a lot. I think I'll start small, with the 5-book commitment. But with my groaning TBR shelves, I may reconsider.

    You'll have to take this as my sign up because I don't have time to do an official post until this weekend.

    (Would you consider extending your sign up deadline? It seems a lot of people sign up for challenges in December, not November. I always have "open enrollment" for the challenges I host, and let people sign up any time before the challenge expires.)

  7. @got2care - Welcome to the challenge! Be sure to link up a blog post when you're ready.

    @Sue - I hope you decide to join. That's why I decided to keep memoirs out of it. I wanted it to be a real challenge!!

    @Rose City Reader - Sorry for the confusion but you can actually sign up through NEXT Nov 30th (2012). So there's no rush! I'm glad you've decided to join!

  8. Doh! My mistake! Sorry!

    Maybe if I read more non-fiction, my reading comprehension will improve! :)

    I've been making a list and think now that I may sign up for the 10-books level.

    One question -- do collections of essays count? I know you said "no essays or articles" but does that mean individual essays or articles, or also collected editions published as books? Your challenge, your rules, but I just thought I'd clarify. I see a lot of essay collections on my TBR shelf.

    (Sorry, sometimes the lawyer in me comes out and I start splitting hairs.)

  9. I'd say collections of essays are fine as long as it's counted as one book. The main reason I said no essays and articles is because I didn't think it would be fair to read a short essay and consider it the same as a full-size book.

  10. I concur! Singles articles would be a little skimpy.

    But this means that I can add a couple of books to my list that I have been meaning to get to for quite a while.

    Fun! Fun! Fun!

  11. This sounds really cool. Since I tend to read mostly nonfiction, I think I might have to take part in this challenge !

  12. I was going to join this but all the nonfiction books you aren't allowed to use are the kind I read. I'm disappointed.

  13. @maphead - I hope you join in!

    @Julie - sorry about that. If you like reading memoirs, I'm sure there's another challenge out there for reading those.

  14. Hi Julie,

    Discovered your challenge and blog via the Novel Challenges website - sounds like a good challenge for me for 2012. I'm feeling a bit dense so will go ahead and ask - I understand no memoirs/auto-biographies but biographies are accepted right?


  15. (Blushing and going in search of yet more coffee...) I just re-read your post and I see that yes, biographies are fine. I believe I will be joining and once I have my post up I will do the linky thing.


  16. Hi, I'd love to join this challenge but am confused about the term 'reference books'. I was planning to read books on Greek literature and history for this challenge. But would these count as Reference Books?

  17. Love the idea of your challenge and have signed up! Already have my first 2 books ready!

  18. OK, I added my link. I signed up for the Diploma level to read 10 books, but there are more like 20 on my list of possibilities.

  19. I'd like to join at the Elementary level please. Will link up when I get a post done, thank you.

  20. This looks like a great challenge! I need to have a think about it, so I'll do my post and sign up later in the day :)

  21. I'll do the diploma in 2012 and progress from there! Thanks for hosting. Happy New Year.

  22. I'm joining in at the Diploma level of 10 books. (Actually, my goal is 12 nonfiction, or averaging one per month, but hey I'd rather surpass the goal than fall short. :D )

    I am new to blogging, so please forgive any missteps, broken links, or other Newbie idiocy.

  23. I'm reading lots of non-fiction anyway so this is definitely the right challenge for me :-)

  24. I'm a little confused about what is allowed on this challenge. Travel books are allowed, but memoirs are not. So that means books like "Eat Pray Love" and "Under the Tuscan Sun" are out, but "Dummies Guide to Disney World" is ok? I guess I am trying to understand what a travel book might be that is not also a memoir. Thanks for any clarification.

  25. Hi Julie,
    I'm just preparing my reading list for the challenge and wonder if Thoreau's Walden is a memoir?
    Thanks for your help!

  26. Oh this is hard i like it! i read a good percentage of non-fiction but most of them are memoirs so this is very challenging.

  27. Since I read mostly nonfiction, this is MY KIND of challenge !!

  28. I am in. I'm going for the 10 books.

  29. I'm in! I need a little help to get me reading the nonfiction on my shelves. So here goes!

  30. I'll try the Diploma level. My reviews will be on Shelfari and I'll provide a link to them in the post for reviews.

  31. Add me? :D

    I'm going for 10 non-fiction, non-memoir books this year!

  32. I'm signing up at the Diploma level. Looking forward to it, since I need to read more non-fiction, but just never seem to branch out enough.

  33. I had planned to try to read more non-fiction this year anyway so this is perfect!


  34. 2012 Wrap-Up:


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Book Review: The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.

And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whos…

Book Review: The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis

When Stella and Tom move to a new home in London, they are sad to have left their friends behind. But soon they have a mystery to solve. Their neighbor's dog, Harry, keeps disappearing. Where is he going and why is he always wet when he comes home? As they investigate the area in the garden where Harry seems to come and go, they discover a hidden tunnel that takes them back to their garden ... almost 100 years ago.

The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis is a wonderful children's book that reminds me of the adventurous stories I read as a child. I saw other reviewers say something similar. I'm not sure what it is about the way the story is told, but it is reminiscent of children's books from many years ago, yet it will definitely appeal to the kids of today.

Stella and Tom have an adventure in the past that leads to new friends and discoveries. While it's a time travel story, it doesn't have a lot of fantasy elements (although there are some moles that act a bit unusua…