Reading challenges for 2024

New year, new reading goal: challenges for every type of reader. 

As we bid adieu to 2023, the new year brings infinite possibilities. And while a resolution to travel the world, learn a foreign language or run a marathon might sound romantic, you’ll be unsurprised to hear that we at Pan Macmillan think nothing can really rival the deep satisfaction of achieving a reading goal. A reading challenge doesn’t have to mean ploughing your way through a lofty pile of classics – we’ve gathered ideas from across Pan Macmillan to inspire your reading calendar for 2024.

For those who want to get into reading, or are stuck in a reading rut 

If you are new to reading, or stuck in a rut, our main advice is to not put too much pressure on yourself, but try and keep yourself accountable at the same time. Tracking your progress or reading with a friend are both great ways to do this.

I use a habit tracking app when I’m in a reading slump so l can set myself a specific goal e.g. at the start of this year I decided I wanted to read every day. The more times you log doing something in the app the higher the percentage goes up to visualise how consistent you’ve been with the habit which is pretty motivating. I stopped logging it every day about halfway through the year because I found I was reading pretty consistently without needing the reminder.
Alice, Digital Marketing Executive

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We definitely feel reading as a team makes us read more! We find it motivates us as there is a bit of competition and also encouragement. We are always swapping books once we’ve read them, while also reading our own books specific to our taste. Sometimes we have two copies of a book to ‘buddy read’ where we read a certain amount of pages a day then report back on our views.
Beth and Nancy, fourteen-year-old bookworms

There is no such thing as “bad” reading. If you have a specific genre or even individual book that you love, there’s no better time to revisit it than when you’re in a rut. 

Sometimes I get into really bad reading slumps (I’m in one now!) where I’m distracted by a new TV show or video game obsession. Even if I’m really enjoying a book but not making real headway I will take a break and read something that’s more of a comfort read, like a classic mystery novel that’s really page-turning. That can help kick start me back into reading.
Elle, Head of Video & Metadata

Page-turning books you won't be able to put down

Book cover for A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family

M. T. Edvardsson

Book cover for The House Hunt

The House Hunt

C. M. Ewan

Book cover for Classic Locked Room Mysteries

Classic Locked Room Mysteries

David Stuart Davies

Book cover for The Tiger in the Smoke

The Tiger in the Smoke

Margery Allingham

I sometimes hit periods where I have too many books on my ‘must read it next pile’ and I just can't actually get into any of them. My solution is always to go back to something I love reading, a comfort title which kick-starts my reading and I can pick up something new straight off the back of finishing it.
Zina, Senior Email Marketing Manager

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Feel-good books and uplifting reads

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For those who want to read more

If you’re already into reading, perhaps the most obvious reading challenge to set yourself is to try to read more than last year. As with most new year’s resolutions, it can be tempting to set sweeping and frankly unachievable goals. It may not be the best idea to go from reading a couple of books over the summer to aiming for one a week. Here’s some advice on how to get it right.

Find a way to break it down that suits you. For some, having a yearly goal works. It allows for the flexibility of reading more some months of the year, and less at other times. 

I set myself a goal of reading X number of books. For 2023 it was 52, but I’m hoping to do 75 for 2024.
Chloe, Senior Press Officer

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I’ve kept track of what I’m reading for the first time this year (my first year working in trade publishing!) and set myself a goal of reading at least 50 books in 2023.
Rosa, Junior Desk Editor

If a yearly goal feels daunting, think about breaking it down by month. 

I used to set a goal in line with the year e.g. in 2022 I aimed to read 22 books. But sometimes this caused me to feel pressured, so I have changed it to one book a month, which is a lot more achievable for me – and if I go over that, I feel accomplished, rather than sad I didn’t meet the goal.
Daisy, Art & Design Intern

Or for those who work best with smaller, more immediate goals, think about breaking it down by week, or even day – no goal is too small! 

I have a daily reading goal on StoryGraph of five pages that I try to stick to every day. That’s usually about one chapter; it's nice to force myself to put the phone down and read a chapter before bed.
Carol-Anne, Content Creation Executive a.k.a. ‘The TikTok girl’

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As long as I read even one page each day then I’ve hit my goal!
Emma, Video & Influencer Marketing Manager

Once you’ve set your target, think about ways to keep yourself motivated. For example, you could track your reading on Goodreads, Storygraph – or just in a notebook.

I set a Goodreads Reading challenge for every year between 2014 to 2021. Each year, I got less ambitious. My first goal was 100 books in a year, and by the end I was aiming for 30. I never reached my goal by the end of the year, but I did read a lot of good books. I switched to just recording my reads in a notebook, and I find that I read more and enjoy reading more than when I set a goal.
Alex, Marketing Analyst

Reading more doesn’t mean doing less of the other things you love: it can be a great way of filling pockets of “dead” time between other activities. Listening to audiobooks can be a great way to do this. 

I’ve massively increased how much I read since I started [at Pan Macmillan] as I feel like it’s an important part of my job so I find it easier to prioritise. My long commute helps, as well as listening to audiobooks on my walk from the station to the office.
Briony, Director of People & Culture

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For those who want to expand their reading

More isn’t always better. You might prefer the challenge of expanding the range of books you are reading, whether that be reading more non-fiction, exploring new genres, or reading more books by women.   

In 2024 I want to start reading more modern classics, challenging myself with one a month. The Picador Collection is a good place to start, and I’m keen to read more Colm Tobin ahead of Long Island publishing.
Maddie, Senior International Sales Manager

Explore the Picador collection

Book cover for The Line of Beauty

The Line of Beauty

Alan Hollinghurst

Book cover for Blood Meridian

Blood Meridian

Cormac McCarthy

Book cover for White Noise

White Noise

Don DeLillo

Book cover for A Little Life

A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara

Book cover for Nevada


Imogen Binnie

Book cover for Room


Emma Donoghue

Book cover for American Psycho

American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis

Book cover for Middle Passage

Middle Passage

Charles Johnson

I’m much more of a ‘to-read list’ reader rather than a mood reader and so at the start of each month I list all the books I will try to read and ensure this includes at least one non-fiction, one book that’s been recommended to me, one book that’s part of a series I’ve previously read and one work-related book.
Olivia, International Sales Assistant

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The best non-fiction books of all time

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Each month I have prompts to pick from, so for example reading physical books, reading kindle books, reading books in a series, books by women. I also follow a book club on Facebook and one of the owners of the page does a Book Bingo. Each page has 50 prompts on it and she’s done up to 500 prompts!
Holly, Production Manager

It can be tricky to choose books outside of your comfort zone, so here are some of our favourite accessible reads across various genres.

Book cover for Sword Catcher

Sword Catcher

Cassandra Clare

Book cover for Upgrade


Blake Crouch

Book cover for Lovelight Farms

Lovelight Farms

B. K. Borison

Book cover for Trust


Hernan Diaz

Book cover for Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

Alexandra Potter

Book cover for Exiles


Jane Harper

Book cover for The House of Fortune

The House of Fortune

Jessie Burton

Book cover for Finding Hildasay

Finding Hildasay

Christian Lewis

Or if you want to nerd-out over one author and discover all their Easter Eggs, why not challenge yourself to read several of their books, or a complete series.

At the very least, I want to read one Stephen King a month in 2024.
Michael, Editor
Last year I read all of Emily St. John Mandel’s novels. They’re all great in their own right (and not written as a series) but are also in brilliant, intriguing conversation with each other, and I really enjoyed spotting the references and interconnections.
Ellen, Website Editor

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Discover all of Emily St. John Mandel's books

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Remember to always enjoy reading! 

Reading challenges are great; they encourage us to explore new genres, authors and perspectives, and offer the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. But while completing a reading challenge might give you bragging rights and dinner-party conversation starters, don’t lose sight of why you read in the first place; your personal ‘why’ cannot be bound by rules. So embrace a reading challenge for 2024, but do so in a way that enhances your reading experience, rather than restricts it. 

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