2021 Reading Challenge List and Recommendations

by | Jan 22, 2022 | Bookstacks | 0 comments

Hey Friends!

If you are new to my blog, I do a reading challenge every year to help direct and track my reading. I started a few years ago as a way to stretch myself, both in the quantity and quality of books I was reading, and the tradition stuck. I use the Good Reads website to save books I want to read, track my progress, and write reviews (well, sometimes… most of my reviews end up here on my blog!). 

Don’t worry—there is no right or wrong way to do a reading challenge—just do whatever works best for you! I try to balance fiction and non-fiction, maybe a few biographies, throw in some books written for younger readers and young adults (YA Dystopian/Fantasy is my jam!), and suddenly, I have a list!

If we are travelling (you know, that thing we used to do back before COVID), I might choose books with our destination as the setting. I have read books by local authors, books set in my home state, books with one word titles… there are tons of ways to keep it interesting! And the majority of my recommendations come from many of you, so thanks for sharing!

Enough about that, though. Here is my 2021 Reading Challenge List, along with some recommendations. If you want to know more about a specific book, feel free to scroll through my monthly Book Stack posts. I definitely recommend all the ** books. However, if you just want my top picks for 2021, scroll down to the bottom!

Here’s what I read in 2021…

Non-fiction (Spiritual/Devotional)

  • **A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller
  • Into the Region of Awe by David C. Downing
  • **That Sounds Fun by Annie Downs
  • **How To Listen to God by Charles Stanley
  • **The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer
  • **Fault Lines by Voddie Bauccham
  • **The Great Omission by Dallas Willard
  • The Sacred Way by Tony Jones
  • **Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
  • **The Thing Beneath the Thing by Steve Carter
  • Dear Single Girl Devotional by Jessica Faith Hagen
  • **The Holy Bible (using a one year, chronological reading plan through The Bible Recap with Tara Leigh Cobble)

Non-fiction (Business/Writing)

  • **Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  • Tribes by Seth Godin

Non-fiction (Family/Parenting/Teens)

  • Two as One: Connecting Daily with Christ and Your Spouse by Ryan & Selena Frederick
  • **Brave: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Beating Worry and Anxiety by Sissy Goff
  • **The Be With Factor: Mentoring Students in Everyday Life by Bo Boshers & Judson Poling
  • **Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas


  • **The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • **The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak
  • **Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah
  • **This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
  • **A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen
  • **The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
  • **In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon

YA Fiction/Fantasy

  • **FABLE by Adrienne Young
  • **The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
  • Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • The Grace Year– Kim Liggett
  • **The Young Elite– Marie Lu
  • **The Rose Society (#2) by Marie Lu
  • **The Midnight Star (#3) by Marie Lu
  • The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett
  • Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller
  • **Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • **Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • **Allegient by Veronica Roth
  • **Caraval  by Stephanie Garber
  • **Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Middle Grade Fiction/Fantasy

  • The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth
  • **The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser
  • **Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt


My Top Picks from My 2021 Reading Challenge:

The Holy Bible

The best thing I read last year, by far, was The Bible. I have read through the Bible many times before, but never chronologically in one year. It was absolutely transforming. I am working on a blog post about some of the things it taught me, but if I could only recommend one thing, it would be this: READ THE BIBLE (Tara Leigh Cobble’s podcast, The Bible Recap, is a great companion to help explain the context and connect it all together).

Other Top Picks from 2021
  • Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
  • The Great Omission by Dallas Willard
  • The Thing Beneath the Thing by Steve Carter
  • BRAVE: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Beating Worry and Anxiety by Sissy Goff
  • Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas
  • Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah
  • In His Steps by Charles Sheldon
  • Fable by Adrienne Young
  • The Young Elites (Trilogy) by Marie Lu
  • Caraval (Trilogy) by Stephanie Garber

Well, that’s it! Whew! For more info on any of the books on my list, search the title or “book stacks” in the blog search bar for my reviews. Click here to find out Why I do an Annual Reading Challenge (and You Should, Too!)

What were your top reads in 2021? I’m putting together this year’s reading challenge, and I’m always looking for new books. Feel free to add suggestions in the comments!

Thanks for reading!


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