The PolyWogg Reading Challenge is a small reading group on Facebook with safe discussions of our readings. Some of us read a lot, some read a little, some just want to see book recommendations from other people. To encourage trying new books, or just to read more in general, each month I name “books of the month” based on a category plus a couple of challenge books. There’s also always “reader’s choice” to read whatever you want and share. I try to vary the book choices, track people’s achievements, and award badges monthly to help reinforce the member’s efforts to “read more”.

At the end of 2020, I asked for feedback through a series of short polls of members, and they told me:

  1. Keep lots of choice –> First category will be “reader’s choice”;
  2. Simplify –> Second category will be a special focus of the month;
  3. Keep challenges –> Keeping, with challenge books or three books in total;
  4. Keep badges –> You get Level 5 (Orange) for 1 book of reader’s choice; Level 4 (Green) for one of the named books; Level 3 (Yellow) for 2 books of reader’s choice; Level 2 (Blue) for 2 books of which one is a named book; and Level 1 (Red) for a challenge book or three books in total.

In terms of categories, people showed preferences for some non-fiction, mystery, award winners, and best-sellers. There was less interest in classic, fantasy, adventure, alt-history, thriller, and sci-fi. People also showed preferences for Indigenous, travel or locations, and historical fiction, with less interest in gender, BLM, food, or holidays.

A suggestion to create a spreadsheet for people to enter their book titles was voted down, but I will try to keep the website list more up to date this year. Here’s the overview for the year:

If you’re interested in joining, message me on FaceBook or submit a comment!


Titles Read by the Members by Month

January

The three categories for January were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: Humour

Book 1: Any book by David Sedaris (Amanda G’s suggestion: When You Are Engulfed In Flames)

Book 2: Any book by Harlan Coben (My suggestion: Deal Breaker, the first in the Myron Bolitar series)

C. Challenge books

Book 1: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Book 2: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Results:

  1. Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben (PS, CG)
  2. Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight (TK)
  3. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (VS)
  4. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (VS)
  5. The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (AR)
  6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (CG)
  7. The Last Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett (AR)
  8. Hit List by Laurell K Hamilton (LM)
  9. Kiss the Dead by Laurell K Hamilton (LM)
  10. A Shiver of Light by Laurell K Hamilton (LM)
  11. When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (AH, CA)
  12. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (CA, LM)
  13. The Body by Bill Bryson (CA)
  14. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (CA)
  15. The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz (CA)
  16. A Curious Incident by Vicky Delaney (CA)
  17. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (CA)
  18. The Exile by Christina Baker Kline (CA)
  19. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell (CA)
  20. The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult (CA)
  21. All Together Now by Alan Doyle (CA)
  22. This is Not the End of Me by Dakshana Bascaramurty (CA)
  23. Right Side Up by Paul Wells (CA)
  24. One on One by Peter Mansbridge (CA)
  25. Extraordinary Canadians by Peter Mansbridge (CA)
  26. 44 Scotland St by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  27. Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  28. Love over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  29. The World according to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  30. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  31. The Importance of Being 7 by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  32. Bertie Plays the Blues by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  33. Sunshine on Scotland St by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  34. Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  35. The Revolving Door of Life by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  36. The Bertie Project by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  37. A Time of Love and Tartan by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  38. Peppermint Tea Chronicles by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  39. A Promise of Ankles by Alexander McCall Smith (CA)
  40. Murder in C Major by Susan Hoskin Frommer (CA)
  41. Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (JPM)

February

The three categories for February were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: Non-fiction

Book 1: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (suggested by Laura M)

Book 2: Any biography, self-help or other non-fiction title

C. Challenge books

Book 1: Galileo: And the Science Deniers by Mario Livio

Book 2: Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

Results:

  1. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz (AR)
  2. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (AR)
  3. The Hike by Drew Magary (TK)
  4. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi (CG)
  5. One by One by Ruth Ware (AR)
  6. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (AR)
  7. Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins (CA)
  8. The New Rules for Aging Well by Dr. F. Lipman & Danielle Clare (CA)
  9. Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White (CA)
  10. They Said This Would be Fun by Eternity Martis (CA)
  11. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall (CA)
  12. Solutions and other Problems by Ali Brosh
  13. Dolly Parton, Songteller by Dolly Parton (CA)
  14. Hashimoto’s Protocol by Izabella Wentz (CA)
  15. Hashimoto’s Food Pharmacology by Izabella Wentz (CA)
  16. Good Boy, My Life in 7 Dogs by Jennifer Finlay Boylan (CA)
  17. Remain Silent by Susan Steiner (CA)
  18. Tom Clancy: Shadow of the Dragon by Marc Cameron (CA)
  19. Human Remains by Miranda Li (CA)
  20. A Time for Mercy by John Grisham (CA)
  21. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (CA)
  22. Homicide in Hard Cover by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  23. If Books Could Kill by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  24. Lies that Bind by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  25. Murder Undercover by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  26. Pages of Sin (e-novella) by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  27. One Book in the Grave by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  28. Peril in Paperback by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  29. Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  30. The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  31. Ripped from the Pages by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  32. Books of a Feather by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  33. Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  34. Buried in Books by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  35. The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  36. The Grim Reader by Kate Carlisle (CA)
  37. Becoming by Michelle Obama (LM)
  38. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Carline Fraser (AH)
  39. Gutter Child by Jael Richardson (TK)
  40. The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis (TK)
  41. Foundation by Mercedes Lackey (LM)
  42. Swindle by Gordon Korman (LM)

March

The three categories for March were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: Mystery

Book 1: Any of the mysteries by Ian Rankin (good detective series) or Ben Aaronovtich (police with supernatural twist, both suggested by Paul M)

Book 2: Any mystery

C. Challenge books

Book 1: Arsène Lupin, The Gentleman Burglar by Maurice Leblanc

Book 2: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Results:

  1. Arsene Lupin: Gentleman cambrioleur by Maurice Leblanc (CG)
  2. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (AH, PS, LM)
  3. The Exploits of Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc (AH)
  4. Social, Civil and Savvy by Laura VanArendonk Baugh (JM)
  5. Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris (AH)
  6. The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie (CG, LM, CA)
  7. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (LM)
  8. Simplify by Jonathan Becker (CA)
  9. Unbelievable by Dr. John Shelby Spong (CA)
  10. Shame on Me by Tessa McWatt (CA)
  11. Lean Out by Lena Henley (CA)
  12. Dearly by Margaret Atwood (CA)
  13. A Catered Book Club Murder by Isis Crawford (CA)
  14. The Lost Boys by Faye Kellerman (CA)
  15. Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman (CA)
  16. The Ancient Dead by Barbara Fradkin (CA)
  17. Cold as Ice by Allison Brennan (CA)
  18. The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman (CA)
  19. If I Knew Then by Jann Arden (CA)
  20. How We Got Here: The 70’s by David Frum (CA)
  21. Dirty South by John Connolly (CA)
  22. The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (CA)
  23. How to Pronounce Knife by S. Thamogvonssa (CA)
  24. The 4% solution by Karma Brown (CA)
  25. The Morning and the Evening by Ken Follett (CA)
  26. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (AH)
  27. The Hormone Reset Diet by Dr. Sara Gottfried (AR)
  28. Mistakes to Run With by Yasuko Thanh (TK)
  29. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnely (TK)
  30. Death in an English Countryside by Sara Rosett (CA)
  31. Death in an English Cottage by Sara Rosett (CA)
  32. Death in an English Country Home by Sara Rosett (CA)
  33. Death in an Elegant City by Sara Rosett (CA)
  34. Menace at the Christmas Market by Sara Rosett (CA)
  35. Death in an English Garden by Sara Rosett (CA)
  36. Death at an English Wedding by Sara Rosett (CA)
  37. Cherry Ames x 16 (CA)
  38. The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (AR)

April

The three categories for April were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: History

Book 1: Any book written before 1956

Book 2: Any book set before 1956

C. Challenge books

Book 1: A book written by Anne Perry, Diane Gabaldon, Dorothy L Sayers, Dianne Day or Dorothy Gilman

Book 2: Any in the Bandy Papers series by Donald Jack

Results:

  1. In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear (AR)
  2. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (PS)
  3. The Strange Files of Fremont Jones by Dianne Day (PS)
  4. Mini Bike Hero by Claire Mackay (PS)
  5. The Greenglass Hotel by Kate Milford (PS)
  6. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (CG)
  7. Literary Murder by Batya Git (AR)
  8. Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry (AH)
  9. The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (TK)
  10. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (AR)
  11. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (CG)
  12. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (TK)
  13. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jemoff (AR)
  14. The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson (AH)
  15. No Time Like the Future by Michael J Fox (CA)
  16. What I Would Tell You by Julie Keon (CA)
  17. A Promised Land by Barack Obama (CA)
  18. How to Avoid a Climate Change Disaster by Bill Gates (CA)
  19. Can you Hear Me Now by Celia Ceaser-Chevannes (CA)
  20. Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell (CA)
  21. A Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (CA, TK)
  22. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  23. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  24. This Time Next Year We Will Be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  25. Hush-hush by Stuart Woods (CA)
  26. Double Jeopardy by Stuart Woods (CA)
  27. Five Little Indians by Michelle Good (CA)
  28. The Billionaire Murders by Kevin O’Donahue (CA)
  29. Not On My Watch by Alexandra Morton (CA)
  30. A Simple Murder by Linda Costillo (CA)
  31. An Orphan’s Guilt by Archer Mayor (CA)
  32. Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes by Karen Rose Smith (CA)
  33. Picture Perfect Frame by Lynn Calhoon (CA)
  34. Moving is Murder by Sara Rosett (CA)
  35. Staying Home is a Killer by Sara Rosett (CA)
  36. Getting Away is Deadly by Sara Rosett (CA)
  37. Magnolias, Moonlight, and Murder by Sara Rosett (CA)
  38. Mint Juleps, Mayhem, and Murder by Sara Rosett (CA)
  39. Mimosas, Mischief, and Murder by Sara Rosett (CA)
  40. Mistletoe, Merriment, and Murder by Sara Rosett (CA)
  41. Milkshakes, Mermaids, and Murder by Sara Rosett (CA)
  42. Marriage, Monsters-In-Law, and Murder by Sara Rosett (CA)
  43. Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch (CG, LM)
  44. A Sudden Fearful Death by Anne Perry (AR)
  45. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (CG)
  46. Code Blues by Melissa Yi (CM)
  47. Dear Life by Rachel Clarke (CM)
  48. This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (CM)
  49. The Chalet School and Robin by Caroline German (LM)
  50. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon (LM)

May

The three categories for May were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: Geography

Book 1: Any book with a place in the title;

Book 2: Any book set on a continent (* or sub-continent) where you haven’t lived for at least 3 years; OR

Book 3: Any book by an author from a continent other than North America

C. Challenge books

Book 1: A book written by a native African author

Book 2: A book written by a native Asian author

Results:

  1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (AR)
  2. The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson (AR)
  3. The Piano Teacher by Janice Y K Lee (AR)
  4. Code Blues by Melissa Yi (CM)
  5. Dear Life by Rachel Clarke (CM, CA)
  6. This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay (CM)
  7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (AR)
  8. The Breakdown by BA Paris (TK)
  9. Through the Dark Wood: Finding Meaning In The Second Half of Life by James Hollis (TK)
  10. The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi (AR)
  11. Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  12. Messenger of the Truth by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  13. Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  14. Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  15. The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  16. A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  17. Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  18. Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  19. A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear (CA)
  20. The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Genoff (CA)
  21. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Genoff (CA)
  22. The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Genoff (CA)
  23. The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Genoff (CA)
  24. The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Genoff (CA)
  25. Hidden Affair by Pam Genoff (CA)
  26. Mother’s Day, Muffins and Murder by Sara Rosett (CA)
  27. On Deadly Tides by Elizabeth Duncan (CA)
  28. Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle by Sarah Graves (CA)
  29. Death by Chocolate Frosted Donut by Sarah Graves (CA)
  30. Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown (CA)
  31. The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Myerson (CA)
  32. Ocean Prey by John Sandford (CA)
  33. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (CA)
  34. Find You First by Linwood Barclay (CA)
  35. 21 Things You May Not Know about the Indian Act by Bob Joseph (CA)
  36. Equal to the Challenge, an Anthology of Women’s Experiences in WWII (CA)
  37. Secret War of WWII by National Geographic (CA)
  38. Canada by Mike Myers (TK)
  39. The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard Marais (AR)
  40. The Light Through The Leaves by Glendy Vanderah (TK)
  41. The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry (PS)
  42. A Dangerous Mourning by Anne Perry (PS)
  43. Defend and Betray by Anne Perry (PS)
  44. A Sudden, Fearful Death by Anne Perry (PS)
  45. Sins of the Wolf by Anne Perry (PS)
  46. Cain His Brother by Anne Perry (PS)
  47. Weighed in the Balance by Anne Perry (PS)
  48. The Silent Cry by Anne Perry (PS)
  49. A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry (PS)

June

The three categories for June were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: Indigenous

Book 1: Any book written by an Indigenous AUTHOR

Book 2: Any book with an Indigenous CHARACTER

C. Challenge books

Book 1: Anything by Thomas King

Book 2: The Clay We Are Made Of by Susan M. Hill

Results:

  1. x

July

The three categories for July were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: Canada

Book 1: Any book set in Canada

Book 2: Any book by a Canadian author

C. Challenge books

Book 1: Any book nominated for the ScotiaBank Giller Prize

Book 2: Any book nominated for the Governor General’s Award

Results:

  1. x

August

The three categories for August were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: Awards

Book 1: Any book that won National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, or Man Booker Award;

Book 2: Any mystery book that won an Agatha, Shamus, Macavity, Edgar or a Hammett;

C. Challenge books

Book 1: Any book on the BBC Greatest British Novels list or Guardian’s 100 Best Novels Written in English or Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Novels;

Book 2: Any book on “Abe Book’s list of top 100 Fiction Books to read in a lifetime” or Radcliffe Publishing’s 100 Greatest Novels;

Results:

  1. x

September

The three categories for September were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: x

Book 1: x

Book 2: x

C. Challenge books

Book 1: x by x

Book 2: x by x

Results:

  1. x

October

The three categories for October were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: x

Book 1: x

Book 2: x

C. Challenge books

Book 1: x by x

Book 2: x by x

Results:

  1. x

November

The three categories for November were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: x

Book 1: x

Book 2: x

C. Challenge books

Book 1: x by x

Book 2: x by x

Results:

  1. x

December

The three categories for December were:

A. Reader’s choice – any book

B. Category: x

Book 1: x

Book 2: x

C. Challenge books

Book 1: x by x

Book 2: x by x

Results:

  1. x
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