The 20 in 20 Challenge! #Read20in2020

In the immortal words of Doctor Seuss,

“The more that you read, the more things you will know;
The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”

Some of us are readers who pick up a book at random and start reading. And some of us like to challenge ourselves by finding a book that fits a criterion. I used to be the former, but now am part of the latter. I have found lovely books that adhere to a certain category or prompt, that I might otherwise have left unread. If you are one such reader, I hope this challenge, the “20 in 20 challenge” helps your reading be a bit more diverse than it might have been. This challenge asks you to read 20 books in 2020 (10 fiction and 10 non-fiction).

How does this work?

The challenge starts at 12am IST on January 1st 2020, and ends at 12pm IST on December 31st 2020.

Below are twenty categories (or prompts, if you want to call them that). The challenge is to read 10 fiction and 10 non fiction books that fit a category. Thus reading 20 books in 2020!

  • You can choose to read a fiction and a non fiction for the same category if you want, but not more than one fiction and one non-fiction for any category.
  • You can read one book each prompt and do all the twenty categories too. Up to you! I only ask that the books be over 100 pages.
  • You can read 2 each month and finish at the end of the year, or read 1 each week and finish by May. That’s totally your call. (Even 1 per day is okay, but that’ll be some feat!)
  • You can track your progress in any way you feel comfortable. I’m not likely to be behind you saying “You’ve not read! You’ve not read!” (It might happen though! No promises)
  • If you review a book you’ve read for this challenge on your blog, Goodreads or Instagram, feel free to come to this page and comment. I’ll come read it for sure. And maybe, just maybe, others might too.

The categories are:

1. Crime fiction or True crime book
Some popular Crime Fiction books | Popular True Crime books
These are just some choices to give you a start in your research for the category. Others out of this list will be there for sure. Especially for fiction!

2. A book set in the country where you are currently residing
Would depend on where you are staying. So you can research accordingly!

3. A book with a (mostly) white color cover
Would depend on the editions I think. Two books that come to mind immediately are Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harrari, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. There are plenty of options for this, so you won’t find yourself short of reading choices!

4. A book with day/night in the title
Night | Day

5. LGBTQ related book
Fiction | Non Fiction

6. Book originally published in the 1990s
Best Books of the Decade

7. Book about mental health/dealing with mental illness

8. A humor book

9. A book from an author you chose for another category in this challenge
For e.g, if you picked Sapiens for the white cover category, you can choose Homo Deus for this category. or if you chose The ABC Murders for the crime category, you can choose Appointment with Death for this category.

10. Book with 11 letters/characters in the title (excluding spaces and punctuation)
For e.g. Being Reshma, Night School, Black Coffee, Heads You Win, etc.

11. An epistolary book
Some popular epistolary books

12. A book with a calendar month in the the title
Some options for you

13. A book you read in your childhood days
Would totally depend on you. What I read in my childhood won’t necessarily be what you read in yours, will it?

14. Book translated into English from another language
Some options for you

15. A book with more than 500 pages
Some options for you

16. A book that has something to do with sports
Some fiction options for you

17. An illustrated book

18. A wartime book
Fiction | Non Fiction

19. A book that has won the Sahitya Akademi Award for English

20. A book earlier reviewed by me
A list of books sorted by title can be found under the Books menu, sorted by Authors under the Authors menu, and by popular genres under the Genres menu.

That’s it! Happy reading. Thanks for taking part in the “20 in 20 Challenge”! Even if you attempt the challenge and read only a few books, I’d be happy that you took part!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any doubts to clarify too.

104 thoughts on “The 20 in 20 Challenge! #Read20in2020

  1. 30 Days in Sydney: A Wildly Distorted Account by Peter Carey. Read as part of 20/20 challenge in the category of book set in the country in which I reside.
    I was born in Melbourne but have lived in Sydney for many years and, although I know how lucky I am to live in Sydney, it is not my favourite city . . . but this book warmed my heart and made me glad I live here. It does describe a nostalgic Sydney having been written nearly 20 years ago . . . much has changed in many ways, but much remains the same.
    Peter Carey has been criticized for the hotch potch of styles he uses in this book, but I feel that he always chooses the ‘right’ style for whatever aspect he is describing and the variety is not off-putting at all. This book is part history, part geography, part anecdotes, political comment . . . It is everything. Perhaps above all, it is nostalgia, as Carey returns to Sydney from his home in New York.
    Loosely using the Earth, Fire, Water, Air elements as a structure for his writing, Carey refers to iconic Sydney: the Harbour, the Bridge, the Manly ferries, Anzac Day, R.S.Ls, Indigenous issues, development and architecture, crooked cops, the Blue Mountains, bushfire, disaster, Eternity . . . a whole range of descriptions and anecdotes.
    This book is hugely entertaining, beautifully written, entirely engaging and loved it! *****

  2. The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton. Read as part of 20/20 Reading Challenge in the category of a book set in the country in which I reside.
    This is simply a fabulous book; it got better and better as it went along and, while I couldn’t stop reading it and rushed through it, I was so sad to come to the end. Initially, I was a but distracted by the language as Jackie’s thoughts and dialogue are written as he speaks, but soon I didn’t even notice it and it just became part of him.
    The interaction and unexpected empathy between Kacie and Fintan is beautifully presented and I really liked that we are never given the whole story behind either character, rather we are given snippets and hints and left to discover things as we go along, and work some things out for ourselves. We know these two (the only characters we meet directly in the book) just as they are in the context of the story. Both are complex characters and not, for me, very warm and likeable and real.
    I have filled a number of pages with quotes from the book . . . there is so much wisdom and compassion. A simply wonderful 5 star read *****

  3. Returning to 20/20 after participating in and completing. BCBE#13 plus Bonus Round. 11/20 still to read and only one cross over: Beartown by Fredrik Backman read as part of both challenges. Not perhaps as good as the sequel, Us Against You (I read them in the wrong order!) but still great, full of warmth and wisdom ****

  4. Finished! The Murder of Alison Baden-Clay by David Murray. Read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of True Crime.
    I was introduced to True Crime writing through my admiration for Helen Garner and her amazing works, The House of Grief and Joe Cinque’s Consolation, both heart wrenching and amazing feats of journalism. While David Murray’s work is not, perhaps, as empathetic as Garner’s, it is still an incredible piece of journalism, with in-depth, extensive and far-reaching research and am amazing attention to detail. I really enjoy the way all the disparate pieces of information are drawn together. It is also an insight into the use, and misuse, of evidence and the way in which the court system works.
    I’m not generally a fan of Crime Fiction, but I really appreciated this true account and was fully engaged throughout, even through the intricate detail. I read it in just a few sittings. Great journalism. ****

  5. Finished. Growing up Queer in Australia edited by Benjamin Law. Read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category LGBQT related.
    This is an interesting and diverse collection of short stories which, like most short story/essay collections by different authors, vary between being beautifully written and engaging and not so much.
    Sadly, there are a couple of common themes running through most of these stories: that of confusion (especially the confusion triggered by lack of role model in childhood and youth) and of a lack of acceptance often by parents “who would rather I was worried and confused than gay”. I would like to think that the collection perhaps reflects editor Benjamin Law’s experiences or views rather than the experiences or views of the majority of ‘queers’ in Australia, but I am struggling to convince myself of that.
    The book was published in 2019, although many of the stories are, of course, from childhoods decades ago. It would be nice to think that a similar collection published in a decade’s time would be different. I wish there was more joy. ***

  6. Finished! The End of Your Life Bookclub by Will Schwalbe. Read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of reviewed by Vinay.
    I thought, initially, that this book would be sugary sweet and pure self indulgence on the part of the author as he writes about the time leading up to his mother’s death from pancreatic cancer, and in some places that is true, but I have filled a number of pages of notes with quotes that appealed and made numerous additions to my Goodreads Want to Read list, as Schwalbe discusses with his mother, books they both read in a very personal kind of bookclub, involving just the two of them.
    While I loved all the book references, the book is about much more than that: life and, of course, death, family, relationships, honesty and decency. As I head into my eighth decade, although in no way unwell, it also comes quite close to the bone in reminding me to make the most of every day I have, do the things I want to do while I can, make sure that everyone I live knows that I live them.
    There may be some sugary sweet moments, but this book often made me smile . . . and cry. ***

  7. Finished! The Restorer by Michael Sala read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of book with 11 characters in the title. This, while not perhaps a literary masterpiece, is a very engaging book, which I just read in literally 6 hours straight. It is the story of an estranged couple who move to an almost derelict house in Newcastle and attempt to restore both the house and their relationship. The story is largely told through the voices of the wife, Maryanne and her teenage daughter, Freya.
    While it is ‘about’ a lot of things, love, family relationships, parenting, domestic violence, growing up, caring for others, it is really about life itself. All the characters, even the minor ones, are very clearly and empatheticaly drawn and the setting also brought sharply into our awareness. I feel like I’ve been there and done it alongside the book characters. It certainly isn’t a ‘fun’ read, but it is very realistic and very readable. ,****

  8. Finished! Women of Letters curated by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire. Read in the category of an epistolary book.
    I really love the idea of this collection, I guess because I enjoy writing, and reading people’s first hand, personal views and the dying art of letter writing. . . but despite all this, I struggled through some of these. Like so many ‘collections’ (short stories, essays etc) these letters are very varied in content, in style and in ability to engage.
    Eventhough this collection was only published in 2011, some of the contributions feel quite dated, almost ‘hippie’ in tone; some feel forced as if the writer was struggling to really find anything relevant to say on the given topic (topics that are broad to say the least) and some are extremely introspective, as one might expect, and that in itself would not be a bad thing if, in that introspection, there was enough generalisability to engage others.
    Some letters were stunning: both of Noni Hazelhurst’s contributions, Joan Kirner’s letter on leadership (especially relevant in 2020), Helen Garner’s ‘letter I wish I had written’ in which she addresses a range of people who impacted her life, Krissy Kneen’s beautiful letter to the photograph that identifies her as being so different from her husband’s family and Jennifer Byrne’s wonderful tribute to Apsley Cherry-Garrard.
    A collection worth skimming through if only for the above.

  9. Finished! Eyrie by Tim Winton. Read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of book written by an author in a different category.
    It took me a while to get into this book: initially I thought Tom Keely was just going to annoy me, but once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down! Winton’s writing is beautiful, with complex inter-connections and references; his characters are drawn with honesty, realism and empathy; the settings brought to life in a way that makes the reader feel exactly what it is like to be there.
    The book is filled with life’s difficulties, how easy it is to go off the tracks, how hard it is to know what is the ‘right’ thing to do, how to live your best life. Winton slowly uncovers, reveals, bits of information so we are ‘told’ very little but discover as we go along. I wanted a different ending, more finality perhaps, but am not surprised that it ended as it did. ****

  10. Finished! Open by Andre Agassi. Read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of Sport related.
    I enjoyed this more than I expected to, as I’m not big into sport apart from tennis. Although Agassi truly irritated me at times, his autobiography is interesting for a range of reasons: firstly it is well written and manages to be less egocentric than many autobiographies. It gives a great insight into what it means to be a great athlete; the physical, mental and emotional challenges.
    One cannot help but wonder to what degree Agassi’s demanding father and the fact that he was so pushed as a child and youth, impacted on the struggles he had throughout his life. This is a great reminder that success and money does not necessarily equal happiness!
    Overall an interesting and very readable insight into Agassi, tennis Nd the workings of the human mind, body and heart. ****

  11. Finished! The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry. Read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of book with a predominantly white cover.
    To enjoy this book you have to be a fan of Stephen Fry as you can clearly hear his voice and see his demeanour throughout.
    I am a Stephen Fry fan so I did enjoy this autobiography of his younger years, his time at Cambridge and his entrance and early start into the field of entertainment.
    I especially like his language, witty and clever, and his references to other young up and comers, now household names, such as Emma Thomson and Rowan Atkinson.
    There are some very detailed stories that can get a bit bogged down, but the book is generally entertaining and an easy read. ***

  12. Finished. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Read (on Audible) as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of book with 500+ pages.
    This is a heart breaking, gut wrenching, devastatingly beautiful book. Almost every time I listened to it (mostly on 2 hour chunks while driving) ok felt shattered afterwards and was frequently moved to tears. It certainly isn’t a book to ‘enjoy’, but it is truly wonderful and one of the best books I’ve ever experienced.
    The author draws each character in minute detail so we get to know them very well and feel their pain and joy quite intimately. This is especially true of Jude and Willem. It is a story of horrendous physical and emotional abuse, of childhood depravation, of mental breakdown but also of love and friendship and compassion . . . and inevitability.
    I have read reviews that call it narcissistic and criticize it for its lack of historical context, but I disagree. It is enough, more than enough, as it is. There is no room for anything more. *****

  13. Finished 19/20 Exit Wounds by John Cantwell. Read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of book related to mental health.
    Initially I thought I wasn’t going to be able to engage with this book . . . so many detailed accounts of military strategies . . . but as the work moves on and we learn more about the very honestly recounted years that Cantwell spent in the Middle East, and meet, albeit briefly, other soldiers, and hear about large battles, small incidents, acts of bravery, survival and death, it becomes hard to put it down.
    It is interesting, though certainly not enjoyable, to get an honest, insider insight into the conflict in the Middle East. Most importantly though, to become aware of just what damage war does, not only the physical injuries but those associated with PTSD and other mental illness conditions.
    Everyone who has a partner, family member or friend associated with military conflict should read this book. In fact, everyone should read this book. ****

  14. Finished . . . and finished the 20/20 challenge also. Thank you Vinay! The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category of humour.
    I always enjoy Bill Bryson’s wit, albeit sometimes rather sarcastic, and his ability to see humour in the everyday. Most of the Bryson books I have read have been travel related (one of my favourite genres) but this is a memoir of his childhood, set in Des Moines, Iowa and is appealing to me because we share the same childhood decade he being just a year younger than me. Although we were brought up on different sides of the world, and hence some of the references are not familiar, the 1950s vibe certainly is! Likewise the references to how, as kids, we survived those times without today’s associated products and safety procedures . . . some reminders here of Richard Glover’s Life Before Avocado although it is written about a later era.
    This is an easy, fun read with lots of laugh out loud moments! ****

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