Best 2022 Reading Challenges for Sci-Fi and Fantasy Readers

Happy New Year, Readers!

With 2021 behind us and the whole of 2022 ahead, it’s time to take stock of our TBR shelves and lists, think about new goals, discard what no longer serves us or brings us joy, and most importantly, READ!

A photo of a planner, an open book, and a board that says "Happy New Year 2022" next to a mug of tea, all one a gray knitted fabric background.

To that end, I’m rounding up the best 2022 reading challenges for readers of science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative fiction sub-genres!

Reading challenges can be a fun way to expand your reading horizons, explore genres or topics you might not have discovered on your own, and even to meet fellow readers. They can also be an added source of stress or guilt, so they aren’t for everyone. I like to use them as a guide or inspiration rather than something I must complete each year. 

Over the past several years, the number of reading challenges has exploded. There are dozens and dozens and dozens of challenges listed at the Reading Challenges Addict site’s page for 2022 challenges, and more beyond that.

Despite the proliferation of challenges, I couldn’t help but notice how few challenges there are specifically for speculative fiction. If spec fic is your main genre, it may not make sense to do a challenge within that genre… Or it could be the perfect opportunity to discover new authors and sub-genres (and there are so many sub-genres and sub-sub genres in spec fic).

So without further pontificating, here are the six reading challenges (in no particular order) best suited for readers who want to focus on speculative fiction in 2022!

Challenges With Prompts

The more traditional reading challenges include specific prompts, like “read a book set in a bookstore”. You can choose any book that satisfies the prompt, and usually a single book can satisfy multiple prompts and be used in multiple challenges.

Diverse Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Challenge

This challenge isn’t limited to 2022, but I wanted to include it because it’s one of the few challenges focused specifically on speculative fiction. This challenge, which you can find at Storygraph, features sixteen prompts focused on finding books by own voices authors from a variety of backgrounds. Each prompt also includes a short list of suggested books, so this is also a great place to diversify your TBR in general!

Beyond the Bookends’ 2022 Reading Challenge

The Beyond the Bookends 2022 Reading Challenge logo.

Book blog Beyond the Bookends has a simple but great 2022 reading challenge that features a single prompt for each month of the year. With twelve prompts, this is a great option for people who’ve never done a challenge before, or who want a less-intense challenge that will still push their reading boundaries.

Additionally, all these prompts can easily be used to find a spec fic book (yes, even November’s “Read a book set in WWI”). You can also browse their previous challenges for more ideas and inspiration.

Unabridged Podcast 2022 Reading Challenge

The Unabridged Podcast 2022 Reading Challenge logo.

Most reading challenges focus heavily on adult fiction and nonfiction, which is why I like this challenge written by the three teachers that makeup the Unabridged Podcast! It has both a YA and middle-grade themed prompt, along with a few multimedia prompts (like reading a book and watching its tv or movie adaptation).

This challenge has ten prompts and a number of ways to get involved, including a Facebook group, a hashtag for Instagram, and an Instagram story template so you can share your progress!

Learn more about the challenge and give the podcast a listen over at the Unabridged Podcast website!

Book Riot’s 2022 Read Harder Challenge

The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2022 logo.

Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge is one of the most well-known challenges, and has one of the most lively and engaged communities. This year’s challenge features twenty-four prompts, which breaks down to two books per month. It’s much more doable than some of the other big challenges like PopSugar’s (fifty books)!

This is one of my favorite challenges, and the first one I ever participated in. While certain prompts (such as number six, “Read a nonfiction YA comic” and “Read a history about a period you know little about”) might be hard to twist to speculative fiction, a majority of the prompts lend themselves well to choosing a spec fic book. The active Goodreads community also makes it a great option if you’re looking for community as well as good books.

Challenges Without Prompts

Not all reading challenges are prompt-based! Some are based around numbers of books read, either within a theme or in general. For those who prefer not to be limited by prompts, here’s a couple challenges that are number-based.

SpaceTime Reading Challenge 2022

The 2022 SpaceTime Reading Challenge logo.

Writer and book reviewer Jemima Pett runs the annual SpaceTime Reading Challenge on her blog, This is a flexible challenge, and you can choose to aim for as few as five books or as many as forty! 

This challenge focuses on science fiction and time travel books only, and the host requests that all participants post reviews somewhere online (Goodreads is fine). Any book within the prescribed genres that’s at least 100 pages or more can count.

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2022

Bev of the My Reader’s Block blog hosts the annual Mount TBR Reading Challenge, which challenges participants to read books in their to-be-read piles. The fun twist here is that each “level” of the challenge is pegged to a famous mountain. 

To conquer Pike’s Peak, you have to read twelve books from your TBR pile. To climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, you’ll need to knock off sixty books. And for Mt. Everest, you’ll need to read a whopping one hundred books from your TBR!

Library lovers, take note: Library books don’t count for this one; only books you owned prior to January 1, 2022.

Do you have any reading goals for 2022? Are you planning on doing any reading challenges? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter @bookwitchblog, or Instagram @bookwitchblog!

The Seven Books I’m Most Excited for in 2021

Welcome to the Book Witch, a blog about speculative fiction and comics!

If you’re here, I can only assume you love books: reading them, collecting them, smelling them… Whatever your particular book kink, I hope you’ll find this to be a welcoming, inclusive space.

I’ll be bringing you reviews of new books, topical booklists, and speculative fiction-adjacent content every Tuesday, so make space on your TBR shelf!

A starburst graphic with a teal blue bar in the center that reads "The Book Witch's Most Anticipated Titles of 2021." There's a small purple witch hat on the "b" in "Book Witch."

To kick things off, I wanted to highlight some of the books and comics I’m most excited about in the first half of 2021. 

This post contains affiliate links to, so any purchases you make using these links will help support the Book Witch and independent bookstores all over the world! Of course, I always encourage you to buy directly from your local indie bookstore whenever possible.

Burning Girls and Other Stories by Veronica Schanoes

March 2, Tor/Forge

Brief description: In Burning Girls and Other Stories, Veronica Schanoes crosses borders and genres with stories of fierce women at the margins of society burning their way toward the center.

Why I’m psyched: I love a good short story collection, and this one’s gotten quite a bit of buzz! It’s difficult to get attention for short fiction in the best of times, as readers seem to avoid them, so it’s always a good sign when one makes the round like Burning Girls is.

Stillwater Vol. 1 by Chip Zdarsky and Ramón K. Pérez

March 17, Image

Brief description: Nobody dies. In the town of Stillwater, that’s not just a promise. It’s a threat. 

Why I’m psyched: Death and dying are topics I can never get enough of, and I also can never get enough Chip Zdarsky. (If you haven’t read Sex Criminals, you are really missing out). I’m most familiar with his comic art rather than writing, so I’m looking forward to diving into this book. 

Zoey Rosenthal is Not Lawful Good by Nancy Werlin

April 6, Penguin Random House

Brief description: A buttoned-up overachiever works overtime to keep her inner nerd at bay—failing spectacularly—in Nancy Werlin’s hilarious and heartfelt return to contemporary realistic fiction.

Why I’m psyched: When I read the description for this book, I immediately saw myself. I am definitely an overachiever, and no one can deny what a nerd I am. This one might be stretching the bounds of this blog’s speculative focus, but I’ll always make an exception for books about nerdy characters, especially nerdy ladies!

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

April 6, Simon & Schuster

Brief description: Westworld meets Warcross in this high-stakes, incisive, dizzyingly smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity, from award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman.

Why I’m psyched: Dead people stuff? Check! Smart teenager? Check! Creepy/scary AI? Check! I’m excited for this one because it mixes some classic sci-fi tropes in new ways, and looks like it’s going to be a blast to read!

Inkblot Vol.1 by Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd

April 7, Image

Brief description: A powerful sorceress must attempt to correct her greatest mistake—the creation of a magical cat which can travel through time,space, and the seven realms of reality.

Why I’m psyched: As someone who has a mischievous black cat and loves fantasy, I simply couldn’t resist Inkblot’s premise. I’ve been buying this monthly (it’s on my pull list at my local comic shop) and am loving it so far. Both writer and artist obviously know what it’s like to love a void cat while also being completely exasperated by their antics.

Aetherbound by E.K. Johnston

May 25, Penguin Random House

Brief description: Set on a family-run interstellar freighter called the Harland and a mysterious remote space station, E. K. Johnston’s latest is a story of survival and self-determination. 

Why I’m psyched: I’ve loved E. K. Johnston’s Star Wars novels, so I would have been excited to give this book a chance regardless of the story. But I have a weak spot for scrappy teenage protagonists and characters who rail against the roles society wants them to play, so I’m sold!

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

June 8, Harper Voyager

Brief Description: This unforgettable debut—inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

Why I’m psyched: Fantasy’s slant toward Western European mythology and topography is well known and well documented. A slew of recent books have been breaking out of that mold (N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, to name two), and Ava Reid’s debut continues that trend. As someone who’s always enjoyed myths and legends from all corners of the globe, I am living for this trend, and I’m looking forward to this take on Jewish myth.

You can find all these books—and more!—in a handy list over at

What books are you excited about this year?