Jae's Sapphic Reading Challenge 2021

Hosted by biblioseph

44 participants, 855 books added

Starts: Friday, 01 January 2021

Ends: Friday, 31 December 2021

I am not the creator of this challenge, I have quoted extensively from Jae's original post.

The goal is to read sapphic books that fit as many of the 50 categories listed below as possible. You can read ebooks, paperbacks, or audiobooks; and they can be new-to-you books or re-reads. Depending on how many sapphic books you manage to read in 2021, you can earn different badges and book prizes.  Jae will post book recommendations for a new category once a week, and I will try to keep the list up to date. Of course, you could also just read whatever books you want and then, afterwards, see what categories they fit into. 
 
Each book may be used only once, even if it fits several categories. (You may add books to multiple categories to help others find suitable reads, but if you are looking to win a prize, be aware of this!)

For the longer version of the rules, a bonus level you could go for, and an explanation of the prizes you can win, please see Jae's original post for the challenge. She also has a handy FAQ for your reference.

If I ever fall behind with adding Jae's recommendations, you can reference the linked index of her posts here.

The levels and badges of the Sapphic Reading Challenge

The Sapphic Reading Challenge offers five different levels plus a bonus level, so you can pick whatever suits you best, depending on how much reading time you have. You can move up or down to a different level at any time.

I have omitted the badges in this post, but you may find them in Jae's original post for the challenge.  

Book Penguin: The goal is to read 10 sapphic books in 2021. Each book has to fit one category listed below. Completing 20% of this challenge would award you the Book Penguin Badge.
Book Squirrel: The goal is to read 20 sapphic books in 2021. Each book has to fit one category listed below.
Completing 40% of this challenge would award you the Book Squirrel Badge.
Book Bear: The goal is to read 30 sapphic books in 2021. Each book has to fit one category listed below.
Completing 60% of this challenge would award you the Book Bear Badge.
Book Dragon (level 1): The goal is to read 50 sapphic books in 2021, one book for each of the 50 categories.
Completing 100% of this challenge would award you the Book Dragon (lvl 1) Badge.
Book Dragon (level 2): This is the level for our hardcore readers. The goal is to read 100 sapphic books in 2021, two books for each of the 50 categories.
Completing 200% of this challenge would award you the Book Dragon (lvl 2) Badge, but it must be two from each category.
Book Unicorn: The Book Unicorn is a bonus level that you can pick either by itself or as an additional goal. The goal is to read 10 sapphic books from a list of 12 harder-to-find genres and themes. Jae will post book suggestions for one Book Unicorn category each month. I have listed them as bonus prompts.

The rules
  • The reading challenge will run from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. You can join at any time.
  • Each book needs to have at least one main character who is a woman who loves women or a nonbinary character who identifies as sapphic.
  • Each book needs to fit one of the 50 categories (for the Book Penguin, the Book Squirrel, the Book Bear, or the Book Dragon) or one of the 12 extra categories (for the Book Unicorn). You’ll find the list of categories below.
  • Each book may be used only once, even if it fits several categories.
  • Pick the level that you think will work best for you. If you later change your mind and realize you’ll be reading fewer or more books than you initially thought, you can switch to a different level any time.
  • Every week, Jae will post a new category with a list of book recommendations. For the Book Unicorn, she’ll post reading suggestions for one category each month. You can either pick a book from those recommended reading lists or choose any other book that fits the category. (Here is the index of posts, kept updated with links.)
  • Only books you started and finished in 2021 count.
  • Books can be any format—ebook, paperback, or audiobook.
  • It doesn’t necessarily have to be a novel. Novellas (usually around 17,500-40,000 words) count too, as do anthologies, short story collections, and graphic novels.
  • Re-reads of books you’ve read before count. 

Challenge prompts

1. Enemies-to-lovers romance (28 books added)


The two main characters start out being enemies or rivals before falling in love. Check out the list of recommended books here

2. Character with an everyday job (25 books added)


 The protagonist doesn’t have a glamorous job such as famous actress but an everyday job such as waitress, cashier, mechanic, etc. Check out the recommended books list here

3. Return to hometown (22 books added)


A book in which the protagonist returns to her hometown after years away. Check out the recommended books list here

5. Character is a journalist or reporter (21 books added)


The protagonist currently works as a journalist, reporter, or newsperson. Check out Jae's recommendations here.

6. Only one bed (17 books added)


There’s only one bed, so the two main characters have to share it (although they’re not a couple). 

7. Character with a disability or mental illness (26 books added)


A book with protagonist who has a physical disability, a chronic illness, or a mental disorder. 

8. Character is a book lover (22 books added)


The protagonist is a writer, librarian, book editor, or an avid reader. 

9. One-night stand to forever (21 books added)


The romance starts with a one-night stand, a fling, or a friends-with-benefits arrangement. 

10. Speculative fiction (35 books added)


A book with strong fantastical, supernatural, or futuristic elements, e.g., science fiction, fantasy, or paranormal fiction. 

11. Ice queen character (25 books added)


The protagonist comes across as cold, aloof, and prickly (at least in the beginning of the book—the ice queen sometimes thaws a bit after falling in love).

 

12. Neurodiverse character (16 books added)


A book with a positive and realistic portrayal of a neurodiverse character, e.g., a protagonist who’s on the autism spectrum or has dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, etc.

 

13. Longer book (24 books added)


A book of at least 120,000 words. For an audiobook, that means 12 hours or more. Page numbers can be misleading since it depends on the font, the font size, the margins, page size, etc., but if you can’t find the word count, go for books that have 350+ pages.

 

14. Character is a medical professional (21 books added)


The protagonist works in health care, e.g., a physician, dentist, nurse, chiropractor, paramedic or EMT, etc.

 

15. Genre you don’t usually read (36 books added)


A book from a genre you normally shy away from.

 

16. Grumpy & sunshine (8 books added)


A romance in which a grumpy character falls for a character with a sunny, upbeat personality.

 

17. Character is a teacher or professor (4 books added)


Just what the category name says—a book with a protagonist who’s teaching for a living.

 

18. Coming out later in life (5 books added)


The protagonist is at least 30 years old and comes out as LGBTQIA during the course of the book, either because it took them longer to figure out they aren’t straight or because they were struggling to come out to friends and family.

 

19. Historical fiction / historical romance (14 books added)


A novel that takes place at least 25 years in the past.

 

20. Nerdy/geeky character (7 books added)


The main character qualifies as a nerd or a geek—meaning they are very enthusiastic about some kind of non-mainstream activity or specialized subject, e.g., a video games, science, technology, comic books, cosplay, collections.

 

21. Age gap romance (6 books added)


A romance novel in which one main character is at least 8 years older than the other.

 

22. Character of a different ethnicity, culture, or race than you (29 books added)


At least one of the main characters has to be of a different ethnicity, culture, or race than you. Please pick a book that is own voices, meaning the author shares the character’s racial background.

 

23. Recommended by a friend (9 books added)


Ask a friend to recommend a book for you to read. Feel free to drop by Jae's Facebook group for readers and ask for a book recommendation there.

 

24. Character is a musician (7 books added)


The protagonist is a musician.

 

25. Your favorite author’s favorite book (3 books added)


A novel that is one of the favorite books of one of your favorite authors.

 

26. Character was adopted/in foster care (7 books added)


The main character was either adopted or grew up in the foster system.

 

27. Shy or socially awkward character (8 books added)


The protagonist is shy or uncomfortable/awkward in social situations.

 

28. Character rocks a power suit (4 books added)


A book about a main character who’s regularly seen and looking great in a power suit.

29. Book starts with the first day of a new job (6 books added)


A book in which the main character starts a new job in the first three chapters.

30. Mystery (8 books added)


A book that revolves around a murder or other crime to be solved.

31. Friends-to-lovers romance (9 books added)


The two main characters already know each other at the beginning of the book and have been friends for a while, maybe even for years, before falling in love.

32. Body-positive book (1 book added)


A book that celebrates women of all sizes and shapes, e.g., a plus-sized protagonist.

33. Disguised or living as a man (8 books added)


The main character is a woman pretending to be a man or an AFAB genderqueer person living her life as a man.

34. Character works in the food industry (4 books added)


The protagonist is a baker, chef, bartender, waitress, etc.

35. Re-read a favorite (3 books added)


Re-read a book that is one of your all-time favorites.

36. Road trip (4 books added)


A book in which the main characters take a trip together. They don’t necessarily have to take a car; any vehicle, including a plane or boat, will do.

37. Bisexual or pansexual character (20 books added)


A book with a bisexual or pansexual protagonist. Note: A character who has slept with men in the past before she realized she’s a lesbian is a lesbian, not a bisexual/pansexual woman.

38. Animal on the cover (13 books added)


A book that has some kind of animal on the cover.

39. Girl-next-door character (1 book added)


The protagonist is the “girl next door” type—sweet, kind, and everybody’s darling.

40. Adventure in nature (3 books added)


A book with a plot revolving around an outdoor adventure, e.g., hiking, kayaking, rafting, sailing, rock climbing, snow-shoeing, etc.

41. Mistaken identity (2 books added)


A character is mistaken for someone else for at least a part of the book. Usually, it’s misunderstanding (or at least it starts out that way), rather than one character intentionally lying or disguising herself. The misunderstanding can be cleared up quickly or the other character can play along and start pretending to be someone she isn’t, but the situation didn’t start out as an intentional disguise.

42. Set in a country you don’t live in (12 books added)


Choose a book that takes place in a country that you don’t currently live in.

43. Part of a series (13 books added)


A book that is part of a series. It doesn’t have to be book 1.

44. Character is a business owner (5 books added)


The protagonist owns her own business, which can be a big company or a small business.

45. New-to-you author (21 books added)


A book by an author from whom you haven’t read anything before.

46. Set in the 20th century (7 books added)


A book that takes place 1901-2000.

47. Character who isn’t “Hollywood beautiful” (5 books added)


The protagonist doesn’t fit Hollywood beauty standards, e.g., they aren’t thin, toned, young, etc.

48. Character works in STEM (3 books added)


 The protagonist works in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

49. Forced proximity (7 books added)


The two main characters are forced to spend time together, e.g., because they are stranded or snowed in or stuck together for some other reason.

50. Anthology, short story collection, novella (11 books added)


Read a book that is not a novel. It can be an anthology (collection of short story by different authors), a collection of short stories by one author, or a novella (17,500-40,000 words). 

bonus
Character is a sapphic trans woman (4 books added)


The protagonist is a transgender woman who is attracted to women. Ideally, pick a book written by a trans woman.

bonus
Dystopian, apocalyptic, or post-apocalyptic fiction (5 books added)


Post-apocalyptic fiction is set in the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster or war that made society as we know it collapse. In an apocalyptic book, we’re in the middle of that disaster happening. Dystopian fiction is set in a future society that is oppressive. 

bonus
Horror (6 books added)


A book that intends to scare you.

bonus
Jewish character (4 books added)


The protagonist is Jewish. Ideally, pick a book that was written by a Jewish author.

bonus
Steampunk or gaslamp fantasy (7 books added)


Both are speculative fiction books set in a Victorian-style setting. Gaslamp fantasy adds supernatural or magical elements, while steampunk centers around alternate developments in technology.

bonus
Sapphic nonbinary character (4 books added)


The character is nonbinary, genderqueer, or genderfluid person who is attracted to women or female-aligned nonbinary people. Ideally, pick a book written by a nonbinary, genderqueer, or genderfluid author.

bonus
Thriller (4 books added)


A fast-paced novel with high stakes—if the protagonist doesn’t stop the villain, her life or even the fate of the world might be in danger.

bonus
Polyamorous relationship (4 books added)


The main character is in intimate, consensual relationships with more than one person.

bonus
Butch/butch pairing (14 books added)


A book about two butch women falling in love or being in an established relationship with each other. Check out the blog post with 15 book recommendations here.

bonus
Time travel (18 books added)


The book’s plot revolves around the protagonist traveling through time.

bonus
Character over 40 (6 books added)


At least one of the book’s main characters is over 40.

bonus
High fantasy (24 books added)


High fantasy is a fantasy story set in a fictional world that is entirely different from our reality (as opposed to low fantasy, which is set in our world with some fantastic elements added).