Visit TPL Now for current services updates, book drop and phone hours, TPL To Go info, and more.

Extreme Reader Challenge 2020

Extreme Reader 2020 logo cropped (2)

Extreme Reader Challenge

Registration for the 2020 Extreme Reader Challenge has now closed. Please check back in January 2021 for information about the 2021 Extreme Reader Challenge.

The Basics

Looking for a new challenge in your reading life or just want to shake things up? Sign up for the Extreme Reader year-long reading challenge to explore titles outside of your comfort zone, read more diversely, and connect with fellow bibliophiles in your community!

  • Read 50 books (teens read 25) in 50 weeks from 55 categories to complete the challenge.  UPDATE: Due to the library's emergency closure impacting access to physical books, we are now requiring only 40 books (teens read 20) to complete the challenge.  Read the library's full statement
  • Open to adults and teens (age 13 and over at time of sign up).
  • Books read must apply to current category list.
  • Participants must have a valid Tacoma Public Library card to register.
  • Completed reading log (containing category, title, and author) must be presented to library staff to officially complete the challenge.

Key Dates for the 2020 Challenge:

Thursday, January 2 – Extreme Reader challenge begins.

Friday, July 31 – Final day to register for the challenge.

Saturday, August 1 – First day to turn in completed reading logs at any Tacoma Public Library location. UPDATE: Due to the library's emergency closure, the first day to complete has been postponed indefinitely. Please keep checking this page for further updates.

Friday, December 18 – Last day to turn in completed reading log at any Tacoma Public Library location

Categories & Recommendations

Reading Log

Use the reading log to track progress and report completion. You may pick up a reading log at the library or download and print from home. We now have an online fillable version!

Printable Reading Log   l   Downloadable Fillable Reading Log

Category List

Use the category list for summary purposes only (cannot be used to report completion). Download printable version here!

 2020 Extreme Reader Categories

  1. A book about or set during World War II (printable list I catalog)
  2. A book about politics or politicians (printable list I catalog)
  3. A book based on a real person (printable list I catalog)
  4. A book commonly assigned to read in high school (printable list I catalog)
  5. A book from a LibraryReads list (printable list I catalog)
  6. A book of your own choosing
  7. A book over 500 pages (printable listcatalog)
  8. A book published when the author was under 35 years old (printable list I catalog)
  9. A book recommended by library staff or an independent bookseller (printable list I catalog)
  10. A book revolving around a puzzle or a game (printable list I catalog)
  11. A book set in outer space (printable list I catalog)
  12. A book set in the state or country where you were born
  13. A book suggested by a person younger than you
  14. A book that inspired a common phrase or idiom (printable list I catalog)
  15. A book that takes place during a single day (printable list I catalog)
  16. A book that takes place in a country outside of the United States (printable list I catalog)
  17. A book that takes place in multiple time periods (printable list I catalog)
  18. A book translated from its original language (printable list I catalog)
  19. A book under 200 pages (printable list I catalog)
  20. A book with a bookstore in it (printable list I catalog)
  21. A book with a brewery or winery in it (printable list I catalog)
  22. A book with a character who has a superpower (printable list I catalog)
  23. A book with a circus in it (printable list I catalog)
  24. A book with a large cast of characters (printable list I catalog)
  25. A book with a number in the title (printable list I catalog)
  26. A book with a planet in the title (printable list I catalog)
  27. A book with a punny title (printable list I catalog)
  28. A book with an amateur detective (printable list I catalog)
  29. A book with an anti-hero or anti-heroine (printable list I catalog)
  30. A book with an image of a feather on the cover (printable list I catalog)
  31. A book with an image of a sword on the cover (printable list I catalog)
  32. A book with an LGBTQIA+ protagonist (printable list I catalog)
  33. A book with drawings, diagrams, photos, or pictures in it (printable list I catalog)
  34. A book with siblings in it (printable list I catalog)
  35. A book with sports in it (printable list I catalog)
  36. A book with the name of a month in the title (printable list I catalog)
  37. A book with the word “Book” in the title (printable list I catalog)
  38. A book with the word “Extreme” or “Reader” in the title (printable list I catalog)
  39. A book with the word “Salty”, “Sweet”, “Spicy”, or “Bitter” in the title (printable list I catalog)
  40. A book written by a celebrity (printable list I catalog)
  41. A book written by a woman of color (printable list I catalog)
  42. A book written by an author with an alliterative name (printable list I catalog)
  43. A book written by an Indigenous author (printable list I catalog)
  44. A book written by an LGBTQIA+ author (printable list I catalog)
  45. A book you have purposefully avoided reading
  46. A book you meant to read in 2019
  47. A collection of essays (printable list I catalog)
  48. A Michael L. Printz winner or honor book (printable list I catalog)
  49. A non-fiction and fiction book about the same topic (non-fiction book) (printable list)
  50. A non-fiction and fiction book about the same topic (fiction book) (printable list)
  51. A true crime or crime fiction novel (printable list I catalog)
  52. An historical fiction novel (printable list I catalog)
  53. An “own voices” book (printable list I catalog)
  54. Read a book in a format you don’t normally read 
  55. The first book in a series (printable list I catalog)

Check out these descriptions for further explanations of a few of the categories, or, see our recommendations in the booklists linked above.

Updates & Challenge FAQs

Check back here for corrections, updates, and frequently asked questions!

Updates and Corrections

5/7/2020 - Due to the library's emergency closure, the first day to complete has been postponed indefinitely. Please keep checking this page for further updates.

5/1/2020 - We know that the library closure impacts your access to its physical collection, which may in turn be a hurdle in completing the Extreme Reader challenge. Our goal is to ensure that this challenge remains equitable for all participants, and although we have a large selection of eBooks and digital audiobooks, we don't want lack of access to "the stacks" to impact anyone's ability to finish.

Due to this unforeseen circumstance, and based on how long we have been closed in compliance with Gov. Inslee's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, we will be reducing the number of books required to complete the 2020 challenge.

The new challenge requirements are as follows:

Adult Challenge - Read 40 books (previously 50)

Teen Challenge - Read 20 books (previously 25)

1/22/2020 - The downloadable fillable reading log is not working properly on many Apple/iOS systems such as iPads and iPhones. Participants will need to download a third party app from the App Store such as PDF Expert or Adobe Fill & Sign in order to use the form on an Apple/iOS device.

1/22/2020 - The fillable reading log appears to have issues working in the Firefox web browser. Please try Chrome or Internet Explorer browsers instead.

1/21/2020 - An unofficial, participant run Goodreads group has been created. See link and details below under 'Connect & Contact'.

Challenge FAQs:

  1. Do audiobooks and graphic novels count in this challenge?

Absolutely! Both audiobooks and graphic novels are just another way to tell a story. As long as they are at the appropriate reading level for the participant, they are acceptable formats.

  1. Do juvenile books count towards reading challenge?

As Extreme Reader is based on the honor system, we hope that participants will honor the nature of the challenge with their reading selections. Teen and higher level Juvenile fiction books count, but other lower level books (easy readers, picture books, and board books) will not be accepted.

  1. I love podcasts; both fictional and non-fiction storytelling varieties. Can they count towards the Extreme Reader challenge?

Unfortunately, podcasts cannot be counted towards the Extreme Reader challenge.

  1. If I sign up for the challenge later in the year, can books I’ve already read be applied to the challenge or can I only count books that are read after I’ve officially registered?

Books read between January 2 and December 18, 2020 can be counted towards the challenge, regardless of when you register. Registration ends on July 31, 2020.

  1. Do I have to use the official Extreme Reader reading log or can I keep track on my own?

You may keep a reading log in any form you choose (spreadsheet, journal, typed list, etc.) but a printable version that includes the following information must be presented in person at a Tacoma Public Library location to complete the challenge:

      • Categories (exact wording from official log/category list included)
      • Title
      • Author
  1. Can I read one book and apply it to multiple categories?

 Each title you read can only fulfill a single category.

  1. If I read a book for the challenge that I’ve already read before, does it still count?

Absolutely! If you read through a book during the challenge, it can be used, regardless of how many times you’ve read it in the past.

Completion & Rewards

To complete the Extreme Reader Challenge, you will need to bring your reading log into one of our eight locations to have it verified by a staff member.

  • The first day to turn in completed logs is Saturday, August 1, 2020. Update: Due to the library's emergency closure, the first day to complete has been postponed indefinitely. Please keep checking this page for further updates.
  • The reading log must be presented in physical format; digital/online versions will need to be printed.
  • Prepare to spend 5-10 minutes with a staff member during the completion process.
  • Reading log must be presented by Friday, December 18, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. to complete the challenge.
  • Once completed, you will receive a handout with details regarding what to expect after the challenge officially ends.
  • After the challenge concludes, you will be contacted by the Extreme Reader team regarding rewards and wrap-up information.

Connect & Contact


Connect with fellow Extreme Readers in the TPL Extreme Reader 2020 Facebook group! Share what you’re reading, give support to fellow participants, exchange tips and reading recommendations, and make bookish friends! This group is for registered participants only. Please register for challenge before requesting to join the group.


Stay up to date on announcements, challenge updates, and more through our Extreme Reader email newsletter! Don’t worry about signing up; if you’ve registered for the challenge, you are already on the mailing list.

Newsletter archives:

February 2020

April 2020

May 2020 Program Update

June 2020

September 2020

Overbooked Book Group

Overbooked is our low key, no pressure book group for Extreme Reader participants. We meet up throughout the year for friendly gatherings - where everyone can talk about what they are reading, share recommendations, and discuss the challenge. Dates and locations for Overbooked meetups are announced via the Extreme Reader newsletter and Facebook group.


There is now an 'unofficial' Goodreads group for the challenge! The TPL Extreme Reader 2020 Goodreads group is run and moderated by a small collection of challenge participants. If you aren't on Facebook, this is a great way to share book recommendations with fellow Extreme Readers! Extreme Reader library staff will add any Overbooked events to the Goodreads group as they are scheduled but other than that, library staff are hands off.


Please reach out to the Extreme Reader staff team at with any questions, comments, feedback, or concerns!

Back to Top