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Extreme Reader Challenge Category Definitions 2020

Extreme Reader 2020 logo cropped (2)

2020 Extreme Reader Category List and Definitions


  1. A book about or set during World War II
  2. A book about politics or politicians
  3. A book based on a real person
  4. A book commonly assigned to read in high school
  5. A book from a LibraryReads list
      • LibraryReads is a monthly nationwide library staff picks list for adult fiction and non-fiction. LibraryReads is designed to be inclusive and diverse, representing a broad range of reading tastes and showcasing a variety of new titles, including buzzed-about debuts, genre favorites, bestselling authors, and lesser-known midlist titles that public library staff can’t stop raving about.
      • Access all LibraryReads titles at libraryreads.org and sign up to receive new LibraryReads recommendations in your inbox at tacomalibrary.org/newsletters
  1. A book of your own choosing
  2. A book over 500 pages
  3. A book published when the author was under 35 years old
  4. A book recommended by library staff or an independent bookseller
      • Recommendations can come from staff at any library; it does not have to be a Tacoma Public Library.
      • An independent bookstore (and seller) is considered to be a retail bookstore which is independently owned, such as King’s Books.
      • Recommendations can be given in person or online. Online recommendations can include published booklists and suggested reading articles from a library or bookstore.
  1. A book revolving around a puzzle or a game
      • This could be a book set within a game, maze, sports game, tournament, or challenge (such as The Hunger Games or Ready Player One)
      • It could also be a book in which the plot centers around a puzzle of sorts (such as The Da Vinci Code or Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
  1. A book set in outer space
  2. A book set in the state or country where you were born
  3. A book suggested by a person younger than you
  4. A book that inspired a common phrase or idiom
      • Books that inspired common words, phrases, or idioms that are used by society. Such as:
        • ‘A catch 22’ from Catch-22
        • ‘A pot calling the kettle black’ from Don Quixote
        • ‘Big Brother’ from 1984
      • Famous quotes do not apply
  1. A book that takes place during a single day
      • Also known as circadian novels. A book that takes place during the course of a single day or 24 hour period.
      • The book can include reminiscences and flashbacks, but the majority of events must take place over the course of that day.
  1. A book that takes place in a country outside of the United States
  2. A book that takes place in multiple time periods
      • A book in which the action takes place in two or more distinct periods of time. The story may alternate back and forth between these time periods, or may just skip over a large chunk of time and resume “[x] years later.”
      • There should be a definite split between different time periods, not just a continuous story that covers a large stretch of time.
  1. A book translated from its original language
  2. A book under 200 pages
  3. A book with a bookstore in it
  4. A book with a brewery or winery in it
  5. A book with a character who has a superpower
  6. A book with a circus in it
  7. A book with a large cast of characters
      • A large cast of characters would include 5+ characters that exhibit any of the following within the story:
        • Plays a prominent or significant role in the plot
        • Directly impacts the main protagonist(s) storyline or arc
        • Are well developed throughout the story or make a sizeable contribution to it
  1. A book with a number in the title
  2. A book with a planet in the title
      • Yes, Pluto counts
  1. A book with a punny title
      • The title must include a pun of some sort
      • Puns utilize wordplay of homophones (words w/ the same pronunciation but different meanings) and words that sound similar but aren’t exactly the same. Examples: Tequila Mockingbird, Sticks and Scones, Air Apparent
  1. A book with an amateur detective
  2. A book with an anti-hero or anti-heroine
      • An anti-hero(ine) is defined as a protagonist who lacks traditional heroic qualities of bravery, courage, morality, and the desire to achieve for the greater good.
  1. A book with an image of a feather on the cover
  2. A book with an image of a sword on the cover
  3. A book with an LGBTQIA+ protagonist
      • A book with a protagonist who identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, or other.
  1. A book with drawings, diagrams, photos, or pictures in it
      • Pictures of the author on the inside book jacket do not apply.
  1. A book with siblings in it
  2. A book with sports in it
  3. A book with the name of a month in the title
  4. A book with the word “Book” in the title
      • Can be any iteration of the word Book such as books, booked, bookish, bookful, etc.
  1. A book with the word “Extreme” or “Reader” in the title
      • Can be any iteration of the word Extreme such as extremes, extremely, extremeness,
      • Can be any iteration of the word Reader such as readers, readerly, readership, etc.
  1. A book with the word “Salty”, “Sweet”, “Spicy”, or “Bitter” in the title
      • Can be any iteration of the words:
        • Salty (salt, salts, salted, salting)
        • Sweet (sweets, sweeter, sweetest, sweetly, sweetness)
        • Spicy (spice, spicier, spicily, spiciness)
        • Bitter (bitters, bitterest, bitterish, bitterly, bitterness, bittersweet)
  1. A book written by a celebrity
      • A celebrity is defined as a person of great public interest who is famous, well known, or infamous.
  1. A book written by a woman of color
  2. A book written by an author with an alliterative name
      • The first letter of the author’s first and last name must be the same.
      • If a middle initial is present, it does not need to apply to this construct.
      • Examples: Marissa Meyer, Philip Pullman, Walt Whitman
  1. A book written by an Indigenous author
      • The author is a member of an ethnic group which are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area.
      • Examples include Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Aboriginal Australians, Tibetans, Malay Singaporeans, and many others.
  1. A book written by an LGBTQIA+ author
      • A book written by an author who identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, or other.
  1. A book you have purposefully avoided reading
  2. A book you meant to read in 2019
  3. A collection of essays
      • An essay is considered to be a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject. Generally analytic, speculative, or interpretive. A short story collection is different and will not apply to this category.
  1. A Michael L. Printz winner or honor book
      • The Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit, each year. In addition, the committee also names up to four honor books, which also represent the best writing in young adult literature.
      • Access to all Michael L. Printz titles can be found here.
  1. A non-fiction and fiction book about the same topic (see description in #50)
  2. A non-fiction and fiction book about the same topic
      • Two books must be read (one non-fiction and one fiction) to fulfill this dual category.
      • The two titles must be related to the same topic in some way.
      • Examples:
        • Trailblazing Mars (non-fiction: space exploration and colonization of Mars) AND Red Rising (fiction: group of characters terraform Mars)
        • Small Gardens for Modern Living (non-fiction: gardening in small, modern homes) AND The Garden of Small Beginnings (fiction: widower helps in community garden)
        • The Green Witch (non-fiction: guide to the natural magic of herbs and flowers) AND A Discovery of Witches (fiction: historian witch discovers ancient manuscript, love, and adventure ensues)
  1. A true crime or crime fiction novel
  2. An historical fiction novel
      • A genre in which the plot takes place 30 years or more in the past, either a real or an imagined version of it.
  1. An “own voices” book
      • A book written by a member of the marginalized community which it depicts.
        • Example: If the character has a disability, the author also has that same disability
  1. Read a book in a format you don’t normally read
      • Formats can include print books, eBooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, Braille, Playaways, etc. Choose a format other than what you normally read in for this category.
      • Fan fiction, podcasts, and genres you don’t normally read do not count as formats you don’t normally read
  1. The first book in a series
      • Typically, a prequel installment will not apply to these parameters.
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