The 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge!

"2018 Catholic Reading Challenge" by Jessica Ptomey (

Copyright 2018 Jessica Ptomey. All rights reserved.

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for a new year of reading goals! Working through The 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge this past year was really rewarding, and I found that having that list to guide me helped to broaden my reading scope and introduce a good variety of perspectives. I think it helped me be a more well-rounded reader in regard to the “voices” that are edifying and educating my faith.

So as I started to put together The 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge over the last couple of months, I began to get excited about all of the books that were coming to mind for the 12 categories. The list is done, and I’m happy to be ready to share it with you! Here it is …

"2018 Catholic Reading Challenge" by Jessica Ptomey (

Copyright 2018 Jessica Ptomey. All rights reserved.

I can’t wait to get started, and I hope many of you will join me this year. As I did last year, I will be posting a little summary of my selections for each category about once a month. As I do, I would love you all to share your picks in the comments. Obviously we won’t all be reading through the categories in the same order; but you can still share the book that you plan to read for that category, and it may just spark someone else’s interest as well.

Are you in? If so, I have some tips to share to help you get more out of your reading life in 2018.


Start by having goals for the year. It may be just these 12 books, or it may be more. But pick the actual books that you want to read for each category (you can always change it along the way), because that might determine the order in which you want to read them.


We all know that saying we want to read “x” number of books this year is much easier than actually reading them. Goals really mean nothing without “lead measures” (which I learned from Cal Newport’s book Deep Work). A lead measure tracks how you are progressing in meeting your goals and gives you a realistic strategy for meeting them. For example, let’s say that I have the goal of reading War and Peace in two months. For that goal to become a reality, I need to know how many pages I need to read in a week and how many in a day. It also then requires me to determine how long and when I need to read each day.


Once you know what these lead measures need to be, you can track them daily/weekly. There are many options for this — from reading journals to pages in your planner to Goodreads. It need not be complicated; just find what works for you. I use my bullet journal and Goodreads to help track what and when I am reading.


I found that I read twice as much last year, because I utilized audiobooks. I find that I — like most of you — have lots of pockets of time that are redeemed well with audiobooks: folding/putting away laundry, dinner prep, washing dishes, cleaning, driving, and so on. Have several audio books in the cue (through Audible or a library app) and have your wireless headphones accessible, and you will find yourself meeting your reading goals more quickly with audiobooks this year.


Share this reading challenge with others that may be interested or link to this post on your social media accounts. It’s always more fun to be reading along with a group of others, especially when you know the people personally. You probably know people who are looking for some resources to motivate their reading lives — encourage them to do the #2018catholicreadingchallenge with you!

Most of us find that we want to be reading more, and I think that is because we realize the need for it in the formation of our faith and every other area of our lives. It is vital for us to be lifelong learners and to nourish our souls with good literature.

There are many things vying for our time and attention that leave us empty afterwards, but I firmly believe that we never regret the time that we spend “filling up” our minds, hearts, and souls with what only good books have to offer. I look forward to feasting on some good books with you in 2018!

Copyright 2018 Jessica Ptomey 


About Author

Jessica is a wife, mom, writer, Communications scholar, and adjunct professor. She blogs on topics that include: Christian living, Catholicism, and culture. As a Catholic convert and former Evangelical Protestant, Jessica promotes ecumenical dialogue between Protestants and Catholics in both her writing and academic scholarship. She lives in the DC suburbs with her husband and three sons. Follow her at

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