2022 DMPL Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge 2022

Read Books, Win Prizes

Spend 2022 expanding your reading horizons with the Des Moines Public Library – with the opportunity to win fun prizes along the way!

All you have to do is read a book from 12 of our 18 selected genre categories over 12 months. You can read books in any order, and we’ll even offer expert librarian reading suggestions. In addition to monthly prizes and a grand prize at the end of the year, anyone who completes the challenge will receive a special button when they do so!

And if you’re a fast reader, keep an eye open for special bonus categories each month, too!

To register, you'll need to sign up for a Beanstack account, which takes just seconds. Be sure you register for the "2022 DMPL Reading Challenge."

Don't forget to signup for our groups and discuss what you're reading with others! We have two different groups this year:

New in '22: Bonus Categories

Need an extra challenge? At the beginning of every month we will announce a bonus category in our private Reading Challenge Facebook group, our Goodreads Group, on our social media channels, and right here on our website. Complete all 12 bonus categories before the end of the year and fill out this form to get an exclusive piece of library swag fit for a super reader. 

The bonus categories, and reading suggestions for those categories will live here on this page. You do not need to complete the bonus category in the month it is announced, but you do need to complete all 12 bonus categories before the end of 2022 to get the special swag.

Be sure to track your progress in the bonus categories using our special Bonus Category Tracker on Beanstack!

October Category: There are  two options to choose from this month in honor of spooky season!

Previous categories:

January: Fresh Starts and New Beginnings

February: Afrofuturism or a work of fiction by a Black author. 

March: A Book that's won or been longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction.

April: A book that takes place outdoors or is about the natural world.

May: A book written by an Asian American/Pacific Islander author.

June: A book featuring the story of an immigrant or refugee.

July: A beach read

August Category: A book with a "strong sense of taste." 

September: A book by a Latinx author. 

2022 Reading Challenge FAQ

  • Choose one book a month (12 total) from each of our 18 categories and log your progress online. You can read books and categories in any order - there are no assigned months. Find the categories below.
  • We will offer suggestions, but feel free to choose any book that fits within a category.
  • Books, audiobooks, and eBooks all count.
  • A different book must be read for each different category. 
  • Participants who stay on track (i.e., have read two books in two months, six books in six months, etc.) will be eligible to win monthly prizes. At the end of each month, one person will receive a prize. At the end of each quarter (March, June, September), we'll draw three prize winners.
  • Those who complete the challenge (read a book in each of 12 categories over the course of the year) will be eligible to win one of our grand prizes.
  • You can always play catch-up! If you don't register until February, you can still be eligible for the monthly prize by reading two books by the end of the month, or for the first quarter prize by reading three books by the end of March. If you miss a month, read two books the next month to stay on track. If you don't register until November, you can still read 12 books before the end of 2022 and be eligible for the grand prize.
  • Each month, we'll reveal our bonus category for our super readers. If you complete all 12 bonus categories over the course of the year, you'll receive an exclusive piece of library swag.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. An individual that turns 18 over the course of the year may register and begin participating on or after their birthday.

  • The contest begins on December 30, 2021.
  • Tag us on social media or use our hashtag and let us know what you're reading: #DMPLReads22
  • Join our Facebook Group - #DMPLReads22 - and talk about which books you're reading with other challenge participants
  • Join our Goodreads Group to share your books too.

The prize structure is as follows. Prizes are given out at the end of each month.

  • January: 1 prize
  • February: 1 prize
  • March: 3 prizes
  • April: 1 prize
  • May: 1 prize
  • June: 3 prizes
  • July: 1 prize
  • August: 1 prize
  • September: 3 prizes
  • October: 1 prize
  • November: 1 prize
  • December: 1 grand prize and two runner-up prizes.

2022 Reading Challenge Categories

Check out our 2022 AViD lineup, with reading suggestions included!

Have you used Book Chat yet? Answer a couple questions and get some suggestions from our Book Chat librarians. It's a great way to discover new authors and wade into new genres!

These are the books that stand the test of time. They were fawned about when they came out, beloved by your high school English teacher, and are always ready to be slotted into the book club picks rotation, no matter how long it's been since they've been released.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for literary classics.

Memoirs, biographies, histories, science writing, and impassioned essays are all available to read in this category. Take a look through the National Book Award's archives and find a book that looks interesting to you.

Dive back into the past, and skip past the 1940s. From the American frontier to Great Depression, the rock n' roll era of the '60s and '70s to colonial America, you'll find something you love in history.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for historical fiction *not* set during World War II.

Memoirs give readers an opportunity to understand and have empathy for those whose life experience is not our own. This is especially true when it comes to BIPOC memoirs, which many people an opportunity to see the world through someone else's eyes.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for BIPOC memoirs.

From fun rom-coms to books that reflect on themes such as acceptance and tolerance, these reads honor the journeys of LGBTQIA+ individuals in ways both moving and humorous.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for books by LGBTQIA+ authors.

These books aren't niche, but they sure are fun. Spy thrillers, twisty whodunits, celebrity memoirs, and some of the most famous names in literature are available to read through this category.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for #1 New York Times bestsellers.

This broad category covers tons of fun books. Read graphic novels, epistolary novels, books written in list form, and experimental novels.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for books in a nontraditional format.

You know that book we're talking about. Maybe it's that bestseller everyone's been talking about, or that book you skipped in high school English class. Perhaps it's that long novel or first book in a series that you know you'll enjoy, but you are intimidated by. This is your chance! It's time to read that book.

Blood is thicker than water. The stories of our family's past impact us today, and our stories will impact the next generations of our family for years to come. See these dynamics come alive in book form through this category.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for family sagas.

There's no age limit on reading these books. With great coming-of-age stories about friendships, relationships, and identity, YA and middle grade books are a great wayt o acquaint yourself with what it's like to be young these days.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for YA or middle grade books.

Let's get meta. Break the fourth wall with these books that are about books, authors, bookstores, publishing, and more.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for books about books.

It's your turn to be the director. Pick up these stories that have been adapted to screens, big and small, and see what the author's original vision was like.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for books made into a movie or TV series.

Commit yourself to the ongoing fight against racism. Learn about racism's history in our culture, white privilege, and the steps you can take to promote equity and inclusion in society.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for anti-racism books.

Find out if you can judge a book by its cover! Let yourself get distracted by something shiny as you fulfill this category.

Lithub's 101 Best Book Covers of 2021

Books are being challenged more frequently these days. When books are challenged and banned, information and diverse points of view are kept from those who may most need to see it. Read these books to learn more about those points of view.

Check out our Recommended Reads page for banned or challenged books.

Pick whatever book you want!



Reading Suggestions



More reading suggestions on our Recommended Reads page.

Banned or Challenged Books

Books About Books

Memoirs by Writers of Color

National Book Award Nonfiction Winners/Finalists