2021 Omaha Public Library Reading Challenge by the Numbers 

More patrons than ever before completed the 2021 Omaha Public Library Reading Challenge with 234 entries submitted and 2,808 books read!

All prize winners have been notified and all the details for the 2022 Reading Challenge, opens a new window are available to start on this year’s challenge for your chance to win!

A few things 2021 prize winners said about the challenge:

  • “It's a great way to not only go out of your comfort zone with what you read but I think it's a great way to experience all the resources that OPL has to offer.”
  • “Reading something new is the ‘challenge.’ Just might learn something. Holding a book in your hands and reading it is priceless!”

The top 10 titles read across all categories:

  1. You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism, opens a new window by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar
  2. The Guest List, opens a new window by Lucy Foley
  3. Anxious People, opens a new window by Fredrik Backman
  4. Clap When You Land, opens a new window by Elizabeth Acevedo
  5. There There, opens a new window by Tommy Orange
  6. Eleanor & Park, opens a new window by Rainbow Rowell
  7. The Vanishing Half, opens a new window by Brit Bennett
  8. Mexican Gothic, opens a new window by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  9. O Pioneers!, opens a new window by Willa Cather
  10. The Only Good Indians, opens a new window by Stephen Graham Jones

The top 10 authors read across all categories:

  1. Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar, opens a new window
  2. Rainbow Rowell, opens a new window
  3. Elizabeth Acevedo, opens a new window
  4. Lucy Foley, opens a new window
  5. Fredrik Backman, opens a new window
  6. Willa Cather, opens a new window
  7. Brit Bennett, opens a new window
  8. Tommy Orange, opens a new window
  9. Toni Morrison, opens a new window
  10. Stephen Graham Jones, opens a new window

Some of the top titles read in each category:

Read a book with illustrations: 
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, opens a new window by Charlie Mackesy
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death, opens a new window by Caitlin Doughty
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, opens a new window by Randall Munroe
The Book of Extraordinary Deaths: True Accounts of Ill-Fated Lives, opens a new window by Cecilia Ruiz
Have You Seen Marie?, opens a new window by Sandra Cisneros

Read a book mentioned on The Book Drop podcast:
The Guest List, opens a new window by Lucy Foley
How Much of These Hills is Gold, opens a new window by C. Pam Zhang
Leave the World Behind, opens a new window by Rumaan Alam
The Vanishing Half, opens a new window by Brit Bennett
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, opens a new window by Grady Hendrix
The House in the Cerulean Sea, opens a new window by T.J. Klune

Read a book set in Nebraska:
You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism, opens a new window by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar
O Pioneers!, opens a new window by Willa Cather
Monsters: A Love Story, opens a new window by Liz Kay
My Antonia , opens a new windowby Willa Cather
Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream, opens a new window by Carson Vaughan
There’s Someone Inside Your House, opens a new window by Stephanie Perkins

Read a book of poetry or a novel in verse:
Clap When You Land, opens a new window by Elizabeth Acevedo
Citizen: An American Lyric, opens a new window by Claudia Rankine
An American Sunrise: Poems, opens a new window by Joy Harjo
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country, opens a new window by Amanda Gorman
What Kind of Woman: Poems, opens a new window by Kate Baer

Read a book from OPL’s 2020 Top Shelf, opens a new window:
Anxious People, opens a new window by Fredrik Backman
The Midnight Library, opens a new window by Matt Haig
The Guest List, opens a new window by Lucy Foley
The Paper Girl of Paris, opens a new window by Jordyn Taylor
The Vanishing Half, opens a new window by Brit Bennett
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, opens a new window by V. E. Schwab
Mexican Gothic, opens a new window by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Read a book about refugees or the immigrant experience:
Exit West, opens a new window by Mohsin Hamid
When Stars Are Scattered, opens a new window by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
The Buddha in the Attic, opens a new window by Julie Otsuka
Behold the Dreamers, opens a new window by Imbolo Mbue
The Arrival, opens a new window by Shaun Tan
The Beekeeper of Aleppo, opens a new window by Christy Lefteri
Infinite Country, opens a new window by Patricia Engel

Read a book about animals:
The Soul of an Octopus, opens a new window by Sy Montgomery
The Book of Eels, opens a new window by Patrik Svensson
All Creatures Great and Small, opens a new window by James Herriot
Separation Anxiety, opens a new window by Laura Zigman
Better than People, opens a new window by Roan Parrish
Hollow Kingdom, opens a new window by Kira Jane Buxton

Read a book by or about a person you’d like to meet: 
Becoming, opens a new window by Michelle Obama
A Promised Land, opens a new window by Barack Obama
Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life, opens a new window by Ali Wong
The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, opens a new window by Mallory O’Meara
I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, opens a new window by Malala Yousafzai
March: Book One, opens a new window by John Lewis
One Life, opens a new window by Megan Rapinoe

Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged:
Eleanor & Park, opens a new window by Rainbow Rowell
Beloved, opens a new window by Toni Morrison
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, opens a new window by Maya Angelou
The Bluest Eye, opens a new window by Toni Morrison
Nineteen Minutes, opens a new window by Jodi Picoult

Read a book told from multiple points of view:
The Au Pair, opens a new window by Emma Rous
The Glass Hotel, opens a new window by Emily St. John Mandel
Lady in the Lake, opens a new window by Laura Lippman
The Family Upstairs, opens a new window by Lisa Jewell
The Gifted School, opens a new window by Bruce Holsinger

Read a book by a Native, First Nations or Indigenous author:
There There, opens a new window by Tommy Orange
The Only Good Indians, opens a new window by Stephen Graham Jones
Indian Horse, opens a new window by Richard Wagamese
We are the Water Protectors, opens a new window by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade
Heart Berries, opens a new window by Terese Marie Mailhot
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, opens a new window by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Read a book that won an award:
The Stranger Diaries, opens a new window by Elly Griffiths
Hamnet, opens a new window by Maggie O’Farrell
The Nickel Boys, opens a new window by Colson Whitehead
Trust Exercise, opens a new window by Susan Choi
Reproduction, opens a new window by Ian Williams

We look forward to hearing from those who participate in this year’s challenge! Share what you’re reading with us on social media and tag @omahalibrary on Facebook, opens a new window, Twitter, opens a new window or Instagram., opens a new window

You can also join a Reading Challenge Book Club, opens a new window for a lively discussion of the challenges. Share the books you're reading and get ideas for titles that apply to the different challenge themes. 

If you have any questions about the Reading Challenge, contact readingchallenge@omahalibrary.org.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Omaha Public Library