2021 Reading Challenge: Read a Book By or About a Person You’d Like to Meet

In 2021, OPL invites patrons to take part in the Reading Challenge, opens a new window! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to listen to or read. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, opens a new window, Instagram,, opens a new window or Facebook, opens a new window to let us know which read you picked up this month!

What better way to connect to a person you’ve always admired or were fascinated by than through a book that’s all about them? In this reading challenge we ask you to explore a book written by or about someone you'd like to meet. 

Since this challenge is particular to your own interests, we’ll provide a few ideas to get you thinking about what kind of book might work best for you. 

The most general place to start would be the Biographies & Memoirs, opens a new window page on OPL's website, which highlights new and forthcoming titles in that category. Browsing current new celebrity memoirs on that page will show you titles like Omaha-native Gabrielle Union’s "You Got Anything Stronger?, opens a new window," Charles Casillo’s story of “Elizabeth and Monty, opens a new window” detailing the decades-long friendship between Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, Travis M. Andrews’s “Because He’s Jeff Goldlbum: The Movies, Memes, and Meaning of Hollywood’s Most Enigmatic Actor, opens a new window” or Leslie Jordan’s  “How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief From a Life Well-Lived., opens a new window” If you want even more celebrity options and prefer digital formats, check out this list of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, opens a new window” to see what’s available in OverDrive or the Libby app. 

Don’t forget that audiobooks always count as reading and it can be even more impactful to hear these stories from the person themselves. Books like Michelle Zauner’s “Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, opens a new window,” John Paul Brammer’s “¡Hola Papi!: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons, opens a new window,” Alex Trebek’s “The Answer Is …: Reflections on My Life, opens a new window,” Billie Jean King’s “All In: An Autobiography, opens a new window” and Trevor Noah’s "Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, opens a new window" can give you an even greater connection to the author as you hear their own emotion coming through in the narration. 

A few OPL staff favorites for this challenge so far include “Aftershocks: A Memoir, opens a new window” by Nadia Owusu, “Survival of the Thickest: Essays, opens a new window” by Michelle Buteau, “Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America, opens a new window” by Stacey Abrams, “Jay-Z: Made In America, opens a new window” by Michael Eric Dyson, “Bravery: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas, opens a new window” by Alexi Pappas” and “Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, opens a new window” by Mallory O’Meara. 

Keep in mind, you aren’t limited to biographies and memoirs. Patrons who have already completed this year’s challenge have reported that they have read Brené Brown’s "Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, opens a new window," Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples, opens a new window,” and Gabriel García Márquez’s Cien Años de Soledad, opens a new window” to complete this challenge.

Find additional title suggestions in this list, opens a new window. If you’re still having trouble deciding and want something tailored specifically to your interests, fill out a Custom Reading List at omahalibrary.org/find-your-next-read, opens a new window and a librarian will find you more options! 

You may submit your completed reading log online, opens a new window or return a completed tracking sheet, opens a new window to any OPL branch to receive a pin and to be entered into a drawing for some fun literary-themed prizes! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2021, to be entered into the prize drawing.