Reading Challenge 2021: Read a Book That Won an Award

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!

Award-winning titles are a good go-to if you’re not sure what to read next. Whether or not they end up being something you personally enjoy, they often provoke interesting thoughts and conversations. These books can also be a great way to try a genre or topic you don’t ordinarily read.

The National Book Award, opens a new window is one of the most prestigious prizes a book can receive. Susan Choi’s "Trust Exercise, opens a new window" won the 2019 fiction award and is a thought-provoking and complex look at the influence a teacher can have on their students. The 2020 fiction winner was Charles Yu’s "Interior Chinatown, opens a new window" a nonlinear, bittersweet tale of an actor aspiring to become a star.

The science fiction genre has a few different awards, including one of the most well-known one: The Hugo Award, opens a new window. The 2020 best novel winner was Arkady Martin’s "A Memory Called Empire, opens a new window." It is a space opera with a large and diverse cast that weaves a suspenseful tale of political intrigue. This year’s winner will be announced in mid-December.

If you prefer mystery, the Edgar Award, opens a new window is worth keeping an eye on. The 2020 winner for best novel went to "The Stranger Diaries, opens a new window" by Elly Griffiths, an intricately-plotted and atmospheric gothic mystery where a teacher must solve a murder tied to a novel she is researching. The 2021 best novel award went to "Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, opens a new window" by Deepa Anappara, which tells the compelling and moving story of children who have fallen through the cracks of society in a shantytown in India who have to solve the disappearance of one of their friends.

You can explore even more award winners by going to, opens a new window and clicking on “Award Winners, opens a new window” on the lower left-hand side. Scrolling down on this page you can explore awards like the Alex Awards, opens a new window given to adult books that have young adult appeal, the James Beard Award, opens a new window for cookbooks and food writing, the Coretta Scott King Award, opens a new window given to authors or illustrators whose work shows an appreciation of African American culture, the Lambda Literary Award, opens a new window that showcases works that celebrate or explore LGBTQ+ themes, the Eisner Award, opens a new window for achievement in comic books and many, many more. 

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, opens a new window and a librarian will find you more options!

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.