Categorized | Featured, Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Challenge

When facing a new year filled with so many possibilities for resolutions, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Do you want to challenge yourself to read more in the coming year? What about to read more widely? And where’s the motivation to stay on track?

Bingo–that’s where! Welcome to Retreat’s Reading Bingo 2013 Challenge. We’ve created a printable bingo card with 24 reading challenges! Join us and challenge yourself to read more, to read more widely and to have fun doing it all!

You can approach the Reading Bingo card however you like: beginners, start by getting one line; if you’re more advanced, try the whole outside box on the card; experts–fill in the whole card!

We would recommend using one book per space, but if your local bookseller recommends a book with an animal on the cover, who are we to stop you from cover two squares with one read?

Reading Bingo Card

Come back here often–we’ll be giving suggestions for reads that fit the various criteria in case you get stuck– or come join our discussion board on Goodreads, we’d love to hear which books you’re reading and how many squares you’re covering as you go! We’ll keep you updated with our progress, too!

So, grab your Reading Bingo card, get reading and report back to us!

Here are some great posts to help you along they way:

9 Books with Animals on the Cover

11 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading

Barista Reading Recommendations

Buy These Books Because of Their Covers!

In Defence of the eReader (for the square: A book with more than 400 pages)

New(ish) Novels with Captivating First Sentences

About Ainsley

Ainsley Sparkes is an avid reader and knitter. She feels that once she learns to knit and read simultaneously she’ll be unstoppable. A life-long love of books has led her to this position as Online Marketing Coordinator at Random House of Canada. But who knows, her recently reignited interest in mystery novels may convince her to give it all up to become a detective. You should follow Ainsley on Twitter here @RandomHouseCA. or here @AinsleySparkes.

103 Responses to “Reading Bingo Challenge”

  1. Lynn Flatley says:

    Love this.
    However, I refuse to read “Fifty Shades” of anything, nor will I ever pick up a book written by a cast member of the Jersey Shore. So … might have a little trouble with “Under the O”.

    Great title idea though! Maybe I’ll write a little essay about the ordeal! => “Under the O: How Random House Made Me Read It and Weep!”
    by Lynn M. Flatley
    ; )

    • Ainsley says:

      We’re flexible on celebrity–it could be Condoleezza Rice or Stephen Hawking. But I would like to read that essay, so maybe stick with The Situation!

    • Donna says:

      read an autobiography by the a celebrity that you admire..

      • drokka says:

        Some celebrities write fiction, such as Mark Gatiss (of Sherlock! fame), Dawn French (of French & Saunders, Vicar of Dibley fame), or Julian Fowles (of Monarch of the Glen, Gosford Park and Downton Abbey fame). Granted these are all Brits, but that’s were my knowledge of celebrities resides.
        Or, one of Russell Brand’s books on footie, or Richard Hammond’s on cars.

  2. This is going to be a lot of fun! Printing now… :)

  3. Kim says:

    Love this idea I will be playing along as well.

  4. Christy says:

    This looks like fun. I’ve printed the card and am reading!

  5. Janet says:

    Great idea! Only 1 I might have trouble with is a book I’ve seen on TV. As in- a movie from a book? Or a book being reviewed on TV? I don’t watch tv…I read! So I’ll need some direction there.

  6. Fun!!! Totally printing it out now :)

  7. Mary says:

    Sounds like great fun. I’ve printed my card and am ready to go!

  8. Deirdre says:

    Fun – shared it on my facebook page!

  9. Brenda says:

    Bingo is fun and reading is even more fun. Looking forward to taking the Reading Bingo Challenge. I was hoping to see a “a book you heard about on Twitter/Facebook.” square. Just finished printing my Bingo card.

    • Ainsley says:

      That would have been a great square! You could use Twitter/Facebook recommendations to cover the “A book someone recommends to you” square.

  10. Tamye Machina says:

    Great idea! Hopefully this will get me to read books I wouldn’t normally pick up. Thanks!

  11. Count me in! Sounds like fun!

  12. Fun! I’ll be joining in :)

  13. jadechristyn says:

    i love the bingo card! it’s so diverse and challenging. I’m actually participating in a book bingo challenge already, but I’m so tempted to do this, too!

  14. Marsha says:

    Love this idea! Already started on mine. Read “Alanna: The first adventure” by Tamora Pierce as my “book from the library”.

  15. Darlene says:

    Fun challenge! I’m in!!

  16. Sapient says:

    I guess I’ll have to read Twilight — only book I can think of that everybody has read but I haven’t! (By the way, what’s a barista?)

  17. Mary Ellen says:

    This does sound like fun. I think I just might suggest this for the two book clubs that I belong to.

  18. Linda L. says:

    I’m reading “Anna Karenina” so that would fill eight squares; I’m ‘working on’ a book of Winston Churchill’s speeches, “Blood, Sweat and Tears”, so that covers seven squares although it does overlap “Anna” on some. I have been thinking of re-reading the whole “Anne of Green Gables” series which will take care of nine squares.

    My problem is I don’t have a tv so I can’t see books there and I don’t drink $5 cups of coffee so I don’t have a barista. Both of these squares are in the outer rim so it’s presenting an extra challenge. Ten of the sixteen ‘rim’ squares are covered with the books above that I’m already looking at finishing this year.

    I did watch the “Emily of New Moon” series and most of the “Avonlea” series years ago. Does it have to be something I saw recently or would they count? If you’re defining a “barista” as ‘someone who makes coffee’ without including any commercial relationship, can I call my book-reading friend who makes an amazing cup of coffee a barista?

    • Linda L. says:

      By the way, I am planning to do this properly with one book per square although, with books that fill more than one criterion, you do get a lot more flexibility!

    • Patty says:

      Thanks for the idea…I’ve been meaning to read something by Churchill (my older brother was almost named Winston Spencer!)

      I don’t drink $5 cups of coffee either, but there are locally-owned places that don’t charge such high prices, and they sell other things besides coffee. I plan to go into one and buy my favorite pumpkin muffin! “Oh, speaking of muffins, can you recommend a good book?” (Or tell them you’re a contestant in a reality show and don’t buy anything.) :-)

    • Ainsley says:

      I would totally count the “Emily of New Moon” or “Avonlea” series. We’re really not picky. It’s up to you to interpret the squares in a way that makes sense to you. So I say count them!

      And anyone who makes coffee can count as a barista for our purposes, whether they’re paid in money for the job or not. :)

      Good luck on the challenge and keep us updated on your progress!

  19. Sandra says:

    Love this idea, ready to roll! Glad there is a young adult choice as I have another book in the series I was reading to go still! Would love some ideas from a barista! Think The Help has been read by everbody but me?
    thanks for offering this great literary adventure!

  20. SweetMarie83 says:

    This is going to be fun, thanks for the challenge! :-)

  21. Patty says:

    Fun idea! I can recommend The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, as a YA book, and an award winner(Book Sense, and others).

    Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse qualifies as poetry, YA, and award winner (Newbery) Great first line, too “As summer wheat came ripe/So did I/Born at home, on the kitchen floor.”

    Of course, few first lines can beat One Hundred Years of Solitude: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

    I think my celebrity-authored book will be Sock by Penn Jillette — a mystery narrated by a sock monkey! (Hey, that’s a good idea for a bingo square “a book narrated by a non-human.” Excluding vampires, of course, unless written before 1980.)

    Another suggestion for a bingo square: “a book you bought at a thrift store.” Or “a book recommended by a stranger on the internet.” Or “a book considered a forgotten/rediscovered classic,” such as The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford, or The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow; I can recommend both. Or “a book primarily appealing to the opposite sex.” Or “a first book by a favorite author.” Obviously, Reading Bingo can go on and on for years!

    So, I’m starting my challenge just as soon as I finish reading my current book, “Blackout” by Connie Willis (female sci-fi author; another bingo square topic?).

    • Ainsley says:

      These are great square suggestions. If we run this challenge again next year we’ll have to solicit reader requests for categories. I really like the “book narrated by a non-human” idea!

  22. Susan Edwards says:

    What’s a barista?

  23. Kim Cabanting says:

    This is great! I printed one for all my friends too. I’m hoping to do each square in 2013. I think for “the book with an animal on the cover” I’ll read The Life of Pi. Can anyone help with the Canadian author one? I’m in the U.S. so I don’t know which authors are from Canada. I like contemporary, christian, romance, etc…

    • donna maria says:

      Margaret Atwood, absolutely anything of hers is worth reading.

    • CJ says:

      Also – Life of Pi is written by a Canadian author

    • Kathryn O'Dell says:

      A book by a Canadian author could be any one of the Irish Country Doctor series by Patrick Taylor – An Irish Country Doctor, An Irish Country Village, An Irish Country Christmas, An Irish Country Girl, An Irish Country Courtship and a new one I believe is called An Irish Country Wedding??

      Also for an animal on the cover: any one of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern series all have dragons on their covers and are excellent reads – I have read most of them at least 5 times.

      for anyone who wants a book more than 400 pages, almost any of Edward Rutherfurd’s books are at least 700 pages. I really enjoyed NEW YORK which is 1023 pages. His Princes of Ireland, which is on my soon to read list is 771 pages.

      Would “Roots” count as a book you saw on TV?? Or “Gone with the Wind”??

      for a book with pictures – does it have to be an adult book?? Like I have read quite often actually, “I love you forever” and “the velveteen Rabbit” and not necessarily to kids!!

      would a book written by a celebrity be something like one of the books that Kathy Reichs has written??

      Sorry for all the questions, but I just want to be sure.

  24. Anne Wingate says:

    How can I read a book recommended by my barrista when I don’t have a barrista and am an invalid? I go to the doctor, the grocery store, and home, and that’s it.

    Anne Wingate

  25. Kat D says:

    A Book of Short Stories would be a great square. Short story authors/books are often overlooked!

  26. Heather says:

    Card printed and ready to read. I wrote about it on my blog and have asked any of my readers who happen to be a barista for a recommendation. Thanks.

  27. Laila says:

    Cool! I’m hoping on the bandwagon.

    Though may I opt for Indonesian rather than Canadian author. I’m from Malaysia, Indonesia is like next door. Feel like striking closer to home.

    But no problem with Canadian author either. Just need to do more research on my author I guess.

    Does Joseph Gordon-Levitt Tiny Stories: Vol2 considered as a book by celebrity? It’s really tiny. Like 100 words or less I think.

  28. Mary says:

    I’m in, for sure. My card is printed and I’ve got some books lined up for the various categories. The big thing now will be deciding where to start. Thanks for this great challenge!

  29. Marta says:

    Sounds like fun. I’m printing now and sharing on Facebook.

  30. Darlene says:

    #2: A book I would have picked up as a teenager

    Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

  31. Michelle says:

    What a great idea, I am definitely going to do this!

  32. Laurie says:

    I love this idea so much, I’ve started an FB group to read, play and discuss!

  33. Darlene says:


    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

  34. Darlene says:


    Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason

    First line: “There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”

  35. I’m late to the Bingo party, but I’m definitely on board. What fun!

  36. Darlene says:


    A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies


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