Read A Book A Week in 2021 (Free Printable Prompts!)

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So you want to read a book a week in 2021. Yay you! In most typical years, I set my reading goal for 52 books, aka, a book a week. 2020, however, was anything but normal. I crushed my yearly goal by July and sailed over 100 books in about September. I may or may not have another epic reading year for 2021. I’m setting the bar for my normal year of a book a week in 2021, and we’ll readjust as needed.

I always love a good theme (it’s the way I plan my meals around here as well. All about that Taco Tuesday.) I’ve come across similar challenges on Pinterest, but I wanted to put my own spin on things.

I put many of my OG fave prompts, like auto-buy authors, thrillers, romcoms, etc., but also added in some things to keep it fresh. I always like reading a few debut authors. Judge a book by its cover (and read it) is also fun. I love browsing covers and finding one that speaks to me!

I tried to keep the list slightly seasonal, like reading a book with “Love in the title” around February, some beachy vibes in the summer, and some cozy reads toward the end of the year, By all means, switch things up as you see fit!

How to Read a Book a Week in 2020 | Check Your Shelves

Bookstagram-ish Things

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If you’re into bookstagram, I’ll put a template in my highlights (@checkyourshelves) and you can tag me with any progress! I also put a few prompts in with a stack challenge I have going (#takemehomestack and/or #whereibelongstack) so if you read a book set in your hometown/state tag me in those posts!

I’ll show you the full list of prompts to help you read a book a week in 2021, then go through and break it up into a few sections and do a few recommendations. I’ll try to update throughout the year as new titles come out. You can pin this for later or download a copy/tracker here.

If you are on a tight budget (like me!) scroll down to the bottom for recs on how to get most of the books for free!

How to Read a book a Week in 2021 (Prompts)

Click below to download a free copy of the book prompts! I’m working on an editable version over the next week or so to add.

  1. OG Fave (Auto-buy Author)
  2. New Year, New-to-You Author
  3. Goodreads Winner for 2020
  4. Snow on the Cover
  5. Judge a Book by its Cover (and read it)
  6. Romance Book
  7. Book with Love in the Title
  8. A NYTimes Bestseller
  9. A Book Written the Year You Were Born
  10. A Book Set in Your Home State (or Country, Internationally)
  11. Set in a Place You’ve Never Been, But Want to Visit
  12. With Food on the Cover
  13. A Childhood Fave
  14. With Your Favorite Color on the Cover
  15. Written by a Mom
  16. A Comedic Memoir
  17. Historical Fiction
  18. With LGBTQIA Lead Characters
  19. Small-Town Setting
  20. Animal on the Cover
  21. A Fun Beach Read
  22. Sand on the Cover
  23. Set in Another Country
  24. With a Form of Water in the Title
  25. Bookstagram-Made-Me-Do It (or Word-of-mouth recs)
  26. Written in Verse
  27. Black Female Author
  28. Latinix Author
  29. Dual Narrators
  30. Audiobook
  31. Collection of Essays
  32. Debut Author
  33. RomCom
  34. Celebrity Book Club Pick
  35. A book that’s been adapted to t.v.
  36. Asian author
  37. Book with nature vibes on the cover
  38. Fantasy
  39. YA Read
  40. Something That Gives You Chills Reading The Blurb
  41. A Psychological Thriller
  42. Buddy Read book
  43. One-word Title
  44. A Cozy Mystery
  45. Classic You’ve Never Read
  46. Nonfiction
  47. Book that’s been on your TBR over a year
  48. A Backlist book by an author you love
  49. Holiday Vibes
  50. Something borrowed (library, friend)
  51. Read a book outside your comfort zone
  52. Title that gives you warm fuzzies

Auto-buy Author

An auto-buy author with a book coming out this month is Sarah Morgenthaler! Enjoy the View will be the third installment of the Moose Springs series (The Tourist Attraction and Mistletoe and Mr. Right are the first two. Check out my reviews for those here.

New-to-You Author

I read Shipped, a debut from a new-to-me author Angie Hockman as an e-ARC in December. It’s super cute. If you loved The Hating Game, this has similar vibes. It’s not just marketing b.s. going on here. It was a top 5 rom-com read for me in 2020.

Goodreads Winner for 2020

You can find the full list of winners here.

Snow on the Cover

Hmmm. You could go a few directions here. Love thrillers? Ruth Ware’s One by One will do perfectly. Prefer romcoms? Try The Tourist Attraction. My read for this will probably be Five Perfect Strangers. (Thriller/suspense vibes)

A NYTimes Bestseller

There are TONS of options for this one. 🙂

A Book Written the Year You Were Born

I won’t go into specifics, but this is pretty self-explanatory. A few options for me–Roald Dahl’s The Witches, Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery, etc.

A Book Set in Your Home State (or Country, Internationally)

You can click through to Instagram above to find out more about my #takemehomestack /#whereibelongstack challenge. For me, “home” is West Virginia! I’ve committed to reading a book a month from a WV-related author. So that’s 12 more books to get my on my way to a book a week in 2021!

Set in a Place You’ve Never Been, But Want to Visit

Somewhere tropical? Full of history? Where in the world would you want to go if you could?

With Food on the Cover

What’s a drool worthy title on your TBR? One of my faves this year: Kiss my Cupcake my Helena Hunting!

A Childhood Fave

Love Beverly Cleary? Charlotte’s Web? What would be nostalgic for you?

With Your Favorite Color on the Cover

My favorite color varies seasonally so this shouldn’t be too difficult. 😉

Written by a Mom

I have a whole new respect for moms who can successfully write books after becoming a mom (x3) myself. I barely have time to keep up with posts and reviews, much less pen a novel. One of my favorite “mom” authors is Melissa Ferguson. We did a Zoom with her for The Cul-de-Sac War and she was SO fun. She has kids close in age to me, (including twins!) so I’m in awe of her.

A Comedic Memoir

My favorite of 2020 would probably be Colin Jost’s A Very Punchable Face. Whew-wee did I laugh out laugh so much during that. I also read Ali Wong’s Dear Girls, which was equally as funny, (published in 2019).

Historical Fiction

One of my first reads of 2021 will be Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds. I was lucky enough to snag an eARC through Netgalley a bit ago and am planning to read just before its pub date of

With LGBTQIA Lead Characters

I joined a buddy read for Red, White, and Royal Blue for January (#readwithMarti if you’re interested!). It’s a book that’s been in my Hoopla faves for awhile, but I felt like I was just waiting for an opportunity like this! I love buddy reads. I’ve also heard incredible things about Boyfriend Material, Conventionally Yours. (But I’ll go back to one of my top titles for 2020- The House on the Cerulean Sea for a must-read!)

Small-Town Setting

Always fun getting lost in the small-town settings! Think Hallmark holiday movie vibes.

Animal on the Cover

A Fun Beach Read

I’m sure your TBRs will be teeming with sunny beach reads by late spring! Some go-to authors for summer faves are Jill Shalvis, Jennifer Weiner, the late Dorothea Benton Frank, and of course last year’s breakout star, Emily Henry’s Beach Read.

Sand on the Cover

Equally as seasonal but a bit more specific.

Set in Another Country

This should also be fairly easy! I easily read at least a dozen books set in England in 2020. I also have a few favorite Aussie authors–Sally Hepworth and Jane Harper. This prompt can take you anywhere you please!

With a Form of Water in the Title

Long Bright River, Something in the Water. The Light Between Oceans, etc.

Bookstagram-Made-Me-Do It (or Word-of-mouth recs)

I had SO many of these for 2020. What’s something your friends would recommend to you? Maybe ask for recs in an Instagram story.

Written in Verse

I read a couple of Elizabeth Acevedo books written in verse, so I’d absolutely recommend any of her works.

Black Female Author

A couple of my favorites of 2020-Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Jasmine Guillory, Alyssa Cole, Elizabeth Acevedo,

Latinix Author

Dual Narrators

My absolute favorite dual narrator of 2020 was His & Hers. Anything with at least two POVs will do here.


My preferred listening medium. (For a multitude of reasons)

Collection of Essays

My favorite collection of essays read recently was Eric R. Thomas’ Here For It. I also love Curtis Sittenfeld’s You Think It, I’ll Say It, and anything by Samantha Irby.

Debut Author

I said this previously, by I HIGHLY recommend checkout out Angie Hockman’s Shipped.


Christina Lauren will have a new rom-com out in March. Jen Deluca’s Well Met series, Tessa Bailey’s Hot and Hammered (full of steam!), Helena Hunting, etc.

Celebrity Book Club Pick

I love anything Reese Witherspoon or Jenna Bush Hager picks!


My favorite fantasy book read in 2020 was Serpent and Dove. I MAY attempted a Sarah J. Maas book. We’ll see.

YA Read

I read SO many YA books in 2020. I love Katharine McGee’s American Royals Series, Karen McManus books, Nic Stone, Emma Lord, Brandy Colbert, Ashley

Something That Gives You Chills Reading The Blurb

You know what I’m talking about. What brings out that spidey-sense for you?

A Psychological Thriller

Riley Sager is a master at this. I also loved Alyssa Cole’s When No One is Watching.

Buddy Read book

I do buddy reads for chick-lit, steamy reads, lgbtqia, nonfiction, horror, etc. I LOVE buddy reads.

One-word Title





Holiday Vibes

I’ll update this later in the year when holiday titles start being released, but some faves in 2020 were In a Holiday, Jingle Wars, 12 Dates of Christmas, A Princess for Christmas, 10 Blind Dates

A Cozy Mystery

This will probably be a new-to-me genre this year. They were all over Bookstagram this year, and I just didn’t get around to reading one. I’m definitely squeezing one or two in next year!

Classic You’ve Never Read

I’ve been toying with the idea of a “casual” classics book club. I feel like there are SO many I’ve never read. Anyone else?


This could be memoirs–my faves for 2020 were:

Book that’s been on your TBR over a year

You know the ones.

A Backlist book by an author you love

I read Emma Lord’s You Have a Match and plan to go back and read Tweet Cute this year!

Something borrowed (library, friend)

If you’re a library nerd like me, easy-peasy. A great budget-friendly way to read a book a week in 2021.

Judge a Book by its Cover (and read it)

Love gazing at beautiful book covers? Who doesn’t? Books like Mexican Gothic and You Had Me at Hola (and The Marriage Code) are begging to be read.

Read a book outside your comfort zone

For me, that’s typically YA or fantasy, but I surprised myself by loving nearly everything I read in both of those genres this year!

Title that gives you warm fuzzies

Love? Family? Sun? Snow? Whatever floats your boat.

Free Reading Options

Obviously, the library. I also make FULL use of the Libby app through my library. I get up to 10 free digitial titles at a time to check out for three weeks. They almost always have the new releases I’m looking for in audiobooks and ebooks. Hoopla is also a library-based option. You can check out a set amount of titles per month for free. The great thing about Hoopla is there is no waiting period to borrow. They don’t have a TON of new releases, but they do have some great options! It’s a great way to reach your goal of a book a week in 2021 WHILE staying on budget.

I do free or low-cost trials for Audible and Kindle Unlimited as well. I was able to get two months of KU for $0.99 during the holidays, but they often have a trial period for a couple free months as well. It’s great for holiday rom-com reads and novellas!

If you’re on Instagram/bookstagram, you’ll likely see daily giveaways for books. I’ve won two in the first six months of my account! Goodreads also has a ton of giveaways.

Finally, Netgalley is a site for book reviewers to snag free audio/ebooks before they are released. You need approval for most titles, but they do have a good amount of “Read Now” options available throughout the year. You can sign up for a free account!

What’s your most anticipated read for 2021?

How to Read a Book a Week in 2021 | Check Your Shelves

2 thoughts on “Read A Book A Week in 2021 (Free Printable Prompts!)”

  1. Hey! I love this and THANK you for your sweet words about my new book. It was lovely doing that zoom chat with you all! Cheers!


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