I was inspired by Isabelle @ Nine Tale Vixen, who created a reading challenge to read a book set in each US state. I wanted to create a challenge to read a book set in each English county. It turns out that England has a lot of counties (apparently, Greater London and the City of London are two separate entities too) and finding good books set or written in each county, let alone books with good diversity rep, is really hard. Not to mention, I was leaving Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland out and that just won’t do.
So, I decided to change it up a bit and do a reading challenge on the UK’s biggest cities (by population). Instead of reading books set in those cities, I’m reading books based on an interesting fact about each city. That allows me to pick more interesting stuff and more diverse reads.
- The challenge takes place between 1st January 2022 to 31st December 2022. You can start at any time in that period.
- You can read any type of book (re-reads count too) so long as it fits the challenge. I’ve put the books I intend to read for each challenge in italics to give you a guide.
- If you post a review of the book, link back to this page. I’d love to know what you thought of it.
- Post a wrap-up at the end of the year to show how you got on.
- If you’re posting on social media, use the hashtag #UKCitiesReadingChallenge
- (Optional) If you manage to find a book that fits the prompt and is set in that city, use that for the prompt and let me know in the comments. I’d be interested to see if anyone manages it!
Despite being the capital, it’s England’s smallest city
|Read the shortest book on your TBR||The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz|
Home to the UK’s first free library
|Read a book you got for free (library, gift, etc)||I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider|
Home to historic chocolate brands like Cadbury and Bournville
|Read a book about food (especially sweets)||Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman|
Home of Europe’s longest running Caribbean carnival
|Read a book that celebrates black culture||Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi|
Home of Scotland’s biggest LGBT+ festival
|Read a LGBT book that’s more than 400 pages||Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall|
Home of fish fingers
|Read a comfort book||In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire|
Home of the International Slavery Museum
|Read a book about black history (either historical fiction or non-fiction)||Natives: Race and Class In the Ruins of Empire by Akala|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne
Voted to have the UK’s friendliest accent
|Read a book about close friends||Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram|
The city’s symbol is a seahorse
|Read a book about the sea||Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen|
Known as the LGBT+ capital of the UK
|Read an LGBT+ book (with a different type of LGBT+ rep than Glasgow)||Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender|
In 2012, Richard III’s body was discovered under a car park in the city
|Read a hidden gem of a book (less than 200 ratings on Goodreads)||Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes by Evan J. Corbin|
The Castle is built on a dormant volcano
|Read a book about a natural disaster||Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler|
Burial place of Mary Shelley
|Read a gothic book||The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell|
Home of the world’s oldest record shop
|Read a book about music||Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson|
Lady Godiva lived here (though the naked horse ride is a myth)
|Read a myth/legend/fairytale retelling||A Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman|
Home to the only UK bridge from which you can bungie jump
|Read a book about bravery||I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb|
Home to prominent business owner and abolitionist, Josiah Wedgwood, who created the famous ‘Am I Not A Man And A Brother?’ medallion
|Read a book about social justice||Slay by Brittany Morris|
|Reading (pronounced ‘redding’)
Henry I’s body is buried somewhere in the abbey ruins but no one knows where. Henry I’s remains are the last unfound remains of an English king.
|Read a mystery book||The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren|
Home of the first stained glass window in England
|Read a book about art||An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson|
I hope you like the look of this literary journey around the UK and that you’ll give it a go along with me! Let me know if you’re taking part in the comments and let me know if you’ve read any of my picks.
I hope to see you again very soon.