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2023 February Reading Challenge (Including Book Recommendations)

February—the month of love. And, potentially, the month you knock out a handful of books staring at you from your evergrowing TBR pile. February is an excellent month to lean into the theme of love or to reject it entirely with mournful tomes about breakups and going it alone. However you decide to design your month of reading, this February reading challenge does lean heavily into the theme of love. (But not just the romantic version!)

Whatever your reading style, we’ve created a February reading challenge to help you achieve 10 books read in the month of February.

February reading challenge graphic

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1. A Book With ‘Love’ in the Title

February, the designated month of romance thanks to Valentine’s Day, naturally lends itself to books about love. While this is clearly the stereotypical route, we just couldn’t help ourselves.

Your first challenge of the month is to find a book with ‘love’ in the title’. If you’re in a pinch ‘like’, ‘lovely’, or ‘lovers’ will do.

If you’re looking for a book to read. Check out these options:

  • The Love Hypothesis
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
  • Love in the Time of Cholera

2. A Book With a Red or Pink Cover

Next, grab a book from your TBR that has red or pink on the cover. It doesn’t have to take up the entire cover but it should be a significant portion.

This stays in line with those lovey-dovey emotions so often associated with red hearts (not the anatomically correct variety) and sweet nothings.

Here are a few books with red or pink covers:

  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Books
  • Crescent City
  • Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?

3. A Book With the Goal of Self-Love

Okay, we bet you didn’t see that one coming. This can be interpreted in a few ways. You could absolutely get literal and read a book on the topic of self-love. For me, I’m going in the direction of a book that practices self-love by improving areas where I feel I’m weaker. (I’ll be reading How to Win Friends & Influence People. Finally.)

Here are some suggestions:

  • Stop Overthinking (The Path to Calm Book 1)
  • The Master of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship
  • Atomic Habits

4. A Romance of Any Variety

People are picky about their romance. We get it; we are too. For this book, you can pick any romance. It can be any trope and any sub-genre.

Here are a few I’m particularly fond of:

  • People We Meet on Vacation
  • Beach Read
  • Renegades

5. A Book About a Topic You Love

The fifth book for the February reading challenge should be a book about a topic you love. For me, I went with a book on storytelling. You could pick a book on anything you enjoy, from alpacas to skydiving.

Here are some books on topics I personally enjoy that you may also find interesting:

  • Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters”
  • Cultish
  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses

6. A Book About Familial Love

Love doesn’t have to be romantic to be beautiful. The love between friends and family is highly coveted and reading books about family and friends who become as close as a family is a lovely way to spend the rose-tinted days of February.

I’ll be real with you, I don’t have nearly enough books about familial love on my shelf. But these are a few I’ve wanted to read:

  • Little Women
  • The Dead Romantics
  • The Glass Castle (I did read this for a course a while back and it was incredible.)

7. A Book About a Dream Career

The love we have for our pursuits is a love to indulge in. A dream career, be it of a bygone era in your life or of a hopeful future for yourself, is one you should read about in February to complete book seven of the challenge.

I’m a girl in love with creative careers but here are a few other interesting reads on careers that may be a dream for you:

  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
  • The Game Narrative Toolbox
  • What Color Is Your Parachute?

8. A Genre You Love, But Don’t Read Enough Of

I’m sure there’s some genre you always find you love but it never seems to end up on your TBR. Perhaps you enjoy a good nonfiction but always pick up thrillers. Maybe you’re into the snappish, quick pace of contemporary romance but want to slow things down with a waltz on the literary side.

Here are a few books from different genres that I thought were pretty darn worthwhile:

  • Survive the Night
  • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
  • The Heiress Gets a Duke

9. A Book About Forbidden Love

What’s more exciting than love? Well, forbidden love of course. For this part of the challenge, you’ll be tasked with reading a book that includes a forbidden romance at its core. This can be the more lighthearted version in the form of enemies that shouldn’t be together, a.k.a. Romeo and Juliet. Alternatively, you can dip your toe into the taboo and read about a romance that isn’t dinner table material.

  • Forbidden (Tabitha Sazuma)
  • Red, White & Royal Blue
  • Five Feet Apart

10. An Unlikely or Unusual Love Story

Unlikely and unusual love stories are just plain fun. You can take a bit of leeway with this part of the challenge with any love story you could count as unusual.

I’ll give you a few examples:

  • A Little Bit Different
  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things
  • All Stories Are Love Stories

What I’ll Be Reading for the February Reading Challenge

It would be silly for me to create a challenge and not bother to participate. I’m all about challenging myself to different tasks. (As noted in my somewhat failed but still fun screenwriting challenge.)

These are the books I’ve pulled from my TBR for the February reading challenge:

  • A Book With Love in the Title: Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jessen
  • A Book With a Red or Pink Cover: The Icepick Surgeon by Sam Kean
  • A Book With the Goal of Self Love: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • A Romance of Any Variety: Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • A Book About a Topic You Love: The Sea We Swim In by Frank Rose
  • A Book About Familial Love: The Collective by Alison Gaylin
  • A Book About a Dream Career: Theme Park Design by Steve Alcorn
  • A Genre You Love, But Don’t Read Enough Of: The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
  • A Book About Forbidden Love: The Circus Train by Amita Parikh
  • An Unlikely or Unusual Love Story: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

If you weren’t taken with any of the suggested books in this article, you could check out some of our other roundups like the best Book of the Month romances and best thriller books posts.

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