The Helmet Reading Challenge 2023

Maps, lost ways of life, health care, small towns and Ukraine – we will be looking for these themes and many others in the Helmet Reading Challenge 2023!

Join us for an expedition into literature! The Helmet Reading Challenge gives you 50 different criteria for choosing what to read next. The reading challenge will continue throughout the year and you can get started at any time!

As usual, the list of 50 challenge items includes topics and ideas ranging from one end to the other. The events of 2022 are reflected in challenge items 14 and 34 that include books related to health care and Ukraine. This year, we are also looking for books including lost ways of life (37), small towns (8), maps (1) and optimistic descriptions of the future (43). This year’s item pair includes books that are set in the same city or surroundings (47–48). In addition, for the first time ever, we challenge you directly to read a science fiction book (21).

The Helmet Reading Challenge was put together by library professionals. The challenge items are based on proposals collected from challenge participants over the years.

If the full 50-item Reading Challenge feels too daunting, we also have a lighter option. As the name suggests, the Little Helmet Reading Challenge is a smaller reading challenge with a list of 25 items. The Little Reading Challenge is compiled of challenge items that are particularly well-suited to children, but readers of all ages are welcome to participate. All of the Little Reading Challenge items are also included in the Helmet Reading Challenge, so you can easily shift from one challenge to another, should you be surprised at how quickly you are making progress.

Five key points for successfully completing the Reading Challenge:

  1. The Reading Challenge is open to all readers. Everyone is welcome to participate.
  2. The idea is that the Reading Challenge should increase your joy of reading, not cause you stress. So find your own way to participate that you find inspiring! You do not have to set out to read a certain number of books.
  3. Everyone is welcome to participate in the Reading Challenge in their own way and make up their own rules. It is up to you to decide whether you want to use the same book to check off more than one item on the list, focus on a particular genre or only read books you have never read before. If you want to keep track of your progress in the challenge, tools for this purpose are available below the item list.
  4. As sharing multiplies the joy of reading, feel free to share your Reading Challenge experience with others! Join the Reading Challenge Facebook group (the discussion is mainly in Finnish, but you are also welcome to communicate in Swedish or English), discuss the Reading Challenge elsewhere on social media, or challenge your friends to participate, so you can discuss your reading experiences throughout the year.
  5. Help is always available! If you need help finding a suitable book, you can, for example, head to your local library and ask the staff for their tips. Tips on suitable books are also shared on the Reading Challenge Facebook group. You can search for tips on the Helmet website Tips. Help is also available from the Ask a Librarian service.

Have a great reading year 2023!

The Helmet Reading Challenge 2023

1. A book with a map

2. A book about a child and grandparent

3. A book with a title that includes a plant

4. A book you were going to read last year

5. A book set underground

6. A book with a cover that includes a piece of clothing or a title that includes a garment

7. A classic book from Sweden, Norway or Denmark

8. A book about a small town

9. A book by an author belonging to a minority, and the book is about the same minority

10. A book with instructions and advice

11. A book by an author whose name includes the same number of letters as your name

12. A book with a title that is connected to water

13. A book with a colourful cover or title

14. A book about health care

15. A book with a title that includes the word ‘and’

16. A book in which someone is writing a book

17. A book that is a collection of essays, articles or columns

18. A book that was originally published in Chinese, Hindi, English, Spanish or Arabic (the five most spoken languages in the world)

19. A book set in a place you have visited

20. A book about a woman who is travelling

21. A science fiction book

22. A book about a topic you have read a lot about

23. A big book

24. A book about an athlete

25. A book with a title that includes a day of the week or a month

26. A book that is challenging for you to read for some reason or another

27. A book with a character who is looking for a solution to the climate crisis

28. A book that is set in the same season as when you are reading it

29. A book with a first-person narrator

30. A book that has been nominated for a literature award

31. A book with a cover that includes sky or the word ‘sky’ in its title

32. A book about something you dream about

33. A book you can read in one sitting

34. A book about Ukraine

35. A book in which someone does work that is familiar to you

36. A book by an author towards whom you have prejudice

37. A book about a way of life that no longer exists

38. A book with a plot based on a myth, story or legend

39. A book that was recommended to you on media or social media

40. A book in which someone abandons something

41. A book by an author born in the 1990s

42. A book with a title that includes at least three words

43. A book that describes the future optimistically

44. A book in a genre, or literature type, that you do not usually read

45. A book fitting a challenge item for which you have already read another book

46. A book with an unusual man or boy

47.–48. Two books with stories set in the same city or environment

49. A book published in 2023

50. A book recommended by library staff

Help with the Reading Challenge:

A printable version of the Reading Challenge (PDF)

Tables for monitoring your progress

Helmet Reading Challenge on Facebook

Book tips

Materials for libraries, bloggers and the media

The Reading Challenge in other languages:

Lukuhaaste suomeksi

Helmet Reading Challenge in simple Finnish

Läsutmaning på svenska

Литературный вызов по-русски

Helmet Lese-Challenge

Helmeti raamatukogu lugemise väljakutse

Helmet Reading Challenges in 2015–2022: 

2015 (not available in English), 201620172018201920202021, 2022

Other Helmet Challenges:

Little Helmet Reading Challenge 

Helmet Music Challenge

Helmet Game Challenge 

Helmet Film Challenge 

Little Helmet Film Challenge

Text: Riikka Utriainen, Espoo City Library