Can you read 50 books in 2022? Join us for this fun and popular challenge, now in its sixth year.

The 6th annual Missoula Reads year-long reading challenge

Read one book in each of 50 categories by December 30 and win a fabulous prize! Visit the Missoula Reads display near the elevators on the third floor to pick up your free reading log.


Friendly reference staff members will be available all year to suggest titles or to chat about the challenge. Email us any time at


*Missoula Reads is open to Missoula Public Library cardholders only.

50 Categories

Find all categories listed here. For reading recommendations in select categories, see below. 

  1. 200 Pages or Fewer

  2. 2021 Montana Book Award Nominee*

  3. 300 Pages or More

  4. A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read

  5. Any ebook, any audiobook, or re-read an old favorite

  6. Body Part in the Title*

  7. Book Chat Bag Title*

  8. Borrowed from a Friend

  9. Cats

  10. Collaborative Authors*

  11. Crafty

  12. Double-talk Title*

  13. Essay Collection

  14. Fantasy

  15. Funny

  16. Immigrant Experience*

  17. Instant Classic*

  18. Leisure Activity

  19. Maps*

  20. Military

  21. Mystery

  22. Natural Science*

  23. Novel by Dickens

  24. Orange Cover

  25. Over the Rainbow Longlist Title*

  26. Philosophy

  27. Photography

  28. Picaresque*

  29. Pirates

  30. Poetry Collection

  31. Protagonist is a Doctor

  32. Published in 2022

  33. Redheads*

  34. Royalty

  35. Scandi Fiction*

  36. Scary

  37. Secrets

  38. Set in Montana

  39. Set in Your Grandparents’ Era

  40. Social Science*

  41. Soothing

  42. Space Travel

  43. Staff Pick or Reader’s Choice

  44. Time Travel

  45. Titillating

  46. Title Starts with First Letter of Your First Name

  47. Ugly Cover

  48. Westward Expansion*

  49. World Reading Challenge Book*

  50. Young Adult Fiction

Select Reading Lists

And It Will Be a Beautiful Life by Craig Lancaster

Aviary by Dierdre McNamer

Backtracking In Memory by Nancy Cooper Russell

Bison: Portrait of an Icon by Audrey Hall and Chase Ewald

Bitterroot Lake by Alicia Beckman

HONOR BOOK Blood is Not the Water by Mara Panich

WINNER Brothers on Three: A True Story of Family, Resistance, and Hope on a Reservation in Montana by Abraham Streep

Carry Me Home by Janet Fox

Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison

Commendable Discretion by J. Hoolihan Clayton

Dark and Light Verse by Allen Lee Ireland

Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven

Full Ecology: Repairing Our Relationship with the Natural World by Mary Clare and Gary Ferguson

Full Mag: Veteran Stories Illustrated by Brian Prahl, et al

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America by Ryan Busse

Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams

Hits, Heathens and Hippos by Marty Essen

HONOR BOOK Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and a River by John Maclean

In the Weeds by Mark Gibbons

Inside Passage by Keema Waterfield

Jack Horner, Dinosaur Hunter! by Sophia Gholz

Legend Keepers by Bruce Smith

Maddie McDowell and the Rodeo Robbery by Luann M. Rod

Montana History for Kids in 50 Objects by Steph Lehmann

Out of the Water by Ann Marie Stewart

Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

The Redemption of Wolf 302: From Renegade to Yellowstone Alpha Male by Rick McIntyre

Remarkable Cause by Jean C. O’Connor

HONOR BOOK Ridgeline by Michael Punke

Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson

Secret Life: An Adaptation of a Story by Jeff VanderMeer by Theo Ellsworth

Sounds of Home by Debbie Boyle

Spring: A Mythic Memoir by Annie Connole

HONOR BOOK Stone Sister by Caroline Patterson

SunAlaska by Cinzia Dal Lago

We March at Midnight: A War Memoir by Ray McPadden

Wild Man by Charles Alexander

Years Beyond the River by David Axelrod

You Belong Here Now by Dianna Rostad

For a current list of the library’s book chat bag selections, please visit


Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

The Explorers Guild by Kevin Costner and John Baird

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward

Hotel Angeline: A Novel in 36 Voices by various authors

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Some Sing, Some Cry by Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

The City & the City by China Miéville

City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris by Holly Tucker

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Fifty Fifty by James Patterson

Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane

How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life by Jill McCorkle

Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire

Never Never by James Patterson

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

An instant classic is any recent publication (within the last ten years or so) that you believe will become an enduring classic.

No, you don’t have to read an atlas for this category (though you could, if you really wanted to). Any book that includes maps, is about maps, or features maps as an integral part of the plot will satisfy this category.

The Dewey Decimal call number for Natural Sciences is 500. It includes subjects such as Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Paleontology, Biology, Botany and Zoology.

Over the Rainbow books exhibit commendable literary quality and significant authentic LGBTQIA+ content. The books are reviewed and annual lists compiled by the American Library Association’s Rainbow Roundtable. For a complete list of longlisted titles, please visit

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary explains that the picaresque novel “centers around a wandering individual of low standing who happens into a series of adventures among people of various higher classes, often relying on his wits and a little dishonesty to get by.” Now doesn’t that sound like fun?


All My Friends are Going to be Strangers by Larry McMurtry

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Baudolino by Umberto Eco

Candide by Voltaire

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The History of Thomas Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding

Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Ulysses by James Joyce

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón

My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci

My Friend Natalia by Laura Lindstedt

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

Purge by Sofi Oksanen

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg

True by Riikka Pulkkinen

Valerie, or, The Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg

We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen

Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrímur Helgason

The Dewey Decimal call number for Social Sciences is 300. It includes subjects such as Social Groups, Culture & Institutions, Political Science, Civil Rights, Economics, Law, and Social Welfare.

Visit and chose a book set in a faraway place.

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