The Downtown Library will be closed Sunday, Oct. 17, and Sunday, Oct. 24.

New year, new reading challenge! Can you read 50 books in 2021? Join us for this fun and popular challenge, now in its fifth year.

The 5th annual Missoula Reads year-long reading challenge

Read one book in each of 50 categories by December 30 and win a fabulous prize! The first 150 registrants receive a free book journal to track their progress; bring your tickets to the library to claim your journal and your reading categories list.


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. #OwnVoices Book
  2. 200 Pages or Fewer
  3. 2020 Montana Book Award Nominee
  4. 400 Pages or More
  5. About an Item on Your Bucket List
  6. Action
  7. Alliterative Author
  8. Any eBook, any audiobook, or re-read an old favorite
  9. Best Book About Montana (according to Harry Fritz)
  10. Biography
  11. Call Number 978.xx
  12. Controversial Issue
  13. Cookbook
  14. Current Event
  15. Debut Novel
  16. Dog on the Cover
  17. Dystopian
  18. Edgar Award Winner
  19. Folklore
  20. Genre You’ve Never Read Before
  21. Graphic Novel
  22. Guilty Pleasure
  23. Health
  24. Infidelity
  25. Left-handed Author
  26. Love Story
  27. Nature
  28. Out of Your Comfort Zone
  29. Outside the United States
  30. Pick a Card, Any Card
  31. Politics
  32. Psychological Thriller
  33. Published in 2021
  34. Published in the Best Year of Your Life
  35. Recent Bestseller
  36. Religion
  37. Science Fiction
  38. Set in an Airplane
  39. Short Story Collection
  40. Slipstream
  41. Teacher or Teaching
  42. Time of Day in the Title
  43. Travel
  44. True Crime 
  45. Turquoise Cover
  46. Uplifting
  47. Utopian
  48. Western
  49. Written by a Person of Color
  50. Your Favorite Historical Period

Select Reading Lists

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

American Street by Ibi Aanu Zoboi

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth A. Odhiambo

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Head Off & Split: Poems by Nikky Finney 

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie 

Into White by Randi Pink

Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash

The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson 

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God & Public Lands in the West by Betsy Gaines Quammen

Artifact Hunters by Janet Fox

Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green

*HONOR BOOK* The Blaze by Chad Dundas

Bringing Back the Wolves: How a Predator Restored an Ecosystem by Jude Isabella

Eden Mine by S.M. Hulse

Grounded: A Senator’s Lessons on Winning Back Rural America by Jon Tester

Horsefly Dress by Heather Cahoon

Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis

*HONOR BOOK* Life List by Marc Beaudin

May We One Day Pick All the Shrapnel from Our Hearts by Shaenrayce Leigland

Meateater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival by Steven Rinella

Myth of Chinese capitalism by Dexter Roberts

Noble Calling by Rhona Weaver

*HONOR BOOK* Regarding Willingness: Chronicles of a Fraught Life by Tom Harpole

Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellostone’s Legendary Druid Pack by Rick McIntyre

Roadside Geology of Montana, 2nd edition by Donald Hyndman

*WINNER* Shakespeare in Montana: Big Sky Country’s Love Affair with the World’s Most Famous Writer by Gretchen E. Minton

Small Crimes of Tiffany Templeton by Richard Fifield

Sons of Philo Gaines by Michael R. Ritt

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Willa’s Grove by Laura Munson

In the Winter 1982 edition of Montana the Magazine of Western History, longtime University of Montana history professor Harry Fritz published a list of the best books about Montana. Try one (or more!) and see what you think.


Please note that the list below is a selection from the original list. Any of the book titles from Harry Fritz’s article will satisfy this category requirement.


40 Years’ Gatherin’s by Spike Van Cleve

Before Barbed Wire by Mark Herbert Brown

The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie Jr. 

The Bloody Bozeman by Dorothy M. Johnson

The Charles M. Russell Book: The Life and Work of the Cowboy Artist by Harold McCracken

Copper Camp: Stories of the World’s Greatest Mining Town, Butte, Montana by the Works Progress Administration

Custer’s Luck by Edgar I. Stewart 

Forty Years on the Frontier by Granville Stuart

Free Grass to Fences by Robert H. Fletcher

From Wilderness to Statehood by James McClellan Hamilton

The Generous Years: Remembrances of a Frontier Boyhood by Chet Huntley

Good Medicine: The Illustrated Letters of Charles M. Russell by Charles M. Russell

The Frontier Years: L.A. Huffman, Photographer of the Plains by Mark Herbert Brown

The Journals of Lewis and Clark edited by Bernard DeVoto

Montana: A History of Two Centuries by Michael P. Malone

Montana: An Uncommon Land by K. Ross Toole

The Montana Frontier by Merrill G. Burlingame

Montana: High, Wide and Handsome by Joseph Kinsey Howard

Montana Margins: A State Anthology by Joseph Kinsey Howard

Montana Pay Dirt by Muriel Sibell Wolle

Not in Precious Metals Alone by the Montana Historical Society

One Man’s Montana: An Informal Portrait of a State by John K. Hutchens

Pioneer Cattleman in Montana: The Story of the Circle C Ranch by Walt Coburn

The Plainsmen of the Yellowstone by Mark Herbert Brown

A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

Stay Away, Joe by Dan Cushman

This House of Sky by Ivan Doig

Trails Plowed Under by Charles M. Russell

Tough Trip Through Paradise, 1878-1879 by Andrew Garcia

Twentieth Century Montana: A State of Extremes by K. Ross Toole

Vigilante Days and Ways by Nathaniel Pitt Langford

The Vigilantes of Montana by Thomas J. Dimsdale

The War of the Copper Kings: Builders of Butte and Wolves of Wall Street by Carl B. Glasscock

We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher by E.C. Abbott

Whoop-up Country by Paul F. Sharp

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson 

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Severance by Ling Ma 

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

There There by Tommy Orange

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin

We Need New Names by NoViolet Belawayo

The Vegetarian by Kang Han

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

We the Animals by Justin Torres

What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell

1984 by George Orwell

American War by Omar El Akkad

Blindness by José Saramago

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Children of Men by P.D. James

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Silence by Don DeLillo

Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Stand by Stephen King

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Wall by John Lanchester

The Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar Awards each year. Visit for a full list of winners.

The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson

Adultery by Paul Coelho

All My Mother’s Lovers by Ilana Masa

Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

The Copenhagen Affair by Amulya Malladi

Death of the Black-haired Girl by Robert Stone

The Ditch by Herman Koch

Hausfrau by Jill Alexaner Essbaum

House of Names by Colm Toibin

Ike and Kay by James MacManus

The Margot Affair by Sanae Lemoine

Monogamy by Sue Miller

More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale 

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

A Separation by Katie M. Kitamura

The Vacation by T.M. Logan

White Houses by Amy Bloom

Draw a card to select a Dewey Decimal range to read from. Ace is for 000s, 1 for 100s, 2 for 200s, etc. Contact a reference librarian to draw a card for you, or try your luck with your own cards at home.

Airframe by Michael Crichton

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Blue Skies by Robyn Carr

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Flight or Fright by Stephen King

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Freefall by Jessica Barry

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Language of the Sea by James MacManus

Night Fall by Nelson DeMille

Out of My Mind by Richard Bach

The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles A. Lindbergh

Starfire by Dale Brown

The Survivor by James Herbert

The Wright Brothers by David G. McCullough

Slipstream, or the “fiction of strangeness,” is a boundary-crossing genre that flows between science fiction, fantasy and literary fiction. Try one of the suggested titles below, or find another strange book to read. 


1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett

Among Others by Jo Walton

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Horrorstӧr by Grady Hendrix

In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell

London Falling by Paul Cornell

Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Time and Again by Jack Finney

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Consider Phlebus by Iain Banks 

For Us, the Living by Robert A. Heinlein

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swith

Island by Aldous Huxley

Looking Backward, 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy

Lost Horizon by James Hilton

New Atlantis by Francis Bacon

The Republic by Plato

Utopia by Sir Thomas More

Walden Two by B.F. Skinner

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

The Deep by Alma Katsu

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Polite Society by Mahesh Rao

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

The Wife by Alafair Burke

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