Can you read 50 books in 2023? Join us for this fun and popular challenge, now in its seventh year.

The 7th annual Missoula Reads year-long reading challenge

Read one book in each of 50 categories by December 29 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.

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Be sure to catch the Seeley Reads podcast on Soundcloud

Hear about the books our Seeley Lake branch librarians are reading as they work their way through the 2023 challenge.

50 Categories

Find all categories listed here. For reading recommendations in select categories, see below. Download a pdf copy of the categories

  1. 200 Pages or Fewer

  2. 2022 Montana Book Award Nominee*

  3. 400 Pages or More

  4. About a Real Person*

  5. Anthology or Collection

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

  7. Art or Craft

  8. Author Shares Your Zodiac Sign

  9. Author Used a Pen Name*

  10. Author’s Last Name Starts with a Vowel

  11. Author’s Photo on the Back Cover

  12. Blue Cover

  13. Book from a Series

  14. Book You Abandoned in the Past

  15. Business, Entrepreneurship or Marketing

  16. Civil Rights

  17. Classic You’ve Been Avoiding

  18. Community Read: The Cold Millions*

  19. Country in the Title*

  20. Current Event

  21. Food

  22. Genre-bending*

  23. Job Title in the Title

  24. Leaves on the Cover

  25. Lots of Photos

  26. Made into a Movie/Show*

  27. Magic Realism*

  28. Mark Twain

  29. Mindfulness

  30. Published in 2023

  31. Question in the Title*

  32. Read it For the Title*

  33. Recently Challenged*

  34. Recently-deceased Author*

  35. Revenge*

  36. Science Fiction

  37. Seasonal

  38. Set During a War*

  39. Set in a Place You’d Like to Visit

  40. Spooky

  41. Sports

  42. Steamy

  43. Takes Place in a Foreign Country*

  44. Three Words in the Title

  45. Transportation

  46. Travel Guide*

  47. Weather*

  48. Western

  49. Written by a Josephine Miles Award Winner*

  50. Young Adult Fiction

Select Reading Lists


On a Benediction of Wind by Charles Finn


Honor books:

Lucky Turtle by Bill Roorbach

Montana Modernists: Shifting Perspectives of Western Art by Michele Corriel

River You Touch: Making a Life on Moving Water by Chris Dombrowski



  1. Air Boat by Jacek Waliszewski
  2. The Alpha Female Wolf: The Fierce Legacy of Yellowstone’s 06 by RickMcIntyre
  3. Birthing the West: Mothers and Midwives in the Rockies and Plains by Jennifer J. Hill
  4. Crazy Mountain by Elise Atchison
  5. Doctor Refurb by Marty Essen
  6. Going It Alone by Paul Zarzyski
  7. Hannah’s Legacy – In This New and Wonderful Country by Donna Scobee Scott
  8. Hell and Back by Craig Johnson
  9. Hired Hand by John Hansen
  10. In Celebration by Dorothy Bradley
  11. Jump Into Action by Katie Strong
  12. Jumper by Melody Crowder
  13. Lovely and Dangerous Launch of Lucy Cavanaugh by Stacy Peterson
  14. Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber by Jamie Gehring
  15. The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford
  16. The Middle Kingdom Under the Big Sky: A History of the Chinese Experience in Montana by Mark T. Johnson
  17. Montana Panoramic by Craig W. Hergert
  18. Nothing Got Broke by Larry Slonaker
  19. Pandora’s Lockbox by Nico Griffith
  20. Rowdy Randy Wild West Show by Casey Rislov
  21. Shadow Man: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling by Ron Franscell
  22. Sometimes it Feels Like Far by Gary Spetz
  23. Taft: The Story of the St. Paul Pass and America’s Wickedest City by Charles Donnelly
  24. Term Between by Brady Harrison
  25. This America of Ours: Bernard and Avis DeVoto and the Forgotten Fight to Save the World by Nate Schweber
  26. Trout Town by Dave Ames
  27. Unfollowers by Leigh Ann Ruggiero
  28. Was It Worth It?: A Wilderness Warrior’s Long Trail Home by Doug Peacock
  29. Wilted Wings: A Hunter’s Fight for Eagles by Mike McTee
  30. With Great Discretion by J. Hoolihan Clayton

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keefe by Dawn Tripp

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhorn

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

The Master by Colm Tóibín

The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott

The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

White Houses by Amy Bloom

Join us in September 2023 to celebrate the Big Read. Together, we will read The Cold Millions by Jess Walter; free copies will be available. (If you have already read the book, please attend a Big Read program to complete this category.)


America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray

Country Strong by Linda Lael Miller

Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung

Ghost Country by Sara Paretsky

Hard Country by Chad Merriman

Indian Country by Dorothy M. Johnson

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

Murder in Little Italy by Victoria Thompson

My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Sarum: The Novel of England by Edward Rutherford

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

Genre-bending novels and stories place classic story elements, tropes, or character archetypes into unexpected settings.

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

Awayland: Stories by Ramona Ausubel

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

A Guide to Being Born: Stories by Ramona Ausubel

Hag-seed by Margaret Atwood

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Never Have I Ever: Stories by Isabel Yap

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

The White Book by Kang Han

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

No Exit by Taylor Adams

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Brittanica defines magic realism as a “chiefly Latin-American narrative strategy that is characterized by the matter-of-fact inclusion of fantastic or mythical elements into seemingly realistic fiction.”

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

The House of the Spirits by Isabell Allende

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Life of Pi by Yan Martel

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman

Has a funny, unusual or compelling title caught your eye recently? Read that book to satisfy this category.

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin

City of Thieves by David Benioff

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

In the Dream House by Carmen Machado

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay

The Change by Kirsten Miller

Confessions by Kanae Minato

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Here Goes Nothing by Steve Toltz

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lowering Days by Gregory Brown

Save Me From Dangerous Men by S.A. Lelchuk

Shutter by Ramona Emerson

So Happy for You by Celia Laskey

They Never Learn by Layne Fargo

True Grit by Charles Portis

Version Zero by David Yoon

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Marie Remarque

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett

The Most Precious of Cargoes by Jean-Claude Grumberg

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

Regeneration by Pat Barker

Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut

Suite Française by Irene Némirovsky

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner


The Boat People by Sharon Bala

The Body in the Castle Well by Martin Walker

A Burning by Magha Majumdar

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone

The House of Ashes by Stuart Neville

Memorial by Bryan Washington

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

Palmares by Gayl Jones

Send for Me by Lauren Fox

Strange Beasts of China by Ge Yan

Your Ad Could Go Here by O.S. Zabuzhko

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Travel guides are located at the following Dewey Decimal call numbers:

  • African – 916
  • Asian – 915
  • European – 914
  • North American – 917
  • South American – 918
  • United States – 917.3

The Josephine Miles Award promotes works of excellence by writers of all cultural and racial backgrounds and educates both the public and the media as to the nature of multicultural work. For a list of winners, please visit the PEN Oakland website.

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