2021 Chapter a Day Reading Challenge


Here's another 2021 reading challenge via Nick's One Catholic Life. If you've ever wanted help getting through chunksters, this is a great challenge because it is so organized and well planned out. Personally, I'm only going to join the Hunchback of Notre Dame read since it is already on my list for 2021. But, if you are looking to tackle some of these others, check it out!

How to Participate in the 2021 Chapter-a-Day Read-along

  • Leave a comment on this post telling everyone that you’ll be reading along and why.
  • Get a copy of each of the five books listed below. Or read them online. All of them are available at Project Gutenberg at the links found in the descriptions below.
  • Download the daily schedule: Nick’s 2021 Chapter-a-Day Read-along Reading Schedule
  • Commit to reading a chapter a day, starting on January 1, 2021. If you get behind or race ahead, no worries. As 2020 taught us so well, life happens.
  • If you feel like it, post a line a day from the current chapter on social media, using the hashtags listed below. I’ll be posting to Twitter and Facebook each day and I would love to read your thoughts, too. When you post, I would ask that you please respect the reading experience of those who may not know the full story. In other words, no spoilers!
  • You will find the official 2021 read-along graphic at the bottom of this post. Feel free to use it on your website if you wish.
  • Subscribe to One Catholic Life so you don’t miss any read-along posts throughout the year. You can get updates via email by using the form in the right-hand sidebar or you can subscribe via RSS and read them in your favorite blog reader.

The goal of these chapter-a-day read-alongs is to encourage people to read classic books they might not otherwise read because of their length or age. With that in mind, I chose five classic novels that I think fit that description well. They come from four different countries and several of the books are some of my absolute favorites. So, without further ado, here’s what’s on tap for 2021:

  • The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligeheri
  • Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero by Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas 

The 2021 Chapter-a-Day Reading Schedule

To recap, here is the broad outline of the year:

  • The Divine Comedy: January 1 to April 10 (100 cantos, or chapters= 100 days)
  • Quo Vadis: April 11 to June 23 (73 chapters and an epilogue = 74 days)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: June 24 to August 21 (59 chapters)
  • David Copperfield: August 22 to October 24 (64 chapters = 64 days)
  • The Three Musketeers: October 25 to December 31 (67 chapters and an epilogue = 68 days)


  1. Oh, that's cool! I'd heard about The Hunchback but I didn't know he was setting it up like this. I've read them all except Hunchback and Quo Vadis. If only I had unlimited time but I have to set time aside for The Leopard and Nicholas Nickleby. But I'm going to join for the Hunchback. Thanks for posting! I was on Nick's blog last week and only say a Patrick O'Brien read-along. This will be fun!

    1. *saw* The perils of hitting "publish" before proofreading!

    2. Yay! Glad to hear you'll be reading NN and Hunchback. I know what you mean about unlimited time. So do you write out a TBR for the year of all the books you want to read? I do this, and it ends up very difficult to join all of the tempting reading challenges that crop up. But it is so nice to have reading partners, especially for Dickens. He intimidates me. BTW, were you interested in matching up any Medieval themed books that you wanted to read this year?

    3. I would be interested in reading:

      The Prince and the Pauper
      The Hunchback of Notre Dame (of course)
      A Distant Mirror
      The Romance of Tristan and Iseult (maybe)

      I'm taking your advice and making a list to post on my blog. Hopefully it will help to keep me more on track and help to not add more books when the ones I'm supposed to read are staring me in the face. I'm going to pull them all out ahead of time too. Ummm ..... we'll see how it works ..... 😉

    4. I know what you mean!

      So, here's what I did: I ordered the books by publishing date, and this is what I came up with, although I stuck Hunchback where Nick scheduled it for his read-along. It looks like this:

      [JAN] Unknown: the Song of Roland

      [FEB] Bedier: The Romance of Tristan and Iseult

      [MAR-APR] A Distant Mirror

      [APR] Malory: Le Morte d'Arthur

      [MAY] Scott: Ivanhoe

      [JUN] Bulfinch: Bulfinch's Mythology

      [JUN-AUG] Hugo: Hunchback of Notre Dame [Nick's Chapter-a-Day]

      [AUG] Tennyson: Idylls of the King

      [SEPT] Twain: Prince & the Pauper [B2Classics]

      [OCT] Twain: Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

      [NOV] White: Once and Future King [B2Classics]

      Feel free to join me during these months or even if you read it on your own time, we can compare notes later. Of course, this is all proposed. God knows, we have no knowledge of what 2021 will be and spoil all of our reading endeavors. Anyway, like Susan Wise Bauer said, (paraphrase...) You have to start somewhere, so make plans first and go from there.

    5. Hey, could I wiggle in with you gals on your Ivanhoe? It's on my Classics Club list and I'd love to read it with other people.

      And I totally bailed on Nick's War and Peace chapter a day, but Hunchback is on my CC as well and I def want to read that with a group for support! So I'll sign up and try again. I do think 2021 is going to be a better year for me than this one.

    6. Oh my yes, you can definitely join us, Laurie! We'd love to have you! Reading it in a month is going to be a task but I'll try to keep that month free. I knew War and Peace wasn't happening for me when my mom passed away but I'd read it before so it was okay. I do want to make it through The Hunchback though.

      Ruth, are you sure you can read Le Morte and Ivanhoe, each in one month? And with A Distant Mirror, you have quite a few "biggies" back to back. I'll pray for you! 😇 I'd like to read Bullfinch too but .... I don't think I can swing it. However, we'll see.

    7. Hi, Laurie...Absolutely, join us! Great to have more input and insight and encouragement!!!!

      Cleo: I think we can read Ivanhoe in a month. My copy is 534 pages. That's less than 18 pages a day. It looks like fairly easy reading. I'm a little concerned with Le Morte bc I only have volume 1, which is 468 pages. I just purchased vol 2, and it's on its way. So I may need a little more time w/ that due to the size of two volumes. We can spread it out. I know I really packed my reading for 2021 (wait till you see my list. I'm officially crazy!) HOWEVER, I am predicting another six months to a year of lockdowns for the U.S./specifically California. There is no where to go and nothing to do. So I am going to plan for MORE reading than ever before...unless I'm wrong, but I won't hold my breath. So to answer your question...we can definitely spread out our reading bc there is no official start or stop date. It's simply a proposed time to read a particular title. We can play it by ear.