Happy New Year and welcome to the Sapphic Book Bingo 2022!
Since my previous reading challenges (the Sapphic Reading Challenge in 2021, the F/F Fiction Crossword Challenge in 2020, and the Lesbian Book Bingo in 2018) were so popular with readers, I decided to host a new reading challenge in 2022. I hope it will keep you reading all year and help you find new favorite books and authors!
What is the Sapphic Book Bingo?
The Sapphic Book Bingo is a fun, year-long event for readers of sapphic fiction. It runs from January 1 to December 31, 2022. You can join any time you want.
Why is it called Sapphic Book Bingo?
In case you aren’t familiar with the term sapphic: It comes from the Greek poet Sappho, who wrote about love and passion between women.
During the past few years, I’ve come to use sapphic rather than F/F or lesbian when I’m talking about our genre because it’s more inclusive.
Lesbian is a perfectly fine word, but not every book with a love story between two women is a lesbian romance. Some of the characters in these stories are bisexual, pansexual, or homoromantic asexual women, or they prefer the label queer–or no label at all.
The term sapphic includes any woman who’s attracted to women, but unlike the term WLW (women-loving women), it also includes nonbinary people and intersex people who identify as sapphic (not all nonbinary or intersex people do).
The rules of the Sapphic Book Bingo
- The reading challenge will run from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022. You can join at any time. No registration necessary—just start reading!
- The goal is to fill out the entire bingo card by reading one book for each square. If reading 25 sapphic books in 2022 sounds too ambitious, you can also aim for completing just one line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) of the bingo card (5 books).
- Below, you’ll find two bingo cards to choose from: a regular bingo card with 25 squares and a Book Unicorn card with 12 harder-to-find categories. You can pick the regular card or the Book Unicorn card or try to complete both—totally up to you.
- Each book needs to have at least one sapphic main character (see above for the definition of sapphic).
- Each book may be used only once per card, even if it fits several different squares.
- I’ll post book recommendations for a different square on my blog three to four times a month. You can either pick a book from my recommended reading lists or choose any other sapphic book that fits the square.
- Only books you started and finished in 2022 count.
- Books can be any format—ebook, paperback, or audiobook.
- Books can be any language. In fact, there’s a German version of the reading challenge too.
- It doesn’t necessarily have to be a novel. Novellas (usually around 17,500-40,000 words) count too, as do anthologies, fanfiction, and graphic novels.
- Not all books you read for the Sapphic Book Bingo need to be new-to-you. Re-reads of books you’ve previously read count too.
- Email me your filled-out bingo card by December 31, 2022 at 10 am German time, to be entered into the drawing (see below for the prizes you can win).
- If you are a voracious reader who reads hundreds of books a year, feel free to send in several bingo cards. You’ll get one entry into the giveaway for each card.
The real prize, of course, is discovering a lot of awesome books and new favorite authors.
But there’ll also be a big giveaway at the end of the year. Everyone who sends in their bingo card with at least one complete line will be entered into the drawing.
There will be 15 winners:
- I’ll draw 5 winners among those readers who send in a bingo card with one complete line. Each of these winners wins 1 ebook.
- I’ll draw 5 winners among those readers who send in a completed Book Unicorn card. Each of these winners wins 2 ebooks.
- I’ll draw 5 winners among those readers who send in a complete bingo card, with all 25 squares filled out. Each of these winners wins a bundle of 5 books—a mix of paperbacks and ebooks or all ebooks (winner’s choice).
Email me your filled-in bingo card—either the filled-in PDF you can download below or a screenshot/photo of it—by December 31. I’ll draw the winners on December 31, 2022, at 10 a.m. Central European Time, using a random numbers generator.
The regular Sapphic Book Bingo card
Here are the 25 categories for the main bingo card. I’ll post a new recommended-reading list three times a month on Thursdays. I put together a mix of popular tropes and topics as well as categories that’ll push you to try new books and diversify your reading. I encourage you to read diversely, from a wide spectrum of authors and genres.
You can download a PDF of the regular bingo card here. Fill it in with the titles of the sapphic books you read in 2022. You can either type in the PDF or print it out and fill it in by hand.
The categories for the regular Sapphic Book Bingo card:
For book recommendations, you can click on the links for each of the categories I have already posted:
- Favorite trope: Read a sapphic book that contains your favorite romance trope. A trope is a common theme, plot, or character type, e.g., ice queen character, second-chance romance, workplace romance, friends-to-lovers romance, etc.
- Award-winning book: Read a sapphic book that won a literary award such as a Golden Crown Literary Society Award (Goldie), a Rainbow Award, a Lambda Literary Award, or any other award.
- Disaster: Read a sapphic book in which a natural or man-made disaster plays an important role, e.g., an earthquake, a hurricane, a plane crash, etc.
- Sports romance: Read a sapphic book featuring a main character who’s an athlete or otherwise involved in a sport, e.g., a coach, physical therapist, etc. The sports setting needs to be essential to the book, not just be mentioned in passing a couple of times.
- Author’s pick: Choose an author and have them suggest one of their books to you. If you are too shy to email an author and ask, wait until I post my list of 175 authors and the books they want you to read.
- Full-time writer: Read a sapphic book by an author who writes full-time.
- Established couple: Read a sapphic book that features an established couple—the characters already need to be together at the beginning of the book.
- Fake relationship romance: Read a sapphic book in which the two main characters pretend to be in a relationship with each other.
- Free book: Traditionally, this is the “free choice” square, but I thought I’d spice it up by having you read a book that you got for free. Many authors have a free story for you to download on their website (you’ll find mine here) or send one to readers who sign up to their newsletter. I’ll post a huge list of free books for you to download in April.
- Out of your comfort zone: Read a sapphic book that is a bit—or a lot—out of your reading comfort zone. It could be a genre or trope you don’t usually read, or you could try a new format, e.g., an audiobook if you don’t usually listen to them.
- Sapphic classic: Read a sapphic classic—one of the trailblazing books published in the 20th century or before, at a time when most mainstream publishers wouldn’t publish LGBT+ literature and sapphic characters often didn’t get a happy ending. Look for a book first published before 2000.
- Newbie author: Read a sapphic book by an author who has published no more than two novel-length books.
- Coming-out story: Read a sapphic book in which the main character comes out as LGBT+ (to themselves and/or to others) during the course of the book.
- Non-human character: Pick a sapphic book about a main character who is not human, e.g., alien, vampire, werewolf, shape-shifter, etc.
- POC character: Read a sapphic book featuring a protagonist who’s a person of color, written by a POC author.
- Character with a disability: Read a sapphic book featuring a main character who has a physical disability, a chronic illness, or a mental disorder.
- Non-US/UK setting: Read a sapphic book that is set in a country other than the US or the UK.
- Unusual job: Read a sapphic book featuring a main character with an unusual job.
- Meet-cute: Read a sapphic book in which the two main characters share a first meeting that is cute, hilarious, or unusual. Often, it’s a misunderstanding or an awkward situation, e.g., one character spills coffee on the other.
- Erotica or erotic romance: Read a steamy sapphic book.
- Different sexual orientation or gender identity: Read a sapphic book featuring a main character whose sexual orientation or gender identity differs from your own. For example, if you are cis, pick a book about a trans or nonbinary character; if you are a lesbian, pick a book about a bisexual, pansexual, or asexual character, etc.
- Not a romance: Read a sapphic book that is not a romance. It can have a romance subplot, but the romance shouldn’t be the main plot.
- Butch character: Read a sapphic book featuring a butch main character.
- Romantic comedy: Read a sapphic romcom—a light-hearted, humorous romance that is guaranteed to make you laugh.
- Bet or a dare: Read a sapphic book that involves a dare or a bet.
The Book Unicorn bingo card:
As in last year’s Sapphic Reading Challenge, the Book Unicorn represents harder-to-find themes and categories. So if you’d like to challenge yourself, you can try to complete the Book Unicorn bingo card.
I’ll post a recommended-reads list for one category of the Book Unicorn card once a month, starting with “second generation” on January 13.
As you can see, the Book Unicorn card isn’t a 5×5 grid. The squares form a U for Unicorn.
You can download a PDF of the Book Unicorn bingo card here. You can either type in the PDF or print it out and fill it in by hand.
The categories for the Book Unicorn bingo card:
For book recommendations, you can click on the links for each of the categories I have already posted:
- Second generation: Read a book with two generations of LGBT+ characters, e.g., the sapphic protagonist has a parent or a child who is LGBT+ too.
- Therapy: Read a sapphic book featuring a main character who is in psychotherapy—as the patient, not the therapist.
- Faith: Read a sapphic book in which faith or religion plays an important role. It could be any religion, not just Christianity.
- Historical event: Read a sapphic book that is based on a historical event. It could be a historical novel based on a specific event or a more contemporary book that contains an important event that happened in more recent years.
- Safer sex: Read a sapphic book in which the characters practice safer sex, e.g., they get tested for STDs before sleeping together, talk about safer sex, use dental dams or condom-covered sex toys, etc.
- Character over 50: Read a sapphic book with at least one main character who is over 50.
- 400+ pages: Read a sapphic book with more than 400 pages. If you know the word count, which is more accurate than page numbers, pick a book with more than 130,000 words. For audiobooks, pick one that is at least 13 hours long.
- BDSM elements: Read a sapphic book that contains elements of BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism). BDSM encompasses an entire spectrum of activities, from blindfolds and light restraint to flogging and more restrictive bondage, etc., so pick whatever you prefer.
- Book mention: Read a sapphic book that mentions another sapphic book or a sapphic book that is mentioned in another sapphic book. For example, the characters are mentioned to be reading a sapphic book, or they have it on their bookshelf.
- Period: Read a sapphic book that mentions the main character having her period.
- More than two POVs: Read a sapphic book that is told from more than two points of view. Not just the main characters, but also at least one supporting character gets their own POV.
- Twins: Read a sapphic book featuring a main character who is a twin. They can be maternal or fraternal twins.
Don’t miss the first square of the Sapphic Book Bingo
I’ll post the book recommendations for the first category of the Sapphic Book Bingo on Thursday, January 6. We’ll start with “favorite romance trope” for which I will share recommended reads for popular tropes such as ice queen characters, age-gap romance, fake relationship romance, etc.
To make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to my blog, and I’ll send the post to your in-box!
Need more book recommendations to fill your bingo card?
As I said, you’ll get weekly book recommendations on this blog. I’ll share 15 books for one category every Thursday.
But if you need more book recommendations, here are a few options:
If you are on Facebook and want book recommendations from other readers to fill your bingo card—or you just want to chat about the books you love, feel free to join my Facebook group for readers. It’s a private group, so only members can see who’s in it and what we are discussing.
If you prefer Goodreads over Facebook, I also set up a Goodreads group for the Sapphic Book Bingo.
My publisher, Ylva, also put together a list of Ylva Publishing books and how they fit into the squares of the two bingo cards.
Leave a comment
Please leave a comment below and let us know which bingo card you will pick for this year’s reading challenge. Are you aiming to complete the 25 squares of the regular bingo card? Just one line? Or will you take on the Book Unicorn card?