Happy New Year and welcome to the Sapphic Book Bingo 2024!
This is the sixth reading challenge I’m running, and I hope it will help you discover new favorite sapphic books and authors all year long. Whether you’re a regular or joining the Sapphic Book Bingo for the first time, let’s make 2024 a year of great reads!
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, 2024. 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 Sapphic Book Bingo will run from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024, and you’re welcome to jump in at any point without the need for registration—just dive into your reading!
- The aim is to complete the entire bingo card by reading one book for each square. If tackling 25 sapphic books in 2024 seems a bit much, consider aiming for just one line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) of the bingo card, which requires reading 5 sapphic books.
- Two bingo cards are available for you to choose from: a regular 25-square card and a Hidden Gems card featuring 12 harder-to-find categories. You can opt for the regular card, the Hidden Gems card, or challenge yourself by completing both—it’s entirely up to you.
- Each book you choose must feature at least one sapphic main character (see the definition of sapphic above).
- Each book can only be used once per card, even if it fits several different squares. Exception: If you read the same book twice in 2024, you can use it for two different squares.
- I’ll post book recommendations for a different square on my blog three to four times a month. You’re free to select a book from these lists or pick any other sapphic book that fits the category. If you want to get each recommended-books list sent to your inbox, you can sign up for my blog here.
- Only books started and finished in 2024 will count towards the challenge.
- Books can be any format—ebook, paperback, or audiobook.
- Books can be any language. In fact, there’s even a German version of the reading challenge.
- The books you’re reading for the Sapphic Book Bingo don’t have to be exclusively novels. Novellas, anthologies, fanfiction, and graphic novels count too. You can even throw in a few short stories.
- Not every book you read for the Sapphic Book Bingo needs to be new-to-you. Re-reads of books you’ve previously enjoyed count too.
- Email me your filled-out bingo card by December 31, 2024 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 more than 25 sapphic books a year, feel free to send in several bingo cards. You’ll get one entry into the giveaway for each completed card.
The prizes of the 2024 Sapphic Book Bingo
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 Hidden Gems 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, 2024, at 10 a.m. Central European Time, using a random numbers generator.
The Sapphic Book Bingo card
Option 1 is a regular bingo card with 25 squares/categories. 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 2024. You can either type in the PDF or print it out and fill it in by hand.
The categories for the Sapphic Book Bingo card
I’ll add links to each category as I post the book recommendations for each square. I’ll post a recommended books list three times a month.
- Must-read sapphic book: Read a sapphic book that is a “must-read” according to the 6,000 readers I’ve polled. Click on the link to see a list of the top 50 must-read sapphic books.
- Medical romance: Read a sapphic romance with a main character who’s a medical doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional. The medical setting must play a significant role in the story.
- Started out as fan fiction: Read a sapphic book that started out as fan fiction before the author rewrote and published it as an original work.
- Valentine’s Day romance: Read a sapphic romance with at least one scene set during Valentine’s Day.
- Same or similar job as you: Read a sapphic book with a main character who has the same or a similar job as you. It can also be a job you used to do in the past.
- IHS Best of the Best: Read a sapphic book that won one of the I Heart SapphFic “Best of the Best” polls. It doesn’t need to be the “gold” winner; the top 3 books in each poll count as the winners.
- Speculative fiction: Read a sapphic book with strong fantastical, supernatural, or futuristic elements, e.g., sapphic fantasy, science fiction, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, superheroine fiction, or fairy tale retelling.
- New or new-to-you author: Read a sapphic book by an author who is either new (hasn’t published more than two full-length novels) or new to you.
- Hurt/comfort: Read a sapphic book in which one main character is in physical pain or emotional distress and the other main character takes care of them.
- No third-act breakup: Romance novels often have the main characters break up temporarily in the third act (around the 75-80% mark of the book). For this category, read a sapphic romance in which there is no third-act breakup.
- Free book or free choice: Read a sapphic book that you (legally) got for free. Many authors have a free story for you to download on their website (you’ll find mine here). I’ll post a huge list of free books for you to download in May. Note: Books in Kindle Unlimited are not free since you pay a monthly subscription fee. Alternatively, you can read any book of your choice for this square.
- Rivals-to-lovers romance: Read a sapphic romance in which the main characters start out as rivals before falling in love.
- Spunky grandparent: Read a sapphic book with a spunky grandparent who adds a humorous element or tries to matchmake.
- Character with a disability: Read a sapphic book featuring a main character who has a physical disability, a chronic illness, or a mental disorder.
- Competency is sexy: Read a sapphic book featuring a main character who is especially competent in their job.
- Sporty sapphics: Read a sapphic book with a main character who’s either a professional athlete or loves sports as a hobby.
- Found family: Read a sapphic book in which the characters form a family of choice with people they aren’t related to.
- Kiss in the rain: Read a sapphic book in which the main characters share a kiss in the rain.
- Fall/autumn cover: Read a sapphic book with a cover that has an autumn/fall motif, e.g., yellow, orange, red, and brown leaves.
- Historical fiction: Read a sapphic book that takes place at least 25 years in the past. Usually, the book is set before the author’s lifetime.
- Coming out later in life: Read a sapphic book in which the main character comes out as LGBTQ+ later in life, either because it took them longer to figure out they aren’t straight or because they were struggling to come out to friends and family. What “later in life” means is subjective, of course, but the character should definitely be older than 30.
- Fierce sapphics: Read a sapphic book in which the main character goes on an adventure, is in danger, or fights crime. You’ll usually find these elements in suspense fiction such as mysteries, thrillers, or action/adventure stories.
- Foster care or adoption: Read a sapphic book with a main character who was either adopted or grew up in the foster system. Alternatively, the main character can also adopt or foster a child.
- Character is a CEO: Read a sapphic book with a main character who is the CEO (chief executive officer) of a company.
- Holiday romance: Read a sapphic holiday romance—a romance that revolves around the holidays at the end of the year, e.g., Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Diwali.
The Hidden Gems bingo card
The Hidden Gems represents harder-to-find themes and categories. In previous years, this card was called “Book Unicorn,” but I realized that the categories often include books about marginalized groups such as people of color, trans people, or people with a disability, and I want to make sure nobody feels like we’re comparing them to a fantasy creature. So I’ve renamed it the Hidden Gems card. This name fits well because many of these books don’t get the attention they deserve in the publishing world. As a result, they are harder for readers to find.
As you can see below, the Hidden Gems card is a 3×4 grid instead of the usual 5×5 grid, so there’s a total of 12 categories.
I’ll post a recommended-reads list for a category of the Hidden Gems card once a month.
You can download a PDF of the Hidden Gems card here. You can either type in the PDF or print it out and fill it in by hand.
The categories for the Hidden Gems bingo card
I’ll add links to each category as I post the book recommendations for each square.
- Both characters over 40: Read a sapphic book in which two main characters are at least 40 years old.
- Sex toys: Read a sapphic book in which the characters use a sex toy.
- AAPI character, written by an AAPI author: Read a sapphic book with an Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander main character. Important: It should be a book written by an AAPI author.
- Nonbinary or trans character: Read a sapphic book with a trans or nonbinary main character. Ideally, pick a book written by a trans or nonbinary author.
- Consent is sexy: Read a sapphic book in which the main characters check in with each other and ask for explicit consent during the sex scene.
- Sapphics with swords: Read a sapphic book in which the main character handles a sword (or a similar weapon).
- Interracial couple: Read a sapphic book featuring a couple where the two people belong to different races or ethnicities.
- Butch main character with a non-butch name: Read a sapphic book featuring a butch main character who doesn’t have a unisex name or doesn’t go by a butch nickname.
- Morally ambiguous character: Read a sapphic book with a main character who isn’t purely good or evil and whose actions, motivations, or values straddle the line between right and wrong.
- Asexual character: Read a sapphic book featuring an asexual main character or a main character on the ace spectrum.
- Sapphics in space: Read a sapphic book set in space. It can be a sapphic sci-fi novel or a contemporary book featuring astronauts.
- Long-distance relationship: Read a sapphic book in which the main characters are involved in a relationship yet live far away from each other.
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 4. We’ll start with the “must-read sapphic books” category.
To make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to my blog, and I’ll send the post to your inbox!
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. We keep a folder to which authors are adding little cards that help you see what categories of the Sapphic Book Bingo their books fit into. Here’s an example:
If you prefer Goodreads over Facebook, I also set up a Goodreads group for the Sapphic Book Bingo.
I also put together a site that shows you where my own books fit into the Sapphic Book Bingo as well as the I Heart SapphFic Reading Challenge.
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 Hidden Gems card?
Previous reading challenges
Sapphic Reading Challenge in 2021
F/F Fiction Crossword Challenge in 2020
Lesbian Book Bingo in 2018