The 2016 Read Harder Challenge

Have you guys heard of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge? I really enjoyed the reading challenge that Modern Mrs. Darcy hosted last year because it got me outside of my comfort zone and thinking about my book choices in a new way – but with only 12 categories, it was totally doable. Book Riot’s challenge looks equally enticing but with 24 categories to cross off, I’m less certain that I can finish it. Totally won’t stop me from trying or at least thinking about what book might fit each category that I’d like to read.

For instance…

Read a horror book.

51Br1F68sKL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This really isn’t my genre. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey is the closest I’ve come to enjoying a horror story. My husband suggested I try some HP Lovecraft. He’s the genius behind Cthulhu and a bunch of other stories that sound spooky and strange.

Read a nonfiction book about science.

51PdzumjQFL._SX387_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been meaning to read What If? by Randall Munroe, the creator of one of my favorite comics, XKCD. My husband loved it and it fits the theme! Yay! Also, I love that his author profile pic on Amazon is a stick figure. That completes me.

Read a collection of essays.

41D5jtC3TpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Modern Mrs. Darcy recommended The Essays of E.B. White, who wrote famous children’s stories like Charlottes Web and Stuart Little when he wasn’t writing famous essays. Anne writes that, “In this eclectic collection he covers writing, farming, city life, puppy love, and politics, and more.” The New York Public Library, who has their own suggestions for each of these prompts, recommended The Opposite of Loneliness which  looks intriguing.

Read a book out loud to someone else.

51-t+ZHJeLL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_I have a whole basket filled with books to read out loud to the kids. Right now we’re reading The Little Prince together. We’re also working our way through The Story of the World: Vol 1. Next year I’d also like to read them Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which I’ve nearly read to them half a million times.

Read a middle grade novel.

51R0WWNOkfL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_This would probably happen whether I was doing the challenge or not. I downloaded Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick onto my kindle recently and I’m looking forward to reading that –  I loved her Mother Daughter Book Club series.

Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography).

51VLLt2fRQL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_I read a lot of memoirs but not a lot of biographies – I’m guessing I’m not alone there – it’s probably one of the reasons they specified. Somehow I still haven’t read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot so I think this would be a good excuse to finally get around to this one.

Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel.

61bOJkwcVCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Again, I don’t really need to be told to read this genre – it makes its way into my TBR pile all on its own. I just got a kindle edition of Wool by Hugh Howley that I’m hoping to read soon. It’s the first in a series about a community living underground after a pretty nasty apocalyptic event that left the above ground world toxic and ruined.

Read a book originally published in the decade you were born.

51nP8f0djYL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Check out Goodreads’ great list. I was born in the 80’s and saw a few books I’ve been meaning to read on their list. The Color Purple by Alice Walker and The BFG by Roald Dahl were the two that I don’t own that I’d like to read but I also own a copy of The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett.

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award.

51v1t48NzmL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_There are some great ones to choose from! The Hounds of Baskerville by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Martian by Andy Weir (another book my husband has been hounding me to read) and What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey are all at the top of my list.

Read a book over 500 pages long.

41VgvI2digL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I would definitely choose Winter by Marissa Meyer because somehow I haven’t read it yet – ugggghhhhhhhhh. Hopefully I’ll be able to remedy that in the next couple of months. This is the latest installment in the Lunar Chronicles series which avid readers of this blog will know I’m borderline obsessed with.

Read a book under 100 pages.

41JRm7U8r7L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The NYPL recommended The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving which I actually haven’t read yet so this would be a good choice for me. I’ve enjoyed most of the tv / movie adaptations that I’ve seen. And the kindle edition is just 99 cents!

Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender.

31f6dny4nOL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_This would be a real step outside of my comfort zone but I’d probably read George by Alex Gino. It has good reviews and seems like it would be enjoyable and educational for someone who doesn’t really know a lot about transgenders. It was recommended by the NYPL.

Read a book that is set in the Middle East.

51LLIhiNdJL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I like the look of NYPL’s suggestion, Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed which deals with the whole subject of arranged marriages and the concept of fate. I didn’t realize until recently how prevalent arranged marriages still are in certain cultures so this would be a fascinating read.

Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia.

512NPSSNR1L._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_Okay guys, it’s kind of a pain in the butt to look for books with such obscure categories. Asian literature wouldn’t have been difficult to search for – but southeast Asian is quite a bit more specific. But after browsing through, I did come up with Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, the book that The King & I was based on.

Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900.

51D9zSdtxVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_See, this is a genre that I can spend all day in. I’ve already got A Little Bit In Love by Susan E. Fletcher on my wishlist – it’s inspired by Victor Hugo’s classic, Les Miserables, and it focuses on the story of street girl Eponine. I also want to read Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran and Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman.

Read the first book in a series by a person of color.

51D7zdc1zTL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I’d probably go with the NYPL’s suggestion of Dawn by Octavia E. Butler, the first book in the Xenogenesis series.  It’s actually a dystopian book about a woman rescued from Earth’s destruction, who is called upon to revive mankind. Butler has written a LOT of books and several different series so there’s plenty to choose from if you like her.

Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years.

51hyzbHVsFL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_I just downloaded Lumberjanes #1 by Grace Ellis onto my kindle. The first book in the comic,  set at summer camp with creepy happenings, is only $1.99 – a very inexpensive way to dip your toe into the whole comic book / graphic novel scene. I also want to keep reading the Giant Days series.

Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better.

51nP8f0djYL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_THE BFG by Roald Dahl is getting made into a movie so that might be a timely choice. I’d also like to read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes.

51TotTTRSjL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been wanting to read You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt for awhile. I also have We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on my kindle (which is only $1.99 by the way). I also think My Fight, Your Fight by Ronda Rousey could be considered feminist in theme.

Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction).

51srkWDcZPL._SX347_BO1,204,203,200_Some religious type books that I’ve been meaning to read include The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff and The Meaning of Mary Magdalene by Cynthia Bourgeault which I’d probably read along with The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction).

51n8Bi-W+OL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I have A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zimm already downloaded onto my Kindle. I’m not big on political books but I like the idea of history from the perspective of the people not mentioned in history books.

Read a food memoir.

51LjER3PjAL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I still haven’t read Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond which is kind of insane. So that would be high on my list. I’d also love to read My Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.

Read a play.

51Vsi3wV28L._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_I love The Importance of Being Ernest, so my first thought was to find another play by Oscar Wilde, like An Ideal Husband which sounds right up my alley. I’d also be interested in reading Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie or Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness.

51Z3ZotTWfL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I’m pretty sure I’d absolutely have to go with Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and I’d feel all smug and proud of myself for reading about such an important topic except anyone who has read anything by Lawson knows it will absolutely be reading for pleasure. And that I would have read this with or without a challenge telling me to.

What books would you pick for these topics?

One response to “The 2016 Read Harder Challenge”

  1. Kate @ Mom's Radius Avatar

    Looks like a great challenge. Good luck! And enjoy.