Another Challenge: Read Harder

I am very eager to finish all of my reading challenges this year, and I’m worried that adding another will make me miss my goal. But I can’t resist joining Book Riot’s diverse Read Harder challenge. So here I am, throwing my bookish hat in the ring!

Boy, Snow, BirdStarting a new challenge can be somewhat daunting, especially if it was created by someone else; I always worry about feeling pressured to read books I won’t enjoy at the expense of my towering TBR stack; or forgetting about the challenge until I review my year in reading.

So I’m listing a few books that I’ve been dying to read in these categories, as a way of jump-starting my participation. Some of these will count for multiple categories (and for other challenges I have set for myself!), which is OK by me, at least in the first year of doing this challenge.

In some cases, such as the “books released this year” and “indie presses,” I have so many options, I didn’t even know where to begin! But others, such as “authors over 65,” are not categories I usually think about, so I’m curious to see how my reading habits fit.

At the end of the year, I’ll repost this list with the books I chose for each category. In the meantime, follow my progress on Goodreads!

A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25:

  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
  • St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65:

  • Dear Life by Alice Munro
  • Paradise by Toni Morrison

A collection of short stories:

  • Redeployment by Phil Klay
  • The Heaven of Animals by David James Poissant
  • Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer
  • St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • Magical: An Anthology edited by Kelly Ann Jacobson
  • Dear Life by Alice Munro

A book published by an indie press:

  • On Immunity by Eula Biss

A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQI:

  • If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • Every Day by David Levithan
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Over You by Amy Reed
  • Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

A book by a person whose gender is different from your own:
All of the guys on this list!

A book that takes place in Asia:

  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim
  • Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick

A book by an author from Africa:

  • Patchwork by Ellen Banda-Aaku
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
  • Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan
  • All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu

A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture:

  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • Lost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

A microhistory:

  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  • Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America by Jo B. Paoletti
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • On Immunity by Eula Biss
  • Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott
  • Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett

A YA novel:

  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Over You by Amy Reed
  • Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
  • If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

A sci-fi novel:

  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Scar by China Mieville
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

A romance novel:

  • Need You Tonight by Roni Loren
  • Beautiful Addictions by Season Vining
  • Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes
  • White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • The Reckoning by Alma Katsu
  • Finding It by Cora Carmack

A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade:

  • Redeployment by Phil Klay
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • Tinkers by Paul Harding
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  • March by Geraldine Brooks
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

A book that is a retelling of a classic story:

  • Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

An audiobook:

  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler

A collection of poetry:

  • Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form by Matthea Harvey
  • Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith
  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

A book that someone else has recommended to you:
Pretty much every book on this list!

A book that was originally published in another language:

  • Sleepwalking Land by Mia Couto

A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind:

  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure:
See “Romance Novels” above.

A book published before 1850:

  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

A book published this year:

  • Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett
  • Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

A self-improvement book:

  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Tell me: What am I missing?

2 replies »

  1. I’m working on “The Icarus Girl” right now. It’s definitely not a book I would have sought out without prompting, so I’m glad the challenge inspired me to read it.
    It looks like you given yourself great options for the various tasks. Just so you know, “Never Let Me Go” is a fantastic book, but it’s not set in Asia. It takes place in Great Britain. Still, you might be able to use it for sci-fi or as a book by a male author.
    Good luck with the challenge!

    Like

    • Likewise on Icarus Girl! I hadn’t heard about it, but I’m eager to get started.

      You’re right about Never Let Me Go. I saw it on a Goodreads list of Asian books. But I think I’ll edit that entry to Ishiguro’s A Pale View of Hills and move Never Let Me Go to sci-fi. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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