So far I’ve read 13 out of the 24 Read Harder 2018 Challenge. It’s my first time doing this challenge and I’m really enjoying it. But it’s the categories I haven’t read so far that are the real challenge. What I’d really like is to get YOUR suggestions about books that fall into these categories. Read Harder has helpful suggestions at this link, if you want to see their ideas. I’ve noted some of the books I’m thinking about.
Here’s what I’ve read:
- A book of true crime: Killers of the Flower Moon
- A classic of genre fiction: A Wrinkle in Time
- A book set in one of the five BRICs countries: Girls Burn Brighter
- A book about nature: My Family and Other Animals
- A comic written/illustrated by a person of color: Ms. Marvel
- A book of colonial or post-colonial literature: Pachinko
- A romance novel by a person of color: The Luckiest Lady in London
- A children’s classic published before 1980: A Wrinkle in Time
- A celebrity memoir: Love, Loss, and What We Ate
- An Oprah Book Club selection: An American Marriage
- A one-sitting book: All Systems Red
- The first book in a new-to-you YA series: Paper Girls, Vol. 1; Labyrinth Lost
- Sci Fi novel w female protagonist by female author: Future Home of the Living God; Crosstalk
Here’s what’s left.
- A book published posthumously. I read Confederacy of Dunces a long time ago (though it would be a nice re-read). What else? There’s a book called When Breath Becomes Air, written by a neurosurgeon who dies of cancer. Morbid, yes, but a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and sounds inspiring.
- A comic written and illustrated by the same person. If I ever finish Persepolis, that will count. But I’m struggling with it a bit. Another idea is Stitches, a memoir by children’s illustrator David Small.
- A western. Book Riot says River of Teeth counts, but… call it my Arizona upbringing, but I’m not sure a book that takes place in Louisiana can fairly be called a western.
- A book of social science. For some reason I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this one. Read Harder describes this as a book that “sheds light on one fascinating aspect of us humans and our puzzling, amazing, infuriating interactions with each other and the world around us.” Have I read anything that falls into this category? Tell Me More is about communication but it’s really more anecdotal than anything else. One Small Step Can Change Your Life could work, since it gets at the psychology of motivation and change, but that’s not really social science either. The one I think works is Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome.
- A book of genre fiction in translation. I’m thinking about My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Can that be called genre fiction? What if I call it (a category I despise) women’s fiction? The books of Han Kang are also translated, and also not genre fiction.
- A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image. I’m thinking Marchby John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. I’m also intrigued by Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, which would meet #2 as well – and it has recipes!
- A book with a cover you hate. Looking at books I’ve read this year, there are covers that do nothing for me but not really covers I hate. So far the cover I like least this year is for an otherwise excellent book, Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires.
- A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ author. I’m really interested in The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey. I also really liked The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan, and she’s got two other books in the series.
- An essay anthology. My idea here: Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance and Revolution in Trump’s America, edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding.
- A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60: My idea for this one is Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon. It’s gotten mixed reviews but has also won or been nominated for lots of awards.
- An assigned book you hated or never finished. The book that immediately comes to mind is the dreaded Jane Eyre (which I know many of you love). I want to give it another chance one of these days, but Jane Eyre seems like a lot of effort for a book I didn’t like! Let me know if you have any suggestions. As an English major, I also struggled with (and often didn’t finish) the works of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.
That’s 11 books in six months, if I want to complete the challenge. And maybe I can count #3 as one I’ve already done, and #7 could be a book I’ve read already.
If you’re doing the challenge, which ones are you struggling with?