Read Harder Challenge Complete!

This is my third year doing the Read Harder Challenge and it has been the hardest one yet! Okay, maybe it has more to do with the way I was trying to get it done this time. In previous years, I figured out what to read the day the list came out (or the day I discovered it) but I wanted to kind of wing it this year.

I knew I had previously changed my mind and cut corners, discovering books that fit into categories once I was on a time crunch. I’ll be honest, it’s all really Task 20. It was so hard to find a book I was really to read with a cover I hate. Okay, and I decided right in the beginning to abstain from Task 24. I’m not rereading the one book written by a woman that I had been assigned that I hated. For the record, it was Beloved by Toni Morrison. She’s an amazing writer and I get the point of the book but I hated it because I had been assigned this book in a class I took within a year of losing my own infant and was forced to muscle through the horrific images of the dead infant of the protagonist. Never again. Sorry Book Riot, not doing it.

I did compromise, though. I read Great by Sara Benincasa because it’s a retelling of The Great Gatsby which I did hate and written by a woman. It’s better than missing the task altogether, which I almost did. By almost, I mean it was literally writing this post to be posted a week earlier that I realized I should do this. Also, there is a whole #IneedFeminism idea here in that Beloved was the ONLY book written by a woman that I was assigned in regular literature classes. I did also take a Jane Austen focused class, but I didn’t hate any of those, even though Emma is not my favorite. I would feel worse counting that than trading it in for Great, and so here we are. Without further ado, here is my list for 2018!

  1. A book published posthumously – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  2. A book of true crime – Lady Killers by Tori Tefler
  3. A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  4. A comic written and illustrated by the same person Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
  5. A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries  (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) – The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
  6. A book about nature – Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  7. A western – Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
  8. A comic written or illustrated by a person of color – Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  9. A book of colonial or postcolonial literature – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  10. A romance novel by or about a person of color –  Birdwomans palate
  11. A children’s classic published before 1980 – Heidi, Cloud Library or Scribd 
  12. A celebrity memoir – Wishful Drinking, Navy Library audiobook 
  13. An Oprah Book Club selection – Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  14. A book of social science – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  15. A one-sitting book – milk and honey by rupi kaur
  16. The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series – Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
  17. A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author – The Power by Naomi Alderman
  18. A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image – Animosity Volume 1: The Wake
  19. A book of genre fiction in translation – The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz
  20. A book with a cover you  hate – Women Who Run with the Wolves Myths & Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
  21. A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author – The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
  22. An essay anthology – The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race
  23. A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
    1. Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
    2. Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage, and Survival by Velma Wallis
  24. An assigned book you hated (or never finished) – Great by Sara Benincasa

I did have many wonderful books along the way that could have counted in different areas as well. I ended up reading A LOT of celebrity memoirs this year, for example. As usually, I had a great time with those listed, some more than others. I’ll admit that I had a few favorites too (17, 7, 2, 9, 15…. not actually in that order). I look forward to the next list being posted next week!

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