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!
- A book published posthumously – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
- A book of true crime – Lady Killers by Tori Tefler
- A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
- A comic written and illustrated by the same person Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
- 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
- A book about nature – Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
- A western – Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
- A comic written or illustrated by a person of color – Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
- A book of colonial or postcolonial literature – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- A romance novel by or about a person of color – Birdwomans palate
- A children’s classic published before 1980 – Heidi, Cloud Library or Scribd
- A celebrity memoir – Wishful Drinking, Navy Library audiobook
- An Oprah Book Club selection – Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
- A book of social science – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- A one-sitting book – milk and honey by rupi kaur
- The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series – Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
- A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author – The Power by Naomi Alderman
- A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image – Animosity Volume 1: The Wake
- A book of genre fiction in translation – The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz
- A book with a cover you hate – Women Who Run with the Wolves Myths & Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
- A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author – The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
- An essay anthology – The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race
- A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
- 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!