Read Harder 2019 is here! Thanks to the awesome Rachel Manwill of Book Riot, we get another year of excellent reading tasks to challenge our reading comfort zones.
I like to try to decide ahead of time what to read for the Read Harder tasks. I almost always change my mind as the year goes on, of course, but if I at least have a preliminary list going, it helps me stay on track to get the job done. This year, I am going to try hard to make every book on this list by an author of color or a woman. Preferably a woman of color. Below is my tentative list for the new 2019 Read Harder challenge. I can’t wait to dive in! I hope you’ll share what books you’re using for your own Read Harder tasks!
1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters:
- Possession – AS Byatt.
- The Diary of a Provincial Lady by EM Delafield, which looks like it can also double dip for a humor book.
- I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
2. An alternate history novel:
- The Big Lie – Julie Mayhew.
- The Years of Rice and Salt – Kim Stanley Robinson. PLAAAAAAGUE! Yay!
- River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey. Hungry, hungry hippos!
3. A book by a woman and/or AOC that won a literary award in 2018:
- The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (National Book award). Might be able to double dip this for a book with an animal or inanimate object as the main character.
- The Stone Sky – NK Jemisin (Hugo)
- Milkman – Anna Burns (Man Booker)
4. A humor book:
- possibly Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi. I suppose it depends on your definition of humor.
- The Diary of a Provincial Lady by EM Delafield.
- Or the David Sedaris books that have been on my TBR forever.
5. A book by a journalist or about journalism:
- Ten Days in a Mad-House – Nellie Bly.
- The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert.
- The Professor and the Madman – Simon Winchester.
- Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women – Geraldine Brooks.
6. A book by an AOC set in or about space:
- probably something by Michio Kaku. Love that guy! He gets so excited about space!
- ORRRrrr, I could finally get around to reading the Binti trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor!
- Dawn (Lilith’s Brood series) – Octavia Butler.
7. An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America:
- Maybe Fruit of the Drunken Tree. Not sure if that is #ownvoices or not, though. Have to do more research on this one.
- Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel. Can also double dip for a book translated by a woman.
- The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind – Meg Medina.
8. An #ownvoices book set in Oceania:
- Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (Maori). I hear the book is way better than the movie was.
- Where We Once Belonged by Sia Figiel (Fiji).
9. A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads:
- The Scarlet Forest – AE Chandler.
- Roses in the Tempest – Jeri Westerson.
- The Long, Long Life of Trees – Fiona Stafford.
- The World, The Flesh, and the Devil – Reay Tannahill.
- On Night’s Shore – Randall Silvis
10. A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman:
- The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.
- The Vegetarian or Human Acts – Han Kang.
- My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante.
11. A book of manga:
- I….yeah, I got nothing. I have no earthly idea. This will require a lot of research on my part because I really don’t have much knowledge of manga. Comics of any kind are generally not my jam. I’ll honestly have to see what the hivemind on the Read Harder Goodreads community recommends.
12. A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character:
- Black Beauty – Anna Sewell. I can read this with my daughter!
- The Bees by Laline Paull.
- Tomorrow: A Novel by Damien Dibbins.
- KA: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley.
13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse:
- The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Asperger’s, #ownvoices).
- A Girl Like Her – Talia Hibbert (#ownvoices).
- Made You Up by Francesca Zappia.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.
14. A cozy mystery:
- Murder in G Major – Alexia Gordon.
- The Tale of Hill-Top Farm – Susan Wittig Albert.
- Homicide in Hardcover – Kate Carlisle.
15. A book of mythology or folklore:
- Deathless – Catherynne Valente.
- Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman’s Life – Joan Gould.
- The Myth of Morgan La Fay – Kristina Perez.
- OR, finally get around to reading Norse Myths or reread American Gods – Neil Gaiman.
16. An historical romance by an AOC:
- An Extraordinary Union – Alyssa Cole.
- Freedom’s Embrace – Kianna Alexander.
- I think an argument can be made that Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a romance.
17. A business book:
- The Four-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss.
- You Are A Badass : How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero.
18. A novel by a trans or nonbinary author:
- All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders.
- Small Beauty – Jia Qing Wilson-Yang.
- Peter Darling – Austin Chant.
- Lizard Radio – Pat Schmatz.
19. A book of nonviolent true crime:
- The Dinosaur Artist by Paige Williams.
- Mrs Sherlock Holmes by Brad Rica.
- Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger – Lee Israel.
20. A book written in prison:
- Le Morte d’Arthur – Sir Thomas Malory.
- The Consolation of Philosophy – Boethius.
- Civil Disobedience – Thomas Paine.
21. A comic by an LGBTQIA creator:
- Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
22. A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009:
- One Crazy Summer – Rita Williams-Garcia.
- #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women – ed. Lisa Charleyboy
23. A self-published book:
- The Wake – Paul Kingsnorth (Not technically self pubbed, but nontraditional, because he wrote in a made up language and traditional publishers didn’t want him, so a crowdfunding publisher by the name of Unbound stepped in. Just like with a Kickstarter, Unbound launched The Wake as a project that allowed hopeful readers to pledge their support for Kingsnorth’s work. [https://electricliterature.com/11-books-that-prove-theres-nothing-wrong-with-self-publishing-b507ef16d4e5].
- Still Alice – Lisa Genova.
- The Martian – Andy Weir (a reread for me).
- Hand of Fire or Priestess of Ishana – Judith Starkston (both would be rereads for me).
24. A collection of poetry published since 2014:
- the sun and her flowers – Rupi Kaur.
- The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One – Amanda Lovelace