Here it is! The new Read Harder 2022 reading challenge! I confess that I fully blew off the 2021 RH challenge. I’ll post that in a few days, but I barely made a dent in that list. But here is the new list and, as always, I really like trying to figure out what books I will read for each task. I try to make it more feminist and find a book written by a woman for each task as well. Maybe I’ll do what I can to complete it with as many SFF books as possible this time. That would be fun! So would using books I already own to complete the challenge. Wouldn’t that be something? Seeing what I plan to read versus what I actually end up reading is always interesting to me.
Hidden below the cut since my list is fucking long. One day, I will be found buried under my giant pile of books.
Read a biography of an author you admire: Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly, or Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley. Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit for SFF option.
Read a book set in a bookstore: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, or The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Maybe The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow or Farnham’s Freehold by Heinlein for SFF option. They’re not set IN a bookstore but books play prominent roles in both so I reckon that counts.
Read any book from the Women’s Prize shortlist/longlist/winner list: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (will work for SFF option, too), or Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, or How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones.
Read a book in any genre by a POC that’s about joy and not trauma: Pride by Ibi Zoboi, or With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. The Sound of Stars will work for the SFF option, too. Yay, double dipping!
Read an anthology featuring diverse voices: This is a perfect excuse to finally read my Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View and From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back anthologies again. Well, FACPOV again. I haven’t actually managed yet to read FACPOV:TESB. And both will work for the SFF option. So would Walking the Clouds, a SFF anthology of Native works.
Read a nonfiction YA comic: Not sure yet. I don’t read many graphic novels OR many YA novels. Almost American Girl by Robin Ha looks decent, so I might go with that one. The Mars Challenge by Alison Wilgu and Wyeth Yates (illustrator) will cover the SFF option.
Read a romance where at least one of the protagonists is over 40: Maybe The Fall by Nia Forrester. It sounds more like literary fiction than romance, but I don’t care. I don’t like romance so this is as close as I’m likely to get. Or for the SFF option, Lady Knight by L.-J Baker is a fantasy with a 40+ protagonist who gets involved in a love affair. I’ll probably go with that one since it’s fantasy by a woman author. This site is an excellent resource.
Read a classic written by a POC: The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, or Memoirs of a Woman Doctor by Nawal el Saadawi. Or Ain’t I a Woman by bell hooks, who died the day I was working on this post. For the SFF option, anything by Octavia Butler, especially her Xenogensis trilogy, or Babel-17 by Samuel Delaney.
Read the book that’s been on your TBR the longest: LMFAO there’s no possible fucking way I can know this. I have too many books that have been on my TBR for years and years. I’ll probably just read one I’ve had for ages that covers at least one other task on this list.
Read a political thriller by a marginalized author (BIPOC, or LGBTQIA+): When Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams, because she fucking ROCKS. Or for the SFF option, Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh also fits the bill.
Read a book with an asexual and/or aromantic main character: The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz (also works for SFF option) or The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
Read an entire poetry collection: Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith or Radio Heart; Or, How Robots Fall Out of Love by Margaret Rhee. Both of these will also work for the SFF option.
Read an adventure story by a BIPOC author: The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang, or The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, both of which would work as well for the SFF option. Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy will also double dip for the SFF option.
Read a book whose movie or TV adaptation you’ve seen (but haven’t read the book): Honestly, the easy answer to this would be The Wheel of Time series, but there is no way on God’s green earth I’m getting sucked into a double-digit novel series. So maybe I’ll go with Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, or the Sherlock Holmes books (I haven’t read all of them!). For the SFF option, I can go with Children of Men by PD James.
Read a new-to-you literary magazine (print or digital): No. This is literally part of my day job and even though I love my job, I don’t want reading to remind me of work. Plus, I do read several literary magazines just for my own interest on top of what I read for work and I really don’t care if I expand this reading area. I already read diversely here.
Read a book recommended by a friend with different reading tastes: I have my girlfriends’ book club specifically for this. I’m sure I will read something for that which will satisfy this task. Or else I can ask my BFF. We do have similar tastes in some things but she also reads a ton of fluffy books and I don’t. I’m sure she has a recommendation that will also work here.
Read a memoir written by someone who is trans or nonbinary: I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya. For the SFF option, I can do Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi.
Read a “Best Writing of the year” book for a topic and year of your choice: I’ll probably do the Best American Science Fiction of some year.
Read a horror novel by a BIPOC author: Probably either The Changeling, Destroyer, or The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle, Old Farmer’s Road by Isaiyan Morrison, or White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi. All of these would also work for the SFF option.
Read an award-winning book from the year you were born: Maybe Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Newberry), Gateway by Frederik Pohl (Hugo), or Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre (Nebula). My kid has a copy of Terabithia and Audible has Dreamsnake for free, so yay, options! Dreamsnake and Gateway both work for the SFF option. I’ll probably go with Dreamsnake since it’s written by a woman.
Read a queer retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, folklore, or myth: Maybe Peter Darling by Austin Chant (Retelling of Peter Pan. And of course my Head!Captain Hook will be Jason Isaacs, because he played a fucking HOT Captain Hook), In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard (Beauty and the Beast), Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Cinderella), or, most likely, Sword Stone Table edited by Swapna Krishna and Jenn Northington (Arthurian legend). That one will also count toward the SFF option, as would Cinder..
Read a history about a period you know little about: Ooh, let’s do pirates! I mean, let’s learn about them. I’ll go with Life of a Smuggler by Helen Hollick, since I kind of know her and I have a copy I haven’t read yet. I don’t know how to make this a SFF option since I don’t think there are any space pirates in our solar system just yet, so I’ll just stick with reading women authors.
Read a book by a disabled author: Maybe The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, or any of the ones I haven’t read yet by Nnedi Okorafor. I love her books so much! Nnedi’s books will also count for the SFF option. In fact, I have had her third Akata book, Akata Woman, preordered for months, so I’ll use that one for my SFF option here.
Pick a challenge from any of the previous years’ challenges to repeat: Maybe #16 (Read an own voices book about disability) or #24 (Read a book featuring a beloved pet where the pet doesn’t die) from the 2021 Read Harder list. I could read On the Edge of Gone or Not Otherwise Specified for #16 or The Friend, The Lady, or Dirt for #24.