One of the many benefits of working in a publishing house is that you are surrounded by
weirdos readers. When Book Riot released their 2018 Read Harder Challenge, it wasn’t hard to convince my fellow Chasers that we should dive into this, head first.
Now, as May blooms, we’re checking in with our progress. Who is succeeding? What books are we reading? What category have we all completely avoided? Let’s find out.
I discovered Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge in late 2017, so being the competitive monster that I am, felt ill-equipped to pick it up at the finish line when I wasn’t confident I could complete it. However, in 2018, I was ready at my laptop the moment the new challenge came out. So far, I’ve loved it. Left unattended in a bookstore (which you should never allow me to be), I gravitate towards genre fiction, YA, and thrillers. So, I’m definitely out of my reading comfort zone.
When I first saw the list, I was practically bouncing off the walls. Because, awesome, a totally great excuse to peruse the graphic novel section at my local used bookstore. Then I noticed some of the other tabs. “A western”?! Where do you even find those, in the lobby of a Logan’s Roadhouse?
It hasn’t been without its difficulties. I read Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey and considered for a long time if it would be cheating to make that my “book about nature.” Would Rupi think that was a compliment? Or would she just be disappointed that I’m not living up to my full potential? The struggle continues. I think I’m going to read a book about weeds.
A book of true crime: A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre
A comic written and illustrated by the same person: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
A celebrity memoir: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
When I found out about the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, I was a little skeptical. At heart, I’m a fiction lover all the way. Give me some paranormal romance, fantasy, and historical fiction—not to mention any and every retelling of Sherlock—and I’ll be a happy camper. I may or may not have done a dance when I saw Sherry Thomas on the recommendation list for “a mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+”. I’ve already read A Study in Scarlet Women, but you better believe I couldn’t get A Conspiracy in Belgravia added to my shopping cart fast enough. Thank you, Book Riot for giving me this reason to spend more money on books that I love. Yes, I will go gently in to that good night.
But there are a lot of nonfiction things to read on the list. My gut reaction to reading nonfiction is that it should be avoided at all costs and will be boring and dry when I do get around to it. However, I have truly enjoyed what I have read so far, even if it didn’t become an instant favorite to read again and again. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve realized that in my tendency to read my favorite genres and authors, I’ve been missing out!
And I have to say, my Goodreads list has never looked better. If nothing else, this challenge has given me incredible bragging rights. Why yes, yes, I am sophisticated enough to have read a book on social science.
Feel free to be impressed.
A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
A one-sitting book: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
A book of genre fiction in translation: The Secret Diary of Henrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old by Hendrik Groen and Hester Velmans
I guess it’s time to fess up: I’ve read a whopping two—two!—books on my challenge list. In January, I knocked out Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny for my one-sitting book, and I started both Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Alyssa Cole’s new book, A Princess in Theory.
Then the Olympics happened, and instead of plodding diligently through my reading list, I found myself deep in the rabbit hole of learning about a pair of Canadian ice dancers.
Oops! I did manage to reread A Wrinkle in Time (a solid two-fer: classic of genre fiction/children’s classic published before 1980) before the movie came out, but it’s kind of appalling that I haven’t read a single book since. However, free time is coming! I’m going on two trips in the next two weeks, so I’m hoping to cross at least three more books off my list. (I will neither confirm nor deny that Tessa & Scott is my choice for celebrity memoir.)
A one-sitting book: On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
A children’s classic published before 1980: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
I’m doubling down on my reading challenges this year – taking part in both the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge and the Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge. My goal for GoodReads is to read 75 books so that I can fulfill some random article that said to be an “avid” reader, you have to read 75 books a year. Well, I AM an avid reader, dang it. And I’ll prove it, if it kills me. Is it obvious I’m an Enneagram One?
Four months in, and I have already read 25 books. Now, to be honest, a lot of these are my trashy romance novels. Because I love trashy romance novels. But I am also taking the Read Harder challenge very seriously, and kicking its butt as well.
I have found that I’m mainly trying to work the requirements into my traditional reading tastes. Is this cheating? No matter, since I’m sure this will only last for so long. I mean, does anyone know of a book of social science that has a romance element?
A one-sitting book: #StarStruck by Sariah Wilson
A comic written and illustrated by the same person: El Deafo by CeCe Bell
The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Had a baby. Thought that meant more reading time. Was terribly wrong.
Page Chaser x Book Riot Read Harder Challenge Fast Facts:
- None of us have read the “book about nature” tab. Or even know where to start. Help us. Does The Lorax count?
- The challenge defeated seven people; it was probably the “an assigned book you hated or never finished” tab.
- I read a collection of short stories, mostly about people dying in space, while on a plane. Big mistake.
- 100% of the people who read El Deafo were both emotionally healed and forever changed.
Are you participating? What are you reading? Any suggestions for us? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!