Read Harder Challenge: Update

Earlier this year, I chose to participate in Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge. I let this list of challenges guide me in making some reading decisions, but I didn’t read solely to check things off the challenge list. I’ve managed to complete 18 out of 24 challenges for the year, and I am pretty pleased with that. I really enjoyed participating in this challenge because it helped me become aware of all the different kinds of books I chose to read throughout the year. This is definitely proof of the different genres and styles of books that I’ve explored this year. There are a few challenges on this list that I did not complete, but I plan to complete soon.

  1. A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25 – White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  2. A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65 – Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  3. A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people) – Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  4. A book published by an indie press – On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss
  5. A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  6. A book by a person whose gender is different from your own – American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  7. A book that takes place in Asia – Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  8. A book by an author from Africa – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  9. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
  10. A microhistory – Stiff by Mary Roach
  11. A YA novel – Say What you Will by Cammie McGovern
  12. A sci-fi novel – Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  13. A romance novel
  14. A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, or Pulitzer Prize winner – The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  15. A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
  16. An audiobook – Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-up by Grace Helbig
  17. A collection of poetry
  18. A book that someone else has recommended to you – Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  19. A book that was originally published in another language – One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
  20. A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind – Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona
  21. A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, then realize that good entertainment insetting to feel guilty over) – Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  22. A book published before 1850
  23. A book published this year – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  24. A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)

Did y’all participate in this challenge? Let me know how you did in the comments below!

Bout of Books #14: What to Read Next Challenge

I thought this challenge would be a fun one to participate in. Who doesn’t like learning about great books from fellow book lovers? These are the instructions for the challenge posted on Sarah Reads Too Much:

For this Challenge, you need to recommend 3 books (and only 3 books) that you have read this year that you think should be recognized as something great – something everyone should have on their TBR list for this fall.  If you can, say a short little something about why you recommend these books.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – This was my first time reading anything by Margaret Atwood but I’d heard great things about her writing. I now see why. I was both fascinated and frightened by the story because I’m positive that people certainly exist with the mindset of those who created a new society in the United States. Basically, the premise of the book is generally believable. I didn’t even realize the book was science fiction until after I finished reading it because there is nothing that is extremely science-based and out of the question. I recommend this book if you like being sucked into utopian/dystopian worlds, especially those that are realistic and get you to think about what you would have done in that situation.
  2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Adichie does an amazing job at creating rich stories and rich characters. This is the story of Ifemelu and her life in Nigeria as a child, going to school in the United States, and then returning to Nigeria as a cultured and educated woman. Interwoven throughout is the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, her first love in Nigeria. I recommend any of Adichie’s writing, but this story is a great one to start with.
  3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – I just read this book about a week ago and it has been on my mind. Many have read and recommended this book, and I feel ashamed for barely getting to it. This is the story Melinda just starting her freshman year of high school, but she’s not off to a good start. All her friends (or ex-friends) are mad at her, and she finds herself alone with her thoughts. The story unravels the consequences of a party gone wrong and how Melinda slowly works through her fear and guilt and is finally able to come to terms with what happened to her and talk about it. Speak is one of those books that everyone should read if only to expose oneself to the gripping emotions of a young girl who has experienced a something traumatic.

What are three books you’ve read in 2015 that you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Read harder challenge.

I am participating in my first reading challenge this year, and I chose to participate in the 2015 Read Harder Challenge created by Book Riot. This challenge focuses on diversifying the books we choose to read throughout the year. Diversity in this challenge is addressed in terms of book genre, publication information, time period in which a book was written, author’s background, format of the book, etc. Since I’m making an effort to read more this year, I thought this would be a great challenge for me. Previously, I read a lot of YA and a bit of general fiction, and this challenge is really helping me make more deliberate decisions about what I choose to read in my free time. This is not to say that any one book is better than another, but I am much more aware of the kinds of books I’m reading. I would much rather read books of different genres and with different settings and protagonists instead of reading solely within my comfort zone.

The challenge comprises the following tasks:

  1. A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
  2. A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
  3. A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)
  4. A book published by an indie press
  5. A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
  6. A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
  7. A book that takes place in Asia
  8. A book by an author from Africa
  9. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
  10. A microhistory
  11. A YA novel
  12. A sci-fi novel
  13. A romance novel
  14. A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
  15. A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
  16. An audiobook
  17. A collection of poetry
  18. A book that someone else has recommended to you
  19. A book that was originally published in another language
  20. A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind (Hi, have you met Panels?)
  21. A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)
  22. A book published before 1850
  23. A book published this year
  24. A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)

These tasks do not need to be completed in a specific order. I will do my best to complete as many tasks as possible, but I don’t want to obsess over reading a book just because it’ll check a task off the list for me. I am instead working on pairing books from my TBR with the tasks. So far, I’ve enjoyed expanding my reading with different authors and genres! I will keep track of my progress here, and invite you to join me in this challenge.