Saturday, January 10, 2015

Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge: How I Would Have Fared in 2014

When I first started blogging about books, I became somewhat obsessed with reading challenges. Over the years, I've phased out formal challenges, but I'm still grateful to them for making me more mindful of my reading goals. This year, Book Riot is hosting a Read Harder challenge. It features 24 tasks to encourage people to read outside of their comfort zone. As I looked over the list, I thought most would be pretty easy to check off my list, so I decided to look more carefully at my 2014 reading and see how close I came to accomplishing this challenge without trying. Tomorrow I'll share some of my picks for 2015, particularly in the areas I didn't read this year.
  1. A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25.
    • I know of at least one: Halfway Home by Christine Mari Inzer. I don't pay too much attention to the age of writers, but it's something I'll start tracking better.
  2. A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65.
    • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
    • The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke (Clark, not Burke)
  3. A collection of short stories.
    • The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol
    • Baby and Other Stories by Paula Bomer
    • Inside Madeleine by Paula Bomer
    • The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel
    • Redeployment by Phil Klay
    • A History of Present Illness by Louise Aronson
  4. A book published by an indie press.
    • all three of Paula Bomer's books
    • The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
    • Goodbye to All That edited by Sari Botton
    • MFA vs. NYC edited by Chad Harbach
    • Suzanne Davis Gets a Life by Paula Marantz Cohen
    • When Mystical Creatures Attack! by Kathleen Founds
  5. A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ.
    • Don't Talk to Strangers by Amanda Kyle Williams
    • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
    • Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo
    • Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
    • The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
    • May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes
    • How to Be Both by Ali Smith
  6. A book by a person whose gender is different from your own.
    • many
  7. A book that takes place in Asia.
    • Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo (partially)
    • Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly (partially)
    • The Dog by Joseph O'Neill
    • The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone
    • Halfway Home by Christine Mari Inzer
    • Brick Lane by Monica Ali
    • The Red Thread by Ann Hood
  8. A book by an author from Africa.
    • none, but I did read a book set in Africa
  9. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
    • The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone (Burma indigenous culture)
    • Euphoria by Lily King
  10. A microhistory.
    • Birth: The Surprising History of How We're Born by Tina Cassidy
  11. A YA novel.
    • none last year
  12. A sci-fi novel.
    • It's a stretch, but I'm inclined to claim Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
  13. A romance novel.
    • none last year
  14. A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade.
    • Redeployment by Phil Klay
  15. A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
    • none I can identify
  16. An audiobook.
    • many
  17. A collection of poetry.
    • none last year, but I'm excited for this one.
  18. A book that someone else has recommended to you.
    • Lots.
  19. A book that was originally published in another language.
    • None last year. I definitely need to get back in the habit.
  20. A graphic novel, a graphic memoir, or a collection of comics.
    • Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    • Age of License by Lucy Knisley
    • The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte
    • Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette by Mary Tablot & Kate Charlesworth
  21. A book that you consider a guilty pleasure.
    • Based on the definition of guilty pleasure as "not serious," I'll claim How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane by Johanna Stein.
  22. A book published before 1850.
    • None
  23. A book published this year.
    • Lots
  24. A self-improvement book.
    • Think Like a Freak 
    • Bringing Up Bebe
    • How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm
Many of these challenges are in my comfort zones, but I'm looking forward to branching out and being even more mindful of my reading. Tomorrow I'll share some of my plans for the more challenging categories.

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  1. Love this challenge, and I'm super excited to be collaborating on a similar challenge over at! So much fun!

  2. You can totally claim Station Eleven as sci-fi!

    In a way, Euphoria is a retelling of Mead's story, right?


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!