Thursday, December 12, 2019

Reading Challenge: Read Harder 2020

For 2019, I did two reading challenges: Historical Fiction and Read Harder.

Read Harder changed my reading life.

I had initially rolled my eyes at about a fourth of the requirements, but in the end, every book I was "forced" to read was ultimately really wonderful. I ended up learning something, enjoying more than I anticipated, and was introduced to new authors and ideas. Many of my favorite reads for 2019 were due to Read Harder -- now I feel like I 'get' reading challenges and I'm hooked!

So I'm pretty excited for Read Harder 2020. If you can recommend anything that fits one of these 24 options, let me know! I'm still developing my list.

Read Harder 2020

1) Read a YA nonfiction book
  • An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People
2) Read a retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, or myth by an author of color
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan al-Shaykh
  • Tender by Sofia Samatar
3) Read a mystery where the victim(s) is not a woman
  • A Trace of Deceit
  • A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead 
  • The Other Americans
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered 
4) Read a graphic memoir
  • March: Book One
  • Becoming Unbecoming
5) Read a book about a natural disaster
  • Outrun the Moon
  • The Wildlands 
  • The Children's Blizzard 
  • Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883
  • Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 
  • The Great Hurricane: 1938
6) Read a play by an author of color and/or queer author
  • SongCatcher: A Native Interpretation of the Story of Frances Densmore by Marcie R. Rendon (finished 6/28/2020)
7) Read a historical fiction novel not set in WWII
8) Read an audiobook of poetry
  •  Other Words for Home
  • The Poet X

9) Read the LAST book in a series
  • Sangu Mandanna's final book in her Celestial Trilogy
10) Read a book that takes place in a rural setting
  • The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley (finished 6/9/2020)
11) Read a debut novel by a queer author
  • Gideon the Ninth 
12) Read a memoir by someone from a religious tradition (or lack of religious tradition) that is not your own
  • We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir 
  • Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots 
  • Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the 'Rules' 
  • Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again
  • Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint 
  • Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun 
13) Read a food book about a cuisine you’ve never tried before
  • The Island Kitchen: Recipes from Mauritius and the Indian Ocean 
  • The Food of a Younger Land: The WPA's Portrait of Food in Pre-World War II America 
  • tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine 
  • Kaukasis: A Culinary Journey through Georgia, Azerbaijan Beyond
14) Read a romance starring a single parent
  • Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon (finished 2/1/2020)
15) Read a book about climate change
16) Read a doorstopper (over 500 pages) published after 1950, written by a woman
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree 
  • The Luminaries 
  • Romantic Outlaws
  • Barkskins
  • The Paying Guests
  • The Starless Sea
  • The Secret History
17) Read a sci-fi/fantasy novella (under 120 pages)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom
  • Binti
  • All Systems Red
18) Read a picture book with a human main character from a marginalized community
  • Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty (finished 1/12/2020)
19) Read a book by or about a refugee
  • The Sympathizer
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing 
  • Salt Houses 
  • Americanah 
20) Read a middle grade book that doesn’t take place in the U.S. or the UK
  • The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
  • Amal Unbound  
  • The Turtle of Oman
21) Read a book with a main character or protagonist with a disability (fiction or non)
  • What Is Visible: A Novel by Kimberly Elkins
  • So Lucky by Nicola Griffith
22) Read a horror book published by an indie press

23) Read an edition of a literary magazine (digital or physical)

24) Read a book in any genre by a Native, First Nations, or Indigenous author
  • Braiding Sweetgrass


  1. Fun. But you can safely skip Starless Sea (in my opinion).

  2. I love your ideas! So Lucky was AMAZING. For a book with a rural setting, how about My Ántonia by Willa Cather? This challenge sounds really intriguing!