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Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge - Announcement and TBR

First things first, happy new year!  I can't believe it's already 2017 - this past year sure has flown by!  Here's to what will hopefully be a fantastic 2017!

Anyway, this year I resolve to complete Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge, which sounds like it will be an excellent way to challenge myself to read more widely and broadly.  This year there are twenty-four tasks to complete over the course of the year.  You're allowed to read one book to complete multiple tasks, or read one book per task.  In order to get the most out of this challenge, I will be reading one book per task.  Here's the list of the challenge tasks and my proposed reading list:


1. Read a book about sports.

My choice -  Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock - I've seen this going around my library and I've been wanting to give this YA contemporary featuring football a try.  Based on the cover and title I had not clue that featured football until someone told me...

2. Read a debut novel.

My choice - The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman - I've don't know why I've been waiting on this, so I can't wait to start in on it!


3. Read a book about books.

My choice - The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett - Non-fiction about a rare-book thief who did it for his love of books rather than the money - sounds very enticing.

4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.

My choice - Super Extra Grande by Yoss - This satirical sci-fi by one of Cuba's top sci-fi writers sounds like it's going to be pretty awesome.


5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.

My choice - The Girl With Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson - I've had my eyes on this historical fantasy novel featuring a young Chinese immigrant in San Francisco for quite a while now.

6. Read an all-ages comic.

My choice - Archie, Volume Two by Mark Waid and Veronica Fish - I enjoyed the first volume much more than I expected to and I'm really interested in continuing this modern take on a classic.


7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.

My choice - The Three Taps by Ronald A. Knox - I've picked up quite a few older mystery books recently at antique shops, yard sales, etc. and this story from 1927 particularly stood out to me.  Mine doesn't have a dust jacket, but it after flipping through it I noticed that the subtitle is "A Detective Story Without A Moral" - that sounds right up my alley.  Plus, I didn't realize right away that the "taps" are referring to gas jets from old-fashioned gas lights - so that plus seeing what the dust jacket looked like really upped my interest.

8. Read a travel memoir.

My choice - The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann - I've seen this around before, but I never really paid much attention to it before now.  It sounds like it presents quite a mystery focusing on what happened to a 1925 expedition search for the City of Z, aka El Dorado.


9. Read a book you’ve read before.

My choice - Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas - I read this way back in 2014 and somehow I never got around to the sequels right after.  I plan to remedy that this year, so I'll definitely be rereading book one to refresh my memory.  Here's my original review, if you're interested.

10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.

My choice - Marked for Judgment by Jared McCann - This is set practically in my own backyard!


11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.

My choice - Birds, Beasts, and Relatives (Corfu Trilogy #2) by Gerald Durrell - This is the sequel to one of my favorite memoir's, My Family and Other Animals, and it's about time I continue this series.  Corfu is approximately 5,100 miles from my home in Ohio.

12. Read a fantasy novel.

My choice - The Mists of Avalon (Avalon #1) by Marion Zimmer Bradley - I don't know how I haven't read this yet, but I know I absolutely need to get my hands on this retelling of Arthurian legend.


13. Read a nonfiction book about technology.

My choice - Elon Musk: Inventing the Future by Ashlee Vance - Elon Musk is definitely one of the most interesting innovators of today.  Plus, he's just about the closest thing to a real life Tony Stark that there is.

14. Read a book about war.

My choice - Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith - When it comes to women's involvement in WWII, I love learning about the WASPs, the Women Airforce Service Pilots, so this sounds like it will be fascinating.


15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.

My choices - Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour - I've seen this YA contemporary showing up around the blogosphere quite a bit lately and it's time I see what all of the fuss is about.

16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country. 

My choice - Rainbow Boys (Rainbow Trilogy #1) by Alex Sanchez - I hadn't heard of this until recently, but I noticed that it does make ALA's Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books while also being one of ALA's Best Books for Young Adults.  And, yes, that is Matt Bomer on the cover.


17. Read a classic by an author of color. 

My choice - Parable of the Sower (Earthseed #1) by Octavia E. Butler - I loved Kindred when I read it and I need to try more by this classic African-American sci-fi author!

18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead. 

My choice - Batgirl, Volume 1: The Batgirl of Burnside by Brenden Fletcher, et al. -  As a fan of Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, Barbara Gordon as Batgirl has been recommended to me numerous times.


19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey (From Daniel José Older, author of Salsa Nocturna, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, and YA novel Shadowshaper)

My choice - Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Cordova - I'm really excited for this fantasy adventure novel featuring Latinx culture.

20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean, author of ten bestselling historical romance novels).

My choice - The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) by KJ Charles - I've been told that this is for fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and M/M romance as well.  Since I like Johnathan Strange & Mr Norrell, I'll have to try this one.


21. Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, Marvel’s World of Wakanda, and the forthcoming Hunger and Difficult Women)

My choice - Warhead by Ricardo Delgado - This is put out by Reliquary Press and is described as a neo-noir for fans of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, so it sounds like it could be right up my alley.

22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author Everything I Never Told You and the forthcoming Little Fires Everywhere) 

My choice - St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell - I loved Vampires in the Lemon Grove and it's about time I try her debut with this book of short stories.


23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series, including The Unquiet Dead, The Language of Secrets, and the forthcoming Among the Ruins)

My choice - Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam by Osib Mandelstam, translated by Christian Wiman - I've never read Mandelstam before, but he's a major Russian poet of the twentieth century who was a political nonconformist who opposed Stalin's totalitarian government.

24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of sci-fi novel Ascension)

My choice - One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia - I've been meaning to read this middle-grade historical fiction novel for quite a while, so what better time than for this challenge.

If you've made it this far, congratulations!  Are you planning on tackling Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge, too?  If so, I'd love to know what books you plan on picking up for it!


  1. Good luck with this challenge!! Sounds like a lot of fun!

  2. This looks like an awesome challenge, Lauren! Every time I come across that Rainbow Boys cover, I let out squeal. I really loved White Collar and miss it so much. I'm sure you'll enjoy Labyrinth Lost, it has similar elements to Shadowshaper, which I know you enjoyed. Happy New Year!

  3. Wow. Even making the list is a hard task. I am very impressed by your selections. Good luck with the challenge.

    1. It was time consuming but I think I've got a good line up! :)


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