Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge: Check In

Earlier this year, I decided to take my reading to another level by completing the 52 book challenge. With that goal in mind, I stumbled upon the Book Riot website by happenstance and found their 2016 Read Harder Challenge. Not doing anything like this before, I had to try it! With 24 individual tasks, it averages out to about 2 a month.

Here are the tasks I’ve already completed:

Read a horror book:

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker

Read a nonfiction book about science:

  • Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives by Sharon Moalem

Read a book aloud to someone else:

  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck (read to my cat. Does that count?)

Read a biography:

  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

Read a Dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel:

  • Brave New World by  Aldous Huxley
  • The Scorch Trials (2) by James Dashner
  • The Kill Order (4) by James Dashner
  • Now reading The Passage by Justin Cronin

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award:

  • Euphoria by Lily Kong

Read a book over 500 pages long:

  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
  • City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Now reading The Passage by Justin Cronin

Read a book under 100 pages long:

  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Read a book that’s set in the Middle East:

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Read a of historical fiction set before 1900:

  • The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Read a book that was adapted into a movie. Debate which is better:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (both versions are amazing, but book always wins)
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (I watched the version with Tom Hardy which was pretty good, but I can’t really decide seeing as I kind of just detest the story no matter the version)
  • Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (still need to see the movie!)

Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction):

  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Alan
  • Now reading The Relic Master by Christopher Huckley

Read a book with a main character that has a metal illness:

  • Black Hole by Bucky Sinister (drug dependence)

Looking Back:

Looking back at my reading choices, it’s pretty clear that, at least this year, I’m a big fan of dystopian novels and verbose authors. Not that either of those is very new for me, but reading the Maze Runner series definitely started the trend in my reading again – I think I  finished each of them in a matter of hours. While I still have so many questions about the world Dashner has sculpted and the where the characters will go, I can’t recommend the series enough.

My favorite novel of the year so far is most definitely All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. His writing is truly breathtaking, almost lyrical, and the characters he is able to build, that have such depth and yet feel so familiar, makes the novel a remarkable gift to read.

My least favorite novel I’ve read, and this is kind of hard considering there’ve been a few, is The Known World by Edward P. Jones. I wanted to like it. I tried really hard to like this novel, but it just didn’t happen. There are too many characters to remember, many of which are complete unnecessary to the plot and don’t even have anything to do with any of the major characters in the story. Although their stories were interesting, their inclusion muddled the central plot of the novel making it entirely impossible to even really name the central plot line. For such “groundbreaking” work, I find it hard to believe that there’s only one character in the entirety of the novel that’s Native American. In the South. I could go on, but I’m probably boring you already…or I’ll offend someone so I’ll stop. Just skip this one. If you want to read a great novel by an African American look elsewhere. Might I suggest The Color Purple by Alice Walker – now that is a great American novel.

What are your reading goals? What have been your favorites so far this year?






4 thoughts on “Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge: Check In

  1. Great Post! I never knew about this challenge and is one I might do. I define need to read ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Hossieni meanwhile you should read The Kite Runner by him. an absolute best to read. I did publish a review on my blog about how amazing it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! The Kite Runner has been on my TBR for a while now, but after reading your review I may need to push it to the top of the list. Hossieni is such a wonderful writer!


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