I love a challenge.
I mean, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I do enjoy taking on exciting new challenges but there’s a sizeable part of my rabbit heart that quivers in anticipation of my inevitable failure.
But challenges aren’t necessarily about beating them. They’re about the progress you make when you try.
In that spirit, following my miserable failure of my Goodreads reading challenge last year (just 20-something out of 50), I’ve embraced another, hopefully even more fun reading challenge: Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 challenge!
The challenge consists in reading books fulfilling any of list of 24 categories, six of which have been submitted by authors, in order to broaden your intake. The categories are as follows:
- Read a book about sports.
- Read a debut novel.
- Read a book about books.
- Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
- Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.
- Read an all-ages comic.
- Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
- Read a travel memoir.
- Read a book you’ve read before.
- Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
- Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
- Read a fantasy novel.
- Read a nonfiction book about technology.
- Read a book about war.
- Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
- Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
- Read a classic by an author of color.
- Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
- 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)
- Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean, author of ten bestselling historical romance novels)
- 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)
- Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author Everything I Never Told You and the forthcoming Little Fires Everywhere)
- 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)
- Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of sci-fi novel Ascension)
Some of the categories above push me well outside my comfort zone—a book about sports?! does robot fighting count?—but I get the feel that that’s the entire point. I’m certain I can do this.
I’ve already earmarked a couple of books I’ve been meaning to get into for some time: Malinda Lo’s Huntress, which hits one of my favourite tropes, a badass lady character with a sword, and which falls under both a fantasy novel and a YA/MG novel by an LGBTQ+ author; and Helen Oyeyemi’s What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, a short story collection by a woman. Number 18, a superhero comic with a female lead, shouldn’t be too difficult, as that’s my normal reading matter in comics. I also am 100% that I have a non-fiction book about technology already buried in my teetering TBR mountain range.
I remain quietly confident, and actually exuberant about a year full of new books. God knows it can only be a cheering prospect in a year so scary as this one seems now. Let’s do this, 2017!