Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge Complete!

read harder finisher badge 2015

In January, I took on the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge. Below are the twenty-four reading tasks plus the books I read to fulfill each one. I did not succeed in the additional challenge of posting book reviews here on the blog, but I am satisfied that I read many books that I might not otherwise have chosen were it not for this challenge.

After starting the challenge, I read this article at I had already read several white male authors for some of the tasks, so I decided to find alternative books that met the criteria but were written by women and people of color. Again, I discovered writers I might otherwise have overlooked.

  1. A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25: The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
  2. A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks and Black is the New White by Paul Mooney
  3. A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people): Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman and Unclean Jobs for Woman and Girls by Alissa Nutting
  4. A book published by an indie press: Sentinel by Tom Glover
  5. A book by or about someone who identifies as LGBTQ: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo, & Me by Ellen Forney and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
  6. A book by a person whose gender is different from your own: The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett and I Am America by Stephen Colbert
  7. A book that takes place in Asia: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
  8. A book by an author from Africa: The Expedition to the Baobab Tree: A Novel by Wilma Stockenström
  9. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.): Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
  10. A microhistory: The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum and The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler
  11. A YA novel: Sounder by William H. Armstrong and Seizure by Kathy Reichs
  12. A sci-fi novel: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  13. A romance novel: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  14. A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade: Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall (won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Biography)
  15. A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairy tale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.): Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire and Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
  16. An audiobook: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech and Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  17. A collection of poetry: An Atlas of the Difficult World by Adrienne Rich and Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  18. A book that someone else has recommended to you: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (Thank you, Ashley, for the recommendation. I think it’s only taken me three times to finally follow through. So worth it!)
  19. A book that was originally published in another language: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism by Naoki Higashida, translated by K. A. Yoshida and David Mitchell
  20. A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind:  Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
  21. A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over): Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened by Allie Bosch 
  22. A book published before 1850: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare and Frankenstein: or Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
  23. A book published this year: Driving the King by Ravi Howard
  24. A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”): The Mourner’s Dance: What We Do When People Die by Katherine Ashenburg and The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

See the original post on Book Riot introducing the challenge here.


It’s Day 5 of the NaBloPoMo/Nano Poblano/NoMo challenge!


9 thoughts on “Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge Complete!

  1. I’ve read some of the books you list here before, but despite doing the same challenge we never actually read any of the same books FOR it. I only have one task left in the challenge–reading a translation. I chose The Little Prince, just because it’s short and classic, but I’ve got to read & review it now.


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