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An Almanac For The 21st Century

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Read Harder 2017 Wrap-Up

Read Harder 2017 Wrap-Up

Last year, I took on Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge. I did a great job, and I really enjoyed it. You can read two installments on what I read to fulfill the challenges here and here. I was ticking off challenges each month, and looking for books to fulfill new challenges all the time. Then in July I stopped, and while I read plenty more books, I didn't read another challenge book all year. More on that at the end, but here's a quick and dirty list of the final books I did read on my quest to fulfill the Read Harder 2017 Challenge.

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3. Read a book about books: My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul

Another thing I started doing in 2017 was writing down every book I read. I just put them in my journal that I also used as a planner and calendar - no rating system, just a list of books. I read My Life With Bob and it inspired me to buy a separate book to keep my list of books and continue adding books every year. In a way, this was maybe the most influential book I read in the whole challenge.

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18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead: Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal by G Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

Until this (last) year, I had never read so many comic books. I really enjoyed exploring all the different options I had to fulfill the comics-based challenges. If there was a Muslim teen superhero like Ms Marvel when I was a kid, I might have become a comic book nerd.  

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9. Read a book you’ve read before: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

When I reread The Red Tent I realized I had the same thought I had when I read it a decade ago: "This book is so much easier to follow if you're familiar with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Or, I guess, The Old Testament." 

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14. Read a book about war: Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

I love Mary Roach and I've read almost all of her books. I was not interested in reading a book about war, but then I remembered that my girl had written a book "about war" that's less about how people kill other people and more about how to keep people safe, fed, and sheltered when they're in unimaginable situations.  

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20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel: Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

I originally had The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters to fulfill this one, but I wasn't sure if it was a romance. (my hemming and hawing is chronicled here) Then I read Ramona Blue, just because I wanted to, and decided that because it was 100% a LGBTQ+ romance it could take the spot. I love Julie Murphy's writing, and I particularly love how Ramona Blue features a bi protagonist who ends up in a hetero romance, which doesn't make her any less bi or this any less of an LGBTQ+ romance. 

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22. Read a collection of stories by a woman: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

I love this book. Also, if this is something you care about, it's also very beautiful and I keep it out on a table in my house with other loved, beautiful books. 

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23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love: Bright Scythe by Tomas Tranströmer translated by Patty Crane

One issue I ran into when I was finding books to fulfill challenges was that I was worried about finding certain books, and pretty complacent about others. I have multiple classics by authors of color (challenge #17) on my bookshelf at home, so I put that one off. I actually read a different book for this challenge initially, because I forgot how limiting the requirements were. (I ended up loving that poetry collection and wrote about it here). 

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12. Read a fantasy novel: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This is the last book I read in the challenge before I stopped. I think it broke me. If you haven't heard of The Kingkiller Chronicle, it's a famous fantasy trilogy of which there are only two books. The film and TV rights have been sold and it's going to be adapted into an epic saga that I guess is in the Marvel vein, where there is a TV show, but also films, and like, a comic and a board game, and they all intersect. Anyway, I don't care, because this book was awful. I had only really heard the hype before reading it, and afterward I read some GoodReads reviews and was thrilled to find out I wasn't the only one who thought it was trash. The one thing I'd like to add that I didn't see in the few reviews I read: This book is like 700 pages, and a woman doesn't show up till halfway though. AND THEN, none of the women in this book could even be deemed secondary characters. Lin-Manuel Miranda, I hope this is the first thing you change in your TV adaptation. 

Read Harder 2018: First Edition

Read Harder 2018: First Edition

Wear, Watch, Want #61: The Korean Catholic Vacation Edition

Wear, Watch, Want #61: The Korean Catholic Vacation Edition