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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.