I’m doing the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and you should, too! (Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

book riot

To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out.”

  • Read a food memoir.


Relish; Lucy Knisley.

It’s a memoir about food. 🙂

This is the story of a life told through food. And Lucy Knisley’s life is food–her mother cooked professionally, her father loved food, so from an early age she was introduced to a wide range of foods, as if the deep relish for life a gourmet has can be inherited. Each chapter of her life revolves around the foods she was eating–a trip to another country, a job at a cheese shop, family meals, and so on.

Illustrated in a bright, simple style, the story includes detailed recipes, gorgeous in their own right–and the food-focused plot hangs together nicely, though it does result in skimming over the details of Lucy’s life that don’t involve eating. Not at all a picky eater, Lucy chomps and chews her way through life with gusto. A quick read, good for memoir fans, and gourmets of all kinds.

  • Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia.

smaller smaller circles

Smaller and Smaller Circles; F.H. Batacan

Maria Felisa H. Batacan is a Filipino journalist and writer under the name F.H. Batacan.

Warning: this book has murdered children and child abuse/assault in it, so it isn’t for everyone.

This is a pretty dark story–beginning inside the tortured mind of a serial killer, and piling up the terribly mutilated bodies of children. The two priests, Father Gus Saenz and Father Jerome Lucero, who investigate the murders are facing other injustices too, which parallel the investigation, leading to a sense that the world can be horribly cruel and unjust.

Payatas, a large dump near Quezon City, Manila, is a place where people live–barely–off of trash, scavenging to survive, and they really don’t need the extra worry of a serial killer. But that’s what they get, anyway, paired with a bunch of people determined to sweep the deaths under the rug. Only Fathers Gus and Jerome really want justice, and they go pretty far to get it. Though gripping and well-written, this book was a little depressing for me, with the whole set up leading to a mixed sort of un/happy ending. But the setting is amazingly described, and the mystery nicely twisty–so if you don’t mind your mysteries grim, it’s a good read.



About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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