And the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is here again! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder, and I urge you to check it out if you want to get outside your comfort zone. 🙂

(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 collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.

Ode to Common Things; Pablo Neruda.

odes-to-common

These poems are translated from Spanish, and are about everyday items.

It’s interesting to see the side by side comparisons of the poems. The bits of Spanish I still recall from school means I could see where the words were more or less exact translations. Alliteration, for example, is difficult to make work across languages. The illustrations are lovely, and different over each language.

The subjects vary, but they’re all common things–chairs, tables, soap, socks, and so on. But despite the common nature of the subjects, the poems are lovely and lyrical, with some deep philosophical moments, and beautiful imagery. A great read for poetry fans.

  • Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.

Hold Still; Nina LaCour.

hold-still

This is a YA book, and Nina LaCour is on LBGTQ+ lists.

Warning: this is a book about teen suicide. It’s about Caitlin coping with the loss of her best friend Ingrid, trying to put her life back together–and then she finds a journal of Ingrid’s, which might hold the secrets to why the suicide happened. There’s not too much plot detail without giving things away, but Caitlin has to deal with her grief, and that of other people who loved Ingrid.

This is a sad one, but still a pretty hopeful story in the end. Suicide is a tough subject, and in the young even tougher, but it’s a thing that, tragically, happens. And having to cope with it is also a part life. No one grieves the same, of course, but maybe books like this can help.

  • Read a book about sports.

The Crossover; Kwame Alexander.

crossover

This is a story about two brothers who play basketball.

Told in verse, this is a enjoyable, quick read–and not just poetry, but poems with zig-zagging words and plenty of visual interest. The story is of twin brothers, who both love basketball. But as they grow older, their desires diverge. This pits brother against brother, and the changing dynamic leads to a lot of stress. Life throws a few more surprises their way, adding to the conflict, and the story throughout is quite easy to relate to. Everyone has had family problems and dreams–even if they don’t include basketball.

 

 

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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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