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.

  • Read a LGBTQ+ romance novel.

The Price of Salt; Patricia Highsmith

Therese and Carol fall in love.

Therese Belivet is trapped in a dead-end job, dreaming of working in stage design, and in a loveless relationship with a man who claims that somehow, he just knows she’ll fall in love with him. But one day she sees Carol Aird at her sales job, and everything changes. She just has to reach out–and Carol, amused, responds, falling into a flirtation and then dizzyingly into love. Their tempestuous relationship is soon threatened, however. Carol is in the midst of a messy divorce, and her husband is willing to use blackmail to take full custody of their daughter. Carol will have to choose.

I couldn’t quite like this book, for all I was quite grateful it didn’t have the depressing ending so many books seem to have when the characters are going against social conventions of the time. Mostly, I found it difficult to be invested in their relationship. Carol seemed cruel–at times indifferent, others amused and mocking, and scarcely in love. That made it difficult to invest, as did her indifference towards her child–she claims to love her daughter, and yet doesn’t act like it very often. Does Carol care about anything? Maybe not. In the end, I’d call this one of those books it might be good to read for its place in literature, and how other books might relate to it, and just for the sake of having read it.

  • Read a travel memoir.

All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes; Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou describes her visit to Africa, specifically Ghana.

It’s tough for me to think of Maya Angelou as just a regular person, but in this books, she describes a life that’s pretty ordinary in some ways. She works, and tries to find a place to call home–to connect with her roots and find her people. She has arguments with her son, and strives to raise him to be an independent man, struggling with the balance between support and letting go. She has romances, and failed loves, happy moments and sad ones. She has all the doubts and worries we’re all plagued with. On the other hand, she’s pretty extraordinary. One of those romances, for example, is with a quite remarkable person, and how she handles it is pretty remarkable, too.

And, of course, there is her way with words. Her story is readable and relatable, and it’s quite interesting stuff. There’s plenty going on, and she’s excellent at telling the story. It’s a real life, so it isn’t always polished and perfect, but she knows how to present reality in a way that fits together nicely, without dull bits. I’d definitely recommend it.

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.

2 responses »

  1. This is awesome! I’m definitely going to check it out I’ve been wanting to do something like this, thanks Caitlin!

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