Here’s the new Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2018! 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. It’s always great to see the new suggestions, and I’m still working on finding the perfect titles.

(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.”

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Well, this was far later than I planned, but here it is!

  • Read a celebrity memoir.

The Princess Diarist; Carrie Fisher

This is Carrie Fisher’s memoir.

If someone narrates their audio book memoir, you kind of have to listen to it.

This is the story of how Carrie Fisher came to be Leia–how she was chosen to audition, how it went, etc. She describes how the filming went, with plenty of stories from the filming, including a whole chapter about Harrison Ford. Then, she describes the after effects–how she is basically Leia forever, how the fans react, and how she does signings and so on. Pieces of her diary from the time of filming are read (by another voice actor), but it’s mostly her reminiscing about the filming. It changed her life in a lot of ways–being Leia–and overall, despite some definite sad moments, she seems glad for the chance.

She was an icon and a hero for a lot of people, and it’s wonderful to hear her voice tell the story.

  • Read a the first book in a new to you YA/middle grade series.

The Lightning Thief; Rick Riordan.

This is the first book in a YA series.

I’d seen these books around, but never picked them up because I didn’t really have the time. But it’s a pretty decent, entertaining series, if you’re on the fence. This book is a solid start to a series, introducing the gods, their children, and the system they have in place to keep their children alive (the kids are monster bait, it turns out.) Now, the system isn’t very effective (the monsters come anyway). The gods are mostly terrible parents–inattentive at best–so there’s plenty of struggles for the young half-bloods/demigods. So, not always light-hearted, as kids do die. The monsters die too, but it isn’t permanent, which hardly seems fair.

The mythology is pretty spot on from what I can remember, in the way of powers and history. And it’s pretty well following the spirit of the old myths, where the gods were petty, and given to competition and fighting. And the poor humans (and half humans) caught in the cross fire don’t always fare so well. Percy is a likable character, as are other demigods (and assorted other species.) A lot of demigods are prone to ADHD and dyslexia, and they each have some very real struggles to get through, making them easy to relate to, instead of perfect heroes.

  • Read a comic written/illustrated by a POC.

Onwards towards our Noble Deaths; Shigeru Mizuki.

Shigeru Mizuki is a Japanese manga artist/writer.

Rather grim, as you’d expect from the title and subject matter. (As in, some fairly gory deaths, though it’s a not too detailed. Still, expect dying.) A mostly true story about a group of men who were told to make a suicide charge–who instead wandered away from battle. And then were forced to complete the charge, for ‘honor’ or at least to maintain control of all the rest of the soldiers.

It follows, mostly, the day to day–getting food and water, illnesses, talking about home, etc. The soldier’s humor is pretty questionable–plenty of bodily function talk, and there are prostitutes in the story, too. They mostly focus on understandable fear and homesickness, though. They don’t want to die, and there’s something unbearably tragic in realizing they will be forced to do so, for no good reason.

The author lived through the war, so everything feels very real. War is painful, and he shows that very well.

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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