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.”

  • Read a book of classic genre fiction.

False Coulours; Georgette Heyer.

Christopher “Kit” Fancot’s twin brother, Evelyn, has disappeared. And right before Evelyn was due to meet Lady Stavely, the grandmother of Cressy Stavely–the woman Evelyn will marry, if he can win her grandmother’s approval. Lady Fancot convinces Kit to take his brother’s place, as it will just be for one night. But of course, the situation falls apart, and he’s forced to stand in for his twin for so long there are few simple solutions left.

With a set up as ridiculous as that, you can expect the story to be a bit silly as well. And I was hoping for that–a silly entertaining romance. Somehow, though, the characters were vapid and uninteresting, their speech labored instead of clever, and I had a hard time keeping reading. The expected end was a little more entertaining, but not enough to redeem the plodding that had gone before.

  • Read a book about nature.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; Dillard.

This book is all about the land, plants, and animals in a particular area.

These nature mediations are strange. Drawn out, rambling, shifting with no transition. They focus on things seen (mostly insects or animals) and what thoughts they inspired. But there doesn’t seem to be a point to most, if any, of them

  • Read a book of post/colonial literature.

Half of a Yellow Sun; Chimamanda Adichie.

Set in Nigeria, and it’s main issue focuses around the borders imposed by colonists.

The story of three characters, all caught in in a civil war. They will lose family or loved ones, homes, and even their freedoms, but somehow come together in the hope of something larger than themselves. Full of culture shock, tradition, corruption and cruelty shown against kindness and compassion–a fictional account of a real tragedy.

Any book involving genocide and war (and all its attendant horrors) is going to be heartbreaking. This is no exception, with fear, loss, rape, and starvation. But it also captures the hope of a people, the drive for independence, love, forgiveness, and moments of kindness.

I liked some of the characters much more than others, but the story had enough of my favorites to keep me going through the less interesting spots. Parts of it were rough to get through, with a lot of suffering made worse by the fact that bureaucracy, greed, and incompetence made people’s lives more dangerous. But there were light hearted moments to hang on to, throughout. A well written story about a real, and often overlooked, war.

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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