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 romance by/about a POC.

Bollywood Affair; Sonali Dev.

The main characters and author are both Indian, or of Indian descent.

A child marriage, that one member thought was dissolved–and the other was waiting for it to really begin. Lies and family obligations end with the groom’s brother searching out the bride to get her to dissolve the marriage. And, of course, he makes some poor choices that ramp up the drama.

This is a predictable, cute romance. (Nothing wrong with that!) I could trace pretty much the whole plot from the start, from the characters falling in love, to the big roadblock on their path to happiness, and the resolution. It has a source of romantic conflict I’m not fond of–dishonesty–where there’s multiple places to come clean, but as many excuses not to. They’re not particularly good excuses, even.

Still, there’s plenty of chemistry, and a sense of real connection follows that first spark. The end is satisfying, and it’s a quick read, that hums along without any slow spots.

  • Read a true crime book.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber; Julian Rubenstein.

The story of Attila Ambrus’ life is a true one, including his many and varied crimes.

A madcap, impossible sort of life. Ambrus was born a Hungarian trapped in Transylvania, but when he finally made it to the country he longed for, he didn’t fit in. He wasn’t quite enough of either thing to fit in. And the poverty that seized his new home makes his new life more than difficult. It’s nearly impossible to make a living legally.

On the one hand, his misadventures are comical, a mix of bumbling crime, and wildly varying luck. It’s quite amazing some of the things he does! On the other hand, the situation that led the the creation of the Whiskey Robber is just sad. Prejudice, poverty, heartbreak, alcoholism… there’s a lot going wrong, a system that both helped and hindered Attila in getting away with his crimes. As the afterword says, this crime spree couldn’t happen in more modern times.

I did a search to see what happened after this book was published, and was pleasantly surprised to read about his life after. Still, there’s a lot of wasted time in this man’s life.

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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