Almost forgot this one!

Here’s the 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 genre fiction in translation

Three Body Problem; Liu Cixin.

My response to this book can be summed up as “huh.” The various elements of it didn’t coalesce into a whole for me. The characters felt flat, difficult to relate to. They worked towards goals that weren’t often explained, or if they were, tended to be layers of lies.

In fact, there’s so much deceit and double-crossing going on, there are several “you were wrong” moments going on, like some terrible spy movie where the characters keep ripping off super-realistic face masks. You can never quite tell if what you’re being given is truth or lies.

It seems to boil down to a question of worth (of a civilization and of that civilization’s individuals) and the cost of survival. What sacrifices are okay? What aren’t? I’m not sure I grasp the answer the book is suggesting, if it is suggesting one at all. This is a book I’m going to have to think on.

  • Read a book set in or about a BRICS country.

Tsar of Love and Techno; Anthony Marra.

There’s something about a beautifully written book with pervasive sadness that doesn’t work for me. When the characters are helpless, or even complicit, in tragedy after tragedy. When they shrug off rape and torture and pointless executions as a part of life… I see the beauty, but I don’t, on the whole, enjoy it.

A tied together collection of short stories, united by the relationship between characters, a location, and symbolic objects (like the tape on the cover). Everything flows smoothly, each section giving more understanding to the stories that came before it. It’s heart-breakingly lonely, even when it describes moments of love and connection, they’re invariably tarnished and destroyed soon after.

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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