Here’s the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2019! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder (you can combine them, too), 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 finding the perfect title is fun.

(Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

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 Comic with a LGBTQIA Creator.

Skim; Mariko Tamaki.

I found several articles referencing Tamaki as a queer author, and she wrote this comic.

CW: suicide
At an all-girl’s school, one student’s boy friend kills himself. The school is plunged into a frenzy of dramatic grief and elaborate efforts to prevent any possible future attempts. Kim “Skim” sees the hypocrisy, but is caught up in struggles of her own–her goth fashion makes her an outcast, she’s drifting apart from her friend, and falling in love.

The art style is disturbingly dream-like and haunting, which supports the dark tone of the story. But it feels unresolved, especially in the final panel

  • Read a Humor Book.

Funny in Farsi; Firoozeh Dumas.

A humorous memoir.

Firoozeh has had an interesting immigrant experience, spending two years in the US before Americans knew much about Iran, and were perfectly friendly to her for her origins–and after most people knew of Iran, and many unfairly considered the whole population terrorists.

Parts of the story are funny, with family misadventures, culture clash, and the experience of growing up as someone different. Of course, there are sad moments too, especially in relation to bigotry. It’s a quick, light read overall.

  • Read a Book about Business

Start-Up Nation: Dan Senor & Saul Singer

The book explores how Israel created an environment to support so many start-up businesses.

Overall, this story was a bit dry, piles of facts and statistics. But it did have some interesting, personal stories in there that caught my attention–like the example of problem-solving by IDF soldiers to fix back pain caused by a helicopter chair. That a small, often embattled country grew so quickly in the face of adversity, and continues to embrace change and entrepreneurial risk is admirable, and an interesting read, even if some parts were less engaging a read.

Someone who’s specifically interested in economics or Israel would probably get more out of this, but it’s still an easy, understandable read for the layperson.

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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