I finished the Read Harder Challenge in the third quarter and I can't say that I am too surprised that I finished early as it's sort of in my nature to attack goals with gusto and finish early. I'm really glad that I took this challenge on as it was fun to research which books I would read for the various categories and it introduced me to genre and authors that I might not have checked out otherwise. I would definitely do a challenge like this again in the future!
Tasks Completed in the Third Quarter:
A romance novel: 9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean - Before this challenge, I hadn't read a romance novel for well over 10 years. I avoided the genre because I always felt like the books were so over the top and, well, smutty, and the female characters tended to have that "damsel in destress/I'm waiting for a man to save me" feel to them. So I turned to Becky, who is a romance expert, and asked her to recommend a book and she did a great job as the MacLean novel I read was a fun, entertaining read with a strong female character. If you are like me and have avoided the romance character, I'd recommend checking MacLean's books out!
A book that is a retelling of a classic story: The Three Weissmans of Westport by Cathleen Schine - This book is a re-telling of Sense and Sensibility, which I hadn't read before reading this novel. I might have enjoyed it more had I read S&S first. There were enjoyable aspects of the novel but the women seemed self-centered and a bit whiny and manipulative at times. I later read S&S and understood that that is just how the characters are...
A book published before 1850: Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen - Oy vey, this was a struggle for me to get through.
I want to like classics, I
really do, but this book reminded me that they just don't appeal to me. I couldn't handle how the authors drew out situations that could be resolved
by asking a direct question. I understand that these novels were written in a
different period of time when it was not acceptable for women to voice
their opinions and concerns, but the drawn out story line (is she
engaged? Isn't she? For the love of God, JUST ASK HER!!) drive me crazy. If I not been reading this book for the challenge I
definitely would have given up on it.
A self-improvement book: 10% Happier by Dan Harris - This book ended up being less of a self-help book and more of a memoir but I'm still counting it for this category. It's about an author who used meditation to combat his trouble with panic attacks. I liked some aspects of the book but felt like the author did a lot of name dropping.
Tasks Completed in Prior Quarter:
A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25: Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65: Runaway by Alice Munro
A book by a person whose gender is different from your own: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
A book by an author from Africa: Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
A YA novel: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A sci-fi novel: The Martian by Andy Weir
An audiobook: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
A collection of poetry: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
A microhistory: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
A book published this year: Girl on the Train by Paul Hawkins
A book published by an indie press: The Empathy Exam by Leslie Jamison
A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure: Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod
A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A collection of short stories: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade: Redeployment by Phil Klay
A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
A book that was originally published in another language: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind: French Milk by Lucy Knisley
A book that someone else has recommended to you: Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankel
A book that takes place in Asia: In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
Now that I am done with the challenge, it is nice to have 100% control over what I am reading and to not have to think about what categories I need to fill as besides book club and postal book club books, I can read whatever I please. I've got a whole lot of suspended book requests at the library that I am looking forward to checking out in the final months of the year!
What book or books are you most looking forward to reading? I'm excited to read "Fates and Furies," "A Window Opens" and "Kitchens of the Great Midwest."