Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge — Update #1

As some of you know, I am participating in the Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge this year. There are twenty-four challenges that must be completed before the end of 2015! I thought I’d share with you my progress at the end of every month until I’ve completed the challenge. In January, I managed to complete 5/24 challenges (you can check out my shelf for the challenge here.)

I’m going to go a bit more in-depth on my thoughts for a lot of these, unless there’s an upcoming review, then I’m just going to be a jerk and tell you to wait for the review. 😉 Shall we see what I’ve tackled? I think we shall.

Note: I realize my number is off, but I’m going by what I’ve written in my journal as opposed to the lack of numbering on their website. Hopefully it doesn’t confuse anyone.

#14: A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

There is a reason why this novel won the National Book Award last year. It’s a memoir of Jacqueline Woodson’s life, growing up during political times of strife and taking charge of her identity as a child. I devoured this book, and the verse in it is beautiful, thoughtful and very powerful. One of my favourite sections is how Jacqueline talks about not being able to write a cursive ‘q’ so she goes by Jackie to the teacher, only to be so upset with herself. I connected in a lot of ways to this story, and I appreciate a lot of what the author puts out to her readers. Definitely going to check out more of her books now!

#16: Listen to an audiobook.

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War Horse (War Horse #1)
by Michael Morpurgo, John Keating

This book was simply okay for me. I really enjoyed the movie adaptation, but the novel itself is incredibly dry. You can tell the narrator is trying his best to make the story such more engaging than it actually is. I do think the narrator is really great, I just wish I had a bigger connection with the story, but it never actually came. It’s a shame too, because I am a huge sucker for horse stories.

#22: A Book Written this Year (2015)

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My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

I am going to cheat on this one: here’s my full review. The short version: loved it, new favourite, this one will hurt your heart. Awesome debut YA novel.

#23: Read a Graphic Novel

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El Deafo by Cece Bell

I loveloveloved El Deafo. It’s one of those graphic novels that teaches a lesson, but does it in such a fabulous and positive way. I adored it and if you want more of my thoughts, check out what I said about it in my Ten Comics & Graphic Novels You Should Check Out where I go into the book in a lot more detail. This one I can say, I easily recommend.

#24: A Self-improvement Book 

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The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Lexicon of Life Hacks for the Modern Lady Geek by Sam Maggs

I feel like folks are going to call foul on this one being a ‘self-help book,’ but I think it really fits in the non-traditional sense. It prepares fangirls for the depths of the Internet, conventions, how to spread the fangirl love, and how to generally be awesome to others. Our official review is not up yet (it will be soon) where I go into more depth about why I loved this book and why I think Sam Maggs hits a lot of great points that people might not consider when it comes to the word ‘fangirl’. Plus, she’s an all around cool gal, and I do love chatting with her, so I might be a touch bias here. 🙂

And that’s how my January shaped up. Hopefully I am as productive in February (who knows!). For those curious about my #HolidayMadnessChallenge results back in December… I failed at posting those, I won’t be, I didn’t complete the challenge, and I am super sad about it still. However! HOWEVER! I WILL defeat the Read Harder Challenge! Wish me luck!

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