Tag Archives: book riot 2017 read harder challenge

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – April Reads

April was a slow month for my Read Harder Challenge. In fact, I only completed one challenge for the challenge, which is pretty damn pitiful if you ask me. Usually I try to knock out two or three, but I got very into just reading what I felt like during the month and it was good to do that.


Here’s the only challenge I completed:

 The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets by Sam Hamill

Completes Challenge #23: Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.

Thoughts: This was a surprisingly difficult challenge to complete given I’m not the biggest poetry reader, and the majority of published poetry is often about love or relationships. Then I remembered I had a background in East Asian Studies and was like “I could read Basho again!” Through my work I found this tiny little collection of haiku from the greats such as Basho, Busan and Issa. A lot of the poems focused on meditative states and the evolution of life. This was a very quick, easy, and thoughtful collection of relaxing poems to read!


Here’s hoping May is a better month for completing challenges! However, I am really glad to have knocked this one out giving how much trouble it was giving me at first.

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – March Reads

March is almost over, and much like February, I didn’t complete as many of the challenges I would have liked. Truthfully I got way too obsessed with some of the personal reading challenges I gave myself this month, and my husband’s silly challenge of reading as many blue books (blue on the cover, on the spine, just blue) as I could. I read quite a few, not going to lie. Still, I managed to complete two more challenges on my read harder journey. Here’s what I read in March!


King Baby by Kate Beaton

Completes Challenge #9: Read a book you’ve read before.

Thoughts: I recognize that picking a picture book may seem like cheating, but my goal this year is to read books I own and haven’t read, so I knew this challenge would be challenging given my own reading goals for the year. However, I ended up rereading King Baby for an interview I did where I had to perform storytime. I sadly didn’t get the position, but I will admit how much fun it was to reread this book to adults during the interview process. This book is still so funny, quirky, and I need one of those King Baby plushies that exist. Or a Queen Baby plushie. I maintain that my husband reads this book out loud better than I do. Seriously if you have wee ones, this is a must read!


Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

Completes Challenge #14: Read a book about war.

Thoughts: For this Book Riot Challenge, I decided to read a non-fiction book about war, and one that was more science-based than historical. I love Mary Roach’s writing, and adored Packing for Mars, but Grunt feels like a very different book. It has Roach’s humour and her methodical breaks downs for how different things work, but this was definitely a much more challenging read to get through. For starters, I am not really interested in books about war, and two: there’s some stuff in this book is really not for the faint of heart. Roach describes things like penis transplants, diarrhea, and others aspects of the military that are unique and challenging to say the least. I learned not to eat while reading this book. It’s very informative and very accessible, and I liked it given it gave me a different perspective on war that I didn’t think was actual possible.


When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid

Completes Challenge #21Read a book published by a micropress.

Note: This book is published by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Thoughts: This book is a very difficult read, and it’s a book that doesn’t shy away from anything. It’s vulgar, it’s raw, and it doesn’t pull any punches. I both enjoyed and found this book frustrating. I really found myself disliking how Jude treated any friends he had in the story, but I weirdly loved his self-absorbed world where he was the movie star and everyone else the players. I feel like Reid nails that voice and nails that presentation throughout the story, to the point where it is so believable to both Jude and the reader. I also found the ending to be so difficult and given some of the hints in the story it was bound to happen. The writing had some awkward moments for me though. This book is definitely not for everyone, and if you can’t stomach sexual content or vulgarity, I would advise not touching this book with a ten foot pole.

 

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – February Reads

With February having just recently ended, it’s time to check in on the Book Riot Read Harder 2017 Challenge. This month I only managed to complete two challenges, which isn’t as much as January, but I am still happy with the results all the same.

Let’s see what was read, shall we?


30102870History is All You left Me by Adam Silvera

Completes Challenge #15Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.

Thoughts: I read History is All You Left Me in the course of a day. When I wasn’t reading it, I was constantly thinking about it. This is a beautifully written book about a boy who loses his first love at a young age and it alternates between present time and the past. Griffin and Theo’s friendship-turned-relationship is organic, it’s vibrant, and you see how they bring the best out of each other. Silvera has this knack for making you laugh on one page, and then gut punching you on the next. This is a great LGBT romance novel, and I highly recommend it.


17296690He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander

Completes Challenge #24Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.

Thoughts: Okay, so I am really heartbroken about this. I have been loving the hell out of Kwame Alexander’s books, but this one I am sad to say fell short for me. Which sucks because this is his first novel that I’ve read that isn’t in verse. The romance in this book was grating, corny, and I struggled so much with Omar’s character. On the opposite, I adored Claudia to pieces and I loved how important the cause in the story was to her. I think Alexander does a great job handling topics like abortion, teen pregnancy, but the characters and writing in this book fall short of what I feel he is better capable of. I found the side characters to be very flat (also I hated the way Fast Freddie was written). But yeah, there’s great ideas and the political side of this book is great. It’s just too bad it’s the smaller part of this novel.

Still love ya, Kwame Alexander. I still think you’re prose is beautiful.

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – January Reads

I wasn’t fond of the challenge list for last year’s Book Riot’s “Read Harder Challenge.” I adored and completed the 2015, which I chronicled on the blog two years ago now, and realized how much I missed doing this year long event. Here is the full list of challenges. Every month I am going to share with you all some progress I’ve made on the challenges, as well as some thoughts on each read.

Let’s get to it!

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The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander

Completes Challenge #1Read a book about sports.

Thoughts: I actually participated in a blog tour for this book, which you can read my full thoughts here. If I am being honest, I am not that big on sports (unless you count, like, figure skating and bowling), so this challenge was going to be tough for me. Then I read this gem, which is a book about sports and it’s also about being inspiration and using sports metaphors to explain how life can work sometimes. Kwame Alexander is an amazing writer whom I am glad I have discovered at the beginning of this year, and I already plan to make time to read the rest of his current published works as I get my hands on them. Seriously, a small book with a big impact.


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Midnight Without A Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

Completes Challenge #2: Read a debut novel.

Thoughts: Another book I reviewed, and you can read my thoughts on here. This book is a stunning debut that looks at racism in 1955, during the time in which Emmett Till, is killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Beautifully written, it’s one of those books that you have a hard time believing is a debut as you read it. Rose Lee Carter is definitely a heroine you can cheer for. Loved this book to pieces. ❤


26892070Secret of the Time Tablets (Cleopatra in Space #3)
by Mike Maihack

Completes Challenge #6: Read an all-ages comic.

Thoughts: I LOVE the Cleopatra in Space series, and this is the third volume. I think Mike Maihack is really talented at making characters that children and adults can relate to while also creating a very addictive plotline. Cleopatra is a heroine who is easy to root for, once in awhile follows her namesake to a tee, and often gets into a lot of trouble. She also has a fabulous supporting cast as well. This is a fantastic middle grade adventure series that definitely will get even reluctant readers asking for the next volume.


29775583Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War II (Ms. Marvel, Volume III & IV #6)
by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Adrian Alphona 

Completes Challenge #18: Read a superhero comic with a female lead.

Thoughts: I LOVE Ms. Marvel, though I admit I haven’t really been keeping up with Civil War II (frankly, I’m not that interested in it either). But I do love Kamala, and I always want to see what my girl is up to. This installment starts off with a hilarious short story that pits Miles and Kamala against each other. It is pretty genius. The rest of the comic focuses on her newfound frustrations with Captain Marvel, and a nasty disagreement. There’s some witty writing here, art is still fabulous and this adds another darker layer to Kamala’s story. Good stuff.

I think I am off to a good start. Here’s hoping for more great reads next month!

2017 Reading Resolutions

While 2016 was a rough year for me on a whole, I cant say it was for my reading, as I completed 400 books. That is a lot and I have commuting and working in libraries to really thank for that. In 2017 my goal is less, as I am looking to only read 200 books. If I read more, great, if I don’t, that is okay too.

As a public library worker there’s a part of the job where one is expected to have a decent knowledge of literature, be it fiction or non-fiction. In library school we are often told to have a specialty in mind, but that we should always broaden the way in which we read, which is my larger goal in 2017. Here’s some of long-term reading goals for the year.

  1. Read more nonfiction. I read way more non-fiction in 2016 than I ever had in my lifetime and I want to keep this trend up. I am finally finding the kinds of non-fiction that interest me, more specifically about people, technology, weird industries, lifestyles. I find a lot of this stuff so fascinating, and if it’s women’s focused, the better. Reading more non-fiction has made me feel more well-rounded as a reader, and I am always looking for recommendations in this area as my expertise are still very limited.
  2. Work on completing/catching up on more series. I feel into a habit in 2016 where I mostly only read stand-alones or comics. While reading comic series fit this, I am looking more at the book series I’ve started over the years, the sequels I have sitting on my shelves and the fact that I still need to read them. I have Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire (An October Daye mystery), Crooked Kingdoms by Leigh Bardugo, so many books where I just need to sit down and play catch up. My goal is to try and catch up or complete on at least ten series.
  3. Read at east five 500+ page books. I am very guilty of this — big books intimidate me and 28114583often make me feel like they are making me backslide on my reading goal. However, there are so many interesting, big books I’ve avoided just because of the size and because LOL!reading goals. Quality versus quantity is going to be a big theme this year with me and I am going to knock some of these large books I’ve been curious about out this year.
  4. Read more diversely. I’ve always been a diverse reader and I’ve never really been one to shy away from that. This discussion, however, has become so much more important over the last few years and it’s something especially in libraries that we need to work more closely on given that our patrons come from a wide range of race, sexuality, religions, etc. We SHOULD be better at this, and there’s so many wonderful and promising reads that should be checked out more. Currently I am reading Midnight Without a Moon
    by Linda Williams Jackson and it is WONDERFUL.
  5. Don’t feel like you HAVE TO READ. I realize this is a weird one, but I confess: I am always reading. Sometimes when I don’t feel like it. I want to be okay with the fact that if I don’t feel like reading that it is okay. I have television shows, video games, friends,  an unhealthy obsession with Overwatch, that need some attention as well. Reading has always been my greatest comfort, but I am not going to beat myself up if I don’t read as much as I have in previous years.
  6. Give away more books. 2017 is going to be the year of purging for me. I am working towards purging every room in my house, and books are also going to be the same thing. I need to work on decluttering my spaces and focus on the reorganization process. Donating books or giving them to friends is always a plus in my books.
  7. Continue to buy less books. I have actually gotten better about this, although my shelf of shame would argue otherwise if it had a voice. I didn’t purchase a lot of books last year, but I did get a lot from trades, publishers and as gifts. It’s still a lot less than previous years, but yeaaaaaaah…. let’s work on this some more, shall we?
  8. Take out less books from work (aka the library). I work at a public library, do you know how hard this is for me? Do you know how hard it is to not take out the new and shiny books? Or deal with your co-workers giving you all the book recs and then you having a million holds? The pressure is real my friends. I need to work on taking less stuff out from the library because my shelf of shame is taking real issue with it. And honestly, it’s less stuff to lug to and from work, even if I love it so.
  9. Complete the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. The 2017 challenge has me crazy excited, yo. See the challenge here.

And that really is just the half of it. The larger focus this year is to work on cutting down the amount of books I have being okay with not keeping every book I own, and read for quality not quantity. I am going to try to stay on top of the review books because I want to get back into making sure this blog still has content. I am hoping to share more features, even if this is a primarily review-based blog. I am also hoping to have more reading adventures, since last year I didn’t have as many as I would have liked.

What are your goals for reading in 2017? Do you have anything you for sure want to accomplish? Let me know down below.