Tag Archives: book riot 2017 read harder challenge

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – December Reads & Challenge Wrap Up

I did it! I finished the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2017! I was worried that I was too down to the wire and that I wouldn’t complete my last two challenges given the size and density of the two tomes I had selected. Let’s share my last two reads and my thoughts!

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Completes Challenge #4: Read a book set in Central or South America.

Thoughts: This was a very challenging book to get through. I don’t think it was a bad book, but definitely one that is slow paced. I think what I was having a hard time with was that I really didn’t have a sense of who the characters were and what I did know about them felt very one-dimensional. I will sing Marquez’s praises in that his writing is quite lovely, it’s just a shame that the story he was telling didn’t really shine in any way. The best parts of this book were learning more about the scenery and the smaller details, but the pining, romantic parts of this novel just didn’t feel romantic to me at all.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Completes Challenge #19: Read a book in which a character of colour goes on a spiritual journey.

Thoughts: I was gifted this book a few years back and I remember the sheer size of it was on the intimidating side. Years later, I decided it was finally time to read this one. This is a beautiful book that looks at so many different themes: life, death, youth, adulthood, growing up, being childish, etc. I could go on with how jam packed this novel is with intriguing sentiments on all these topics. I adored the Nao sections, as I loved seeing her grow up and try to cope with the differences between America and Japan.

There were a few scenes were I really found myself weeping for her, empathizing with her and just wanting to be able to lend a helping hand. Ruth’s sections were a little more cut and dry given she is uncovering Nao’s life. I enjoyed her sections as well though I did find at times they dragged a bit. I will say the audiobook read by Ozeki herself was pretty fantastic give the amount of personality she infused into her characters. An excellent read that I know I’ll still be thinking about years to come.

I am definitely going to try my best and complete the 2018 challenge. I’ve given myself a lot of challenges really book-wise given I want to try to read more of my own stuff. This is the hardship of working at a library where shiny new things catch your eye and you go “ohhh shiny.”

I hope everyone enjoyed these posts. I hope if you were participating in the challenge that you completed your goals and even if you didn’t, you read this year and that is amazing! Check back with me at the end of January when we begin this process again!

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – November Reads

November I am doing things a bit differently, partly because the two challenges I finished, I used ARCs to complete them, so they have full on reviews which I will link. I have exactly two challenges to complete in December, and I have picked the two books I am going to read for those challenges. We will see how well I do because I have so many books I want to knock out before the end of the year that have been calling to me. \

Anywho, here’s what was tackled in November.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Completes Challenge #16: Read a banned book or frequently challenged book in your country.

Thoughts: I changed this challenge a little bit given that I’ve read so many challenged books that exist in Canada, and frankly there isn’t usually too many. So I decided I wanted to read a book about banned books and still count it for this challenge. Ban This Book by Alan Gratz is a great middle grade read that looks at banning books and what it does to education, and you can read my review here.


They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Completes Challenge #20: Read an LGBTQIA+ romance novel.

Thoughts: This book emotionally wrecked me and I feel like Adam Silvera is great at feeding on people’s tears. My best recommendation with this book is to make sure you have your tissue box handy, because the feels are going to come hard and fast. You can read my review here.

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – October Reads

October is coming to an end, and I feel like again, I didn’t finish enough of my Read Harder Challenges. I have two months left and four books. Can I do it? Who knows. What I will say, however, read Born A Crime. It won’t let you down.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Completes Challenge #5: Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.

Thoughts: I picked this book up on the recommendation of my co-worker. I didn’t know much about Trevor Noah other than his work on television. Reading about “bring born a crime” and how he had to figure out how to survive in South Africa in such a rough period was very interesting and engrossing. I found I had so many feelings reading this book, as they would spiral around from joy, sadness, to hysterical laughter. Each of the stories offered so much insight not only into Trevor’s life, but also South Africa. I absolutely loved this one and highly recommend it.



Bit by Bit: How Video Games Transformed Our World by Andrew Ervin

Completes Challenge #13: Read a nonfiction book about technology.

Thoughts: I feel like I am cheating a bit with this pick. I looked into a lot of books about technology and a lot of them were not on topics I was interested in. However, I adore video games, and technically they are a piece of “technology”! I know, I could have tried harder, but whatever. Bit by Bit is a history of video games, a memoir about some of the author’s connection to games, and it focuses on titles that pushed boundaries during the early years of the industry. There’s lots of discussion surrounding Nintendo’s beginnings, or Tim Schafer’s games which challenge the genre in changing the way we think about puzzles. The book was good, a bit dry, and some of the titles were games I admit to not enjoying, but I still appreciate a lot of the context Ervin provides. A good read!

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – September Reads

I did terrible at my Book Riot Challenge back in August, so September was a month for redemption. I worked hard to find books that would interest me, but also fulfill the challenges. The two I managed to get to this month I adored for very different reasons, and I’d say they are both worth checking out.

Let’s see what books I tackled for the Book Riot challenge in September!

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Completes Challenge #17: Read a classic by an author of color.

Thoughts: This was a book that over the years I always wanted to read, but found very intimidating. I had been told that this book is emotional, depressing, yet hopeful. It was a book I needed to be in the right frame of mind for. Celie’s story is one of abuse, and she writes letters to God and her sister in hopes of coming to understand her situation. Raped and forced to bare the child of her father. This book hurts. I hurt for Celie. I found myself just wanting things to get better for her. Since this novel is an epistolary, we only know what do from Celie and Nettie’s letters. These letters are very hard to read, and I found myself having to close the book and digest what I had read. This is a very challenging classic to read, but definitely worth the read if you can stomach the discussions of rape and abuse.


The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan

Completes Challenge #12: Read a fantasy novel.

Thoughts: I struggle with Rick Riordan’s books. I wasn’t huge on the Percy Jackson series even though I know why it’s popular with readers of all ages. I was so thoroughly unimpressed that I had no desire to read anymore of his books, until my work assigned me a program related to his Magnus Chase series. Since it was work related, I figured I needed to know the source material. This book was DELIGHTFUL! Maybe it’s because I like Norse Mythology, or maybe I just connected between with these characters, it’s hard to say. There’s so much action, adventure, magic, comedy, and Magnus’ voice felt so different compared to Percy. I was very impressed by this first book and I’ve already checked-out the sequel from my work to enjoy.

P.S.: Sam is best girl.

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – August Reads

August was a slow month for this challenge as I only knocked out one book. I read A LOT in August, but clearly I need to focus on getting this challenge completed. I think I’ve got a sense of what I want to read for the rest of the year, but it definitely requires me to just get those books either from my work or check my own personal shelves. Hopefully in September I can get my crap together and work on this challenge some more!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Completes Challenge #3: Read a book about books.

Thoughts: This book. This book was an emotional ride through someone else’s life. A.J Fikry’s life is transformed when a child is dropped off in the middle of his book store, this is after his rare Edgar Allen Poe book is stolen from the shop, and he has just shooed away the possible love of his life. This is a book for book lovers, as Fikry is the kind of snobbish bookseller who wants to share with the world his taste. But it becomes so much more than that — I found myself so invested in everything that happens in this story, and it’s wonderful and just, ugh, feelings.

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – July Reads

I had no internet for a chunk of July! It was an odd experience, and one I haven’t had in a long time. On the other side of the situation, I read a lot in the month of July and I am crazy proud of that. I even completed some Read Harder Challenges!


The Chinese Knot: And Other Stories by Lien Chao

Completes Challenge #10: Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location

Thoughts: This book was recommended to me by one of my colleagues that I work with. I am not the biggest short story reader, but I’ve found this year I’ve been reading more and more as a means to broaden my reading. These stories look at Chinese immigrant perspectives in downtown Toronto. One thing I immensely enjoyed about the stories is how Lien Chao visualizes Toronto and shows how the city is deeply rooted in many of the new immigrants. “Rose” was my absolutely favourite story in this collection, as it looks as immigration through the lens of someone who has been in the city a long time and watching how it has changed for them over the years. I found most of the stories a bit same-y, but I did think the writing was pretty excellent.

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – June Reads

I am a few days into July and late with this post. My apologies! Life has been insanely busy on my end and reading has oddly slowed down. It’s summer now so I feel like I can get my reading mojo back to where it needs to be. Only one Book Riot challenge was completed in June, and while I am sad I didn’t read more, I am happy that I still managed one over none. Here’s what I tackled in June.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Completes Challenge #11: Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.

Note: Based on where my location is, Nigeria is 5,686 miles away.

Thoughts: This year I have slowly been working my way through all of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s works. While I find her writing to be impeccable, Purple Hibiscus wowed me from the first page. Taking place in Nigeria, Kambili and her brother Jaja lived a privileged life until visiting their Auntie. Soon they start to see the corruption that exists in Nigeria, along with religious and political struggles as well. This is a book about family ties, father-daughter relationships, and the way in which religion can play into peoples lives.

This book is just beautiful written, completely engrossing, with Kambili and Jaja being such wonderful characters to follow along throughout the story