2017 Read Harder Challenge

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My lovely friend Rachel started the Read Harder Challenge a couple years ago that involves reading 24 books throughout the course of the year. Why? Rachel says it best:

“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. No one is keeping score and there are no points to post. 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 out. That’s what this is – a perspective shift – but one for which you’ll only be accountable to yourself.”

What’s really cool this year is that several authors have contributed to the list. You’ll find their names below as well as links with suggestions if you’re at a loss.

Read Harder Challenge List

  1. Read a book about sports.
  2. Read a debut novel.
  3. Read a book about books.
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.
  6. Read an all-ages comic.
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
  8. Read a travel memoir.
  9. Read a book you’ve read before.
  10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
  11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
  12. Read a fantasy novel.
  13. Read a nonfiction book about technology.
  14. Read a book about war.
  15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
  16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
  17. Read a classic by an author of color.
  18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
  19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey (From Daniel José Older, author of Salsa Nocturna, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, and YA novel Shadowshaper)
  20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean, author of ten bestselling historical romance novels)
  21. Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, Marvel’s World of Wakanda, and the forthcoming Hunger and Difficult Women)
  22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author Everything I Never Told You and the forthcoming Little Fires Everywhere)
  23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series, including The Unquiet Dead, The Language of Secrets, and the forthcoming Among the Ruins)
  24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of sci-fi novel Ascension)

I’ll get a separate page set up eventually to keep track of my books. I will say that the romance novel challenge (#20) will be the most difficult for me since I never read romance novels, but I’m excited to give it a go. Bring it on!

If you’re participating, do you have any books on your list already? What challenge would be the hardest for you?

The 2017 Classic Book-a-Month Club Sign Up Post

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Being a fan of classic literature, it’s impossible to resist something like The 2017 Classic Book-a-Month Club. This challenge is hosted by Adam of Roof Beam Reader and involves a different classic each month.

The CBAM Reading List:

  • January: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • February: The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles
  • March: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • April: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • May: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • June: The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville
  • July: Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • August: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • September: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  • October: Angels in America by Tony Kushner
  • November: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • December: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Five of these books will be rereads for me so my reading those will depend on how busy those months are, but I hope to read all 12 books.

This is a super laid back reading challenge, and it’s a great start for anyone wanting to get into reading the classics. Visit Adam’s blog to sign up!

Participants: Which book are you looking most forward to reading?

Bout of Books 18 Sign Up Post

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Brace yourselves… Bout of Books Readathon is coming! This is the 18th round and my 9th time participating. For more information about this reading event…

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

My Reading List:
1. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
2. Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker
3. Viability by Sarah Vap
4. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
5. On Trails by Robert Moor
6. Upstream by Mary Oliver
7. The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
8. Flucht by Michelle Matthees
9. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
10. Captain Marvel Volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick & David Lopez

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I’m excited to get started. See you all on January 2nd!

Bout of Books participants: What book are you most looking forward to reading?

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon End of Event Survey

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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon has come and gone, and I’m thrilled by how much fun it was yet again. So many wonderful people, challenges, prizes, snacks, and most importantly, BOOKS. My answers to the End of Event Survey are below. Hope everyone had a wonderful readathon!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
It got rough for me around 11pm because I knew I wanted to be awake for my mini-challenge around 3. Turns out that was actually my hardest hour. I woke up just long enough to make sure the challenge was good to go before passing out for a couple more hours. I’m not a night owl anymore so anything too late makes it hard for me to focus.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I crushed some poetry and a wonderful YA book this time around so I would go with anything poetry like We Slept Here by Sierra DeMulder or YA like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Well, that sounds sinful. I have no suggestions unless they want to make it into an entire weekend… or am I the only crazy person here?

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I love how many people participate not only as readers but also as contributors in some way or another. I saw friends hosting the main page as well as friends hosting challenges. It’s cool bringing so many great people together in one space for 24 hours (and beyond, let’s be honest). Everything about it works, but the people make it worth coming back every single time.

5. How many books did you read?
I must be slowing down as a reader. I put in about the same amount of time as always but only managed just under 4 books.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
1. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
2. We Slept Here by Sierra DeMulder
3. Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds
(Almost) 4. The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
We Slept Here

8. Which did you enjoy least?
I enjoyed everything this time around. I keep learning and re-learning the lesson that serious subject matter, especially nonfiction, can be difficult to get through during a readathon because it requires more focus and can’t be quickly devoured like other forms of writing, hence my still reading The Fire This Time. I plan on finishing it today.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I wasn’t, but they’re wonderful people. Thank you all for cheering!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I will always participate! I will be a reader and will possibly host another challenge or do something else to help out.

Dewey’s 24 Hour #Readathon Challenge: Book Stitchings (Hour 21)

Winner Update: Good morning, friends! Thank you all so much for submitting your wonderful ideas to the cross stitch mini-challenge. My randomly selected winner was Erin (Blue Stocking Bookworm)! She will receive a handmade “Though she be but little, she is fierce” design a la Shakespeare. I’ll post it to Instagram once it’s finished for anyone who wants to see it.

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Good morning/afternoon/evening, readathoners! It’s 3am for me, but no matter what time zone you’re in it’s impressive to see you pushing through at Hour 21. Despite being a Dewey’s participant for years, this is my first time hosting a challenge so I’m a touch more excited than I am during a normal Dewey’s… if it’s even possible to ever get more excited. Anyway, let’s have a little giveaway.

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The Challenge + The Prize
I’m rewarding you for staying up this long (or coming back after a glorious nap), so this “challenge” is going to be easy. All you need to do is tell me your favorite book, bookish quote, or anything bookish that can be made into a cross stitch pattern, and tell me why you love this book/quote/bookish thing.

The pattern can be something already done (links are cool), or something you just made up. Feel free to draw out exactly what you want or give me color preferences to work with, if relevant. My only requirement is that it’s not anything massive in size. We can further discuss details if you win.

Examples of My Work:

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How to Enter
Leave a comment below with your idea and email address so I can contact you if you win. For bonus entries, follow me on Twitter and Instagram and let me know your account name to verify. The giveaway will end at 6am CDT (Central).

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Best of luck to everyone, and happy reading!

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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Mid-Event Survey

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Hello, friends! I’ve made it to the halfway mark in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon! How’s everyone else doing? I might take a nap when it gets a little later due to my challenge at Hour 21, but for now I’m ready to keep reading.

Now, time for a mid-event survey…

1. What are you reading right now?
I’m about to start Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds.

2. How many books have you read so far?
I have read 2.5 books. I took a break from The Fire This Time because it’s a slow read due to the subject matter and I didn’t want to rush through it. I’ll get back to it later tonight or tomorrow.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I’m ready for Sharon Olds!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
I’ve taken a few breaks for meal/snack prep/eating and other things like taking book photos, but I consider that all to be part of the readathon more than interruptions.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I’m always surprised and thrilled by the number of participants! I love how we all get together for a day of reading and nerding out. You are all pretty damn great.

Hope every is enjoying the readathon! Time to get back to some more poetry.

Dewey’s Readathon Opening Event Questions (Hour 0)

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Here we are at the beginning of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon! I hope everyone is awake and ready to go. The reading is about to begin, but first I thought I’d fill out the Opening Event Questions as posted on the main site. My answers are below, and then it’s time to start reading!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I should be in Fargo, North Dakota, but my internet decided to quit on me last night so I’m at my father’s house in Oxbow, which is basically Fargo.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Um, all of them, but really I’m excited to get in some more poetry time. I’ve always been a fan of poetry, but past readathons have been full of comics and prose. I hope to get through both poetry books for sure, but we’ll see what I feel like.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I’m crushing it with Weight Watchers (shameless praise) so my snacks are all healthy this time around. I have my eye mostly on the Quinoa Sticks and pomegranate since I don’t buy either of them often.

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4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I recently got into hiking and cross stitch and am a little obsessed with both now. I’m also gearing up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November, so this readathon comes at the best possible time since I will probably not be reading in November.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I think this is round five for me. The main difference is that I’m hosting a mini-challenge during Hour 21, which I’m excited for and you should be, too. (I’m biased, but seriously it’s going to be great.)

Let’s do this!

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Happy reading!