Thursday, December 31, 2015

The 2015 Read Harder Challenge

I found this Read Harder Challenge at the beginning of the year and decided I'd try it. There are types of books on the list I either don't read at all any more or that I have never been much attracted to. I thought the challenge might encourage me to branch out some. Wherever possible, I chose works available online. Here are links to the books I read for this challenge:

A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25:
Queen Mab, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65:
The Marienbad Elegy, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people):
The Garden Party and Other Stories, by Katherine Mansfield

A book published by an indie press
I've found this a horribly perverse category. When I look for indie publishers, they are mixed in with other publishers. Finding a book I want to read that also is published by an indie publisher took more effort than I was willing to devote to the task. I have yet to find a usable list, much less a consistent list across sources. I decided to count The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow, from TokyoPop.

A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
Vathek, by William Beckford

A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
Kiss of the Spider Woman, by Manuel Puig

A book that takes place in Asia
The Silent Cry, by Kenzaburo Oe

A book by an author from Africa
The Tale of the Two Brothers

A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
The Life of Joaquin Marieta

A microhistory
I didn't read a microhistory

A YA novel
Waverley, by Sir Walter Scott

A sci-fi novel
Probability Moon, by Nancy Kress

A romance novel
The Black Moth, by Georgette Heyer

A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
I didn't read any this year that were from the last decade.

A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
I've read such things and do not care for them. I love the originals. Let people get their own ideas.

An audiobook
I listened to some stories and poems but not many. I don't care for audiobooks.

A collection of poetry
The Children of the Night: A Book of Poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson

A book that someone else has recommended to you
I have so many books I haven't read that are on my shelf waiting that I tend to ignore other people's recommendations.

A book that was originally published in another language
Fountain and Tomb

A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind (Hi, have you met Panels?)
Girl Genius

A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)
I don't understand the concept of "guilty pleasure" where books are concerned.

A book published before 1850
Tirant Io Blanc

A book published this year
I don't remember having read anything published during 2015. That's odd, because last year I read a few published in 2014. I was surprised at not having accomplished this.

A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying


  1. That´s an impressive list. Has it opened doors for you? Has your reading branched out in any permanent way? Personally, I always thought your reading rather eclectic. Impressively so.

    1. I did read some things that I wouldn't otherwise have read, but I don't actually feel like I branched out much. As I made it through what of the list I did accomplish, I came to think the list focused too much on the author and the publisher and too little on the actual book. Whether or not the author is young or old or non-heterosexual is something I don't care about. The size of the publisher also doesn't interest me. I'm not sure I'll do a book challenge this coming year.

  2. Interesting list. I copied it and think I am going to see if I can read a few of these types of books to get out of my comfort zone. Happy New Year! And thanks for visiting my blog too!

    1. The 2016 challenge is here: