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Reader Recommendations for the #ReadHarder Challenge

About this time last month, I shared how I was doing unexpectedly well with Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. When I posted in May, I’d completed 12 of the 24 tasks on the list. Since then, I’ve crossed off four more (audiobook – Missoula by Jon Krakauer; retelling of a classic story – Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid; recommended by someone else – The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan; romance novel – The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan).

As a follow up, I thought it would be fun to round up the recommendations many of you gave me on my last post, along with some of the other books I’ve been thinking about for the remaining tasks.

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A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25

  • White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65

  • Alaska by James Michener
  • Dear Life: Stories by Alice Monroe
  • God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
  • The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (out this September)

A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture

  • The Bone People by Keri Hulme
  • The Round House Louise Erdrich

A sci-fi novel

  • Afterparty by Daryl Gregory
  • The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
  • He, She and It by Marge Piercy
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
  • Telzey Amberdon by James H. Schmitz

A romance novel

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
  • Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran
  • The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
  • The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

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

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2007 Pulitzer)
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2009 Pulitzer)
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (2014 Man Booker)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009 Man Booker)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014 National Book Award)
  • The Unwinding by George Packer (2013 National Book Award)

A book that is a retelling of a classic story

  • Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  • Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • Re Jane by Patricia Park
  • Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
  • The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

A collection of poetry

  • Citizen by Claudia Rankine
  • Aimless Love by Billy Collins

A book that someone else has recommended to you

  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  • The Truth by Terry Pratchett
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

A book that was originally published in another language

  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  • The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman

A book published before 1850

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

If you’re still looking for recommendations for this challenge, I also found the Goodreads group dedicated to the Read Harder Challenge to be a really helpful source of information. If you want the full scoop on the challenge, not just a partial list of recommendations, check out my previous post about reading harder.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lory @ Emerald City Book Review June 16, 2015, 8:40 am

    I don’t feel able to participate in this challenge because I think it would stress me out, but I love seeing all the categories and recommendations. Thanks!

    • Kim June 21, 2015, 1:03 pm

      I think the reason it’s working for me is that I’ve been able to check off some many of the categories naturally. I’ll probably have to try harder with the last few, but for now I haven’t changed my reading choices to terribly much (or read anything I wasn’t otherwise interested in reading).

  • Leah @ Books Speak Volumes June 16, 2015, 10:00 am

    I don’t have the willpower to officially join the challenge, but these are great recommendations!

    • Kim June 21, 2015, 1:03 pm

      I’m not sure if I’ll actually finish it, but it’s fun to try!

  • Shaina June 16, 2015, 2:08 pm

    Excellent list! For another poetry offering, I’ve heard excellent things about Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones. I just finished Citizen and am planning to read Bruise soon, as I’ve heard they make good companions.

    Also, White Teeth and Frankenstein are among my favorites. I hope you get to them!

    • Kim June 21, 2015, 1:05 pm

      Thanks for that recommendation! Poetry is going to be one of the more challenging categories for me, so I appreciate suggestions.

  • Jennine G. June 17, 2015, 10:54 am

    wow, that’s a challenge! Probably the one that needs the most commitment that I’ve ever seen! Good work!

    • Kim June 21, 2015, 1:08 pm

      It’s definitely a lot of books, but I think why I’m actually doing reasonably well on it is because you don’t have to pick your books ahead of time — I can fit a lot of mood reading into the different categories.

  • Belle Wong June 17, 2015, 9:49 pm

    This looks like an interesting challenge – I like the flexibility. And you’ve got some interesting lists here, too!

    • Kim June 21, 2015, 1:09 pm

      Yes, me too. Flexibility is key 🙂

  • Care June 18, 2015, 4:40 pm

    I love book lists! You’ve got some excellent titles here. And I wouldn’t have a clue about how old the author is, so this list is helpful IF I decide to tackle this challenge – do they do this every year?
    I would love to suggest The Good Lord Bird if you need more in the National Book Award category. I think you might like it.

    • Kim June 21, 2015, 1:10 pm

      This is the first year they’ve done it. I’d guess they’ll do it again next year, but maybe with different categories. And thanks for the suggestion — I’ll take a look at that one.

  • Sonia June 19, 2015, 12:45 pm


    • Kim June 21, 2015, 1:10 pm

      The parts I read were lovely. I read a few of the short stories awhile ago but haven’t picked it back up again — need to remedy that!

  • Vasilly June 21, 2015, 10:49 pm

    You have some really really good books on your list! Boy, Snow, Bird and Brown Girl Dreaming are two books that you should read soon! 🙂