Read Harder 2017, Feminist-Style

Read Harder Challenge logo 2017Last year, one of the tasks for Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge was to read a feminist book. I saw how people seemed to be stuck in a rut, listing the same books over and over, so I came up with feminist book recommendations for every task in the 2016 challenge.

The 2017 Read Harder tasks were announced a few days ago, and I’ve been mulling these topics over ever since. So what the heck…here are 100+ more feminist book recommendations that should cover most of the tasks (alas, I’m afraid I can’t recommend a book you’ve already read as I am not a mind reader). The micropress task had me stumped for a while, but I got that one too. And hey! For those of you panicking about your library acquiring a micropress book, an added bonus: Native Realities offers Deer Woman for free as an ebook download! Am I good or what?

A lot of titles overlap with other tasks, but each author is only listed once. Happy reading!

Task 1: Read a book about sports.

  1. Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX by Ginny Gilder
  2. Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports by Susan Ware
  3. Getting in the Game: Title IX and the Women’s Sports Revolution by Deborah L. Brake
  4. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
  5. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape by Jessica Luther

Task 2: Read a debut novel.

  1. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  4. Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
  5. The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

Task 3: Read a book about books.

  1. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
  2. Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
  3. The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman
  4. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  5. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch

Task 4: Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.

  1. The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War by Gioconda Belli
  2. House of Mist by María Luisa Bombal
  3. I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala by Rigoberta Menchu
  4. My Invented Country by Isabel Allende
  5. The Three Marias by Rachel de Queiroz

Task 5: Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.

  1. Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas
  2. How to Get Into the Twin Palms by Karolina Waclawiak
  3. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
  4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  5. A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

Task 6: Read an all-ages comic.

  1. El Deafo by Cece Bell
  2. Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
  3. Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen, and Noelle Stevenson
  4. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
  5. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Task 7: Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.

  1. The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
  2. Passing by Nella Larsen
  3. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  4. So Big by Edna Ferber
  5. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Task 8: Read a travel memoir.

  1. An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
  2. All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes by Maya Angelou
  3. Eating Stone by Ellen Meloy
  4. Fly Girl by Amanda Epe
  5. Kinky Gazpacho by Lori L. Tharps

Task 9: Read a book you’ve read before.

Sorry, I can’t help y’all with this one!

Task 10: Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.

I can’t list specific titles, but you can use this website to see a 100-mile radius from where you live. Then, perhaps you’ll find a relevant title on my book map.

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

Ditto; see above.

Task 12: Read a fantasy novel.

  1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  2. The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson
  3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  4. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  5. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Task 13: Read a nonfiction book about technology.

  1. Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Tech by Heather Cabot & Samantha Parent Walravens
  2. Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser
  3. Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology by Vivek Wadhwa & Farai Chideya
  4. Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
  5. The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction by Rachel P. Maines

Task 14: Read a book about war.

  1. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung
  2. One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers by Tara McKelvey
  3. “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
  4. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang
  5. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich

Task 15: Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.

  1. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  3. Huntress by Malinda Lo
  4. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  5. The Necessary Hunger by Nina Revoyr

Task 16: Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.

  1. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
  2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Task 17: Read a classic by an author of color.

  1. Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody
  2. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
  3. Lakota Woman by Mary Brave Bird
  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  5. The Warrior Woman by Maxine Hong Kingston

Task 18: Read a superhero comic with a female lead. (I heart Marvel. I’m biased.)

  1. Black Widow by Nathan Edmondson
  2. Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick
  3. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson
  4. She-Hulk by Charles Soule
  5. Silk by Robbie Thompson

Task 19: Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey (FYI, I’m using both interpretations of the word “spiritual” here).

  1. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  2. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
  3. Sky Burial by Xinran
  4. So Far from God by Ana Castillo
  5. The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff

Task 20: Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel.

  1. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
  2. Loving Her by Ann A. Shockley
  3. Making A Comeback by Julie Blair
  4. Roller Girl by Vanessa North
  5. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

Task 21: Read a book published by a micropress.

  1. Beside Myself by Ashley Farmer (Tiny Hardcore Press)
  2. Deer Woman by Elizabeth LaPensée (Native Realities)
  3. Licking Flames: Tales of a Half-Assed Hussy by Diana Kirk (Black Bomb Books)
  4. Shut Up/Look Pretty by Kirsty Logan, Michelle Reale, Amber Sparks, Lauren Becker, & Erin Fitzgerald (Tiny Hardcore Press)
  5. Someone Please Have Sex With Me by Gina Wynbrandt (2D Cloud)

Task 22: Read a collection of stories by a woman.

  1. American Housewife by Helen Ellis
  2. Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans
  3. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  4. Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade
  5. Women with Big Eyes by Angeles Mastretta

Task 23: Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. 

  1. Another Birth: Selected Poems by Forough Farrokhzad
  2. Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poetry by Korean Women by Ch’oe Sung-ja, Kim Hyesoon, & Yi Yon-ju
  3. My Heart Flooded with Water: Selected Poems by Alfonsina Storni
  4. Madwomen: The “Locas Mujeres by Gabriela Mistral
  5. Old Norse Women’s Poetry: The Voices of Female Skalds by Sandra Ballif Straubhaar

Task 24: Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.

  1. 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter
  2. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
  3. Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
  4. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  5. The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
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13 comments

  1. Veronica

    Great suggestions! Some of these are on my list to get done this year, too. I wasn’t sure what to pick for the superhero category so I’ll probably select one of your recommendations. Thanks!

  2. Heather Stewart

    I love your suggestions! I do the same thing, keeping it feminist where I can. Already having the goal to read the Nobel Women before the next prizes are awarded helped me find Madwomen and I, Rigoberta already but I was glad to see them on your list too.
    I used to feel so behind the times but made a big reading push this year and am so excited that I’ve already read 9 books on your list and have 6 on my Read Harder list (and an extra not on that list but on another one). It just makes me feel like I’m starting to get good footing. I’m putting my list up tomorrow after I’ve reviewed it for my WOC ratio. I’m trying to improve my ratio of WOC in my reading because it was not good and it’s not hard to do better which means there’s not an excuse.

  3. vivjm

    Excellent! I am planning to do the challenge with all female authors this year so this list will definitely be a great help! Thanks for sharing this list – the poetry suggestions especially.

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