Read Harder 2019, Feminist-Style

ReadHarderChallenge2019_coverHey! It’s been a while!

On top of this year totally kicking my butt with work…I recently came down with typhus. Yes, that same typhus of ye olden days. Needless to say, I wanted to die for about two weeks, then I shakily went back to work last week just so I could hand out finals and say bye to my students. I’m now at the end of Week 4 of this thing (or is it Week 5-6, counting the incubation period?), and while I’m good, my muscles all feel like they’ve been tortured. When will it end?

Anyway. Book Riot announced its 5th annual Read Harder Challenge. I’ve participated all five years, but ever since 2016, when one of their tasks was to read a feminist book, I’ve also published a list of feministy book recommendations for each task. This year I’m a week late, but whatever. I had the plague.

Task 1: An epistolary novel or collection of letters

  • The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
  • Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Task 2: An alternate history novel

  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Task 3: A book by a woman and/or AOC that won a literary award in 2018

  • The Leavers by Lisa Ko
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

Task 4: A humor book

  • Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women by Nora Ephron
  • My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places by Mary Roach
  • Trust No Aunty by Maria Qamar

Task 5: A book by a journalist or about journalism

  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
  • The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran
  • It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario

Task 6: A book by an AOC set in or about space

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
  • Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

Task 7: An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America

  • The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War by Gioconda Belli (Nicaragua)
  • I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala by Rigoberta Menchu (Guatemala)
  • Land of Childhood by Claudia Lars (El Salvador)

Task 8: An #ownvoices book set in Oceania

  • The Bone People by Keri Hulme
  • Carpentaria by Alexis Wright
  • The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

Task 9: A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads:

  • I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet by Leora Tanenbaum
  • Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain by Lori L. Tharps
  • Year of the Elephant: A Moroccan Woman’s Journey Toward Independence by Leila Abouzeid

Task 10: A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman

  • The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
  • In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
  • The Kukotsky Enigma by Ludmila Ulitskaya, Diane Nemec Ignashev (Translator)

Task 11: A book of manga:

  • A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi

Task 12: A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character

  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  • Christine by Stephen King
  • Jacob’s Folly by Rebecca Miller

Task 13: A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse

  • Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
  • Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
  • Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin

Task 14: A cozy mystery

  • Aunty Lee’s Delights by Ovidia Yu
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

Task 15: A book of mythology or folklore

  • Baba Yaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka Ugrešić
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World by Kathleen Ragan
  • There Was a Woman: La Llorona from Folklore to Popular Culture by Domino Renée Pérez

Task 16: An historical romance by an AOC

  • An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
  • The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
  • Vivid by Beverly Jenkins

Task 17: A business book

  • Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
  • #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
  • Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong ed. by Jessica Bacal

Task 18: A novel by a trans or nonbinary author

  • Brew by Dane Figueroa Edidi
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • Little Fish by Casey Plett

Task 19: A book of nonviolent true crime

  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel
  • The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy by Paige Williams
  • The Heir of Douglas: The Scandal That Rocked Eighteenth-Century England by Lillian de la Torre

Task 20: A book written in prison

  • De Profundis by Oscar Wilde
  • Memoirs from the Women’s Prison by Nawal El Saadawi
  • Prison Days by Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Task 21: A comic by an LGBTQIA creator

  • 100 Crushes by Elisha Lim
  • As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman
  • Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag by A. K. Summers

Task 22: A children’s or middle grade book that has won a diversity award since 2009

  • Danza!: Amalia Hernández and el Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki
  • Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami

Task 23: A self-published book

Some of these were initially self-published, became wildly popular, and were later picked up by a publisher.

  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Task 24: A collection of poetry published since 2014

  • Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
  • Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo
  • Rant. Chant. Chisme. by Amalia Ortiz
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3 comments

  1. Veronica

    Yikes – I’m sorry to hear that you were so sick! I’m glad that you’re feeling better, however slowly that may be. I always look forward to your feminist selections for the tasks, almost as much as I look forward to the tasks themselves. Thank you for always putting these lists out there. I hope you continue on the mend and get some good rest during the winter break.

  2. Marlys

    Thanks for compiling this! I haven’t done the Read Harder challenge the last couple years, but will definitely consult this list for my own reading in 2019.

  3. kristen

    Thank you for sharing this list! I always look forward to seeing your recommendations. You come up with excellent ones, and often help me figure out what to read for some of the RH tasks where I’m simply at a loss. 🙂

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been so sick! I hope you are recovering quickly, though I’m sure it feels interminable to you.

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