Our Read Harder booklist is back by popular demand! Read Harder is Book Riot’s annual reading challenge to help you stretch your reading limits and explore new voices, worlds, and genres. How you approach Read Harder is up to you: you might choose to read one book per task, or feed a few birds with one scone and count one book for multiple tasks. The point of the challenge isn’t to do the thing one specific way, but rather to to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You can grab a paper copy of this list and a reading log on the main level at the library.
1. Read a novel about a trans character written by a trans author.
2. Read one of your favorite author’s favorite books.
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (recommended by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Perrotta)
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (recommended by Yaa Gyasi and Lily King)
The Assistant by Bernard Malamud (recommended by Donald Barthelme, Jonathan Franzen, Philip Roth, and Heidi Julavits)
Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin (recommended by Joan Didion, Yaa Gyasi, and Brit Bennett)
You can also check out toptenbooks.net, which has a long list of various author Top Ten lists.
3. Read a book about activism.
Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon
It Was Vulgar & It Was Beautiful: How AIDS Activists Used Art to Fight a Pandemic by Jack Lowery
Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance by Nick Estes
When They Call You a Terrorist: a Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong
4. Read one of the most-challenged/banned books of the year by a queer and/or BIPOC author.
5. Read a completed webcomic.
6. Finish a book you’ve DNFed (did not finish). (Listed: most common books shelved DNF on Goodreads)
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
7. Listen to an audiobook performed by a person of color of a book written by an author of color.
Hell of a Book by Jason Mott, performed by JD Jackson and Ronald Peet
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton, performed by full cast including Janina Edwards, Bahni Turpin, James Langton
Conjure Women by Afia Atakora, performed by Adenrele Ojo
The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander, performed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
There There by Tommy Orange, performed by full cast including Darrell Dennis, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Alma Ceurvo, Kyla Garcia
8. Read a graphic novel/comic/manga if you haven’t before; or read one that is a different genre than you normally read.
Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman(young adult, romance, queer)
This Place: 150 Years Retold by Alicia Elliott(Indigenous, nonfiction, historical)
Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser(African American women, LGBQ+)
Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall (historical fiction, feminism)
And Now I Spill the Family Secrets by Margaret Kimball(nonfiction, memoir, mental health)
9. Read an independently published book by a BIPOC author.
10. Read a book you know nothing about based solely on the cover. We found our suggestions on NPR’s Books We Love webpage (https://apps.npr.org/best-books/)
11. Read a cookbook cover to cover.
12. Read a nonfiction book about BIPOC and/or queer history.
The Color of Law: a Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement by Paula Yoo
Queer Country by Shana Goldin-Perschbacher
Indigenous Continent by Pekka Hämäläinen
El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson
13. Read an author local to you.
American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar
Abbott by Saladin Ahmed or available via Hoopla
Scotsman in the Stacks by Alana Oxford
Shadows Over London by Christian Klaver
Beautiful Music by Michael Zandoorian
14. Read a book with under 500 Goodreads ratings.
15. Read a historical fiction book set in an Eastern country.
16. Read a romance with bisexual representation.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner
This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron Aceves
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
17. Read a YA book by an Indigenous author.
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
Man Made Monsters by Andrea L. Rogers
18. Read a comic or graphic novel that features disability representation.
19. Read a nonfiction book about intersectional feminism.
Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption by Rafia Zakaria
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Can We All Be Feminists? By June Eric-Udorie
Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America edited by Amy Reed
Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist by Sesali Bowen
20. Read a book of poetry by a BIPOC or queer author.
21. Read a book of short stories.
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez
Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Our Shadows Have Claws edited by Yamile Saied Méndez and Amparo Ortiz
What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Homesick For Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh