2017 Read Harder Challenge

For the last several years, Bookriot.com has put together a list of reading prompts called the Read Harder Challenge.  The 24-item list is released at the end of the year and is designed to encourage readers to step outside of their literary comfort zones and try new authors, genres, topics, and perspectives.  Readers are not required to complete all of the tasks, but those that do can take a picture of their completed list by the end of the calendar year and receive a 30% off coupon in the Book Riot store.  Pretty cool, huh?

In fact, it’s so cool that I wanted to bring the challenge over to the library!  We may not be offering any kind of rewards at the end of the year for readers who complete the challenges, but if you’re interested in expanding your reading horizons, or simply want to challenge yourself in 2017, you should give the latest edition of the Read Harder Challenge a try!  I’ll be following it next year, and I’ll also be posting weekly reading lists on the blog as well as reviewing the books that I read for the challenge.

And without further ado, here is the list!

  1. Read a book about sports.
  2. Read a debut novel.
  3. Read a book about books.
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.
  6. Read an all-ages comic.
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
  8. Read a travel memoir.
  9. Read a book you’ve read before.
  10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
  11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
  12. Read a fantasy novel.
  13. Read a nonfiction book about technology.
  14. Read a book about war.
  15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
  16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
  17. Read a classic by an author of color.
  18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
  19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey. (From Daniel Jose Older, author of Shadowshaper)
  20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel. (From Sarah MacLean, best-selling historical romance author.)
  21. Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist)
  22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You).
  23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series).
  24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of Ascension.)


If you want to participate in the challenge, click here for a printable PDF with all the items that you can fill out as you complete each challenge.  If you’re on social media, you can use the hashtag #ReadHarder to share your progress, or if you’re on Goodreads, you can join the official Read Harder group for reading suggestions and social interaction as the year goes on.  If you’re really dedicated, you might even be able to join a Read Harder Book Group in person!  And if you’re really, really dedicated, you can view the last two Read Harder Challenges here for even more reading prompts!

Phew!  That’s a lot going on for one challenge, so don’t feel overwhelmed!  The point of this challenge is to help you discover new books that you might not otherwise have picked up before, so you’re free to use as many or as few of these resources as you’d like.  I’ll be starting up in January with curated lists and resources for each of the challenges, so if you’re interested, make sure to keep following the blog!  And as always, you can contact the Reference Desk at wkgnref@waukeganpl.info or fill out our personalized reading recommendation form for book suggestions!

Happy reading!

—Katie, Adult Reference