I’m two books down in the 2017 Read Harder Challenge, and I’m feeling pretty good about it so far…
I’ve always loved this challenge, but have been notoriously bad at never finishing it – I’m hoping 2017 is the year I change that! I never plan my reading out as I have to be in the mood to read something (I don’t know when I’ll want to read fantasy and when I’ll want contemporary fiction), but I’ve found having a Pinterest board for this challenge has really helped me map out my reading – to a certain extent anyway, some of my choices have already changed!
Here’s what I’ve read so far:
Task 6: read an all-ages comic – Princess Princess Ever After
I started off with this super-quick but super-fun read by Katie O’Neill, which was a good choice to kick off with. The artwork is so sweet, and the story much sweeter. It makes me really happy to see a kid’s comic telling the story of two princesses falling in love – more representation of gay characters can only be a good thing, particularly in children’s literature.
I’m trying to read more diversely this year, and while that refers to diverse authors I also want to look at the diversity of representation in fiction – this was a nice way to kick that off, and got me thinking about the representation of LGBTQIA+ characters in other books I’m reading.
It’s a fun twist on a fairytale – read it with your kids, or by yourself, either way it’s lovely!
Task 22: read a collection of stories by a woman – Difficult Women
I love Roxane Gay, so this was an obvious choice for me – it popped through my letter box (my book ban didn’t count pre-orders from last year!) and I jumped on it! I was drawn in straight away by this gorgeous cover.
I read Bad Feminist and loved it, but have shied away from her novel An Untamed State as it sounds a bit too intense for me – I’m not one to shy away from difficult topics, but there are certain things I find hard to deal with, and sometimes you just need to look after yourself. So I had some concerns about this collection, but I found it to be so beautifully (and brutally) written I read it in no time.
It was uncomfortable to read at times, and I was able to cope with it, but if you have any triggers regarding sexual abuse, please be aware that this is a topic that features heavily.
For me, January is a great time for short stories and this collection really delivers. All of the stories contain flawed women navigating their lives – it feels honest, hopeful and raw all at the same time. It feels like life. I think most readers will find at least one story that really resonates with them, and most of them spoke to me on some level. Roxane Gay is an excellent writer and I look forward to reading her memoir, Hunger, which comes out in the UK in June.
So those are my choices so far, totally different but both brilliant! What did you read for these tasks on the challenge?