What We’re Reading for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

At the start of each year, we always look forward to the unveiling of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. Their list of 24 book prompts is the basis of their challenge to the literary community to read more widely, read more diversely, and try genres and topics we might never pick up otherwise. The list this year is no exception, and we are so excited to get reading! Here are some of our recommendations for the challenge. Read along with us or visit Book Riot to create your own list.

by Michael Lewis

Read a Book About Sports

A must-read for anyone interested in the science and statistics of baseball, MONEYBALL is a quest for the secret to success in the game. Full of fascinating characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, it will have you rooting for the underdog in a sport where big money is always supposed to win.

The Mothers
by Brit Bennett

Read a Debut Novel

As Nadia Turner, a rebellious 17-year-old beauty, mourns her mother’s suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is a 21-year-old former football star, whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. The pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. Soon they are adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer.

The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield

Read a Book About Books

In this novel, biographer Margaret Lea is approached by a well-loved but gravely ill author with a surprising request: she wants Margaret to capture her life story before it’s too late. Although Margaret has never read the author’s work, she’s intrigued, and soon gets immersed in her strange and troubling history. Now both women will have to confront their pasts—and grapple with the ghosts that still haunt them.

Santa Evita
by Tomás Eloy Martínez

Read a Book Set in Central or South America, Written by a Central or South American Author

Eva Perón grew up from her childhood of poverty to reinvent herself as a beauty and would go on to snare Argentina’s dictator, and reign as uncrowned queen of the masses, only to be struck down by cancer at age 33. When her desperate but foxy husband brings Europe’s leading embalmer to Eva’s deathbed to make her immortal, the fantastical comedy of SANTA EVITA begins.

The Bone People
by Keri Hulme

Read a Book That is Set More Than 5,000 Miles from Your Location

Kerewin Holmes—part Maori, part European—lives alone on the New Zealand sea until her solitude is disrupted by a speechless boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most precious possession. As Kerewin succumbs to Simon’s feral charm, she also falls under the spell of his Maori foster father, Joe.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry
by Kathleen Flinn

Read a Travel Memoir

When Kathleen Flinn’s job was eliminated, she took the opportunity to cash in her savings, move to Paris, and land a spot at the venerable Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. Her struggle to master the basics of French cuisine in a stew of hot-tempered chefs and competitive classmates is both funny and inspiring.

The Innovators
by Walter Isaacson

Read a Nonfiction Book About Technology

THE INNOVATORS is a saga of collaborative genius and a guide to how innovation really happens. From Ada Lovelace, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s, to the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution (Alan Turing, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs), this critically acclaimed book explores how their minds really worked and what made them so inventive.

Better Nate Than Ever
by Tim Federle

Read a YA or Middle Grade Novel by an Author Who Identifies as LGBTQ+

Nate Foster has always wanted to star in a Broadway show but he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune. So with Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York to go to an open casting call for ”E.T.: The Musical”.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

Read a Book That Has Been Banned or Frequently Challenged in Your Country

Observant “wallflower” Charlie charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. He deals with first dates, family drama, and new friends. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Giovanni’s Room
by James Baldwin

Read a Classic by an Author of Color

Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin’s now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.

Ms. Marvel, Volume 1
by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Read a Superhero Comic with a Female Lead

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City—until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who is this all-new Ms. Marvel, truly? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? As Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them as well. But is she ready to wield these immense new gifts?

A Piece of Cake
by Cupcake Brown

Read a Book in Which a Character of Color Goes on a Spiritual Journey

This heart-wrenching memoir follows Cupcake, an 11-year-old orphan who is placed with a sadistic foster parent, and stumbles into the terrifying world of drugs and prostitution. But after nearly dying, Cupcake finally realizes that she has to change her life or she will die on the streets. Unlike any memoir you will ever read, A PIECE OF CAKE is a redemptive, gripping tale of a resilient spirit.

by Sarah Waters

Read an LGBTQ+ Romance Novel

Orphan Sue Trinder is raised amongst “fingersmiths”—transient petty thieves. When a fingersmith known as Gentleman asks Sue to help him con a wealthy woman out of her inheritance, she never expects to pity her helpless mark, let alone come to care for her. But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

Interpreter of Maladies
by Jhumpa Lahiri

Read a Collection of Stories by a Woman

Navigating between the Indian traditions they’ve inherited and the modern world, the characters in this Pulitzer Prize–winning collection of stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. These finely wrought stories of deft cultural insight fully display Jhumpa Lahiri’s enormous talent as a storyteller.

The Incarnations
by Susan Barker

Read a Book Wherein All Point-of-View Characters Are People of Color

Taxi driver Wang begins to receive unusual letters from a mysterious “soul mate” that are filled with the stories of his previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars. With each letter, Wang becomes more convinced that someone is watching him—someone who claims to have known him for more than 1,000 years.