I spent last year reading and reviewing books that satisfied Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. The Challenge is designed to get you to read outside your comfort zone–old books, new books, lesser-known authors, or genres you might not otherwise pick up–to broaden your reading horizons.
Even though at times I was frustrated that books I wanted to read didn’t fit the Challenge, I’m extremely glad I took it on. I discovered I love graphic novels, I listened to my first (and second) audiobook, and I read my first romance novel.
Out of 24 books, I had an exact 12/12 split of male/female authors. This is important, since people tend to read their own gender. This wasn’t deliberate on my part, but was an interesting fact to note.
I read 6 authors of color for the Challenge (25%). For my entire year in reading, authors of color made up 11 of the 31 books I finished (35%). Perhaps this doesn’t seem like much, but in 2014 only 3 of the 26 (11%) books I read were written by authors of color. Reading diversely is a choice that must be made consciously, since critical acclaim and New York Times bestseller lists tend to overwhelmingly promote white authors. I’m happy that I tripled the number of authors of color that I read between 2014 and 2015, and I plan for 2016 to continue on that path.
The Read Harder Challenge gave me an excuse to finally pick up a few books I’d been meaning to read for awhile, but it also introduced me to new authors, genres, and topics I wouldn’t have been drawn to on my own.
The Challenge also gave me a way to expose my blog readers to new literary works, and as a way to give back to all the wonderful people who left comments on my Read Harder reviews, I ran a giveaway in December. I wrote each commenter’s name on a slip of paper, put them all in a bag, and drew the following:
- Beth of Beth Teliho (whose book Order of Seven was one of my Challenge reads)
- Hannah of Things Matter (who sent me Lost at Sea, one of my Challenge reads)
- Jupiter of Building Diverse Bookshelves (who commented a TON, earning herself a bunch of entries into the bag, got drawn twice, and will be receiving TWO books)
- Mayur of It’s Mayur Remember? (who will be here guest blogging about books in the near future)
I’ll be in touch soon about how to get your prizes to you. Thank you to everyone who entered, and congrats to the winners!