Seeking book suggestions for Read Harder 2019 challenge
December 14, 2018 5:43 PM   Subscribe

Bookriot has an annual "Read Harder" challenge, suggesting 24 categories of books to read. I need good recommendations for 18 of them.

I had great luck on AskMeFi last year, asking this same question.

The 2019 challenge is linked here: https://bookriot.com/2018/12/12/2019-read-harder-challenge/

I would love suggestions for non-fiction, where categories aren't specifically fictional. As always, I'm particularly interested in books that were not written by straight, white American cis men, though of course am interested in anything good, in general. My missing categories:

* A book by a woman and/or author of color that won a literary award in 2018

* A humor book

* A book by a journalist or about journalism

* A book by an author of color set in or about space

* An #ownvoices set in Mexico or Central America

* An #ownvoices set in Oceania

* A book published prior to January 1, 2019 with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads

* A book of manga

* A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character

* A book by or about someone who identifies as neurodiverse

* A cozy mystery (Mystery is a really hard genre for me to enjoy. Please please help.)

* A novel by a trans or nonbinary authory

* A book written in prison

* A comic by an LGBTQIA creator

* A children's or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009

* A self-published book

* A collection of poetry published since 2014
posted by kensington314 to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
* A self-published book

I suggested Courtney Milan for this and for the historical romance by an author of color category in this challenge elsewhere on the internet.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 5:51 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


A book by a journalist: They Can’t Kill Us All: the story of Black Lives Matter by Wesley Lowery
posted by epj at 6:08 PM on December 14, 2018


A novel by a trans or nonbinary author

If you want literary fiction, read Casey Plett. My very favorites of hers are short stories, but her novel Little Fish is great.

If you want YA teenage-superhero adventures, read April Daniels's Dreadnought (first of a series, but satisfying on its own).

If you want gonzo postapocalyptic bizarreness, read Sybil Lamb's I've Got a Time Bomb.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:22 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character: The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. Two dogs and a cat strike out cross country to go back home.

A book of manga: The Library Wars series. Heroic librarians battle government censors while agonizing over whether sempai likes them.

A book by or about someone who identifies as neurodiverse: Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation is the obvious choice. The Psychopath Inside is less obvious.

A cozy mystery: King and Joker, an alternate history mystery set in which England's surprisingly pleasant and affectionate royal family members are suspects and detectives.

A collection of poetry published since 2014: Liz Berry's Black Country

Oh Sweethearts

And slowly we’m sweethearts
atween the wet grass all river-licked,
lime dust in our hair
and both of us so frightened,
blind as moles. But wanting
something. Wanting.
We’m side-by-side on the grass,
me barefeet in the water,
bowing our heads, gentle
as osses at the water trough.
I can feel his shoulder ashiver
and it makes me bold, makes me jumpy,
so I hold out me ond
till he takes it and kisses the palm
like he’s eating sugar from it
and we’m off ...

-- Liz Berry
posted by ckridge at 6:23 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


A novel by a trans or nonbinary author

Also, jeez, I really wish this didn't specify "novel" — though I guess they did it to rule out stuff that's in the basic "how I transitioned" genre. But my favorite butch and transmasculine writing comes from spoken word and storytelling and so also gets excluded by that word. If you can stretch the definition of "novel" to include autobiographical writing that loops around in artistic, reflective, poetic ways, read Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon's Gender Failure.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:36 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


* A book by a woman and/or author of color that won a literary award in 2018

Martha Wells' novella All Systems Red won several awards this year, including a Hugo and a Nebula. Genre: Science Fiction, under 200 pages.
posted by rakaidan at 6:52 PM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


A novel by a trans or nonbinary author

Confessions of the Fox
by Jordy Rosenberg or Sketchtasy by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore.
posted by southern_sky at 7:15 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


A children's or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009

I'm not sure what a diversity award is, but George by Alex Gino won a Lambda Literary award and several other awards.
posted by southern_sky at 7:31 PM on December 14, 2018


A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character

Maybe The Island of the Day Before, which has a chapter told from the point of view of a rock. This is my favourite chapter in the book, but not everyone likes it.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:38 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


a book by a woman and/or author of color that won a literary award in 2018

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:43 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


A self-published book

The Humanure Handbook
posted by aniola at 7:46 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


While the author is probably a straight, white American cis man, I think its topic makes it worthy of this list.
posted by aniola at 7:48 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


A novel by a trans or nonbinary author

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg. I took a seminar with him on grad school. He is so smart and I can't wait to read this book.
posted by apricot at 7:59 PM on December 14, 2018


Oh! Oh! Oh!

* A novel by a trans or nonbinary author

I really cannot emphasise enough how you should read All The Birds in The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. (Wikipedia: Spoilers therein so careful)

It's kind of science fictionish (but set in today's world rather than in space or whatever) but it's also got cool witchy women in it and it's romantic and uplifting and fascinating.

I read a lot and I'm impressed a lot, but few books I've read recently have, upon finishing them, filled me with quite such a sense of utter joy, a feeling that the world can be a wonderful, beautiful, strange place, and a desire to go and yell at strangers about how much better their lives would be if they read this one book.
posted by Dext at 8:15 PM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


"* A collection of poetry published since 2014"

If you haven't read Claudia Rankine's "Citizen" (2014), that's the one you want!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:27 PM on December 14, 2018


Prison? Read Genet
posted by Middlemarch at 10:30 PM on December 14, 2018


A collection of poetry published since 2014: This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt.
posted by bibliotropic at 11:42 PM on December 14, 2018


Seconding Dreadnought if that genre is at all interesting to you -- it's satisfying narratively as a superhero story but also sociopolitically, heh.

For some of the other categories, I wonder if the Jhalak Prize shortlists might be useful?
posted by diffuse at 3:38 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Manga is tough for a few reasons, but ckridge's suggestion of Library Wars is a fun one. That was the first time in my life that I felt actively pandered to. Very weird feeling.

Manga are nearly always series, which is one of the difficult bits in a list like this, so I will throw in a plug for a favorite one-and-done: All my Darling Daughters. CW, one of the stories is about an awful relationship where one of the participants sidelines their own happiness/agency because they don't think they deserve any better. Augh. So it's am emotionally complicated set of stories. The author writes about actual adults as well as teenagers, and so her work has always been a favorite of mine.

Otherwise, while I'm on nerd sherpa duty, it depends on what other genres you like. Fantasy, sf, and straight-guy-pandering romance are overrepresented in manga, but there are lots of other options out there. There's a lot of excellent psychological horror manga, for instance.
posted by cage and aquarium at 6:49 AM on December 15, 2018


For cozies, here is a long, long list of possibilities: Cozy Mystery List. I personally think that any of Gail Bowen's mysteries are great. She's a Canadian and her mysteries are set in Regina, Saskatchewan. Her first one is a very good intro to the series: Deadly Appearances.

Another one that I've just discovered are the Baby Ganesh books set in India (a baby elephant is adopted after his previous person dies and he accompanies his new person, Inspector Chopra, while the latter solves crimes). The first one of those is as charming as the others and I can strongly recommend it: The Unexpected Inheritance Of Inspector Chopra.

Absolutely try Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series. She is Canadian and her works are set in the province of Quebec. They have won many, many awards and are so readable. Start out with the first one in the series, Still Life, which in itself won five awards.

For poetry, there are so many possibilities. Here are three of my favourites:

I'm So Fine: A List Of Famous Men And What I Had On by Khadijah Queen published in 2017. My favourite book of poetry published last year.

Blackbird Song by Canadian Indigenous author Randy Lundy is my favourite book of poetry published this year and I am buying it for myself for Christmas!

Finally, Whirr And Click by Micheline Maylor is outstanding and sent me to reading all of her other books. It was published in 2014, but you could read Little Wildheart (2017) instead.
posted by purplesludge at 6:55 AM on December 15, 2018


Neurodiverse--The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon narrated by a character with Asperger's. It's a really fun read and won multiple awards.

Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer, also narrated by a man with Asperger's. He is a medical student who ultimately solves two mysteries. This won several awards as well.
posted by purplesludge at 7:05 AM on December 15, 2018


Author of color set in space? I highly recommend An Unkindness of Ghosts.

Comix by an LGBTQIA creator? Nimona would be my pick. It's a treasure.

Animal POV book immediately makes me think of Watership Down.

A woman won the booker this year with Milkman so that would cover the literary award.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:16 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Under 100 reviews: I didn't talk by Beatriz Beacher.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:37 AM on December 15, 2018


* A book by a woman and/or author of color that won a literary award in 2018

Already on my list for this year is The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, which won the National Book Award for Young People Literature in 2018.

* A humor book

No book has every made me laugh harder than Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

* A book by an author of color set in or about space

For this year's SFF by a Woman category I read Dawn by Octavia Butler and WOW

* A novel by a trans or nonbinary author

For this year's Mystery by LGBT author I read Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan and really got caught up in it, even though I'm also not a mystery person (alas I don't think it would be considered cozy, but what do I know, not a mystery person).

* A comic by an LGBTQIA creator

Easy, all the best comics are by queer women: Noelle Stevenson, Molly Ostertag, Jess Fink, Melanie Gillman, Eleanor Crews, Mariko Tamaki, Emily Carroll, Ariel Schrag, and of course Alison Bechdel, just to name a few.

* A children's or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009

It might be a stretch to say March Book 3 by John Lewis is "not YA" as it won the Printz, so if so, you can't go wrong with the excellent and solidly middle grade One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Both won the Coretta Scott King Award.

* A collection of poetry published since 2014

It's almost like the date was chosen just because it would be way too easy to go for salt. by Nayyirah Waheed (2013) but I can definitely recommend There are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker
posted by lampoil at 8:43 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Seconding lampoil's suggestion of Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half. I *howled* with laughter at "Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving"
posted by purplesludge at 8:56 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't know how you feel about books that hit two or more of the categories, but a manga I really loved this year was My Brother's Husband, by Gengoroh Tagame. It's about a Japanese single dad whose gay twin brother recently passed away after living for years in Canada. His twin's widowed husband comes to visit, to see the places where his husband grew up and meet the family. It's a sweet, lovely story about strangers becoming family and about wrestling with our own internalized biases.

It's manga, so it's a comic, and it's by a queer author.
posted by gideonfrog at 11:00 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


For poetry, I'm really enjoying Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across by the singer Mary Lambert.
posted by skycrashesdown at 9:29 PM on December 15, 2018


Oh! For poetry, consider Ocean Vuong's Night Sky with Exit Wounds.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:17 AM on December 16, 2018


A book by a woman and/or author of color that won a literary award in 2018"

Are you open to books for young adults? The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. It's a novel in verse, and Acevedo's language just sings.
posted by yankeefog at 12:57 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Book prior to 2019 with fewer than 100 Goodreads reviews: welll this is the only reason I can think of to be happy that Tanya Tagaq's Split Tooth has been so inexplicably underpromoted. Tagaq is a modern Inuit throat singer making amazing visceral avantgarde work, and the book is similarly searing, difficult, and uncategorizable. Chapters of prose alternate with poetry; there is a lot of magic realism and very little linear narrative. Everything is simultaneously dreamlike and disociated painfully raw. It's been a slow read for me so far, but I am astounded by it. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40044460-split-tooth
posted by TheLittlestRobot at 4:30 PM on December 16, 2018


And for book by a person of color set in space, Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe was a bit over my head, but also amazing. It starts off being about space travel, but turns into a book about narrative, loss. And fathers and sons.
posted by TheLittlestRobot at 4:32 PM on December 16, 2018


Seconding All the Birds in the Sky. I love that book so much.
posted by beandip at 9:33 AM on December 17, 2018


A book by a woman and/or author of color that won a literary award in 2018 - The Poet X (the audiobook version was great, if you're into that)

* A humor book - You Can't Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain

* A book by a journalist or about journalism - The Influencing Machine (a bit outdated, but still pretty relevant IMO)

* A book published prior to January 1, 2019 with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads - The WORN Archive: A Fashion Journal about the Art, Ideas, & History of What We Wear
or Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High School

* A book by or about someone who identifies as neurodiverse - NeuroTribes


* A novel by a trans or nonbinary authory - Long Black Veil

* A comic by an LGBTQIA creator - Fetch: How A Bad Dog Brought Me Home or No Straight Lines

* A children's or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009 - sooo many great choices for this, but I'm basically obsessed with everyone by Jason Reynolds


* A collection of poetry published since 2014 - Don't Call Us Dead
posted by nuclear_soup at 10:36 AM on December 17, 2018


Posting my final list here - still looking for that point of view animal or object book, FYI . . .

Thanks to everyone for your ideas!

An epistolary novel or collection of letters Augustus John Williams
An alternate history novel The Moor's Account Laila Lalami
A book by a woman and/or AOC that won a literary award in 2018 Milkman Anna Burns
A humor book Hyperbole and a Half Allie Brosh
A book by a journalist or about journalism They Can't Kill Us All: The Story of Black Lives Matter Wesley Lowery
A book by an AOC set in or about space Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand Samuel R. Delaney
An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America A Brief History of Central America Hector Perez-Brignoli
An #ownvoices book set in Oceania Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? Bruce Pascoe
A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads The WORN Archive: A Fashion Journal About the Art, Ideas, & History of What We Wear Serah-Marie McMahon
A translated book written and/or translated by a woman The Lost Daughter Elena Ferrante
A book of manga My Brother's Husband Gengoroh Tagame
A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character
A book by or about someone who identifies as neurodiverse NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity Steve Silberman
A cozy mystery The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra (A Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation) Vaseem Khan
A book of mythology or folklore The Aeneid Virgil / Sarah Ruden
A business book The Strategy of Meetings George Kieffer
A novel by a trans or nonbinary author All the Birds in the Sky Charlie Jane Anders
A book written in prison Blue Rage, Black Redemption Tookie Williams
A comic by an LGBTQIA creator Awkward Ariel Schrag
A children's or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009 March, Books 2 and 3 John Lewis
A self-published book The Humanure Handbook Joseph Jenkins
A collection of poetry published since 2014 I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men and What I Had On Khadijah Queen
A collection of poetry published since 2014 The Wound is a World Billy-Ray Belcourt
posted by kensington314 at 1:01 PM on December 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


« Older Books of or about photography for a precocious...   |   Need a cool beer to bring to a party of beer... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments