Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge

The 2019 Read Harder Challenge is sponsored by the Read Harder Journal

Created by Book Riot, this smartly designed reading log consists of entry pages to record stats, impressions, and reviews of each book you read. Evenly interspersed among these entry pages are 12 challenges inspired by Book Riot’s annual Read Harder initiative, which began in 2015 to encourage readers to pick up passed-over books, try out new genres, and choose titles from a wider range of voices and perspectives. Indulge your inner book nerd and read a book about books, get a new perspective on current events by reading a book written by an immigrant, find a hidden gem by reading a book published by an independent press, and so much more. Each challenge includes an inspiring quotation, an explanation of why the challenge will prove to be rewarding, and five book recommendations that fulfill the challenge.


It’s here! The Read Harder Challenge, created and written by Rachel Manwill, is back and we’re celebrating Year #5. Book Riot’s annual challenge gets bigger every year with more and more of you discovering this reading adventure. Once again, Read Harder has 24 tasks designed to help you break out of your reading bubble and expand your worldview through books. With new genres, new authors, and new points of view, the challenge will (hopefully) help you discover amazing books you wouldn’t have otherwise picked up.

This year’s batch of tasks is a great mix of fun and serious and asks you to consider some topics, forms, and parts of the world you might never have experienced in literature before. All will push your reading limits, and I hope you love them.

Just as in years past, there are 24 tasks, averaging two per month over the course of the next 12 months. You may count one book for multiple tasks or read one book per task. I’ve said it the last three four challenges, so it bears repeating: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. No one is keeping score and there are no points to post. We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out. That’s what this is—a perspective shift—but one for which you’ll only be accountable to yourself.”

If you want to join a community of fellow challenge-goers, share your challenge progress, and get suggestions for tasks, check out the Read Harder Challenge Goodreads group. It’s a great place to hang out and discover books to fit your tasks and discuss the challenge. You can also use the #ReadHarder hashtag all over social media and join Book Riot  Insiders for access to an exclusive Read Harder podcast where Vanessa Diaz and Tirzah Price will offer suggestions, highlighting a new task each episode, and if you join at the Epic level, you can chat with fellow Read Harder-ers in the Insiders Slack.

Click here for a downloadable and editable PDF of the 2019 Read Harder Challenge tasks.

We’ll be publishing recommendations for each of the tasks in the coming months to help you complete this year’s Read Harder (links will be added to this post as the recommendations are posted).

  1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters
  2. An alternate history novel
  3. A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018
  4. A humor book
  5. A book by a journalist or about journalism
  6. A book by an AOC set in or about space
  7. An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America
  8. An #ownvoices book set in Oceania
  9. A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads
  10. A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman
  11. A book of manga
  12. A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character
  13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse
  14. A cozy mystery
  15. A book of mythology or folklore
  16. An historical romance by an AOC
  17. A business book
  18. A novel by a trans or nonbinary author
  19. A book of nonviolent true crime
  20. A book written in prison
  21. A comic by an LGBTQIA creator
  22. A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009
  23. A self-published book
  24. A collection of poetry published since 2014

Finished your 2018 Challenge? Don’t forget to take a picture of your completed list, email it to readharder@bookriot.com by Dec. 31st, and get a 30% discount at the Book Riot store! If you’re struggling for your last task or two, don’t forget you can search Book Riot for “Read Harder” and find help from our contributors for some of the trickier tasks.

Don’t just read…Read Harder!

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