Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer
Read Harder Archive

Book Riot’s 2017 Read Harder Challenge

Rachel Manwill

Staff Writer

Rachel Manwill is an editor, writer, and professional nomad. Twice a year, she runs the #24in48 readathon, during which she does almost no reading. She's always looking for an excuse to recommend a book, whether you ask her for one or not. When she's not ranting about comma usage for her day job as a corporate editor, she's usually got an audiobook in her ears and a puppy in her lap. Blog: A Home Between Pages Twitter: @rachelmanwill


Welcome to the third annual best reading challenge ever, the 2017 Read Harder Challenge. (I’ve been waiting all year to say those words!)

Over the last two years, we’ve introduced the Read Harder Challenge to more and more of you, and 2017 promises to be the biggest year yet. I’ve been brainstorming for the better part of 2016, and I’m hopeful you’ll find more books and genres and authors and characters to fall in love with thanks to these wide-ranging tasks.

And new this year, we recruited six of our favorite authors to contribute to this year’s challenge: Daniel José Older, Sarah MacLean, Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng, Ausma Zehanat Khan, and Jacqueline Koyanagi! Their tasks are fantastic additions to the list, and I’m so excited that they’ve lent their input.

Just as in years past, there are 24 tasks, averaging to 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 two 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 be a bit more accountable or for your challenge to be social (or if you just need a little inspiration), the Read Harder group on Goodreads is an excellent resource throughout the year for sharing your reading plans, discussing the tasks, and finding new books to fit the challenge. Or check out a Read Harder Book Group in person! You can also check in all over social media with the hashtag #ReadHarder.

Click here for a downloadable (and editable) PDF of the Challenge tasks.

Don’t just read… Read Harder!

I’ve linked to previous Book Riot posts, Goodreads lists, or other resources* that might help you find books to fit each task. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for more Book Riot posts to help you complete your Challenge (especially for tasks that don’t have any links).

  1. Read a book about sports.
  2. Read a debut novel.
  3. Read a book about books.
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.
  6. Read an all-ages comic.
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
  8. Read a travel memoir.
  9. Read a book you’ve read before.
  • Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
  • Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
  • Read a fantasy novel.
  • Read a nonfiction book about technology.
  • Read a book about war.
  • Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
  • Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
  • Read a classic by an author of color.
  • Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
  • Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey (From Daniel José Older, author of Salsa Nocturna, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, and YA novel Shadowshaper)
  • Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean, author of ten bestselling historical romance novels)
  • Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, Marvel’s World of Wakanda, and the forthcoming Hunger and Difficult Women)
  • Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author Everything I Never Told You and the forthcoming Little Fires Everywhere)
  • Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series, including The Unquiet Dead, The Language of Secrets, and the forthcoming Among the Ruins)
  • Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of sci-fi novel Ascension)

    Finished your 2016 Challenge tasks? Don’t forget to take a picture of your completed list, email it to by Dec. 31st, and get a 30% discount at the Book Riot store!

    *Lists (especially Goodreads lists, which are user-created) may not fit the challenge requirements. Double check any book you’re using, just to make sure.