The Read Harder Challenge is back, and 2021 will be its seventh year! We’re excited to embark on this annual reading journey once more, and hope you find your way to some wonderful reads through Book Riot’s challenge. 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.
We’ve rounded up another great mix of fun and serious tasks that ask 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 we 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. The point of the challenge is to push yourself to expand your horizons and break out of set reading habits; the hope is that you’ll discover voices, settings, characters, formats, and more you may not have encountered without that nudge. Be accountable to yourself, share what you learned along the way, and enjoy the experience!
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 the hosts will offer suggestions and discuss a new task each episode.
Click here for a downloadable and editable PDF of the 2021 Read Harder Challenge tasks.
We’ll be publishing recommendations for each of the tasks in the coming weeks to help you complete this year’s Read Harder (links will be added to this post as the recommendations are posted).
- Read a book you’ve been intimidated to read
- Read a nonfiction book about anti-racism
- Read a non-European novel in translation
- Read an LGBTQ+ history book
- Read a genre novel by an Indigenous, First Nations, or Native American author
- Read a fanfic
- Read a fat-positive romance
- Read a romance by a trans or nonbinary author
- Read a middle grade mystery
- Read an SFF anthology edited by a person of color
- Read a food memoir by an author of color
- Read a work of investigative nonfiction by an author of color
- Read a book with a cover you don’t like
- Read a realistic YA book not set in the U.S., UK, or Canada
- Read a memoir by a Latinx author
- Read an own voices book about disability
- Read an own voices YA book with a Black main character that isn’t about Black pain
- Read a book by/about a non-Western world leader
- Read a historical fiction with a POC or LGBTQ+ protagonist
- Read a book of nature poems
- Read a children’s book that centers a disabled character but not their disability
- Read a book set in the Midwest
- Read a book that demystifies a common mental illness
- Read a book featuring a beloved pet where the pet doesn’t die
Finished your 2020 Challenge? Don’t forget to take a picture of your completed list, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 31, and get 30% off one order at Out of Print! We’ll be offering the same prize to readers who complete the 2021 challenge. 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!