Update on my 2015 Read Harder Challenge!

So I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog how much I love the Book Riot podcasts. The ones I listen to every week are the regular Book Riot Podcast, All the Books and Get Booked. Literally all they do is talk about books on the latter two and it makes my to-read list infinitely long but I have discovered I really enjoy listening to people talk about books! Reading is a huge pleasure/hobby of mine and since I’ve started listening to Book Riot I’ve also really diversified what I read.

In 2015 I attempted the Read Harder Book Challenge and even though I didn’t 100% complete it I still consider it a success. I read books I would not have read if it hadn’t been for the challenge and some of those books ended up being my favourite books of the year!

I was going to try and finish the Read Harder Book Challenge by the end of January but now I just want to start the 2016 challenge so I will concede defeat in having missed five books of the 2015 Challenge.

Here’s a breakdown of the 2015 challenge and what I read. You can see all my reviews on my Goodreads Profile.

A book…

My thoughts on the challenge?

It really did help diversify my reading. In general listening to the Book Riot class has peaked my interest and opened me up to sooo many books I never would have read otherwise. Books for this challenge that I definitely would not have read if it weren’t for the challenge but I’m glad I did; Purple Hibiscus, Stone Mattress, An Untamed State and Wonder.

I didn’t finish the challenge but so what! I only missed four books, so I’m definitely not going to get too caught up in the fact that I didn’t finish or “failed”. And I will be attempting the 2016 Read Harder challenge just because I think it will be fun to continue to expand my reading horizons. I doubt I’ll complete it since I am also in two book clubs this year and literally write down five books a week that I want to read after listening to all the Book Riot podcasts every week but I’ll do my best!

Did you participate in the 2015 Read Harder challenge? If so, how did it go for you? Do you have any reading goals in 2016? My goal is to read 52 books – so 1 per week! That will be about 12 more than last year so will definitely be a challenge, but I think I can do it! 

11 Responses

  1. I think you can still consider this a complete success even though you didn’t complete 4 categories (although I would recommend that you read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – I think you would really liked it and it would count as a microhistory!). As you know, I did the 2015 challenge and was able to complete all of the categories. I didn’t love all of the books I read but I love that it pushed me to check out books I wouldn’t have read otherwise. Plus it motivated me to be more purposeful about what I was reading and I had so much fun researching books to read for each category, which is why I decided to do the challenge again this year! I’m already on book #4 of the challenge and 3 of the 4 books I’ve read are ones I already owned so it’s motivating me to get through some of the books I own!

  2. Heather says:

    What a neat challenge. It is cool because I wouldn’t read half of of the genres on my own.

    I think you can totally do 52 books this year!

  3. Kelly says:

    I would second Lisa’s recommendation for a microhistory!
    I also did the Read Harder Challenge but didn’t complete it. I did like the idea of getting myself into books I wouldn’t otherwise read, but I got to the point where I wasn’t excited about the ones I had left and reading is basically my only hobby that is 100% fun and 100% for me, so I’m not going to mess with that ha ha. I’m looking forward to seeing what you and Lisa read though and stealing the ones that sound interesting to me 🙂 I just read Station Eleven which is not something I would normally read and I liked it a lot! THat was based on your recommendation, so thank you!

  4. Holly says:

    Wow, you did a fantastic job! I’ve never participated in a challenge like that one but I might look into it in the future. I go through phases with reading … some months I read 6 or 7 books and others, I might not read at all! Right now I’m reading the Anne of Green Gables series (I’m on Anne of Avonlea!), and I just picked up “Little Big Lies” by Liane Moriarty from the library so hopefully I’ll start that one this week too 🙂 Do you like audio books? I’ve never been able to get into them … then again, I’m not big on podcasts either. If I don’t like the person’s voice I just can’t pay attention 😉

  5. That is the one negative about the podcasts! THE NEVER ENDING additions to my TBR list! If you enjoyed the Maragret Atwood short stories let me add to your list (ha ha) Dancing Girls by her as well! It’s more short stories and I read it in college about a decade ago and loved it. Didn’t think I would cuz I’m not usually into short stories and I am hit or miss with Atwood as it is. I really want to read station elven and I need to make it happen.

  6. Stephany says:

    You did good! The categories I didn’t complete are the same as yours. I didn’t want to read a book published before 1850 (ha) and I tried three different books for the microhistory category but couldn’t get through any of them (including Henrietta Lacks. I tried because I had heard good things, but I was bored to tears!). I also felt very “meh” about the other two categories you didn’t complete; I feel like I read those books just to read them, which isn’t very fun! Haha.

    I’m not doing the reading challenge this year. I still want to diversify my reading, but I also don’t think I love reading challenges. My reading goals are to read 75 books and to reread the Harry Potter series.

  7. That’s a lot of reading!! I used to read approximately a book a week in my 20s, and then in my 30s I completely stopped. I’d really like to get back into reading.

  8. Travel Spot says:

    I agree with all of the above regarding the fact that I think you pretty much completed the challenge. OR…you at least got something out of it, which is why we do these things, right? I agree with Lisa on Henrietta Lacks, although, like Steph says, it does get a bit boring at times. However, what microhistory wouldn’t have a couple of boring parts?

    So…confession: I have only listened to Book Riot once and I was bored to tears! Maybe it was not a good episode or it was a bad day for me or something. I love to read and I love adding books to my to be read, but I found it to be a lot of talking and not enough interesting conversation. I know you guys love it, so I should probably try it again. Do you have one episode you would recommend that I start with?

    I did not do the BR challenge last year, but am going to attempt it this year and see how it goes. I will be happy even if I only complete most of it, as the main goal is to expand horizons, not to be “work”!

  9. Nora says:

    I started out doing the Read Harder challenge and I think I made it about 60% through? Like Kelly, reading is my hobby and fun for me so after a point the books I had left to read I didn’t want to read… so I didn’t! My goal is to read 68 books this year, no particular kind, style or etc. I am huge into audiobooks (they make my commute 100 times better) but other than that not sure what I’ll get up to and into reading wise this year!

  10. Becky says:

    I’ve decided I’m going to Book Riot Live this year – it’s literally a train or bus ride away, so why not? (If you want to meet me in NYC, just sayin….)

    So cool that you did this challenge! I’m trying to read more diversely but I’m finding the easiest way for me to read right now is on my kindle app on my phone so I’ve become even more of a serial romance novel reader. (Um, that sounded kind of creepy – you know what I mean!) I think because I can read those stories so quickly I prefer them in e-format? I’ve definitely become more conscious of what I’m reading. I set my goal low for this year (30 books), but I’m almost a third of the way through it!

  11. santosh says:

    wonderful challenge. I hope you must get your success.

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