Sitting on top of a new stack of books and not crying

As mentioned in the previous post, I am going to be attempting The Book Riot 2016 Read Harder Challenge. I attempted The Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge, and horribly failed. I sat on the gigantic pile of books I didn’t read and cried for several hours. It was a great way to spend my holidays, I know.

When the list of the 2016 challenge categories was released, my initial reaction was, “Hmm. It’s going to take me six months to decide the books I want to read for this challenge, three years to get them and another 15 years to actually read them. It began haunting me for about a week. I wanted to attempt the challenge, but I was completely overwhelmed. How am I going to find which books to read? How am I going to get them? Will I finish this challenge? How many times am I going to cry myself to sleep because of this challenge? This was starting to get ridiculous, and I knew I just had to dive into the scary abyss, and hope that I don’t drown and, you know, die. So, that’s what I did.

On one hot December evening, I pulled up the list of categories for the challenge and vowed to find books for as many categories as possible. Surprisingly, I ended up finding a book for each category, and it only took me four hours and a lot of agonizing frustration and concern. What a wonderful way to spend an evening. Also, not surprisingly, I changed a few titles here and there. I may or may not changed a few more later on, but I am overall happy with this selection.

Below is what I’ve selected for the challenge.

Read a horror book – Forever Odd by Dean Koontz (Novel in a Series)

Read a nonfiction book about science – That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles: 62 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life by Joe Schwarcz (Nonfiction)

Read a collection of essays – Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (Collection of Essays)

Read a book out loud to someone else – I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and Caroline Jayne Church (Picture Book)

Read a middle grade novel – The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey (Juvenile Novel)

Read a Biography – The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan (Biography)

Read a dystopian of post-apocalyptic novel – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguo (Novel)

Read a book originally published in the year you were born – Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Novel)

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award – Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Collection of Essays)

Read a book over 500 pages long – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Novel)

Read a book under 100 pages – Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron (Memoir)

Read a book by or about someone who identifies as transgendered – She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan (Memoir)

Read a book that’s set in the Middle East – Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour (Memoir)

Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia – First They Killed My Father: A Daughter From Cambodia Remembers by Luong Ung (Memoir)

Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900 – The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman (Novel)

Read the first book in a series by someone of color – Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older (Novel in a Series)

Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years – A Silent Voice Vol. 1 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)

Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Novel)

Read a nonfiction book that about feminism or deals with feminist themes – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Memoir)

Read a book about religion – O Me of Little Faith by Jason Boyett (Memoir)

Read a book about politics, in your country or another – Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States by Kevin Bleyer (Nonfiction)

Read a Food Memoir – Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Make From Scratch (Memoir/Cookbook)

Read a play – Proof by David Auburn (Play)

Read a book that has a main character that has a mental illness – Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl by Stacy Pershall (Memoir)

I am sure you can see why I was so easily overwhelmed by this list of categories. Compared to the 2015 list, the categories are a bit more specific, and there are really no categories that are what I’m going to call “abstract.” In the 2015 list, there are such categories like “A book that someone has recommended to you” and “A book that you consider a guilty,” which could be anything, really. Of course, there were very specific categories in the 2015 list as well, such as “An author who was under the age of 25 when they wrote the book” and “A book that was originally written in another language” but in the 2016 list, I was slightly more horrified. I nearly screamed in horror and passed out when I saw “Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900” and “Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years.” I honestly thought, “Ugh, why are they torturing me?”

Speaking of torture, I am also planning to read at least some of the books that I chose myself for the 2015 challenge categoeis that I did not finish, on top of books that I am going to read outside of the challenge. Again, I am not expecting to actually finish this challenge. As long as I actually start reading again for at least a short while, I’m happy. I will also be happy if I don’t burst into tears in front of a stack of books (again), but I can’t make any promises this early. We’ll see what happens.

3 thoughts on “Sitting on top of a new stack of books and not crying

  1. I think this is a really interesting challenge! I like that the categories seem very diverse in viewpoints, and I can see how it’d take a while to pick something for each one. I recognize a few titles that you’ve listed, but most of them are new to me. Good luck on the challenge this year!

  2. Wow, this sounds like a great challenge! I’m just trying to read any 50 books this year, regardless of genre. I have so many that I haven’t read at home.

    Stacey Pershall’s memoir is great, by the way. I couldn’t put it down!

    Good luck!

  3. I now know why you think there would be a pile of books because there is indeed! How do you read so many as that? My first book for 2016 is the Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson and it’s just going fine.

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