Re-Discovery the Joy of Reading: a Read Harder challenge update

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I have never enjoyed reading as much as I have this past month. Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge reminded me how wonderful reading is. When I was new to the habit, I read whatever was there. I didn’t have a real go-to author and it made reading this extremely surprising experience, but as I grew older my reading taste has led me to predictable roads. If anything, the read harder challenge has taken me to some places I didn’t know I’d actually enjoy.

Since my post (Reading Challenge 2015) on the books I planned to read, I had made changes on the books I plan to tackling for the challenge and have since read 6 books from the 24 on the list. While I don’t plan to write a review on all 24 books, I do plan to write a reaction or at least a marginalia on the books. For the meantime, here’s an update.

Task #6: A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
For this task I read First Love by Ivan Turgenev. I wanted to like this book, but I wasn’t. The object of the narrator’s affection irritated me, but its an interesting coming of age with enough pang to make you wonder if all first loves hurt as much as this one.

Task #7: A book that takes place in Asia
I read Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. While not his most mind blowing book, I found this a tad wiser than his previous work. I wrote a review for this book. You can check it out here.

Task #13 A romance novel
I read Julie Garwood’s The Bride. Julie Garwood was my third attempt. I tried reading two others but couldn’t get past the first chapter. I felt it was going to hopeless, but thank heavens Julie Garwood made this task easy. I liked the elements of English/Scottish history in in, so it seems I like Historical Romance with mystery and intrigue. I’ll be writing more about the genre on a later post.

Task #16 An audio book.
I listened to Percy Jackson The Lightning Thief. I never really tried audio books, but the advantages were great. During my evening commute, where I’m crammed in a van while its dark, listening to a book made me feel productive.

Task #17 A Collection of Poetry
I read Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. All in all, an immensely impressive and beautiful collection. The book was written in a span of hear by the poetess to her fiance then Robert Browning. While its most famous poem How do I love thee took most of the limelight, her other sonnets I felt were tender and beautiful.

Task #21 A book that you would consider a guilty Pleasure.
For this I took on Jane Austen’s Sanditon and The Watsons. A lot of the people around me demanded I changed this as Austen isn’t something one should be guilty about reading. Lets put it this way, I think I read her TOO MUCH. When I’m down or feeling tired, I run to her books. I enjoy the humor and the escape.

I’m now tackling 3 more tasks (yes, almost simultaneously). I’m currently making progress on the following tasks:

Task #8 A book by an author from Africa: I’m currently reading Albert Camus Stranger. It was a slow start for me, but by chapter 2 I have been hook. His writing seems to crawl slowly to my heart.

Task #18 A book that someone else recommended: I’m reading Counting by 7s. It’s YA and its taking me a while to read. It’s interesting but its a big switch from the other two books I’m reading.

Task #22 A book published before 1850: I’m reading The Brother Karamzov by Dostoevsky. I’m reading this in small doses so I’m thinking I’ll probably be done with this by June. It’s a wonderful book, but its what I would describe as intense. It isn’t something one breezes through.

I’m reading other books in between for my other site and for my own pleasure. But I’m enjoying all these authors I’m discovering. There’s a lot of firsts in terms of authors and genres for me with this challenge. Most of all, I feel I have re-discovered the joy of reading–the adventure of discovery and searching books outside ones comfort zone.

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3 Comments

  1. I think I have managed to tackle three items in the Book Riot challenge, so far. Poetry, romance and gender different from my own. Currently listening to an audiobook, China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station. With audiobooks, I think the narrator’s accent, tone, inflection etc. are key. There are those that make me feel sleepy, or those that I had to constantly rewind because I always fail to catch a sentence or two due to the accent.

    Dostoevsky really is pretty intense. I wasn’t able to get thorough Crime and Punishment. If ever I decide to finally tackle some Russian lit once more, I’d most likely start with Chekhov. Less taxing. Haha.

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    1. I have to agree with you, an audio book’s effectiveness comes from the reader. While the story of percy jackson kept me listening, the reader was ‘ok’. Often, when he used a different voice to indicate a new character I would cringe.

      I’m really enjoying Dostoevsky, but IT IS intense. I have accepted the fact that I won’t be reading Brothers Karamzov in one sitting or in long periods. A chapter or two a day is maximum. At minimum i read a chapter or two per week.

      Chekhov is definitely manageable. But I’m on a Russian Lit spree. I recently purchased Anna Karenina. I don’t know why I’m putting myself through it, but I thought since I’m at it, might as well keep to the momentum.

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