Do you want to read outside your comfort zone in 2019? Take Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge—a list of 24 categories of books that you may not have read before. To keep you motivated, we’ll feature one of the categories each week in the e-newsletter along with suggestions from our collection and beyond. We’re going to feature the categories in order of how they appear on the list, but feel free to tackle the them in any order you like! For the full list from Book Riot, click here.
A book published prior to 1/1/2019 with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads
Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy by J.T. Lundy
A xenophobic, alt-right wing advisor controls an unstable United States president. Through executive orders they utilize torture, censor the press, and construct monolithic border walls across Mexico and Canada. Only an unlikely hero can save the American people from complete totalitarianism.
Hairdresser on Fire: A novel by Daniel Levesque
This is not a hair book. It’s a dark comedy of a spiritual misfit, a child with a dream born into the wrong town. Religious cults, corporate cults, insane clients—Francis can’t catch a break. Francis has observed his own inability to fit in since birth, and his decision to be a professional cosmetologist only exacerbates his innate oddness.
Ash on a Young Man’s Sleeve by Dannie Abse
Widely acclaimed for its warm humor, lyricism, and honesty, this accurate evocation of the 1930s has become a classic. In this delightful autobiographical novel, Dannie Abse skilfully interweaves public and private themes, setting the fortunes of a Jewish family in Wales against the troubled backdrop of the times: unemployment, the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, and the Spanish Civil War.
Creator by Jeremy Leven
Dr. Harry Wolper, an aging Noble Prize-winning biologist, is attempting to create life-specifically, to re-create his adored late wife by implanting her clone in a loving but reluctant 19-year-old nymphomaniac, and do it before his conventional son can have him committed to an asylum.
The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography by Edmund Gordon
Angela Carter is widely acknowledged as one of the most important and beguiling writers of the last century. Her work stands out for its bawdiness and linguistic zest, its hospitality to the fantastic and the absurd, and its extraordinary inventiveness and range. Her life was as modern and as unconventional as anything in her fiction.
Writings 1903-1932 by Gertrude Stein
Breaking decisively with all previous literary traditions and grammatical norms, Gertrude Stein forged a unique idiom—abstract and down-to-earth, playful and subversive, philosophical and erotic by turns—which influenced writers as varied as Ernest Hemingway, William Carlos Williams, Thornton Wilder, and John Ashbery. This Library of America volume, along with its companion, surveys a literary trajectory that from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of World War II marked her as a fearless and uncompromising experimenter. She was also a master of anecdote and aphorism, many of whose phrases—from “rose is a rose is a rose” to “there is no there there” and “when this you see remember me”—have passed into the language.