Do you want to read outside your comfort zone in 2020? 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.
This week’s challenge: Read a retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, or myth by an author of color
The girl from the well by Rin Chupeco
Okiku has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the innocent ghosts of the murdered-dead and taking the lives of killers with the vengeance they are due, but when she meets Tark she knows the moody teen with the series of intricate tattoos is not a monster and needs to be freed from the demonic malevolence that clings to him.
Her body and other parties by Carmen Maria Machado
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.
Haroun and the sea of stories by Salman Rushdie
Set in an exotic Eastern landscape peopled by magicians and fantastic talking animals, Haroun and the Sea of Stories inhabits the same imaginative space as The Lord of the Rings, The Alchemist, The Arabian Nights, and The Wizard of Oz. Twelve-year-old Haroun sets out on an adventure to restore his father’s gift of storytelling by reviving the poisoned Sea of Stories. On the way, he encounters many foes, all intent on draining the sea of all its storytelling powers.
The One Thousand and One Nights (linked to the digital copy on Project Gutenberg)
King Shahryar kills a new wife every night, because he is afraid she will stop loving him. But his new bride Shahrazad has a clever plan to save herself. Her nightly stories–of Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba, and many other heroes and villains–are so engrossing that King Shahryar has to postpone her execution again and again… This illustrated edition brings together all the Arabian Nights tales in an original retelling by award-winning author Geraldine McCaughrean.