Challenge Accepted: Read Harder 2017
A new year means new year resolutions and challenges. One reading challenge that I love to do is Book Riot’s 2017 Read Harder challenge. Instead of having people focus on a specific number of books, Read Harder challenges people to read different genres or authors that they may overlook. This year, there are 24 prompts for readers, and a complete list may be found here on the Book Riot Goodreads page. Today, I'll address the third challenge, to read a book about books.
Ex Libris: Confessions from a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
Are you a person that is always reading? Have you read a boring technical manual because there was literally nothing else to read? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then Anne Fadiman’s book of essays is a perfect fit for you! Fadiman recounts her reading experiences - from reading a Toyota Corolla manual because there was nothing else new for her to read to the fact that she learned almost everything from books with such warmth that Ex Libris is as comforting as cozying up with a blanket on a cold evening.
Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey: A Biography by Alberto Manguel
This is a book about two specific books: Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey. Even if you have never read it, you have probably heard about these books or vaguely remember the movie "Troy". There are many reflections about Homer’s works, but Alberto Manguel manages to make a concise compelling argument for Homer’s works in under 300 pages. Manguel does such a good job arguing the importance of Homer that even the most skeptic reader will want to try reading it themselves.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Clay Jannon has been let go at his tech job and finds his way to Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore where he takes a job on the night shift. At first, it seems like any other retail job but Clay notices that there is a lot more going on at Mr. Penumbra’s than meets the eye. Determined to figure out the secret behind the strange customers and Mr. Penumbra himself, Clay stumbles into the weird world of bibliophiles.
Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti
Have you ever read a book and become distracted by what the main characters are eating? Have you wanted to try those recipes? Cara Nicoletti felt the same way, and decided to cook recipes from the books that changed her life. She makes soft boiled eggs from Jane Austen’s Emma, the breakfast sausages from Laura Ingall Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods, and to the brown butter crepes from Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Nicoletti’s stories (and her recipes) make for perfect comfort food.
What Makes This Book so Great by Jo Walton
Perfect for any fantasy or science fiction fan, Jo Walton lists her favorites, important tropes and conventions that make these genres so great. A collection of her blog entries, Jo Walton brings her characteristic wit and humor to the genres that she loves so much. I would say that readers should be aware that Walton does go into spoiler territory, so pay attention to chapter titles to prevent unwanted spoilers!