Read Harder

Read Harder Task #24: Repeat A Past Task

Howdy folks! We’re nearing the end of the Read Harder 2022 experience, but there’s one last task! Instead of making it easy for you with a single potential task, you have your choice from over a hundred (168, to be exact, give or take a few repeats) possible tasks from the Read Harder challenges from 2015 to 2021. The first go round was a little more general with tasks like “read a romance” or “read a book by a person whose gender is different from your own”, but eventually we started getting pretty particular about what you might be willing to do in order to challenge yourself as a reader.

The wonder about this particular task is that there are so many ways to take it: is this the book you reward yourself with after completing the first 23 tasks? Is this a comforting read, or are you ending the year with a bang? Are you thinking of reading in a familiar genre or do you want to pick up something you never would have thought to read before? Anything is possible with this particular task, because there are so many possible tasks to choose from. I’ve pulled together a small number of tasks (including links to the original recommendation lists if there were any) with a couple books to read in each one, but there’s a whole world out there for you!

Historical Romance By an Author of Color

cover of Night Song by Beverly Jenkins

Night Song by Beverly Jenkins

Historical romance great Beverly Jenkins’s first book, Night Song, is the story of a Kansas schoolteacher and the Union officer she can’t resist. (This can also qualify as a classic of genre fiction, which I mention a little further down.)

A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera

Arriving in Paris from Santo Domingo to build her family’s rum business, Luz Alana doesn’t expect Evan Sinclair. And she certainly doesn’t expect the marriage of convenience he offers to help her and her business.

The Devil Comes Courting by Courtney Milan

When entrepreneur Grayson Hunter seeks the brilliant person that has been recommended to create the code that will take his telegraph business further into China, he’s surprised to discover that person is a woman. But they’re both more than willing to go with the flow. 

A Classic of Genre Fiction

cover of Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune by Frank Herbert

What better way to figure out what the heck is happening in the most recent theatrical adaptation than to read the source material? Young Paul Atreides and his family must move to the planet of Arrakis, where the spice is from. But there are people who aren’t happy about that. 

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

This classic thriller novel centers a young sociopath who slowly insinuates his way into the life of a socialite. If you’ve never read a Patricia Highsmith novel, this is definitely a great place to start. 

A Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic Novel

cover of Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

This exceptionally well written book follows Fen in a near-distant future in which the world as we know it no longer exists. Reminiscent of Parable of the Sower, this is the story of a girl seeking a better life in a place far from home, before it kills her. 

The Home I Find With You by Skye Kilaen

After a second civil war that has left the US broken and powerless, Van and his community work to keep alive and keep others out. When Clark arrives to stay with family, the two might have some chemistry; but trust is hard in a world where any outsider might be ready to kill you. 

A Book that Takes Place in Asia

cover of The Red Palace by June Hur

The Red Palace by June Hur

This historical mystery set in 18th century Joseon (Korea, for those of you who didn’t spend the whole pandemic downing K-Dramas) centers Hyeon, a palace nurse. After four women are murdered in the palace, Hyeon starts her own investigation to help prove the murderer wasn’t a beloved mentor. 

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

Pride and Prejudice. In Pakistan. I’m not sure I need to say any more.

Make sure to get your own Read Harder Book Journal from Book Riot to track your reading for the year!

LGBTQ romance novel

Cover of Meet Cute Club

Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

Snooty bookseller Rex surprises Jordan at the romance book club he runs after an unfriendly encounter at the bookstore. He’s hesitant at first, but he might be coming around to this whole romance novel thing. Meta AF.

Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters

When staid accountant Cade and flighty artist Selena co-inherit a home and a sex toy shop, they have to figure out what to do about it…and each other.

A Humor Book

cover of Shit Actually by Lindy West

Shit, Actually by Lindy West

If you’re a fan of movies, or even just a fan of snark, you might enjoy this book. To some, this book might look like Lindy just recapping the plots of several films, but there’s more to it. Trust me. 

Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson

While anything by Phoebe is laughworthy, this book is particularly fun and interesting, for any reader. A combination of essay, memoir, and advice, every chapter has moments of hilarity and depth. 

A Collection of Short Stories

cover image of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

While each of the characters, styles, and themes of the stories in this collection are different, they all have one thing in common: excellence. There is not a skippable story in the bunch.

Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So

Stories about first and second generation Cambodian Americans abound in this collection that is both hilarious and heartbreaking. 

The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosley

Did you know Walter Mosley wrote short stories? And not a single one in this collection is a mystery novel, at least not in the same way the Easy Rawlins books are. But they are fascinating takes on so many different kinds of Black men and the people around them. 

A Book of Social Science

book cover the heartbeat of wounded knee by daavid treuer

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer

Writer and anthropologist Treuer digs into the modern history of Native peoples on the American continent, their relationship with settler colonialism, and how that has impacted Native and tribal life today.

Belly of the Beast by Da’Shaun Harrison

Do you have thoughts about desire, desirability, race, and anti-fatness? I can assure you, after you read this relatively short book, you’re gonna. 

A Non Superhero Comic that Debuted in the Last Three Years

cover of Cosmoknights

Cosmoknights by Hannah Templer

Space Gays Fight The Patriarchy. 

That’s it, that’s the tweet.

New Kid by Jerry Craft

Titular new kid Jordan knows that his new school is going to offer him more academic opportunities than his old school near home, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss his neighborhood friends. 

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

Not quite what you’re looking for, or just interested in seeing what else is out there? Visit the Read Harder Archives for all of the past tasks and recommendation lists.  And if you’re curious what I’ve been reading, you can check out my page on Book Riot proper, listen to the When In Romance podcast, or catch me on twitter (@jessisreading) or instagram (@jess_is_reading). 

Click here for the full Read Harder 2022 task list, and for previous recommendations, click here.