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I currently have 999 books on my Goodreads TBR and the list keeps growing, but no matter what, there’s always a brand new shiny book that catches my eye that I reach for first. That’s why this specific Read Harder task is the perfect one for me, and I’m guessing a lot of you reading this are thinking the same thing too. This is your opportunity to finally read that book you’ve been meaning to read. If you’ve just been waiting for a sign that the time has come, here’s your sign.
So with 999 books, there are a lot of older books on my TBR. How did I personally narrow down my potentials for completing this challenge? I tried to stick with books that I currently own, because if I don’t have it already, I don’t feel like it’s a true part of my TBR list. I also tried to stick with books that I’m still excited about reading, because you know and I know that not all of the books on our list would hit the way they would have hit if we’d read them way back when.
Surprisingly, my TBR list on Goodreads wasn’t as old as I thought it was, so all of these books are ones I added circa 2017. As of 2022, that’s… 5 years ago. How? I don’t know. But here we are. These are the books from my oldest part of my TBR that I’m still down to read today.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
I’m going to do something a little different for these descriptions since these are clearly books I haven’t read yet, and I like to be surprised when I read. I’m going to tell you why I’m excited to read it and what little I know about it without having read it. After I read it, I’ll come back here and see how accurate I was.
For this one, I want to read it because I’ve read Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones and I really liked it. This book is apparently influenced by The Odyssey and Toni Morrison and William Faulkner and the Old Testament which just seems like an interesting combination to me. I also know it involved a family journey cross-country.
The Fact of A Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
I have a signed copy of this book, so I especially feel like this is one I have to pick up and read at some point. Right? This one is a true crime story and a memoir, a combination that is fascinating to me. The author Alexandria Marzo-Lesnevich starts a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder. At the time, they are staunchly ant-death penalty. When they start looking into a specific case, it brings back memories of their childhood and complicates everything they thought they believed.
What’s Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
This is another one that makes my shortlist because Helen Oyeyemi is an author I’ve read and enjoyed in the past. This one is a collection of short stories, which means it’s hard for me to really tell you without reading it how the general feeling of the collection is going to shake out. But I love the idea of picking up a short story collection. It feels like a commitment, but not too much of a commitment. And if it’s anything like Oyeyemi’s other work, this book is going to be thought-provoking and strange.
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson
Admittedly, I don’t pick up as many comics compared to other kinds of books, but that’s part of what would make this one good for the challenge, and I’m interested in a Muslim teen superhero. I’ve heard really great things about Kamala Khan as a character, and this seems like a comic I could be really into. Also, Ms. Marvel is going to be a TV series from Disney+, so I’ve got to pick up this one before then!
Yesterday by Felicia Yap
This one is one I just picked up at a bookstore because the premise seemed interesting. And five years later? Still sounds interesting. This is a sci-fi murder mystery in which people are divided by how much they can remember. Monos, the majority, are only able to remember one day into the past. Duos are the elite class because they have two days of memory. But… how do you solve a crime when you can only remember one or two days in the past? I don’t know yet because I haven’t read this book!
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sànchez
I have heard nothing but good things about this one, and I love a good YA novel. I’m especially interested in this particular YA novel because it’s a book about grief. My brother died a few years ago, so I feel like I would have a pretty strong emotional response to this story about a girl whose older sister has died. I find reading stories about grief very cathartic. So even though this is an older book on my list, it remains a must-read.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Speaking of must-reads, all of Nnedi Okorafor’s books are on my must-read list. I have read the Akata Witch series, but I have yet to read any of Okorafor’s other works. And that seems like something I need to remedy quickly. I love stories that take place at schools, and this one is a sci-fi story that takes place at a university? Sign me up! This is another one that’s a nice short novella, so while it’s the first in a series, it feel very conquerable.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
Okay, so everyone I know personally who has read this book says it’s freaking amazing. This book is a fabulist story about Weylyn Grey, an orphaned boy who was raised by wolves and has a pet pig named Merlin (I love pigs). Weylyn’s story is told through the perspective of the people who knew him, which I’m guessing probably makes this story feel like a fable. Sounds super good to me!
And there you have it! That’s my list! I’m not sure which one I’m going to pick just yet, but I can’t wait to read at least one of these. Of course, your list will probably be totally different from mine, and your criteria might be different too. But that’s the fun part of this particular Read Harder challenge! Happy reading!