This year's Read Harder challenge has been, well, a challenge to me! The topics this month included a humor book and a book by a woman and/or author of color that won a literary award in 2018. I like to laugh, so I figure let's start with a humor book. I think I've decided I'm much more an auditory/visual humor person instead of reading things that are supposed to be funny. I love listening to David Sedaris, for example, but frankly, find reading his books to be rather dry. I tried The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman (the cover was amusing looking, the jacket blurb intrigued and yet I found myself slogging through this book and only finished it because I had to for this challenge. I remember this happened last year with Paula Poundstone's book The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness - I will giggle helplessly when I hear her on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and yet this book just made me think how odd of a person she is. So maybe humor and I don't get along in the book format.
Finally, I hit my stride with the award winner - thank goodness those award winners really live up to the hype! I really enjoyed Renee Watson's Piecing Me Together. It was set in Portland (a city I love to visit so I could picture all the locations) and the main character Jade is bold, brave, brilliant and a beautiful person. Jade is a scholarship student at a fancy private school on the other side of town and must endure being away from all of her neighborhood friends, but also being an outsider at school (unless her schoolmates want to know the African-American point of view about a topic.) She is a thoughtful and thought-provoking artist and her art helps her deal with difficult circumstances. Jade is also matched up with a mentor who is a real person who doesn't have it all together either - a refreshing relief from older characters who are supposed to have figured out their lives. One more piece to the collage that is Jade is her love for the Spanish language and her wish to be an exchange student. The characters and situations ring true and you will sit with this story for a while. Winner of the Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Award winner - definitely a worthwhile read and inspiring me to keep going with the challenge!
~Karen for Ravenous Readers
Are you doing the Read Harder Challenge this year? Check out our Read Harder page for book lists and other bits of information., opens a new window