I love reading. I am a HUGE fan of getting lost in a novel and only coming up for air when it's absolutely necessary. Knowing this, my officemate in Oman proposed doing a reading challenge. I happily agreed, especially since there wasn't much to do in Ibri. We based our challenge on Bustle's 2016 reading challenge, found here: https://www.bustle.com/articles/130754-bustlereads-challenge-2016-encourages-you-to-read-women-and-writers-of-color. However, we decided that every author must be female. This was one of the most inspiring and enjoyable challenges I've ever completed! Yes, I completed it! We made a few modifications, but it worked out so well that we decided to do the whole thing all over again focusing on male authors (I've already started!).
Here's what we modified:
#1-We added four categories...Yes, four MORE, hahaha! We added the following: "Short Story," "Non-fiction/Self-help," "Auto/Biography," and "Recommended".
#2-We ranked each selection out of 5. I would recommend any selection that I ranked 4 or higher.
This is what happened:
1.) Read a Book Written By a Woman Under 25: Helen Oyeyemi, Icarus Girl (4)
2.) Read a Book About Non-Western History: *I read TWO in this category because I didn't read two of the categories* Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking (5); Janice P. Nimura, Daughters of the Samurai (4)
3.) Read a Book of Essays: Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist (4)
4.) Read a Book About an Indigenous Culture: Lee Maracle [Canadian], Celia’s Song (epub) (5)
5.) Read a Book Before You See the Movie: Lois Lowry, The Giver (3.5)
6.) Read a YA Book by an Author of Colour: Marie Lu, The Young Elites (3.5)
7.) Read a Book Set in the Middle East: X I've read sooo many books from this genre, so I skipped it, but I was told to read Kim Barker’s The Taliban Shuffle. Books I’ve read: Zoe Ferraris, Finding Nouf; Souad, Burned Alive; Rajaa Abd Allah Sani, Girls of Riyadh; Elif Shafak, The Bastard of Istanbul
8.) Read a Book About Women in War: X I'm not a fan of violence, and after reading The Rape of Nanking I needed time to recover. Yes, it was THAT powerful. However, if I come back to this category, I’d like to read either Anne Frank's, The Diary of Anne Frank or Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche's, Half of a Yellow Sun
9.) Read a Graphic Novel: *I read TWO in this category because I didn't read two of the categories* Emily Carroll [Canadian-LONDON GIRL!!!], Through the Woods (3); Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis (5)10.) Read a Book About an Immigrant/Refugee to the USA: Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake (2.5) This was a BIG disappointment. I would recommend Monica Sone, Ruth Ozeki, Maxine Hong Kingston, or Linda Sue Park :)
11.) Read a Children's Book: Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (4.5)
12.) Reread Your Favourite Book From Your Childhood: Sheryl Jordan, Winter of Fire (5)
13.) Read a Memoir by Someone Who Identifies as LGBTQIA: Maria Bello, Whatever…Love is love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves (4)
14.) Read a Work of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction: Emily St. John Mandel [Canadian], Station Eleven (4)
15.) Read a Feminist Sci-Fi Novel: Margaret Atwood [Canadian], The Handmaid’s Tale (3.5)
16.) Read the First Book in a Series You've Never Read: Jennifer L. Armentrout, Half-Blood (4)
17.) Read a Book Set in Africa by an African Author: Seffi Atta, A Bit of Difference (2.5)
18.) Read a Translated Book: Natsuo Kirino [Translated from Japanese], Grotesque (4.5)
19.) Read a Contemporary Collection of Poetry: Sylvia Plath, Ariel (4)
20.) Read a Book by a Modernist Writer: Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence (4.5)
21.) Read a Short Story: Gish Jen, Who’s Irish? (3); Jamaica Kincaid, Girl (3); Shirley Jackson, The Lottery (5)
22.) Read a Non-Fiction/Self-Help Book: Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In (5)
23.) Read an Autobiography/Biography: Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking (4)
24.) Read a Book Recommended to You: Chloe Aridjis, Asunder (5)
One of my absolute favourite books of all time. No longer in print and given to me when I was around 11 or 12 years old when I went to babysit. I didn't bring a book thinking I would have to watch the young girl, but she was already in bed. Seeing my disappintment, her mom offered me a book she'd bought that she didn't realize was YA and loaned it to me. I finished it that night and when she saw me after returning home, she gave me the book. Forever grateful and changed was I.
This challenge opened my eyes to new genres, new writers, and new voices that were powerful, brilliant, and inspirational! I would do this again with female writers for sure!!! Next? The male authors :)