Read Harder Challenge Check In (8 out of 24)

I'm happy to say I've been keeping up pretty well with completing two of Book Riot's 2016 Read Harder Challenge tasks each month. Along with expanding my genre horizons, it's also helped me simply read more, as I've pushed myself to read two non-challenges a month too. Here's a look at the tasks I've completed in March and April:

Challenge #13: Read a book that is set in the Middle East

Children of the Jacaranda Tree
by Sahar Delijani

This was a heartbreaking read. Delijani illustrates the effect that war and political unrest in Iran has had on mothers, fathers, children and families. Among many, she relates the stories of a girl born in a prison in Tehran and taken from her mother and a three year old whose political activist parents were arrested in front of him.

Challenge #1: Read a horror book

by Koji Suzuki

The novel that inspired the movie The Ring. The story follows Asakawa, a hardworking journalist, as he investigates his niece's death. He discovers a videotape that ends by alerting viewers they will die in seven days unless they complete a certain task. Problem: the instructions have been recorded over. I personally didn't find the novel as chilling as the movie, but still a good read.

Challenge #20: Read a book about religion

A.D. 30
by Ted Dekker

After their enemies attack their palace, Maviah, the illegitimate daughter of an Arabian ruler, is sent to King Herod of the Jews to save her people. On the way, she meets an enigmatic teacher. Her story provides an interesting outsider perspective to Yeshua's (Jesus) teachings and an inspirational tale of someone overcoming adversity through learning to see things differently. A great adventure and story of triumph.

Challenge #11: Read a book under 100 pages

Albert Nobbs
by George Moore

An interestingly progressive story for its time period, Albert Nobbs is a woman disguised and working as a male waiter at an early 20th century English hotel. Albert meets another female working as a male painter who tells her she's married to another woman, and this encourages Albert to find a wife of her own. A quick read, but was turned into one of the most touching films I've ever watched, starring Glenn Close.

Click here to see what I read in January and February.