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and the finalists are…

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I’ve finally selected the books I’m planning on reading for the 2020 Read Harder Challenge. As I’ve said before, I’m not too excited by this year’s categories, so I may end up choosing other books to read depending on how this goes. But here’s what I have so far.

I will say that there are a few gems in here I can’t wait to dig into. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath has been on my reading list for a few months and since it is gigantic (700-something pages?), I’ve needed a push to pick it up. The “doorstopper” category is just what I needed.

I’m also really looking forward to reading My Friend Dahmer, a graphic novel by a guy who knew Jeffrey Dahmer growing up. Fascinating.

Some other stand-outs: the food book Fire and Ice about Nordic cooking is so beautifully designed that I want it just because it’s beautiful. The Lost Words is a dictionary in verse of all the words that kids might stop using because of their disconnection from nature. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a favorite book of mine and I look forward to reading it again.

An interesting addition to the challenge this year is to read an edition of a literary magazine. I love the idea of encouraging people to read outside of books (maybe they’ll find they like reading more if they find a new medium that works better for them), and in the past we’ve read zines and chapbooks, so reading a literary magazine is another great entre into reads beyond just books. I haven’t picked mine out yet, but I’m leaning towards Glimmer Train (awesome for short fiction) or Zoetrope: All-Story, Francis Ford Coppola’s lit mag known for publishing the work of some bigger names in literature.

So that’s it! 2019 challenge completed, 2020 challenge accepted.

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