I’m back with the next installment of my challenge reporting. Again, I’m sticking with the running draft because I like it. And I can’t believe that with the books reviewed here I’m fifteen books through the 24-book Book Riot READ HARDER Challenge!
Book #17 (Both Challenges): Someone in one of the forums recommended The Windfall, by Diksha Basu for Challenge #5, which is “A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa).” I’m glad I listened. The story careens along, with as endearing and frustrating a cast of characters as a reader could want. The story centers around the changes a family undergoes when the father sells a technology start-up for what – to them – is an extremely exorbitant amount of money. Ms. Basu has a good eye for people’s foibles and strengths, and how they are sometimes interchangeable. I will definitely be looking up her other work when this challenge is over.
Book #18 (Both Challenges): I’m not much on romance these days, and task #10 was to read “A romance novel by or about a person of color.” I looked in the forums, and a few people were recommending Someone in one of the forums recommended Forbidden, by Beverly Jenkins. This book is considered #1 in her Old West series and is one of those wonderful books where the characters are so memorable that you want more. Fortunately, Rhine Fontaine is so fascinating that he appears in at least one of Ms. Jenkins’ other books, which I am looking forward to reading after this challenge, and her protagonist, Miss Eddy Carmichael, is so fascinating that I hope she reappears in other books.
Book #19 (Both Challenges): Someone in one of the forums recommended Pashmina, by Nidhi Chanani for Challenge #19, which is to read a comic not published by DC, Marvel, or Image. Since I’ve been having pretty good luck with forum recommendations, I figured I’d try another one. I’m glad I did. The art is lovely, and the story is absorbing. You can add me to the folks that are recommending this book about a teenager’s coming of age and learning about making life choices.’
A Rare Fail: I tried to read Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, but could not. I found it much more disjointed than I could deal with (and I don’t usually have problems with “disjointed” – I adored Laurence Sterne’s The Life & Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman immensely). (I note that my roommate says the only Atwood she ever read and liked was a book review in The New York Times.) It’s not often that I give up on a book but, honestly, there are some books that life is just too short to slog through. Still, I wanted it on record that I did try with this one.
Book #20 (Both Challenges): I read the first Aunty Lee book back in May 2015, about six months after it first came out. I fell in love with Aunty Lee, Nina, Salim, and Raja, and hoped there would be many more books in the series. Much to my delight, I found there are now three more books to read. For Book RIot’s task 23, I needed to read a book by a female writer with a protagonist who is both female and over 60 years of age.