A book with a title that starts with a “z”

I had no particular reason for choosing this prompt, other than it seemed slightly less annoying than the letter “Q”. Wait, I take that back. “T” would be far more annoying, because you’d all end up with “the something” titles, and then I’d die of boredom in the face of a dozen “The [gender neutral job title but we all know it’s a dude’s] Wife”. And that would be the end of the blog and no one would be happy.
Also, sorry not sorry, I spoil a 200 year old book at the end of today’s post. Continue reading “A book with a title that starts with a “z””

A book by or about a Little Person

I confess, this category was personal. I identify as a Little Person, although I don’t have a known dwarfing condition. Then again, I stopped getting taller when I was about 11 and never had a growth spurt, so you know something funny was going on and it wasn’t a lack of food. Now, you can be a Little Person with a dwarfing condition and be over 4’10”, and you can be a Little Person without a (known) dwarfing condition and be 4’10” or under (in the US; the cutoff is 4’9” in Canada). I went to school with someone with a dwarfing condition who clocked in around 3’10”, so it was a long time before I identified that way myself. Truthfully, it was right around the time I started driving and realized that any car I drove needed some modification, and there were a lot of cars I was never going to be able to afford to drive because of that. Everything up until then had been merely a nuisance I worked around with step stools and stubbornness.
So when I was thinking of a “read about disability” task for last year, I wanted something more specific, and I realized I mostly only knew the dwarfs who work in entertainment on stage and camera. So yes, I was using you all to do research for me, for once. Since I knew it was a bit specific, I went with “about or by”, but I was really hoping for “by”. Also, I could cheat because I can read French and Michel Tremblay’s “notebook” trilogy centers around a dwarf woman in Montreal, but I’m not sure how easy that is to get in English. Continue reading “A book by or about a Little Person”

A book by a Mediterranean author

So, the Mediterranean Sea is the one that Odysseus and Jason sailed upon, somehow getting lost and finding all sorts of monsters. Very unlikely, really. Which countries did authors need to be from? Greece and Italy are the obvious ones. But readers could also have chosen from among: Spain, France, Monaco, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Malta, and Cyprus. There’s also the Gaza Strip and Gibraltar, however you wish to classify them.

I confess, I thought this one would be an easy one for everyone. I probably should have pointed out in the task notes that Aesop was Greek, and Greece is a Mediterranean country (you know, the “wine dark sea” etc). So really, any picture book presentation of “The Turtle and the Hare” was going to be a valid entry. You could have gotten away with an Italian cookbook! In fact, I fully expected a pile of cookbooks. I was really hoping for some new recipes! Continue reading “A book by a Mediterranean author”

Happy New Year & 2022 Challenge Prompts

Happy New Year everyone who observes the Gregorian Solar calendar system! Belated Happy New Year to those across the International Date Line from me. I will probably not remember to wish everyone a happy new year for the other new years, so take this as my well wishes for those when they roll around.

What’s the plan for this year’s blog? I had plans last year, and the year before that, and look what happened to us all. This year I have hopes, but not plans. I hope I will finally get to do MRC posts once a month. I would like to start doing long form reviews and author spotlights. Or maybe author headlights, given the snarky nature of the blog and my tendency to let all of you know when someone might have some skeletons in their closet or just plain tap dancing on Twitter.

In any case, the difficulty level has been dialed back for this year’s challenges. I’ve even given some more explicit looser interpretations you can use if you have an issue with access or age-appropriateness. These interpretations should not be used to just avoid challenging yourself, though! They are there because not everyone has access to a good library, or good internet, or the right books aren’t available in formats they can use. I tried to make sure every prompt has children’s books, and both fiction and non-fiction options, but if you primarily read in Braille, things get dicey. And remember, you can message me for a ruling or a suggestion! I am always happy to help research what options are available to you. Yes, this is entirely prompted by my own struggle to get access to anything from the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, an oversight on my part.

The FRC is once again composed of the MRC + a selection from the URC. This year’s URC theme is “let’s hope it’s a good one”, although I’m also an anarcho-syndicalist, so my hopes include composting the rich.

If you read my blog but don’t use Habitica, and want your books included in the weekly posts, just drop a comment here or e-mail me your reading list (whether you “won” or not), and I’ll include your books in the blog. Should I do a fancy graphic? Do people want a fancy graphic? I can make a printable thing if you really want one.

Without further ado, the 2022 challenges!

Ultimate Reading Challenge 2022
A book with a watercraft on the cover (i.e. boat, ship, submarine, kayak…)
A book that has been censored or bowdlerized (you can read the uncensored version if it is available)
A book by an LGBTQIA2S+ author
A book involving renewable energy
A book with a landscape on the cover
A book by a d/Deaf author
A book about something beautiful
A book with a protagonist with an invisible disability
A book with a shell on the cover
A book involving meditation or trances
A book by an Eastern European author
Two books on the same topic, by authors of different identities (race, gender, sexuality, etc)
A book by an author from an African country from whence you haven’t read before. If you have already read a book from every African country, then the one you have read the least from.
A book that makes you feel hopeful
A book by a South/Central American author
A book you can read in a day
A book by an anarchist
A book with pictures
A book involving growing things
A book involving a process of restoration or reconciliation
A book with a purple cover
A book by an author from a non-dominant religion in your country
A whimsical book
A book about a Native Pacific Islander
A book by an author named after a living thing (pen names allowed, figuring out Chinese character name meanings allowed)
A book in translation
A book with a queer POC protagonist
A book involving a different calendar system than your own
A book with a pig on the cover
A book involving a riot, rebellion, or revolution
A book involving a love story
A book involving a political system other than representative democracy
A book shortlisted for the Diagram Award, or with the weirdest title you can find.
An out-of-print book (Project Gutenberg, Open Library, and other digital preservation projects don’t count as “in print”, so have at them!)
A book with a checklist or to-do list (narratively or literally)
A book about or involving agriculture
A book involving something you hope to do before you die
A book with a cover that includes an object mentioned in the title
A book that fulfills one of AILA’s Read Native challenge prompts
A classic you’ve never read from your favorite genre
A book that was cited in a book or wiki entry that you read
A book including a food you’ve never tried before
A book with all the colors of the rainbow (ROY G BIV!) on the cover
A “Sense of Gender Award” winner, or a similar award such as the Otherwise Award (adjust as needed for age appropriateness and accessibility)
A book that mostly takes place at night
A book involving a pacifist or about pacifism
A book involving a river
A book originally written in a language spoken in your country but not legally recognized (ex. not typically found on government websites)
A book where the protagonist is a fugitive or otherwise on the run from something
A book involving formulas, algorithms, or spells
A book by a freedom fighter or abolitionist

Formidable Reading Challenge 2022
A book with a building in the title
A book by a Black author
A book featuring a found family
A book about or involving accessibility or universal design
A book about or set on an ocean
A book involving community building
A book by an author from a country that borders the Indian Ocean
A book with an herbivore on the cover
A book with a protagonist who is not conventionally attractive
A book about the future
A book by an Indigenous author you’ve never read before
A book with a celestial body in the title
A book by an LGBTQIA2S+ author
A book involving renewable energy
A book with a landscape on the cover
A book by a d/Deaf author
A book about something beautiful
A book with a protagonist with an invisible disability
A whimsical book
A book about a Native Pacific Islander
A book that makes you feel hopeful
A book by a South/Central American author
A book by an anarchist
A book involving growing things
A book involving a process of restoration or reconciliation

Modest Reading Challenge 2022
A book with a building in the title
A book by a Black author
A book featuring a found family
A book about or involving accessibility or universal design
A book about or set on an ocean
A book involving community building
A book by an author from a country that borders the Indian Ocean
A book with an herbivore on the cover
A book with a protagonist who is not conventionally attractive
A book about the future
A book by an Indigenous author you’ve never read before
A book with a celestial body in the title

A book by a Middle Eastern author

I don’t know why I had so many geographic region categories in last year’s challenge. Call it laziness. That and I didn’t want to go “read a Muslim author” any more than I’d try to order you to read a Christian or Buddhist one (besides two of ya’ll are reading enough of those to cover the rest of us!). But I kind of totally did want folks to read if not a Muslim author, at least someone from the region. The same people who call it the “cradle of civilization” also often refer to the modern region as barbaric and backwards and I really hoped folks would get to enjoy the vibrant literary and scientific tradition as an antidote to that. Continue reading “A book by a Middle Eastern author”

A book by an author from the Global South

There was a little confusion here, because I used the less widely known term “Global South”. There’s no *good term for the concept, which is basically “countries that have a lot less money than the colonizers from Europe”. This means some of the countries are actually in the Northern hemisphere, and there are countries down south that are actually part of the “Global North” (like Australia and New Zealand). And it presents a binary, and binaries are always a problem. For example, where do you put Ireland? It definitely was colonized, and it’s considered an economically “developing” country, but its people participated in the settler-colonialism of the UK and US. Of course, while that explains some of the misfires, it really doesn’t explain how Haruki Murakami ended up on here. Continue reading “A book by an author from the Global South”

A book with a female or non-binary protagonist of color

So, here’s one of the lighter “challenging” tasks. I was tempted to make it exclusively a non-binary protagonist of color, but I did think that might be too difficult considering some of my regular participants are reading in languages other than English and sometimes in more restrictive countries. So, I widened it to include women as well. It’s like the opposite of what usually happens, where something meant for women decides to include marginalized genders but words it like they mean “women lite”. I didn’t use the phrase “under-represented gender identity” or something similar because, again, keeping it to something easy for machine translation and the minimum age for Habitica to understand, rather than perfect precision. Otherwise my tasks would be entire paragraphs like this! Continue reading “A book with a female or non-binary protagonist of color”