Read Harder Challenge 13 & 14

Throughout 2020, All Lit Up-er Tan Light has been participating in BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge—a reading task designed to expand readerly boundaries—and doing so with an indie twist. Each entry in this series will highlight one or two completed challenges along with a list of books from All Lit Up to have you reading harder, too! This month’s challenge includes historical fiction for teens and adults alike, and literary mags to complement your fiction reads. 


Share It:

Challenge #13: Read a historical fiction novel not set in WWII
Book: To See the Stars by Jan Andrews
(Running the Goat)

About the book: Set at the start of the 20th century, we follow Edie from her remote Newfoundland outport village to St. John’s, and finally to New York City’s Lower East Side. Against the background of the history-making “Uprising” of 1909, when 20,000 garment workers went on strike for better working conditions, and the devastating Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (1911), Edie begins to find her own voice, hone her already-strong will, and learn about the true nature of home. A celebration of the strength of women and the power of community.Tan’s take: I picked this up because it hinted to me of Ami McKay’s fiction, which I really enjoy; strong young women from rural communities, making their way in the world as it was around the turn of the previous century. It does not disappoint; Edie is a delightful character and the history is rich and evocative in detail. While To See the Stars is written for a younger audience, it is quite enjoyable for adult readers as well. 

For more historical fiction set outside of the WWII-era, try…

Filthy Sugar by Heather Babcock (Inanna Publications) 
Two Gun and Sun by June Hutton (Caitlin Press)
If Tenderness be Gold by Eleanor Albanese (Latitude 46 Publishing) 
The Talking Drum by Lisa Braxton (Inanna Publications)
Fire Walkers by Bethlehem Terrefe Gebreyohannes (Mawenzi House)
In Search of New Babylon by Dominique Scali, translated by W. Donald Wilson (Talonbooks)

Challenge 14: Read an edition of a literary magazine (digital or physical)

Do you subscribe to literary magazines? It’s a great way to discover new writers, and I find the shorter content is better suited to my reading habits in isolation. My own library currently includes issues of Broken Pencil, Geist, and Room Magazine.Open to reading suggestions? From Broken Pencil, who just hired ALU author Victoria Heatherington as the new Fiction Editor:This Review of Taxi! (Conundrum Press)
From the latest issue of Geist
This excerpt from Explosions by Mathieu Poulin, translated by Aleshia Jensen (Baraka Books) This review of Dominoes at the Crossroads by Kaie Kellough (Véhicule Press)
From the latest issue of Room
This interview, conducted by ALU author Amber Dawn, with Kama La Mackerel, whose debut collection ZOM-FAM (Metonymy Press) drops next month. 

* * *

Want to join me? Click herefor a downloadable and editable PDF of the 2020 Read Harder Challenge tasks. Stay tuned next month for more Read Harder!