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Ideas for the Professional Book Nerds Reading Challenge

Ideas for the Professional Book Nerds Reading Challenge

You guys know that I’m participating in a lot of reading challenges this year. Five, to be exact (plus following along with the #onceyougoblackout on IG!) I thought it might be fun to share books that I’m thinking about reading for each of the categories, with the hope that some of you who are participating might find it helpful. And if you’re not into challenges— they’re still good recommendations!

The Professional Book Nerds Reading Challenge is just the right blend of aspirational and achievable. One month in and I’ve gotten to four categories- Book Set on a Continent Other Than Your Own (An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten is set in Sweden), a Book Written By Two or More Authors (Well Read Black Girl, an essay collection edited by Glory Edim), Listen to an Audiobook (Columbine, Dave Cullen), and Book By an Author of a Difference Race, Ethnicity, or Religion Than Your Own (We Cast a Shadow, Maurice Carlos Ruffin).

In this post, I’m going to skip sharing a recommendation for a Book Published the Year You Were Born (I’m reading The Cycle of the Werewolf for 1983), and Book by an Author of a Difference Race, Ethnicity, or Religion Than Your Own since that’s so personal, but have recommendations for all of the other categories below.

If you participate in challenges- tell me how it’s been going!


Book Set on a Continent Other Than Your Own

I was going through my Goodreads and was disappointed to see how few books I’ve read that were set in a continent other than North America. Here are some recommendations for you Americans that need to do better: The Death of Mrs. Westaway (Europe-England), The Hearts Invisible Furies (Europe-Ireland), The Book Thief (Europe-Germany), Stay With Me (Africa- Nigeria), Homegoing (Africa-Ghana), Long Walk to Freedom (Africa-South Africa), Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Asia-India), The Hole (Asia-South Korea), The Lost Man (Australia), and Fruit of the Drunken Tree (South America- Colombia).

Book Written By Two or More Authors

Well Read Black Girl (curated by Glory Edim with many contributors), The Wife Between Us (Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkenan, Girls Night Out (Liz Fenton and Lisa Stenke), The Last Mrs. Parrish (Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine), Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Levithan), and The Royal We (Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan).

Listen to an Audiobook

Thanks to services like Audible and libro.fm (and free options at your library), accessing audiobooks is easier than ever. Here are my favorite audiobooks, but I also have my eye on Lincoln in the Bardo (winner of the 2018 Audie award for audiobook of the year), The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, and The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee. I’m currently listening to Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela read by Danny Glover and I’m loving it. (It is the abridged version though, so if you’re a purist you’ll need to read the physical book). My favorite genres to listen to are non-fiction, memoirs read by the author, and thrillers.

Retelling of a Classic Book, Fairy Tale, or Play

I have the best book for this category just waiting for me on my shelf- Unmarriagable by Soniah Kamal, a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in India. Other great options are Cinder (a character based on Cinderella is a cyborg), Boy, Snow, Bird (Snow White retelling), Dorothy Must Die (The Wizard of Oz), Hag-Seed (The Tempest).

Classic Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read but Haven’t Yet

I’ll be reading The Color Purple for this one, but other classic books that are on my meaning-to-read-list are Rebecca, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Night, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Children’s Book You’ve Never Read

I don’t have any suggestions for this one! And if I’m being honest, I’m not completely sure what would work for this category- YA? Board book? It’s a self-imposed challenge so I can do what I want? I’m open to suggestions! I may also consult these podcasts for inspiration, PBN Episode #113, What Should I Read Next episode 21.

Book Whose Movie or Television Adaptation Comes Out in 2019

If you like to be scared and haven’t read Pet Semetary yet- do! It’s one of my favorite King books and a book that genuinely scared me. The movie comes out in April. Other options: The Woman in the Window (October 2019), All the Bright Places, Catch-22. NOS4A2, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (!!!).

Book That Has Appeared on ALA’s Frequently Challenged Book List

There are a ton of good books on this list.. I loved Looking for Alaska, The Outsiders, and The Lovely Bones and want to read Go Tell it to the Mountain, Atonement, and The Glass Castle.

Audiobook of a Memoir or Autobiography Read by the Author

This is one of my favorite genres and I would love to hear your recommendations. Some of my favorites include We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (RIP), I Feel Bad About My Neck by Norah Ephron, and The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish. I have my eye on The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama (abridged), and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

Feel free to leave any suggestions for me in the comments!

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