Hello friends and Happy Monday! Today we’re recommending books to help you complete your Book Riot Read Harder 2020 reading challenge. This is one of our favorites and you can find all the details here. We’ve already done one of these posts for the first two prompts and will be moving down the list today recommending books for these themes — (1) a mystery where the victim(s) is not a woman, and (2) graphic memoirs. So let’s jump in!
Prompt- A Mystery Where the Victim(s) Is Not a Woman
Quick Take: Flavia de Luce is one of my absolute favorite main characters. This 11-year-old chemistry prodigy discovers a dead man in her garden and — much to the chagrin of the police — decides it is her responsibility to solve the crime. Flavia is precocious and fun but also makes stupid decisions, just like a normal 11-year-old. There is a lot of depth here regarding her family relationships and the mystery is compelling (but not scary). Basically it’s Harriet the Spy meets Sherlock Holmes and I’m here for it. Also, it’s $4.99 on Kindle now so definitely check it out!
Quick Take: Ok, I have to be honest in that I haven’t read this one yet because it just looks so dang creepy! In this thriller, a boy and his father move to a new town to start fresh after the death of his mother. Suddenly, though, the quietness of their new small town is disturbed by the apparent reappearance of serial killer The Whisper Man and teenage boys start disappearing from their homes. It has rave reviews and is a great choice if you want to read a super-creepy atmospheric thriller.
Quick Take: In this tongue-in-cheek novel set in Nigeria, the main character is a nurse who is frequently called on to help her sister (a YouTube influencer) clean up after the self-defense murders of her boyfriends. After three such calls, she starts to wonder about her sister, and then her sister falls for her long-time crush, a doctor she works with. It’s a story about family ties and Nigerian culture. It’s funny but dark and difficult in some spots. I love the new perspective and think this author is one to watch!
Prompt- Read a graphic memoir
Quick Take: Ok, this may be the most obvious recommendation in the history of the world, but I don’t know how to make a graphic memoir list without it, so here we are. Persepolis is possibly my favorite ever graphic novel. It is an autobiographical novel following Satrapi growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. It’s brilliant and heartbreaking and basically just perfect. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Quick Take: This is another suggestion that isn’t going to shock anyone, but in my defense Fun Home by Alison Bechdel is another must-read graphic memoir. It follows her life growing up in her family’s funeral home, her coming out as gay in college, the realization that her father is also gay, and her father’s death shortly thereafter. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking (I’m sensing a pattern) and wonderful for people who love books, as her and her father’s relationship is carried out primarily through books they both love to read. I saw and loved the musical as well, so definitely search out that music too (Ring of Keys is my favorite).
Quick Take: March, a graphic memoir in three parts by Congressman John Lewis, follows Lewis’ lifetime work in the civil rights movement. It is a poignant and beautifully drawn memoir that dives into this incredibly important time in American history. I pored over the pages and have reread these a few times over. I cannot recommend this series highly enough and think it should be required reading for understanding the tensions of the time — and of today.
What About You?
We are very aware that this is not an exhaustive list, in fact, there were numerous titles I had to cut to keep this post from getting too long. Let us know in the comments what books you have enjoyed that fit these prompts and if there any prompts you would like us to highlight.