I loved attempting the 2019 #readingwomenchallenge: a series of categories, for which you have to read a book by a woman in that category. Satisfies both my love of reading and my love of lists :) Hosted by the Reading Women Podcast - "Reclaim Half the Bookshelf".
My highlights included four African authors new to me (Nnedi Okurafor, Akwaeke Emezi, Yaa Gyasi and Oyinkan Braithwaite), my fave book of the year "Freshwater" by Akwaeke Emezi, and generally reading out of my usual habits in terms of genre and authors.
Lowlights included "Hidden Figures" by Margot Lee Shetterly (the black women mathematicians at NASA deserve a cracking book written about them, but this is not it) and "She Came to Stay" by Simone de Beauvoir (if you're going to write a book about a love triangle, it needs to be bloody clear just who exactly is sleeping with whom).
All in all, a happy reader here, and beginning on 2020's challenge already! Check out my full list of 2019 books and recommendations below.
Complete list of categories, and my books, grouped by how much I enjoyed them:
Categories I Didn't Manage to Cover at All (due to financial restraints, combined with the fees I managed to rack up at the local library):
4. A book about or set in Appalachia
12. A Lambda Literary Award winner
16. A book by an Indigenous woman
17. A book from the 2018 Reading Women Award shortlist
Must I Really Have Spent My Time on These Books:
18. A romance or love story - Falling by Jane Green
7. A book featuring a woman in science - Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
14. A translated book written before 1945 - She Came to Stay (French title: L'Invitee) by Simone de Beauvoir
Alright I Suppose If You're Into that Sort of Thing:
1. A mystery or thriller written by a woman of colour - My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
5. A children's book - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
10. A book about a woman athlete - This Mum Runs by Jo Pavey
3. A book by an author from Nigeria or New Zealand - Akata Witch by Nnedi Okurafor
9. A novella - The Resurrectionist by Sharyn McCrumb
19. A book about nature - The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
20. A historical fiction book - Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel
23. Any book from a series - Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
24. A young adult book by a woman of colour - A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
11. A book featuring a religion other than your own - The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
13. A myth retelling - Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
15. A book written by a South Asian author - Afterwards by Jaishree Misra
22. A book you picked up because of the cover - The Night Brother by Rosie Garland (cover illustration by Aitch)
Can't BELIEVE how ASTONISHINGLY GOOD it was:
2. A book by or about a woman with a mental illness - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
6. A multigenerational family saga - Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
8. A play - ear for eye by debbie tucker green
21. A book you bought or borrowed in 2019 - Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi