Books

10 Books for the January 2018 #WotNReadingChallenge

2018 Word of the Nerd Reading Challenge

Join Us for the #WotNReadingChallenge!

Using the suggestions below, pick one book from the 2017 NPR Book Concierge to read this month!

The first prompt of the first #WotNReadingChallenge is based around the 2017 NPR Book Concierge. For the past five years, NPR has pulled together hundreds of favorite reads from staff and critics. The annual NPR Book Concierge is phenomenal and it is gorgeous. Seriously, take five minutes and look at it. But not only is it gorgeous, it’s a really valuable resource that doesn’t disappear after the holiday season ends.

In constructing the 2018 reading prompts, I’ll consult old versions of the NPR Book Concierge if I get stuck looking for a book for you to read. So, to get you started in the new year, here are ten books (graphic novels included) that you can choose from to fulfill this prompt. Enjoy!

Five Graphic Novels for the January 2018 Prompt

1. Black Bolt Volume 1: Hard Time by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward

If you were one of the five people who watched Marvel’s Inhumans, you may have been really interested in mute protagonist Black Bolt (played by Anson Mount). Black Bolt Volume 1: Hard Time follows Black Bolt after he has been separated from his Inhuman compatriots and trapped, powerless, in a prison cell. This is Black Bolt’s first solo comic.

2. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do is a heartbreaking graphic memoir in which Thi Bui tells her own story through the lens of her immediate family’s history, including their departure from Vietnam in the late 1970s. It’s an interesting look at how family history can end up permeating your own present.

3. Solid State by Matt Fraction and Jonathan Coulton, illustrated by Albert Monteys

Musician and occasional NPR co-host Jonathan Coulton teamed up with Matt Fraction (most notable for writing Hawkeye) to write a companion graphic novel to the album Coulton, title Solid State. If you so chose, you could probably listen to the album and read the graphic novel at the same time, an experience that would be difficult to replicate with any other graphic novel. 

4. Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld

This book collects comics by Tom Gauld, who draws for The Guardian. If comics like the one below make you laugh, you might want to get your hands on Baking with Kafka.

Tom Gauld Online Reader Comic5. Trust No Aunty by Maria Qamar

Maria Qamar, a Pakistani-Canadian artist, wrote Trust No Aunty, a tongue-in-cheek guide to surviving one’s auntiesas in older women who try to give you advice that is rooted in tradition and often contradictory. Her art can be found on Instagram @hatecopy.

If you don’t think that I’m the person to pick out your graphic novels, that’s okay. The NPR Concierge has its own filter labeled “Comic Books and Graphic Novels.”

Five Novels for the January 2018 Prompt

1. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

In Norse Mythology, notable fantasy author Neil Gaiman retells old Norse legends in his trademark style. This book could serve as an introduction to Norse mythology for those wary to start by flipping through a tome.

2. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon tells the history of the Osage Indians in 1920s Oklahoma, and a conspiracy that began killing them. David Grann’s research reveals details of the conspiracy that weren’t known at the time. Beware, they are heart-rending to fully contemplate. 

3. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Follow Nadia and Saeed in Exit West as they are forced to flee their unnamed and wartorn city through a magic door in hope of sanctuary. It is a beautifully written fantasy refugee tale for our time.

4. Jade City by Fonda Lee

Read the story of intraclan relations on the East-Asian-inspired island of Kekon, where native residents of the island are able to use jade to enhance their physical abilities. Jade City is a well-written political saga, and you’ll finish the book wishing you had more to read.

5. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Her Body and Other Parties is a science fiction short story collection that follows women in fantastical and science fiction universes, instead of vice versa. It’s also a quick read, in case you’re worried about books taking up too much of your time.

If you’ve read all of these books already, I recommend flipping through the NPR Books Concierge to find something that might interest you.

What’s your pick for the January 2018 #WotNReadingChallenge? Let us know in the comments!


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About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan is a 24 year old MLIS student who prefers to read over socializing and is passionate about diversity and accessibility.

1 Comment

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  • I’ve been dying to read Exit West, but I’m going to wait until the paperback edition is released. I want to check out Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do this month. Thanks for the suggestion!

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