I’ve been doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge since 2015, which might have been the first year. Usually, I try to have an idea of what I plan to read as soon as the list is posted (I actually have pages of scribbled ideas in my reading/blogging binder right now). This year, I realized I’ve already read a lot of books that would work for the prompts, so I thought I would share a few, for anyone who’s doing this challenge and might want some suggestions.
I can’t suggest things for a lot of the topics, really, because I don’t know what other people have read/seen, favorite colors, birth years, etc., but I’ve got recommendations for some, and I hope someone finds this post helpful. (There will definitely be some books appearing in multiple categories, too.)
True Crime: This one is going to be hard for me this year because I don’t read much true crime, but I will suggest The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It has some other historical stuff mixed in, but I would count it.
A novel based on a real person: If you want to stretch “novel” to include “novel in verse,” try Audacity by Melanie Crowder. There’s also Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, possibly the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (I want to say these were based on her family, but double check), an argument could be made for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
A book with a time of day in the title: Ok, I’m stretching this one to be more vague, so something like The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern would fit for me. It’s harder to find books with a specific time in the title, but something like Twilight by Stephenie Meyer would work. Think “twilight,” “dusk,” “dawn,” “evening,” “morning,” “noon,” “midnight,” etc.
A book about a villain or antihero: I already know exactly what I’m reading for this one (Vicious by V.E. Schwab). Well, probably. Other suggestions: Macbeth by William Shakespeare would work…I think, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (I never finished it, but I think it counts), The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
A book about death or grief: I have to suggest Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (non-fiction) by Mary Roach for this one. I vaguely remember reading Death Be Not Proud (non-fiction) by John Gunther waaaay back in middle school (I liked it then, but that was like 14 years ago, eek ). I want to say The Stoning of Soraya M. (non-fiction) by Freidoune Sahebjam might count, too. For fiction, there’s The Crow by James O’Barr (graphic novel), Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (I think counts), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, and maybe The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
A book with alliteration in the title: Cozy mysteries are probably a great place to look for these. I would count things like Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.
A book about time travel: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is an obvious choice. Ages ago, maybe in high school, I read Time & Again by Nora Roberts (I think it’s two novels in one volume?) and it’s still the only Nora Roberts I’ve ever picked up. But I liked it then. You could probably count A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs, probably any Doctor Who novel, and I want to say maybe Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (but it’s been a long time since I read those books).
A book with a weather element in the title: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer-Bradley (does “mist” count as a weather element?), The Tempest by William Shakespeare (another one I’m not 100% sure counts), Storm Front by Jim Butcher, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen, Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe, Lightning by Dean Koontz, and Frostbite by Richelle Mead.
A book with an animal in the title: The Soul of an Octopus (non-fiction) by Sy Montgomery was a favorite of mine from last year. I also really liked Releasing the Wolf by Dianna Hardy (this is definitely an adult book), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Crow by James O’Barr, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, Blue Horses by Mary Oliver, The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Oh and of course The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
A book set on a different planet: The Maritan by Andy Weir is an obvious one. I also liked 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (I think they were actually on a moon of a different planet, but whatever), and loved Saga, vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, and I’m pretty sure you could count at least some of the Hitchhiker’s Guide books by Douglas Adams for this one.
A book with song lyrics in the title: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana), Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas), Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something), One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (Blue Suede Shoes by Elvis), Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris (Dead to the World by Nightwish), Wildflower by Drew Barrymore (Wildflower by The JaneDean Girls), Seize the Night by Sherilyn Kenyon (Seize the Night by Meat Loaf), Neverland by Shari Arnold (Lost Boy by Ruth B).
A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen, Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman (I haven’t read this one…I’m assuming “berry” counts, and this is what I plan to read).
An allegory: Ok, I’m not totally sure about any of these The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Pearl by John Steinbeck, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.
A microhistory: I’m reading Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy by Hallie Lieberman for this one. I would suggest The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. I haven’t read much non-fiction until recently
A book about a problem facing society today: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, and I’m planning to read (finally) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: Take your pick from anything I’ve listed 😛 If free-picks count for this (as in, not books that fulfill any other prompts), I’ll recommend a few more: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio, Love and You by Gretchen Gomez, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, The Valiant by Lesley Livingston, and My Invented Country by Isabel Allende.
Happy reading, everyone, and I hope this helps someone 🙂