Not signed up for YALSA’s 2013 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!
I did it! I finally read both Enchanted and Dodger and returned the books to my local library. That brought my total to 17, and then I took that momentum and went whizzing through Heist Society (how have I never read this?!), Friends with Boys, and This Is Not a Test. All in all, a pretty good couple weeks as far as reading in general and this challenge in particular. I’ve got five books to go, and five weeks left — I may actually make it this year!
What about you? Are you going to complete the Hub Reading Challenge this year? Did you set any personal goals (like reading an entire list, or something from each list) and if so, how are you faring? Have you discovered anything about your reading habits or preferences during the past couple months? Has your reading produced any great insights or burning questions?
Think about it, because on Wednesday, May 22, from 2 to 3pm EDT, we’ll be hosting a Reading Challenge chat on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook, and we hope you’ll join us on whichever platform you prefer.
If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form below. (The information you provide is what we’ll use to send you your Challenge Finisher badge, contact you about your reader’s response, and notify you if you win our grand prize drawing, so be sure to use an email address you actually check!) Do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles
If you’re not done yet, happy reading and keep us posted on your progress! Tweet your reviews and progress with the #hubchallenge tag, and we’ll see you at next week’s check-in!
Here’s the round-up of news this week:
@OfficiallyAlly: What do you think of the final Gallagher Girls title and the cover? Tell @EW http://ow.ly/1WbWty @Hypable: John Green rereleases limited run of self read ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ audiobook http://www.hypable.com/2013/05/16/john-green-the-fault-in-our-stars-audiobook/ … @Scholastic: Wowza. Want to see JK Rowling’s hand-written plan for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/read-jk-rowlings-hand-written-plan-for-harry-potter-and-the … @randomhouse: 20 Questions with Author Michael Scott http://bit.ly/13vkRNE
Classics — whether they are novels, plays, or epics — offer us great characters, interesting plots, and lots of things for discussion … but sometimes they can be a little tough to tackle. Sometimes we adore them, but sometimes we can’t get past page 3, let alone the requisite 50. That doesn’t mean that we should give up what they have to offer, though, does it? Many of today’s authors try to use these classic works as a starting-off point to write a more modern version. If done well, these contemporary versions can have a huge impact and impart the same wisdom that made the earlier story gain its classic status. Jessica Pryde and I decided to find and examine some great pairs of classics and their contemporary rewrites to see if they are successful … or maybe not.
The Classic: Persuasion by Jane Austen
You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever.
Anne Elliot had once been happily betrothed to a poor but kind naval officer, Frederick Wentworth. When both her family and a trusted friend objected to the match, however, Anne broke the arrangement and spent the next nine years deeply regretting her action. When Wentworth reemerged a newly rich and successful Captain after the Napoleonic Wars, Anne’s family was on the brink of financial ruin. To help defray costs, they’d rented their home and lands to Wentworth’s sister. Forced to be in each other’s company once again, Anne and Frederick must each decide whether they can be persuaded to put aside their own hurt and mistrust to reconcile with the one person they each treasured the most.
This post is written by one of our guest bloggers, 17-year-old Halle.
It seems like The Great Gatsby is everywhere these days, making special appearances (with LeVar Burton!) on The Colbert Report and starring in terrible Jezebel movie reviews. I don’t mind. I love The Great Gatsby. I read the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald in school a few months ago and I was fairly certain that I’d like it, but I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did because in my experience, school makes reading books — especially classic literature — way less fun than it should be. As it turns out, though, I actually loved The Great Gatsby and ended up thinking Fitzgerald is a genius, an amazing writer, and a brilliant storyteller. I was very excited to see Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, which I did — in 3D — on opening night.
First, the book
One of the three themes for YALSA’s 2014 Popular Paperback for Young Adults (PPYA) list is “Conflicted: Life During Wartime.” It’s an exciting new path, as this is the first time the committee has ever compiled a war-themed list before. So what’s this list about, you ask? Well, a short answer is that it embodies all sorts of realistic fiction and nonfiction books that relate experiences of people affected by war in one way or another. A longer description would explain that the main character doesn’t have to be the one in a physical war, but rather the story could focus on how a brother, a sister, other kinfolk, or a family as a whole has been affected by someone’s experience from participating in a war. Or another take could be a personal account of the war experience and its effect on a person’s life and the way they see the world around them. Experiences could be regarded as emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological, and so on.
Some of the books that have been nominated for this category so far are:
- Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
- Beyond Bullets: A Photo Journal of Afghanistan by Rafal Gerszak
- War Brothers by Sharon McKay
Visit the PPYA field suggestion form to suggest titles for the Conflicted: Life During Wartime list or for any of our other two lists, Humor Me: Funny, Fantastic and Witty Reads and GLBTQ: Books with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer-questioning, Intersexed, Asexual individuals, and Their Allies.
– Nicola McDonald, 2014 Popular Paperbacks committee member, currently reading The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara and Susan McClelland
It seems YA lit is getting a reputation. Past controversies over “darkness” and “sick lit” and constant threats of challanges and censorship make it seem like the only thing YA has going for it is doom, gloom, drama, and adversity. But true YA readers, especially here at The Hub, know this isn’t the case. While most of the attention seems focused on the negative, there are plenty of uplifting and positive books that don’t always deal with the heavier subjects. Sure, we still love the dystopias, zombies, and drama-filled love triangles, but sometimes we need a good story with a happy and satisfying ending. Inspired by a teen reader who came to me recently looking for a book that would “just make me feel good,” here is a list of books that hopefully will make you smile, laugh, and maybe cry — but only happy tears.
- Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Janie has had enough of her parents’ granola, hippie lifestyle on their small farm and begins high school to find new friends and a new way of looking at the world.
- Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (2007 Best Books for Young Adults)
D.J. Schwenk doesn’t get a lot of attention from her father (or anyone else really) until she decides to try out for the football team. Now everybody wants to know who exactly D.J. is — including herself.
May’s Haitian Heritage Month is a celebration in the United States of Haitian heritage and culture. It was first celebrated in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1998. The Haitian Heritage Month celebration is an expansion of the Haitian Flag Day, a major patriotic day celebration in Haiti and the Diaspora.
Until I started compiling this list, I hadn’t realized I’d read so many YA books with Haitian characters, some written by authors with Haitian ancestry and some not. The most well-known Haitian-American author is probably American Book Award-winning author Edwidge Dandicat. All the books she’s written are for adults, although the collection of stories in her book Krik? Krat! earned her a National Book Award nomination and does have appeal for older teens. The collection includes the Pushcart Prize-winner “Between the Pool and the Gardenias.” Danticat examines the brutality of her native Haiti in the stories in this book, particularly as it affects ordinary Haitian women, in tales that soar with raw emotion.
Other noteworthy YA books about Haiti include:
First, our thanks to Gretchen Kolderup for her leadership as The Hub’s member manager since 2011. Thank you, Gretchen!
Gretchen will be leaving her role as manager of The Hub when her term ends on August 14, 2013, so YALSA is seeking a new member manager to begin in August 2013. Interested in the job? Read on after the jump to see the position description and qualifications and find out how you can apply. Applications are due to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 1, 2013.
[Editor's note: Maureen has posted a follow-up post.]
It started with a tweet:
I do wish I had a dime for every email I get that says, “Please put a non-girly cover on your book so I can read it. – signed, A Guy”
— maureenjohnson (@maureenjohnson) May 6, 2013
That was May 6th. By May 7th, author Maureen Johnson’s tweet had turned into a full-blown challenge, with coverage all over the Internet. (You can follow the conversation and the challenge Johnson proposed on a variety of sites, from Tumblr to Twitter, with the hashtag #coverflip.)