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2012 Best of the Best Reading Challenge check-in #2

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2012 Best of the Best Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since April 1 counts, so sign up now!

Hello, everyone, and happy Saturday! How’s your reading for the Best of the Best Reading Challenge coming? Have you discovered something you’ve really enjoyed? Are you knocking out titles you’ve always meant to read, or are there some things you’ve tried that have been totally new to you? Do you think you’re going to be able to finish the challenge by the deadline? Leave a comment and let us know what you’ve read this week and what you thought of it!

If you’re a super-reader who’s already finished the challenge by reading 25 books, fill out the following form to let us know. (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 pick an email address you actually use!) Do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles.

We’ll check in with you again next Saturday. Until then, happy reading!

— Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading (and re-reading!) a teaser preview of The Diviners by Libba Bray

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  1. Lily Lily

    Have you discovered something you’ve really enjoyed? The Girl of Fire and Thorns was not perfect, IMO, but it was a real pageturner. That’s probably been my favorite so far.

    Are you knocking out titles you’ve always meant to read, or are there some things you’ve tried that have been totally new to you? I’m not familiar with most of the titles on the list so everything has been totally new to me. It’s a good way to break out of my reading comfort zone.

    Do you think you’re going to be able to finish the challenge by the deadline? I think 25 will be easy, but I was aiming for the full set of 80. Though I’ve finished a couple of works very quickly, that goal would still require me to finish more a book a day for the next 2+ months. Unlikely but gonna keep trying. :)

    This week I finished:
    My Boyfriend Is a Monster (did not like)
    A Monster Calls (reread and reliked)
    The Girl of Fire and Thorns (liked)

    This week I also made the rookie mistake of submitting the above using the challenge completion form instead. D’oh!

  2. Penny Johnson Penny Johnson

    I’m a bit behind schedule this week. I finished Anya’s Ghost, but I’m only halfway through “Sugar Changed the World”. I’m also halfway through the audiobook “Okay for Now”. Hopefully I can catch up over the weekend!

  3. Emily Calkins Emily Calkins

    I finished Leverage, which I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise. I think it was well done, but it was hard for me to get through because of some really horrific bullying, etc. Then I read Axe Cop, which had me laughing out loud (a nice change of pace!). I’m in the middle of Jasper Jones, which is GREAT so far, and I just picked up Zahra’s Paradise to read at lunch.

    I think I’ll be able to finish the challenge by the deadline, although I’m having a funny problem, which is that I’ve already read most of the things that appeal to me, so I’m having to stretch myself and it’s slowing down the reading. I’m sure I’ll end up re-reading a few of last year’s favorites to keep myself motivated.

    • Yes! All of this for me too!

      I haven’t finished anything this week (oops!), but I’m slowing getting through Leverage. It’s totally out of my normal comfort zone (realistic fiction? sports? boy protags?!?), but it’s so well-written I’m glad I’m reading it. It is hard to read too much of it at a time, though, because, yeah, that bullying is scary bad.

      I’m also listening to Carter’s Big Break, and it is AWESOME. So enjoyable and smart and funny.

      I’m super glad that this challenge is making me stretch a little! I think I’ll be able to finish by the deadline, ’cause I am stockpiling the graphic novels and nonfiction to zoom through quickly!

  4. I joined the challenge earlier this week and have read/listened to three titles so far. Chime was one I’ve been meaning to get to, though I’m still deciding how I feel about it. The Influencing Machine and Whoogles were ones I hadn’t known about, but found pretty interesting.

    Up next: Fever Crumb (audio) and Under the Mesquite.

  5. So far I’ve read three books on the list…

    _Sugar Changed the World_: Though the concluding flourish, “we live in the world sugar created” (126) may be a bit presumptuous, if sugar didn’t create the world, it most certainly influenced it. On that point the authors leave little room for doubt.

    _Between Shades of Gray_: Sepetys may have set a spark that will result in these dark Soviet memories finally being placed rightfully in the historical narrative, painful though it may to be to do so. Lina’s voice is a perfect one to bring this about.

    _Under the Mesquite_: A beautiful Latina coming-of-age story told in verse. Compelling and poignant–Lupita is an unassuming heroine. Loved how Spanish phrases were woven into the text.

    And now I am reading _Bootleg_. I am on track to finish the challenge as long as my baby comes on time (June 27) rather than early!

  6. Mark Flowers Mark Flowers

    I’m up to 14 titles in the challenge – 25 should be easy, but I won’t be reading all 80 because I don’t have time to go back and reread books I read before the challenge started.

    This week my favorite was The Talk-Funny Girl. Can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner.

    I also thought Leverage was great – I didn’t much like the ending, but the psychological realism of it was amazing.

  7. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    My reading isn’t going as fast as I want it to and my life is becoming a little more busy this time of year as well… but so far I’m proud of what I have accomplished. As of right now I have finished 8 books but most of them have been quick reads or short GNs. I am in the middle of a novel and an audiobook. Since last week I have finished Scarlet (a very kick-a** crime fighting girl), A Lover’s Dictionary (an tale of a pretty normal couple), Wheels of Change (I love the bicycle and there was a lot to learn about how this tool influenced women’s history), and Wandering Son (very confusing set up with no indication of setting changes and characters look similar—but the author confesses this at the end. Good story though).

    Most are new to me. A few books on the list I’ve checked out in the past and never read—but now is the time to do so. If I continue to read lots of short books and if the novels don’t take too long, I will finish the challenge on time!!

  8. Jennifer Hitchcock Jennifer Hitchcock

    I just started the challenge a few days ago, so I’ve only been able to finish Anya’s Ghost and I’m about to start Wandering Son. I really loved Anya’s ghost. I don’t usually read graphic novels but this was the best I’ve read so far. I feel confident that I’ll finish the challenge because I read pretty fast. I’m not going to try for all 80, though, because I’ve already read a lot of them and I have so many other books on my to-be-read list. About a quarter of the books on this challenge are on my to-be-read list, so I think there’s a good mix of books.

  9. Library.Lil Library.Lil

    I haven’t finished any yet, so I’m behind! I had read 13 prior to April 1st, so some of the titles I would read naturally, I have already read. There are several that I have been planning to read, and I will need to read a few outside my norm to finish.

    One problem I am running into is a few of the titles I am most interested in are not owned by the library I work for or the library I live in the district of. I have done one suggestion for purchase, but there are at least 3 more I wish I had access to.

    I am currently reading Why We Broke Up and listening to Ghetto Cowboy. Both are titles I had been wanting to read.

  10. Maria Kramer Maria Kramer

    I am on track to finish 25 books by June 30. This week I:

    *Finished “Where Things Come Back” — which I really liked, even though I was afraid at the beginning that it was going to be one of those pretentious “literary” books.

    *Read “Ready Player One,” which made my inner geek very happy indeed. This is love song to ’80’s nerd-dom.

    *Read “Sugar Changed the World,” which I thought was a little disjointed and overly ambitious.

    Next up — “Enclave.”

  11. Emma Louise Emma Louise

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Laini Taylor- Loved it

    White Crow: Marcus Sedgwick- I can’t decided if I liked it

    Anna Dressed in Blood: Kendare Blake- Fantatstic! Cannot wait for the sequel

  12. Wendy Daughdrill Wendy Daughdrill

    This is so embarrassing, but I am still on my first book. One of the ironies of being a librarian is never having enough time to read! I should be able to to catch up when school lets out. I started with The Scorpio Races, which I had been dying to read anyway. So far, it is shaping up to be one of the best books I have read in a long time.

  13. Amy Amy

    Just finished my first book, Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard. It was okay, but not as good as I had hoped.
    I’m almost through the audio of Scorpio Races, which I’m surprisingly enjoying. I had disliked Shiver so much that I was avoiding this, despite all of the good things people were saying. I’m also most of the way through The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone which I am loving and cannot wait to share it with my current issues teacher.
    So, one title down, two more just about wrapped up.

  14. Joanna Roberts Joanna Roberts

    This week I finished:
    The Iron Thorn (loved the mix of magic and machinery)
    Sean Griswold’s Head (funny and poignant)

    I’m currently reading:
    Cryer’s Cross

  15. Robin Robin

    This week I finished:
    -Where Things Come Back
    -The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt
    -Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)

    So far, I’ve mostly been reading things I eyed at one point but had opted not to read because the blurb didn’t jump out at me. _Wheets of Change_ was one I hadn’t heard about before this list, and I simply had to read it as someone who is a recent beginner bicyclist and a longtime fan of social history. I could not put it down, and am left eager to explore more history on the subject.

    I think I’ll be able to finish on time if I tackle some of the audiobooks. My goal for the next week or two is to branch out of my comfort zone more by trying out some of the fantasy and sci-fi titles.

  16. Jacqueline C. Jacqueline C.

    I’m a little behind, but this week I managed to finish Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. That brings my count to 3 completed. I’m also currently reading The Scorpio Races.

  17. Kate Carlson Kate Carlson

    I am seriously behind…a mid-quarter grade reports deadline, requisitions and final projects for 2 graduate classes has seriously hindered my reading time… I have the half of the books I want to read checkout out after waiting on hold for many of them…now the fun part begins! :)

  18. Jenny Jenny

    So a little slower pace this past week:
    Wheels of Change

    I really liked Ghostopolis and Wheels was an eye opener. Who knew the bicycle impacted the women’s movement so much!

  19. Brenda Schwarz Brenda Schwarz

    Wow! I am still behind. With school, work and everything in between it is hard to find time. I just finished Shades of Grey. It was such a compelling read. It kind of reminded me of the things Hitler done to the Jews. I cannot imagine surviving all the things they went through and still be sane. I slowly working on Brain Jack, not my choice of books. I am going to try to catch up this week with some short reads and hopefuly get on track with the challange.

  20. This week I finished What Happened to Goodbye, Anya’s Ghost, and Bake Sale.

  21. I just finished Ready Player One this morning. I’m not as far along as I’d hoped to be, but once I get my hands on the books, it will definitely move right along.

  22. This challenge enables me to read several titles I’d been putting off for too long. I’m a recent convert to A.S. King, and her ‘Ants’ is a great follow-up to ‘Vera Dietz.’ I’m also finally aboard the ‘Night Circus’ train, a total page-turning charmer.

  23. Cheryl Gladfelter Cheryl Gladfelter

    I finished Anya’s Ghost. I really enjoy graphic novels so that’s not really out of my comfort zone. I thought it was really well done and the story was exciting. I just start Geektastic and already I’m cracking up. I’ve also already got my first two audiobooks ready to go: How They Croaked (which I already read but I’m interested to see how the audiobook compares) and Chime. Chime will be a big departure from what I usually read, so I’m excited to start it.
    I’m a little slow to start the challenge but I hope when my class finishes up at the end of the month I’ll have some free time to catch up before the next one starts!

  24. Rereading The Dark is Rising Sequence for the umpteenth time – just cause I love it!

  25. Charles J. Charles J.

    So far I am up to 8 – they are all GNs and Quick Picks though. I’m almost done with the audio for Okay for Now, whose cover really doesn’y portray what a great story it is.

  26. Tiffany Bronzan Tiffany Bronzan

    I finished “In Zanesville” by Jo Ann Beard. I didn’t really enjoy it. This brings me up to 2 titles.

    We are suppose to read books from 2012 lists, right?

    There are a lot of books that I’ve already read and don’t plan on going back, which is going to make this challenge a little harder. I’m still not sure if I’m going to complete the challenge, since I only have 2 title down.

    • Yes, we’re basing this challenge around the 2012 lists.

      I’m sorry that the challenge is off to a bit of a rough start for you! Maybe it’s time to try something you normally wouldn’t read like nonfiction or a graphic novel or an audiobook or an adult title? Sometimes shaking things up is just the thing!

  27. Joanie Sebastian Joanie Sebastian

    I started a bit late, so I’ve only finished two books so far.

    This week I finished Between Shades of Gray (luckily I was already in the middle of it when I heard about the challenge!) and Bride’s Story. Between Shades of gray was a moving work of historical fiction. It illuminates a little know piece of history by telling the story of a family pushed to the limits of human endurance by Stalin and his forces. Bride’s Story was compelling and beautifully illustrated…I can’t wait to read volume two!

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