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!
The thing is, I didn’t really have any intention of tackling the Best of the Best Reading Challenge. It’s not that I didn’t love the idea–I
did do. It’s not that I didn’t want to read the books on the list; before the challenge started in April I’d already read–and mostly loved–Hero, Matched, How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous, Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?, Chime, A Monster Calls, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and, of course all five Susan Cooper books (which I re-read almost every year). The problem definitely isn’t the books.
While the magnetic appeal of the Best of the Best challenge is undeniable, I’m struggling with the allure–still somewhat unbelievable after serving on two back-to-back book award committees–of being able to read whatever I want, whenever I want, in whatever order I want. You know how it is, right? As soon as I have to read a book, for school or work or book club or because your best friend is making you–as soon as that happens I start to rebel, just a little. The Best of the Best Reading Challenge is a fun and totally worthwhile challenge, and one I could conquer if I set my mind to it, but years of controlled reading (no matter how completely awesome) takes a toll, and each time I pick up a new title I revel in the simple freedom of choosing books that I want to read.
Of course, as soon as I start thinking about the books I read for committees, or in school, or because someone pleaded with me to do so, I instantly remember all the incredible books I’ve read–especially for the Printz Award–that I would never, ever have picked up were it not for the “burden” of assigned reading. A good number of books I now count amongst my favorites happened that way.
So, I’ll be honest: I don’t know if my good intentions will rise above my current state of reading indulgence, but I’m halfway through The Girl of Fire and Thorns and since April 1st I’ve finished Best of the Best books Ready Player One and The Scorpio Races. I put Anya’s Ghost, Thor, Why We Broke Up, Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, and The Curse of the Wendigo on hold at my library yesterday. I’ll admit, most of those books were already on my Goodreads to-read list, but I’m moving them to the top.
It’s a start.
If you’ve 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.
— Julie Bartel, currently reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns
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