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2012 Best of the Best Reading Challenge check in #10

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!

Well, I’m still struggling a little with finding a good balance between reading for the challenge–which I really do want to complete–and reading what I like, when I like. I got sidetracked by Bitterblue last week, which I was simply unable to resist, and then by a possibly-not-entirely-necessary-but-completely-enjoyable re-read of Princess Academy in preparation for the sequel, Palace of Stone (which I realize doesn’t come out for over two months, but I was sooo in the mood!). Oh yeah, and even before Bitterblue I tore through Charles de Lint’s new YA title Under My Skin (but this edition, with the awesome cover); I get a pass on that though, since a new de Lint pretty much always supplants whatever else I’m reading at the time.

That said, I did enjoy Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd (though overall I found it a bit uneven, as I often do with anthologies) and Thor Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (wonderful!) and Why We Broke Up, which I probably would never have read if not for this challenge. Thanks, Best of the Best 2012!

That brings my total to six titles read (though I can’t help revising that number in my head to 18, in order to include the other 12 titles I finished pre-April). I’m starting Everybody See the Ants tonight and have The Curse of the Wendigo and How to Save a Life on tap.

I can say this, whether or not I actually make it through the challenge by the end of June, there are some really, really great books on this list and I’m thankful to have it as a guide.

— Julie, currently reading Everybody Sees the Ants (and re-reading de Lint’s The Blue Girl … because I can.)

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.

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Julie Bartel

Julie is a writer and librarian living in Salt Lake City, UT.

29 Comments

  1. This week I finished the Scorpio Races which was fantastic. I read Daybreak and The Lover’s Dictionary which I both thought were cool because they were unique but they also both fell kinda flat on the storyline. The highlight of my week by far was reading Ready Player One which became one of my favorite books of all time. I just wish I had friends that were as nerdy as me so I could make them read it, too!

  2. I can’t remember the last time I posted an update. I’m re-reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone, which is book 25! I love this book, but it’s slow going because I’m writing questions for a trivia contest we’re holding at the end of the summer. It’ll definitely be finished by the next update. Maybe I can sneak a few more in as well…ya know, just for good measure.

    Happy reading everyone!

  3. I just finished Geektastic which was great but loooong. I am in the middle of the Beauty Queens audiobook. My count is up to 9 read with 7, mostly short non-fiction titles, on my pile. I don’t think I am going to make it.

  4. Library.Lil Library.Lil

    I am disappointed to say that I did not finish any titles this week, so my total remains at 18. I got a good start on several, though, so hopefully that means I’ll have something to report next week.

    I noticed that another participant made it a personal goal to read at least one book from each award or list. I liked that idea, so I made it a sub-goal of mine as well. I didn’t notice last week that I completed that goal. I have read at least one from every award save Margaret A Edwards, as I had read the entire Dark Is Rising sequence prior to the challenge and I’m trying not to reread. Thanks to Angela for inspiring this side goal!

  5. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    I was able to finish one book this week, Under the Mesquite, bringing my total to 18. I’ve always liked books in verse and this was a very touching story. Sad but inspiring. I hope to get a lot of the books I’ve partially started finished next weekend because I have 3 days off with no real plans. If I can get those done, I *should* be able to reach the goal of 25 by June 30th. We’ll see!!

  6. I would be able to count the audiobook of”Chime” by now, but it’s become such a slog. I’m partway through multiple other books for the challenge, so check-in #11 should see a surge of completed titles from me.

  7. This week, I finished Axecop and The Zodiac Killer, bringing my total of completed books to 22. I’m definitely feeling glad that I front-loaded myself with harder books in the beginning! Being able to read lots of graphic novels and nonfiction is a relief!

  8. Cheryl Gladfelter Cheryl Gladfelter

    I only finished one book this week, Wheels of Change. I thought it was absolutely fascinating. I had no idea that the bike had that much impact on women. It also made me want to get out and ride!

    Still working on Geektastic. Halfway through listening to Beauty Queens. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make it to 25 but I’m enjoying reading things I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise.

  9. Penny Johnson Penny Johnson

    I finished Leverage and Ultimate Kung Fu this week. I’m still scratching my head about the blurb on the back cover of Leverage stating it was sometimes hilarious. Really? I couldn’t find any hilarity!! It was a great book, however, even though the brutality often made me flinch.

    My count is now at 21. It’s going to be a tough finish. A new grandbaby, ALA Annual, and a family reunion are going to be occupying my time during the month of June. I read all of the short books (as well as the books that interested me the most!) before the challenge began. And yet, I’m so close! I must not falter!!

    Tonight I begin Girl of Fire and Thorns.

  10. Amy Amy

    Missed last week’s check-in, so totalling for two weeks…five more books, for a total of 22.
    -Marbury Lens…ugh. Someone may have to explain the appeal of this book to me. I disliked almost every minute of it, and I had really been looking forward to reading it after hearing so many rave reviews.
    -Fever Crumb…now here’s one I can’t wait to get into the next book. I listened to this all today while attacking laundry and some upstairs spring cleaning. Really enjoyed it.
    -Pavement Chalk Artist…both my husband and I have made everyone who stops by our house look through it. I’d seen a number of pictures of his work and appreciated the explanation of how the photography and drawings work together.
    -Middle School: The Worst Year of My Life…really cute. I almost didn’t get to finish it because I talked it up in a school meeting and nearly got crushed by the kids wanting it. Had to actually go to another library to get a copy and finish.
    -Salvage the Bones…this I really liked. I think after all of the dystopia, post-apocalyptic, and middle school angst stuff that I’ve been reading/listening to, it was a nice and welcome change.
    I may slow down this week. I’m trying to finish The Marriage Plot for my book group. And I’ve dug out The Martian Chronicles. But Bootleg is sitting here calling to me, so who knows.

    • Jennifer Hitchcock Jennifer Hitchcock

      I HATED the Marbury Lens also! I’m so glad that I’m not the only one. I agree that someone who liked it needs to explain why because I found no redeemable quality in the book except that it kept me guessing at what more gruesome and weird things could happen next. It’s probably the most messed-up book I’ve ever read/listened to and I definitely wouldn’t have finished it if not for the challenge. There aren’t words for how disturbing it is. Loin cloths made out of human scalps, really? Also, the phrases the main character kept repeating over and over again drove me crazy. How many times do we have to hear “roll, tap, tap, tap” or “f*** you Jack?”

  11. Wow, I made it to 25, thanks to MotherReader’s 48 Hour Reading Challenge, and a concentration on the “easy” books.

    I read Scorpio Races, The Returning, Wheels of Change, Zodiac Killers, Notorious Benedict Arnold, Axe Cop, and I listened to Young Fredle and Beauty Queens. I’m currently far too tired to attempt to format anything in this post!

  12. Tiffany Tiffany

    I’m up to 22! Which I’m totally excited about. I didn’t think I was going to finish in May, but now I’m feeling very confident. Yes, I have skipped out on reading other books the last 2 1/2 months but I’ve picked so many good ones because of this challenge, so in the end I’m a happy camper. Here are the books I have finished:

    Bootleg by Bluementhal: I learned a lot in this book and I was happy that I picked it up.
    Okay for Now by Schmidt (audiobook): This audiobook was awesome! I’m so glad I listened to it.
    My Boyfriend is a Monster by Tsang: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.
    How to Save a Life by Zarr

    I just started listening to “Ready Player One” and I’m enjoying it so much and can’t wait to see what happens!

  13. Leslie Carloss Leslie Carloss

    I wish we could get a list of all 80 titles so we could easily check them off. I read a lot of books for different lists and sometimes I get confused trying to keep the correct titles on the correct lists.

    I wish the Teens’ Top Ten nominations counted!

    • Amy Amy

      I copied and pasted each list into Evernote and have been bolding the ones I’ve read. This way it’s on my computer, my iTouch and my Nook, so I always know what books I’ve read and which ones I still need to tackle.

      • Leslie Carloss Leslie Carloss

        That’s a great idea! I’m using Goodreads to try to keep up, but accidentally put some TTT titles on the list and had to go through the entire lists to make sure my titles were eligible.

        Thanks!

      • Cheryl Gladfelter Cheryl Gladfelter

        That’s a great idea! I’ll have to remember to do that for next year’s challenge :)

        • Library.Lil Library.Lil

          I agree! An official list of all 80 titles would be really helpful. Pretty please for next year?

      • Library.Lil Library.Lil

        Yes, but that one can be edited, and in fact an ineligible title had found its way on the list last time I checked. (Matched, if you are curious.) I think an official list would help eliminate some of the confusion I’ve seen mentioned and that I’ve experienced myself.

  14. I finished three books this week, bringing my total to 28. It was a relief to finish the audio of Rotters. I know there are people who enjoy that sort of thing. But I’m not one of them.

    After finishing Rotters, I felt a need for some comfort reading. So I picked up the remaining two books in The Dark is Rising sequence. I finished both The Grey King and Silver on the Tree. I am currently reading Sugar Changed the World. I’m not sure if I will reach my new goal of 35 books by the end of the challenge. There are a lot of distractions this month.

    • Library.Lil Library.Lil

      I know what you mean with Rotters. I have 2 discs left and I am thrilled to be almost done. Get me out of this book! (It’s actually quite well-done, I’ve just had more dark and depressing for poor Joey than I can stand.)

      Thank you, Angela, for inspiring me to read at least one book from every list. I totally stole that from you and I enjoyed the side challenge!

  15. Nicole Dolat Nicole Dolat

    This week I polished off 7, which means my total climbs to 27:

    The Scorpio Races (audio) – AMAZING. Everything I head it would be and more. I’m actually really glad I did the audio since the 2 performances (1 for Puck, 1 for Sean) were excellent and provided just the right lilt and character and personality and passion to allow me to fully sink into the world of Thisby

    reMIND, vol. 1 – interesting enough that I will look for volume 2.

    Daybreak – loved the unique perspective, where the reader is drawn directly into the zombie as one of the survivors

    Carter’s Big Break (audio) – hilarious; just as enjoyable as Carter Finally Gets It. Nick Podehl, as always, did a fantastic performance. I want more Carter!

    Pavement Chalk Artist: The Three Dimensional Drawings of Julian Beever – this one is all about the photographs of his work (pretty cool)

    The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media – somewhat interesting, but a bit too political for my personal preferences

    Paper Covers Rock – very good. Loved that 1) There was a male protagonist in a contemporary fiction, and 2) that he expresses himself through poetry (and isn’t bullied or belittled for doing so)

  16. Jennifer Hitchcock Jennifer Hitchcock

    I finished 1 book this week, bringing my total to 23. I’m almost there! I read The Talk-Funny Girl, which was a really great book. It was so inspiring to see a strong female protagonist grow up and stand up for herself against her abusive parents.

  17. Technically I only wrapped up the last book on Sunday, but let’s say I did them all this past week:
    41-45. The Dark Is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper [review]

    At this point I have to revise my totally unrealistic goal of reading all 80 books by the end of the month to my somewhat unrealistic goal of reading all the books I can get through the library by the end of the month. That means 21 books remaining for 66 books total. (Yeah, right. I bet I get through 8 of them at most.)

  18. Charles J. Charles J.

    Three more this week , putting me up to 32.
    The Girl of Fire and Thorns – Splendulescent. Glad this challenge brought me to this book I would otherwise never have read. Great worldbuilding, character development, and resolving of the love triangle.
    Ghostopolis – A reread I still enjoy, though I might prefer some of his other works more.
    Pavement Chalk Artist – A first read but a second viewing of the book. The descriptions of how he sets the chalkworks up is interesting, as is the descritions of his learning process.

    On deck currently are The Marbury Lens and Where Things Come Back. For some reason they are blending together in odd unpleasant ways in my mind.

  19. Kathy Kathy

    Checking in a little late, but haven’t finished anything new since Saturday, so. . .

    12. Middle School: the Worst Years of My Life- I loved this book and was laughing out loud it was so fun, I would definitely recommend this to a reluctant reader, or a reluctant student period. Be warned as it has great trouble making ideas!
    13. My Boyfriend is a Monster: I Love Him to Pieces- I could take it or leave it (I just finished Dust & Decay and on top of Rotters I’m about dead peopled out).
    14. A Bride’s Story- It was okay, maybe manga just isn’t my thing.
    15. Shattering Glass- Powerful and disturbing story about bullying and power struggles in a high school.
    16. Enclave – Another dystopian book, left me looking for answers so good thing there is a sequel.
    17. Anya’s Ghost – I liked this graphic novel a lot. The story takes a very intense turn in the middle that keeps the book moving along.

    I also started the Talk Funny Girl, but had a hard time getting into it so gave up.

    • Aaaaaand…. that one is TOAST, finishing off my 25 titles!

      I’m really glad I did it because I read a lot of things that I wouldn’t have otherwise, like Daybreak. I’m not a zombie girl, except for playing zombie tag, so this isn’t something I would have picked up. I’m so glad I did!

      I also only re-read one title- Anya’s Ghost- because I was trying to try new things. I had been meaning to re-read that one, though, so it worked out. I counted the 2 Thor books as one, just to be safe, and now I’m done!

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