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2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #7

reading challenge logoNot 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!

Another week, another check-in! What did you finish this week? How did you like it? What’s been your favorite title so far and why? Have you tried a new format (like a graphic novel or audiobook) that you’d never experimented with before? How did you like it? Are you doing the challenge with a friend or colleague? Do you think you’ll finish the challenge in time?

We’re thinking about hosting a chat on Twitter about the challenge where you can discuss with us and with other participants what you’re reading and what the challenge has been like so far. Is that something you’d be interested in? Have you done other Twitter chats before (like #libchat or #readav)? Is there some other social media site you’d rather use?

Keep up the great reading and listening in the coming week. Good luck!

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!

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  1. Rose Rose

    This week I finished:
    Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95- I found this book really interesting! I am not a bird watcher by any means and I found myself rooting for Moonbird throughout the book. I was wondering, right along with the scientists, if B95 would make through each circuit. Even my husband got into the book after he asked me, “Why are you reading about that bird?”

    The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks- I really enjoyed this book. It was very funny and easy to put myself in Frankie’s shoes as she went through love and loss throughout the book. Her determination was unmatched by any other character in the book. A fun read!

    Ten- I am not one to read horror books AT ALL. I am happy to say that I have not had any nightmares, yet :). The way the characters all intertwined was phenomenal; kudos to Gretchen McNeil for an intriguing story. Again, as one who does not read horror, I was satisfied with the ending.

    Drama- This was a very quick read, as graphic novels usually are. I found myself identifying some of the middle school students I work with as characters in the book. I do think a middle school reader might want to see a few problems not work out so perfectly as they did for Callie. Students might find the book more true to their own middle school experiences that way.

    So far I have finished 8 books total. I did not find out about the challenge until a few weeks into it. I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to finish the challenge on time!

  2. Library.Lil Library.Lil

    I’ve finished three books since my last check-in, bringing my total to 11. I’m convinced that slow and steady will get me successfully to the end of the challenge!

    Completed since last time:
    Monstrous Beauty: liked it okay. Honestly, for most of the book it totally threw me off that the narrator was the same voice as Sadie Kane in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles.

    Love and Other Perishable Items: I liked it but it didn’t bowl me over. Amelia really reminded me of myself as a 15-year-old, though. It was kind of nice to see a sheltered, naive teen.

    Bomb: loved it, though that is the most depressing ending of a book EVER. But a really great look at all the aspects of a major event in human history.

  3. I finished two books.

    1.Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb – I liked BOMB better, but though they complimented each other nicer. A social studies teacher could certainly differentiate for different reading levels by using both books.

    2. Me & Earl & the Dying Girl – I almost put this down ant the first “conversation” between Earl & Greg. Oh, the vulgarity! I’m glad I didn’t because I really liked this book. I think Andrews really captured Greg’s self doubt and his community’s mis-reading of his motivation.

  4. Anna Anna

    I finished Dodger by Terry Pratchett, and listened to The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl) by Eoin Colfer. Both were fantastic – I’d read The Last Guardian before, but it was worth a second read for the narrator, and Dodger’s style is gorgeous, lyrical and fun. Still working on Pure (it’s taking me a bit to get into it) and The Round House (the lack of quotation marks makes it slow going). Total number of finished books: 17!

  5. This week I read…
    Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick – Well written, powerful story, but I honestly could not wait for it to be over. I have read about the Cambodian genocide in the past (First They Killed My Father) so I knew what I was in for, but still, I found myself thinking, “How am I going to encourage others to read this?” Starvation, death, soul-crushing brutality on Every Single Page – which is of course accurate and it is important for students to be aware of these historical events, but still, a painful read. Will probably recommend to students who show interest in Holocaust literature.

    Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson – Also depressing, but a quick read. I will recommend to those who read Crank and Glass or are just generally interested in stories about people with messed up lives (a request I get a lot).

    Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright – At first I was a little irritated by the voice of the main character because he is so stereotypically over the top flamboyant (almost felt forced at the beginning), but as the story went on, the characters grew on me and I came to realize that no other voice would have fit the situations and concerns of this character. Also refreshing to read a glbt novel in which the plot does not focus on the character’s sexual orientation primarily. There is a lot of drama in this novel, which keeps it the plot moving along nicely and I was really interested in seeing if & how Carlos would accomplish his goals. The issue of the sister’s boyfriend was not really resolved, which I appreciated because in reality situations such as hers are often not easily resolved.

    The Silence of our Friends by Mark Long – quick graphic novel set during Civil Rights movement, based on author’s experiences growing up with a journalist father who covered the “race beat” in Houston, TX and was involved in an event in which some black college students were falsely accused of shooting a police officer during a demonstration. I honestly read this so fast that I don’t feel I got the full effect, but I would definitely recommend to any students interested in the Civil Rights movement, as well as our history teachers, especially since it was based on an actual historical event.

    Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks – Quick graphic novel about a girl who has been homeschooled until her 9th grade year and is now entering public high school. Her mother has also recently left the family. Her 3 older brothers already attend the public high school, so she is not totally alone, and quickly makes friends with a brother and sister who are obviously social outcasts. There was a lot going on in this novel as far as the relationships between all the main characters, and then you add in the ghost that is following Maggie, so it gets a little complicated, but I kind of wished the book was longer. I enjoyed these characters a lot.

    and completed In Darkness by Nick Lake, which I commented on during last week’s check in.

    I am doing the challenge on my own and think I am making good progress towards finishing on time (have read 10 so far and plan to read 4 more while on Spring Break this week). I may take a little break and read some other things while I’m tracking down titles that I don’t have in our school library collection and can’t find in print at our local library – may end up reading some in e-book format, which I don’t normally do, so this will give me more experience accessing titles in that format.

    I think my favorite so far (not including those titles I read from the list before the challenge started) would be Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. If I count books from the list I had already read, I think I would choose Seraphina.

    I have never participated in a Twitter chat, although I have a Twitter now (@MHHSELibrary) and have been trying to get comfortable with it, so I would be interested in participating.

  6. Richard Thornley Richard Thornley

    I started Every Day this week but just couldn’t finish it. For whatever reason it just didn’t grab me (actually, I found it really slow-going and gave up). So then I picked up Boy 21, my thirteenth book in the challenge and really loved it. A wonderful mix of love story, mystery, and high school slice of life (with a good dollop of basketball). Loved it. I particularly enjoyed the plain-spoken simplicity of this one. A nice read! On to book 14– Dodger! Should be a worthy Spring Break read…

  7. Richard Thornley Richard Thornley

    P.s.,twitter would be fine for a conversation. Use it all the time.

  8. Plugging away. This week I checked out “Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe.” What a terrific book! I am so glad I got to read it.

  9. h.vert h.vert

    I’m hoping to finish the challenge on time. Happily, my friend who is also doing the challenge is a little ahead of me, which helps motivate me to read. :)

    This week I finished two more books (total =4), Sparks, by S.J. Abrams, and Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman.

  10. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    This week I finished two super-short books (while also finishing my non-challenge read): Diary of a wimpy kid — lots of laughs while driving & Somebody, please tell me who I am — Umm… I don’t know if I would’ve read this one if it was longer. I don’t feel like we knew his motivation for going into the military as much as was implied. I would have liked to really “hear” it from him more. It seemed more sudden to me than to the other characters. I did enjoy reading about how his friends dealt with the situation after. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the writing :(

    But that puts me at 16! I got another non-challenge book that came in for me but I look forward to the rest of my audio.

    Twitter is the one thing I never got into. But a friend/patron asked me to show her the text message thing & facebook & twitter… so I look forward to finally getting an account and using it professionally

  11. The Night She Disappeared by April Henry – a mystery with no mystery but was suspenseful nonetheless

    Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright – an upbeat character who lives the life he has been dealt with optimism and confidence

    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – two Mexican boys learn to deal with their ethnicity and sexuality

    17 down – 8 to go!

  12. So, this week I read Friends With Boys. It was entertaining. After I finished that I immediately started on The MisEducation Of Cameron Post. I don’t know if I like it yet.

  13. Lois Lois

    I finished listening to The Diviners. It was really good! I think I’d like to read it in print as I was driving while listening and sometimes got distracted by reality. I’ve been reading off the list, but am looking forward to Friends with Boys. Spring break is coming soon, so I hope to get several more books read.

  14. MindyE MindyE

    This week I read Ten, Star Gazing Dog, and Heist Society! I’m still listening to The Diviners and am a little scared to finish it :) I’m really enjoying this reading challenge and reading everyone’s comments!

  15. JBartlett JBartlett

    This week I read:
    Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller: I am trying to read more graphic novels to keep pace with my students. However, I liked the history in this one but not the format. Some of the writing was hard to read, which detracted from my enjoyment a little.

    Alanna: The First Adventure: I have read this book three times (at least) and it has always been one of my favorites. I love the strong characters, especially since the protagonist is a girl.

    The Running Dream: Again, this is a reread for me. I like to run so was able to get into the pain and love for the sport while feeling for the main character.

    Three down, 22 to go.

  16. Grey Hautaluoma Grey Hautaluoma

    Twitter would be great for a chat.

    Just finished Me and Earl and loved it. It definitely takes you to some unexpected places. Achingly funny, too. Favorite so far has been Seraphina, an unexpected pleasure with great world building, lyrical writing, strong characters — and not every strange thing is fully explained, which is fine. I read a lot of fantasy as a kid, but mostly left it behind recently. Getting back into it with great YAs like this. Also read Boy 21, which I thought I’d like more than I did. Not a bad book, just kind of left me tepid. 8 done so far. I’m on track for overall challenge completion.

  17. I hit 25 books this week! Plus I have now read at least one book from each list! Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop reading for the Challenge. Not that I will be able to do the larger challenge of reading everything. If nothing else, my library system doesn’t have a copy of every book or audio book.

    I didn’t check in last week. But I had only read one book: Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman. Wow! It’s definitely an intense and powerful book. It made a real impression on me. But it is definitely an adult book. It was disturbing enough for me that I could only read it a short while before needing a break. But I couldn’t quite bring myself to pick anything else up until I finished it.

    This week: My antidote to the grimness of Girlchild was to finish Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small quartet. I’m almost sad to say that I’ve finished all of the books on the Edwards Award list.

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: I wasn’t impressed. It felt like it was trying too hard. I never connected with Greg and didn’t feel like he had grown or changed at all during the course of the book. Too over the top for effect and not enough substance.

    The Name of the Star I spent every spare moment yesterday reading to finish this book – not because it was #25 for the Challenge or because it was on the one list from which I had not yet read a title. I had to find out what happened. Yet another book I might not have ever gotten around to reading but that I am glad I did read. I can see myself recommending this title!

    This week I’m listening to Code Name Verity and enjoying it so far. I also need to listen to The Diviners. I’m not sure how I’ll find time to fit in both. But there are requests on them, so I won’t be able to renew either one. Next on my reading agenda is to try to clear out some of the books that have been on my To Read shelf the longest. It’s embarrassing how many times I’ve renewed some of them.

    Full update at The Hub Reading Challenge Update – Weeks 6 & 7
    Reading List on Bibliocommons at The Hub 2013 Reading Challenge

  18. I seem to be moving at a glacial pace, but I still hold hope that I’ll be able to finish the challenge in time. I didn’t finish anything this week, but I’m about halfway through SERAPHINA and have a number of other titles checked out and waiting in line. So many books, so little time!

  19. Debbie Debbie

    I only finished one challenge book this week, Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson. This brings my total to 16.

    Next up: Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey, Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, and Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama.

  20. Katie Katie

    This week I read Stargazing Dog, Friends with Boys, and The Pregnancy Project, and I’m currently in the middle of listening to Personal Effects. I’ve hit 10 titles so far and hoping to keep up the pace with work and school getting into the bigger projects. My favorite book has been The Name of the Star – it’s a title that’s been on my radar for a little while now, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! Next up is Heist Society…

  21. Finished three this week:
    Every Day (didn’t care for it AT ALL. I just could not sympathize or even like the character of A)
    Bomb (LOVED it so much)
    The Silence of Our Friends (very well done)

    Brings my total up to 14. My favorites so far is probably Aristotle and Dante – although Bomb is a close second.

    I’m currently reading:
    The Round House
    Love and Other Perishable Items
    The Raven Boys
    Ultimate Comics Spider-Man
    (I like to read a bunch of books at once!)

    A Twitter conversation would be great!

  22. Kym Kym

    I’m a bit behind but so far I’ve finished reading The Fault in Our Stars, Every Day, and The Night She Disappeared. This week I’m working on Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

  23. Robin Brandt Robin Brandt

    Read this week: Miseducation of Cameron Post, Lynch’s Vietname Series. Which brings my total to 25.

    I tried three times to post that I completed the form, but kept getting the message that there were still questions I hadn’t finished.

    • Oh, weird. Did you put in your name, your email address, and then all of the titles? That’s all we’re requiring!

      If the form doesn’t work even with all three of those things, send me an email at with that information and I’ll make sure you’re on our list of finishers. :)

      • Angela Critics Angela Critics

        I got the same message when I tried to submit mine yesterday. Yes, I had put in my name, email address and all of the titles. I didn’t want to keep submitting in case it had actually gone through.

        • The form somehow got switched over to no longer accepting responses. I’ve turned that back on, so try again!

  24. Joanna Joanna

    Oh, I’ve been slacking! I’ll step it up!

  25. j wells j wells

    Started Titanic: Voices from the Disaster over the weekend and will finish it this week. Then onto Bomb. Decided on a nonfiction fest since I don’t normally read it. Really enjoying Titanic, everytime you think you’ve heard everything there is some new interesting info they throw at you.

  26. Brenda Schwarz Brenda Schwarz

    I read two more books this week which makes my total at 10 . I am still reading I Hunt Killers and I don’t know if it’s because I am busy or its just hard to get into but I have not gotten very far with it. I also am listening to the Watch That Ends the Night. It is good but I think I should read the book so that I can get the real impact instead of a few minutes here and a few there.

  27. I finished Prom & Prejudice, which I didn’t really like, even though I’m a huge Austen fan (or maybe that’s why I didn’t like it). I didn’t think the story was translated to modern times very well, and it just seemed, for lack of a better word coming to mind, dumb.

    Then I finished Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which was really beautiful. I started feeling for the characters very early on, and I really appreciated that Aristotle and Dante were Mexican-American without the book becoming all about their culture instead of being about them.

    Last is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I know some people have thought the book was vulgar, or that Greg isn’t a likable character or that he didn’t show any growth, but that’s all of what I liked about the book. More than a lot of YA, the dialogue felt realistic, like what I would hear a teen actually say. The other thing I liked is that Greg is really honest about his lack of growth. This could have so easily ended with him learning a valuable lesson about life and death and etc. etc., but it didn’t. I feel like some didactic moral would have completely ruined the book.

    This brings me up to 16!

  28. This week I finished two books:

    Love and Other Perishable Items – a cute read reminiscent of Sarah Dessen/Maureen Johnson, etc. etc.

    The Running Dream – a really intriguing look at what life could be like for an amputee.

    I’m reading so many other things, sticking to this challenge has been a challenge!

  29. Three more this week, bringing me up to 20:

    Moonbird… was about two journeys: the annual migration of the rufa, and the story of the the scientists who study them. Well done, but perhaps a bit too much for the casual reader.

    Ten was….okay. Certainly not exceptional for a retelling, and on par with the script for a summer slasher film. Ho hum.

    First Crossing…, being a multiauthor short story collection, had both good and mediocre points. My favorite story: “The Green Armchair.”

    My favorite so far: Tell the Wolves I’m Home (for having well-rounded characters and settings), but if I had read Seraphina, The Fault in Our Stars, or My Friend Dahmer during the challenge, that might have been more debatable.

    More of a social lurker than networker, but Twitter chat is fine with me….

  30. I’m just getting started with the challenge, but I’d love to participate in a Twitter chat.

  31. The past two weeks I’ve chalked up another three:

    The Silence of Our Friends – well done historical graphic novel
    Girlchild – Beautifully written novel that I think deserves a more in-depth reread from me
    Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy- Great feel good novel

  32. This week I made some progress with the help of two graphic novels:
    Ultimate Spider-Man, which was a quick and surprisingly fun read since I don’t typically read graphic novels or books about super heroes. My husband, a big Spidey fan from way back, was a bit devastated when I told him of the untimely death of Peter Parker. Inconceivable!

    Trinity, A Graphic History of the Atomic Bomb, was amazingly terrific. An accessible introduction/review of the history of nuclear physics, social studies of WWII and the begining of the Cold War told in a graphic novel format. Can I put a graphic novel on the Summer Reading List? This one is good!

    I also started listening to the audio of Wonder, which is making me intermitantly laugh and tear up while driving my car. I’m also driving more slowly to extend the trip… My daughter, who is 7, is enjoying it too, (Mr. Tushman…) and I think I’ve discovered a new way to keep my children (4 & 7) peacefully engaged while strapped into their seats.

    While not in my car, I’m reading Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Everyone seems to be raving about it, so hopefully I will have time to enjoy it while on spring break this week.

  33. I’ve been falling a bit behind due to life craziness. I’ve been reading Dodger, which I think is incredibly clever and funny. I started Bomb, but haven’t gotten into it-I’m not a non-fiction person, so I’m gonna hafta push myself to get there. I’m going home today from the library with Gone, Gone, Gone, and Enchanted, so hope those will be fun. I’m also still listening to the Diviners which I’m loving, but I haven’t been driving lately either so Im a bit behind.

  34. Shelby Shelby

    This week I have still continued to struggle and make progress in the Challenge. This week I only completed one book: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Now I am in the middle of Alanna: The First Adventure. I am definitely looking forward to getting back to reading soon.

  35. Elaine Fultz Elaine Fultz

    Finished both Seraphina and In Darkness over the weekend. Favorite so far is definitely NOT In Darkness. Good book, but ugh. I need a break from blood and guns for a while. Without the list in front of me, Seraphina is the current favorite. Next round — starting the audio of The Diviners in the car (damn, my commute is too short), Moonbird @ bedside, and Aristotle and Dante loaded and ready on my Kindle. yeehah!

  36. Sandy Sandy

    I finished Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore last week. Definitely not what I expected and unfortunately, not in a good way. The beginning had a lot of promise but the story just fell flat. Started Code Name Verity and Seraphina and I’m really liking both.

  37. After 2 weeks of reading nothing not directly related to work or school, I FINALLY finished Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore last Saturday. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Sandy (above). It was a disappointment. For me, it was a really rough start as I found nothing engaging about the voice (as a reader, I’m all about voice :)). About 80 pages in I became somewhat interested by the thematic juxtaposition of antiquity and new technology, but the story and characters ultimately fell flat for me. For a total change of pace (and in an attempt to catch up in the challenge a bit), I am now reading—and enjoying–Drama.

    • Forgot to mention: Of those I’ve read for the challenge, Code Name Verity is my favorite so far. But if we’re including challenge reads I read previously, it’s a really tough call between The Fault in Our Stars and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

      And while no friends or colleagues have elected to accept the challenge with me, two of our library patrons saw my blog posts about it and decided to join in :)

      • Oh! Also LOVED Wonder, though I haven’t listened to the audio (yet).

  38. Alison Alison

    Just finished Warriors Don’t Cry. I loved this book!!! Sometimes I feel desensitized when reading history books since they often cover facts without the human element attached. The memoir really put the little rock nine’s struggle into perspective. I couldn’t get over some of the things they dealt with and was amazed by their strength to endure in such a tough situation.

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