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2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #8

2013 March 30
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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!

reading challenge logoWhere was I?  Last time I checked in, I was up to nine titles, and had grand plans for completing the remaining 16. At least, I had a lot of books checked out. I did finish Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, which was creepy, atmospheric fun, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, (so, so good!), but I also got sidetracked by Charles de Lint’s wonderful Cats of Tanglewood Forest and the newest Maisie Dobbs mystery. Still, two more books down!

Of course, my latest library hold — Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell — just came in, and all the raves are making it look mighty attractive sitting there on the top of the book pile. Anyone else struggle with the never-ending fight between new books and challenge books? I guess there are worse problems to have than too many good books!

Anyway, if good sense wins out, I’ll be reading Dodger and/or Enchanted next, both of which look fantastic (and both of which are due back at the library soon), and then I’m going to look for something on the list that I wouldn’t normally pick up, a challenge book to challenge my normal reading habits. It won’t be hard, with such extensive and far-ranging titles, and I expect I’ll find something excellent. Have you discovered a title or author you might not have picked up otherwise?  Are you using the reading challenge to broaden your literary horizon? So far I’ve been playing it fairly safe, but I’m about to branch out and it feels good. How about you?

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form (which actually works now!) 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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35 Responses
  1. Sara Ray permalink
    March 30, 2013

    Since I’ve been reading off-challenge again, I only finished one audiobook. Wonder was a very sweet story (and one of the readers was the guy from Carter’s Big Break from last year’s challenge which made me happy when I recognized his “WHOA!” voice). That puts my total up to 17. I have big plans to not read much more off challenge (except that Eleanor and Park IS looking sooo appealing I’ve considered putting myself on hold many times). I still look forward to many of the novels (not too many more graphic novels or audios left that I’m interested in/have access to) I have left for the challenge!!

    Mostly I’ve been “playing it safe” like Julie. I’ve definitely read many books so far I would never have picked up otherwise. I’ve contemplated books that would be a real challenge, I’ve checked some out numerous times, and then just return them because they really are of no interest to me. Maybe when I get closer to 25, I’ll rethink this.

  2. Rose permalink
    March 30, 2013

    This week I read:
    We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March- I thought this would be a great title to get students interested in how much young people can accomplish when they put their mind to it.

    Me and Ear and the Dying Girl- This is one of those titles that I would not normally have read the whole book if not for the challenge. It is was not really my style of reading material but I can see how a reluctant high school reader might be drawn to it.

    The reading challenge has broadened my reading horizons and I have enjoyed the majority of the 10 titles I have read so far.

  3. March 30, 2013

    I made it to 24 this week.

    I finished listening to The Diviners and reading The Silence of Our Friends. I enjoyed both of these. There was a point where I worried The Diviners might be too scary for me, but Bray was sufficiently scary without being graphic.

    Now that I’m close to the end, Ive been reading more off-list books. There’s a lot of good stuff coming out and I don’t want to miss out on those. Like Sara Ray, I’ve also checked books out of the library & returned them without reading them, or a giving up on them because they weren’t of interest to me. At least I have an idea of what they are about if anyone needs a recommendation. I guess that’s one of the real perks of the Challenge.I can’t read everything in the library, but I have a broad knowledge of what’s there. This just makes it even broader.

  4. Beth permalink
    March 30, 2013

    First book finished after having a baby – a milestone for me!

    #7 – The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – I love a boarding school story for some reason, so this one, complete with secret society and feminist messages, was right up my alley.

  5. March 30, 2013

    I am so, so behind in this challenge with only 7 down thus far. I just finished Drama by Raina Telgemeier and enjoyed it very much. However, I do feel like it reinforces stereotypes by having all three of the male performer characters turn out to be gay (or potentially gay) and making the only female performer into a self-absorbed, melodramatic diva. That being said, I loved Callie and really enjoyed all of her interactions with her friends, particularly her friendship with Liz. I haven’t yet decided which book to read next (honestly, I’m trying to resist the The Gods of Gotham…)

  6. Lois permalink
    March 30, 2013

    I’m up to 20! Most recently read 2 graphic novels – Friends with Boys and Ultimate Spider-man, V.1. It’s pretty safe to say I wouldn’t have read these if not for the challenge, but I’m glad to have read them. I might erven have to look for the next Spider-man! Tell the Wolves I’m home had me going through the tissues, but very glad to have picked that up. I also finished Seraphina just moments ago. That was a delightful break with reality.

  7. MindyE permalink
    March 30, 2013

    This week I finished Pure and A Flight of Angels, which means I’ve read all 10 of the Great Graphic Novels. I finally finished listening to The Diviners. I don’t think I’ll read it for the challenge though. I like how it’s creepier listening to it with someone portraying the characters. I’m almost finished with Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I am. I should be finished with the 25 in another week or 2, but I am going to continue reading from the list until the end of June!

  8. March 30, 2013

    Wintry weather over our Spring Break this week helped me knock out 7 more books – plus just finished World War Z – had to read this before I take it back to my library and it goes right back out, this book has not been in the library more than a day all year! This brings me up to 17 total, with 7 more from the list in my library bag ready to go!

    This week I read:

    Heist Society by Ally Carter – This nice fast-paced, well-bred mystery was a nice change after all those depressing books I read last week!

    I Pledge Allegiance (#1 Vietnam Series) by Chris Lynch – Very short, quick-moving story of 4 friends who pledge that if one of them gets drafted to Vietnam, they consider themselves all drafted. I’m interested to order the rest of this series for our library. I think it would do well with our reluctant readers who typically request books about the military. This book was told from the POV of the friend who joined the Navy, but there was also one in the Army, one in the Air Force, and one in the Marines, so I am interested to see if the other books are told from their POV’s. Not overly sentimental, nor overly graphic although it could have easily went either way.

    Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce
    In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2) by Tamora Pierce
    The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness #3) by Tamora Pierce
    Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4) by Tamora Pierce
    I really lucked out that our library had all of these in at once and I had time to read them back to back to back to back! I had not read much Tamora Pierce (just the first two of the Beka Cooper series, which I liked), so I wish I had discovered these earlier. I found them in the children’s section, but think they would probably do better in the YA section. Great high fantasy with a strong female lead.

    After the Snow by S.D. Crockett – Not my favorite, but an interesting take on the whole post-apocalyptic survival story.

    Starting Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo tonight. Going to try to stay on list now till I’m done!

  9. March 31, 2013

    Ah, spring break!

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews – eclipsed by The Fault in Our Stars
    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – fantastic
    The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez – great story with not so great writing
    The Round House by Louise Erdrich – utterly fantastic!
    Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks – cute but cluttered
    Daredevil, Vol. 1 by Mark Waid – meh – I liked Spider-Man much more
    Squire by Tamora Pierce – wonderful

    One left to go

    These books were read before the challenge started and not counted but they are fantastic and I wanted to share their titles.
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – cried my eyes out
    Every Day by David Levithan – so imaginative and original
    Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick – fit in perfectly with my newly discovered interest in SE Asia
    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – knocked my socks off!

  10. March 31, 2013

    I am still tragically behind on the challenge. I have a terrible time balancing all my reading – I think I’m up to reading 7 different books at once in attempts to cram it all in. I have a bunch of digital galleys that I read at home, but a stack of print ARCs on my bedside table for night reading, so right now, I’m only reading the Challenge books on my lunch hours at work. I did finish up SERAPHINA this week – the jury’s still out for me on that one. I think I was expecting a lot more. I’ve started ARISTOTLE & DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE, have THE DIVINERS on audio lined up when I finish my current commuting audiobook, and have BOMB, MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE, and FRIENDS WITH BOYS lined up in the queue. Still hoping I’ll finish the challenge in time!

  11. Cathy Willis permalink
    March 31, 2013

    I am way behind, only 6 finished so far. Since I am a middle school library clerk I feel guilty reading so many YA books that I think are too advanced for my readers. Books I have finished so far.

    “Personal Effects”- finished last night. I am glad someone has finally told this story. I will definitely recommend to my high school. It bogged down in a few places but it is revealed who actually wrote Cecile’s letters this story took off for my. Great book tackling “Don’t ask don’t tell”.

    “One Shot at Forever”- This is why I don’t read sports books, referred to girls as “snatches”.

    “The Running Dream”- My new favorite; cried at the ending. It was wonderful to see the transformation of Jessica.

    “Everyday”- fantastic! Have the sequel on hold!

    “I pledge Allegiance”- Already flying off my shelves since I book talked it! Just what my students have been looking for.

    “We’ve got a job”- Wonderful! Can’t believe what these children endured, my own childhood (same time period) was so innocent in retrospect.

  12. Anna permalink
    March 31, 2013

    I also keep reading off-challenge, but I did finish Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie, which was completely adorable. I’m currently listening to Code Name Verity and should be finished with it (and hopefully The Fault In Our Stars, which I just got through ILL, too) by next week. Total number: 19. :)

  13. March 31, 2013

    I am behind because I didn’t read much over Spring Break (but had a great vacation in New Mexico :-). This past week I reread The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen and finished reading Every Day by David Levithin. There are times I wish I was a librarian at the high school level because of some of the great books that are just a little mature for my middle schoolers. Every Day was one of those books. I am halfway through I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. This puts me at nine books. I keep getting side-tracked by other books that I just can’t pass up.

  14. Sharon Amastae permalink
    March 31, 2013

    I also strayed into some adult books while traveling, but I finished We’ve Got a Job and The White Bicycle. Like the author of the Birmingham book, I was a teenager in 1963, and I had no idea that the majority of the participants in the 1963 marches were children. I thought this was a well-told piece of nonfiction, with great side bars and other extra material. After reading about The White Bicycle, I thought the author had too much of an agenda, but then found the story to be an unexpectedly effective introduction into the mind of someone with Asperger’s. Next up: Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am.

  15. Debbie permalink
    March 31, 2013

    I would say that I am trying a few things I might not normally pick up. I’m definitely shifting things to the top of the TBR pile that I’ve been meaning to read. This week, I read three challenge books, which brings my total to 19:

    The Miseducation of Cameron Post – WOW, loved it!
    Alanna: The First Adventure and First Test – I enjoyed both of these, but wished I could have gotten all of the Tamora Pierce books in order. It drives me nuts to read a series piecemeal, but I had to take what was available at the library.

    Next up is The Monstrumologist (I just can’t read The Isle of Blood without reading the first two books in the series.)

    • Debbie permalink
      April 1, 2013

      Oops, forgot about the two books I read earlier in the week. My total is actually 21! It’s a good thing that I’m marking things off on my printed-out list. :)

      Monstrous Beauty is another stellar story. I loved this mystery/historical fiction/romance mermaid tale.
      Prom and Prejudice is a fun and frothy retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Cute and a quick read.

  16. Richard Thornley permalink
    April 1, 2013

    Finished #14 this week, Terry Pratchett’s Dodger. Not his finest, I didn’t think, surprisingly slow-going at times (and maybe a bit repetitive). That said, it was fun. Next title for me is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Looking forward to it.

  17. April 1, 2013

    Missed a week of check-in due to spring break lollygagging and traveling. But got lots read thanks to spring break lollygagging and traveling. I have reached 16 books completed.

    Before break I finished listening to Monstrous Beauty. This is my least favorite book so far. Didn’t like anything about it.

    While listening to that, I was reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which I loved.

    Then it was on to Tell the Wolves I’m Home, which I also loved.

    After that, I started an off-list book, Breaking Night. With these three books, I started to feel a little stuck in the ’80s.

    All three of those books I read in e-format. When I travel, I also take one p-book (paper book) with me, just in case. I saved it for the flight home, that way I wouldn’t have to put the book away during take off and landing (and can someone explain why it’s okay to turn cell phones on but all other electronics must remain off?). I brought Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. What a fun book. Made all the more wonderful in p-book version when I discovered on the first night of vacation that the cover GLOWS IN THE DARK.

    So, now I have First Test (confession: I have never read a Tamora Pierce), Dodger, The Last Guardian, Every Day, and Gone, Gone, Gone sitting around in p-book, ebook, and a-book versions. But, first, to finish the last 50 pages of Breaking Night (which I picked up after the post here about train-wreck memoirs and am putting on the short-list of recommended books for summer reading) and the last 100 pages of Quiet.

  18. Donna permalink
    April 1, 2013

    I believe I am now at 24 books read, but I’ll verify that during this week. I read Me, and Earl and the Dying Girl this week. I did not enjoy this book at all. I saw one of the folks above said that she could see how reluctant readers would be drawn to this, but I can’t. To be fair, I have very little direct exposure to the reading habits of reluctant readers but I found the inconsistent style, and the weak character development to be real drawbacks to this one. I also read Where’d you go Bernadette. I enjoyed that much more before I found out where Bernadette had gone. It was an interesting story, though.

  19. April 1, 2013

    Still reading! On to Tamora Pierce! This week I got bogged down by chores and the start of a new term at work, but I will be back in form very soon.

  20. April 1, 2013

    This week I read: Serphina by Rachel Hartman, In the Hand of the Goddess and Lioness Rampant both by Tamora Pierce. Because this week is my spring break, I will be attacking some of the larger books that I otherwise wouldn’t have time for.

  21. April 1, 2013

    Spring break, you have failed me. I thought I’d get a chance to devour a decent number of titles for the challenge, but no. I am still listening to Wonder, (3rd CD) and still enjoying it, and am making my way into Tell the Wolves I’m Home, which I’m feeling a connection to for it’s 1980s setting. I was in HS in the 80s, and I remember the fear and misinformation about AIDS running rampant. Also, the way in which the uncle’s “friend” is treated, I’m only just getting into the story but what an amazingly long way we have come in the last 25 years!
    That brings my total up to eight.
    Aristotle and Dante, you’re on deck.

  22. April 1, 2013

    I’m checking in late because I took my husband away for the weekend to celebrate his birthday. I don’t have much to report anyway since I only finished one more book, the audio of Code Name Verity. But what a book! I had some trouble connecting with Verity in the beginning. I’m not sure I would have stuck with it if I weren’t listening to the audio while driving. But I am glad I did. Maddie’s story makes so much clear. I tell people to stick with it until at least the change in narrator. It becomes a completely different story at that point.

    I have also been indulging in some non-Challenge reading. But I’m in the middle of listening to The Diviners. I loved the book and am loving the audio! I plan to do some light reading this week, probably a couple of the popular paperbacks.

    Total: 26
    With Winter Challenge: 35

  23. April 1, 2013

    I think I’m up to 9/25. This past week, I read One Shot at Forever, which I really enjoyed, though I generally don’t read books about baseball. I also read Me & Earl & the Dying Girl and laughed out loud many times. I’m trying to read 1-2 books per week on challenge to make room for plenty of books off challenge. This is a great challenge, though–so many books that I wouldn’t necessarily pick up otherwise.

  24. April 1, 2013

    Up to 18 (I think) with The Silence of Our Friends, which I thought was so well done, and Trinity, which I can see why people like it, but it’s not personally my cup of tea. When I read nonfiction, I tend to go for biographies or something that I’m really interested in, and this just wasn’t doing it for me. Although, several years ago (several, several years ago) in undergrad, I did a paper on nuclear proliferation, and I probably would have enjoyed the book more then.

    I’m currently making my way slowly through Pure, but I’m going to have to take a break soon to have a kid. I might have to finish my 25 with Quick Picks!

  25. Kefira Philippe permalink
    April 1, 2013

    I have now finished 11 titles. The most recent are:
    Love and other perishable items, Sparks…., The pregnancy project, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore, Prom and prejudice, Never Fall down, After the snow, and Struts and frets (can’t remember if I already checked in with the last two titles). So far I’ve mostly enjoyed everything that I’ve read. Mr Penumbra’s… was by far the most original and Never Fall Down was the most emotionally searing.

  26. Becky permalink
    April 1, 2013

    I think it’s been a couple of weeks since I checked in, and I’ve only a few to add since I read mostly other stuff. But I listened to The Fault in Our Stars. I thought it was going to be a really dangerous car read, but I didn’t lose it and crash in to anything like I probably would have if I hadn’t read it before. I thought the audio was really well done.
    I had started to listen to The Watch that Ends the Night when I got TFIOS in, so I’ll be getting back to that this week.
    I also finally finished In Darkness. I put this down a couple of times to read Dark Triumph (amazing!) and The Summer Prince (excellent!).
    I have to read Bomb now because it’s due in a couple of days, and I’m looking forward to it.

  27. April 1, 2013

    Last week I finished reading some books that I was behind on for my book club including Going Bovine by Libba Bray and What came from the Stars by Gary D Schmidt, both really great, but not on the list. On the list that I have read so far though are Raven Boys (Excellent!), The fault in our Stars (My favorite), Everyday (good/different), The Name of the Star (Audio/pretty good) and Code Name Verity (Kinda boring..not my style of book). Of those, I read Everyday and Raven Boys during the competition and I am going to re read Fault in our stars (because it’s sooo good) this week so that it will count bringing my grand total to 3…Which isn’t so bad considering I started a week ago. I also found my way to half price books and got about 8 books off the list that are sitting next to my bed waiting to be read. The first one on top is Wonder, which has been on my list to read since it came out! I will let you know how many I accomplish through that stack next week!

    P.S-I am also showing this competition to my students this week and offering extra credit to those who participate :) All of them are already required to have a book blog of some fashion, so this should be fun for them!

  28. j wells permalink
    April 2, 2013

    Read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl this week and started Dodger. I started Me and Earl as my book to read at work during lunch and ended up taking it home to finish, could not put it down once I started. It read like real life to me. Really enjoyed it. Dodger is taking me a bit to get into but I like it. That puts me at 9 so far.

  29. April 2, 2013

    Three more this week, for a total of 23:

    We’ve Got a Job… chooses a great subject material, but sometimes loses itself in the telling. I would appreciated a list of important persons at the beginning to help me throughout the book.

    Lioness Rampant is better than The Woman Who Rides Like a Man but worse than the first two in the quartet. It seems there only to decide who Alanna finally ends up with, with filler added.

    Code Name Verity (audio) is a great story of friendship, with well-researched history, but the narrators’ writing styles were hard to distinguish. I also couldn’t accept that both accounts would even conceivably exist, which somewhat ruined the book for me as it had me questioning other plot points and details.

    Reading After the Snow and listening to Crusher. Been trying to read some out of every category, but need to grab some more Best Fiction and Popular Paperbacks.

  30. April 2, 2013

    I finished Dodger, Enchanted, Love and Other Perishable Items, and Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. I particularly liked Dodger, and Enchanted. I didn’t like Love and Other Perishable Items, which was a bummer, but Mr Penumbra brought my spirits back up. Still working on Diviners the audio book, I’m determined to get it done!

  31. Joanna permalink
    April 2, 2013

    I’ve been trying to listen to Libba Bray’s The Diviners and I can’t make it. I am really impressed with voice actor, but I’m struggling with finishing it. There was a hiccup with the one of the CDs — it was scratched and had to be cleaned. Oh, well!

  32. Rebecca King permalink
    April 3, 2013

    Well, I’m almost half way through this challenge and am really enjoying it. As others have mentioned, it’s made me read titles I might not have picked up. I recently finished Friends with Boys, and Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am. I’m still trying to find the appeal in graphic novels, as the storyline often feels lacking. I probably need to rely more on the illustrations to tell the story. Somebody Please Tell Me…. was an interesting, quick read and I would recommend it to someone wanting to know a little about serving during wartime. It barely scratched the surface of the sacrifices and vast range of emotions a soldier and his/her family must go through. I started October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard and quickly realized that this short book of poems (only 111 pages) would take me longer than usual to finish. More on that one w/ the next check-in.

  33. Julie permalink
    April 3, 2013

    Okay – my first check-in. Just don’t seem to get my act together to do this. My list so far:

    Sparks pretty good
    Me and Earl…Girl agree with Donna – boring & hard to get thru
    Pure awful – really not my type
    Heist Society fun, easy to read, enjoyable
    Prom & Prejudice fun book, quick read, enjoyed a lot
    The Fault in Our Stars So-So; sorry because I usually like these books and
    like other books by John Green
    The Name of the Star Good book for something not my usual liking
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid Easy listening; can see why the 7-10 crowd likes it
    Disreputable…Banks Fun book; enjoyed it
    Alana: the 1st Advwenture Okay, not really my type of reading. Will read the
    others, but can’t see liking them either
    Pregnancy Project Great book – loved it. had not seen the story or movie
    Beneath a Meth Moon Depressing, but I liked it a lot
    The Isle of Blood Definitely not my comfort zone, but better than Pure.
    Read the book along with it,, but do not like
    audio books
    Caring is Creepy So is this book; for mature readers; depressing, but held
    my interest to the end.

    My 14 so far. Definitely not lookinjg forward to reading graphic novels – not at all interested in then. Do not see the allure at all. But, I will for this challenge. Next up are Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy, Boy 21, and Struts & Frets along with more of Tamora Pierce.

  34. April 16, 2013

    I think I’ll have to take myself off this challenge.
    Looking more carefully at the list I’ve read the majority of these books already before the challenge started and now need to read books to add to my 2013 Required and Non-required summer reading list for my town. Sorry! I love the idea but it doesn’t fit my needs right now.
    Best of luck to the challengers.

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