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2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in #5

yalsa morris nonfiction sealsNot signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. If you’re finished, fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let us know!

I haven’t made any progress on the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge.  As I mentioned Friday I was reading other stuff. I am in the middle of two challenge books right now though, which is progress right? I’ve started both Go and Sex and Violence so I am feeling a little bit more accomplished than normal since I tend to suck at reading challenges.

So how are you doing? Do we have any new signups? Any one finish yet? What are your favorites so far?  Let me know in the comments and same me into reading more.

– Faythe Arredondo, currently reading Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd


  1. I read Charm & Strange this week. I didn’t like it at first. Were it not for the Challenge, I might have abandoned it. But I persevered and ended up liking it. It’s not my favorite of the 3 Morris winners I’ve read, though.

    I also read The Nazi Hunters, which was my last Nonfiction Challenge book. I had read the adult version of this book by Neal Bascomb in the summer.

    You can read my post about both books at

    I just have Belle Epoque and Sex & Violence to go.

  2. I finally finished both challenges! I had to wait for copies of Sex & Violence and Go, but I got them this week and now I’m finished!

  3. Anna Anna

    I finished In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It took me a while to enjoy the book, but once the story started unfolding I liked it.

    I also finished Belle Époque, which is my favorite so far. I just found the story captivating, which made it easy to read.

    I’m almost done with Sex and Violence , and then I just have to read Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets and I will have completed the Morris Award’s list!!

  4. Finished Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets this week. I thought it was only okay. Now I have 2 Morris and 1.5 non-fiction to go.

  5. I’m done! I read Sex & Violence yesterday pretty much in one fell swoop. I enjoyed all the titles, but Charm & Strange, and Sex & Violence really stood out to me for authentic characters, surprising twists and some really beautiful writing. I’m now plotting ways to sell them to the YA book club members at my bookstore.

  6. This week I finished Charm & Strange (review: Charm & Strange and Sex & Violence (review: Sex & Violence I found myself wishing that I had read something a bit lighter between these two books. I don’t think either of these could be called enjoyable. But they were both excellent books. After Charm & Strange I felt almost as if I’d been punched in the gut. It’s very hard-hitting. Sex & Violence starts out just as grim. But I liked that it was more about the process of recovery and exploring Evan’s relations with other people. While it was not my favorite read of the Morris Challenge, I think it is the best book of the four I’ve read so far.

    The only book I have left for the challenge is Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets. My hold has come in. But circumstances conspired against me picking it up. Fingers crossed that my husband will remember to pick it up on his way home from work tomorrow.

  7. Victoria Whipple Victoria Whipple

    Not quite finished Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets but already know it gets my vote. I had a touh time putting one of the other 4 on top. I thought they were all really good, but Dr Bird’s just has that special something that really makes it stand out.

  8. Sarah Sarah

    I finished CHARM & STRANGE this week, my first book of the challenge, and am halfway through COURAGE HAS NO COLOR. I’ve been busy reading for Cybils round 2 judging, so we’ll see how it goes.

  9. Jenn Jenn

    Finally got a copy of Dr. Bird and I’m nearly halfway through. I love the voice so much! I just bought Sex & Violence and Charm & Strange for my e-reader, and I hope to get to both of those this week. I still need to track down copies of the other two finalists. The Morris challenge is tough because I’ve found the books hard to get through my local library.

  10. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    I am about a third of the way through Imprisoned. I’ve completed 3 non-fic so far. With two weeks to go and a busy work schedule, I’m going to have to start dedicating a bit more time to the challenge. I look forward to the next day off!

  11. Mindy Engler Mindy Engler

    I finished the all of the Morris books, and now on to the nonfiction! I’m about 1/2 done with The Nazi Hunters

  12. Brenda Schwarz Brenda Schwarz

    I am not doing very good with this challenge. I have been very busy the last couple of weeks and my reading time has suffered because of it. I am thinking about quitting but because I tend not to be a quitter, I will give it one more week and see how it goes. Hopefully I will do better this week!

  13. Allison Tran Allison Tran

    It’s exciting to read about everyone’s progress! I’m envious of anyone who’s managed to read Go, by Chip Kidd– none of the libraries in my area have it (though we’ve all got it on order). I’m done with the Nonfiction challenge otherwise! Argh. Making my way through the Morris finalists… keep reading, everyone! Only a couple more weeks to go.

  14. I finished Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, so now I only have Sex & Violence and Go left. I think I’ll probably be able to get the first by the deadline, but I have my doubts about being able to get the second.

  15. j wells j wells

    Looks like I am only going to get to the Morris books, still working through Sex and Violence since I am only reading it on my lunch breaks, but reread Dr. Bird over the weekend and it was just as good as the first time especially since it was so long ago that I read it!

  16. This is my first check in for the challenge. Mea Culpa. Holiday breaks imply more time to read, but I seemed to have less. Originally I wanted to tackle the non-fiction winners but found myself reading the Morris Award winning novels instead! My best laid plans being what they were, I really enjoyed reading Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. It’s a unique concept to explore, and it made me want to go read the short story by Emile Zola that inspired it. The setting of Belle Epoque era France, the construction of the Eiffel Tower (just meant to be temporary!), and the Downton Abbey-esque lifestyle of the wealthy elite draw you in. I enjoyed Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos, which is funny and sad together. I love the main character, James, as he searches for inspiration from Whitman’s poetry and hugs trees to keep his depression and anxiety at bay. I also find comfort in trees and while this book weaves a solemn tale of emotional/physical abuse and mental illness, throughout there is always strength and hope. Currently, I’m being drawn in to In the Shadow of Blackbirds and I have Courage has no Color (non-fiction finally), waiting in the wings.

  17. My first check-in. I’ve finished Charm and Strange and The President has been shot. I’m reading In the shadow of blackbirds now. I thought I’d be further along by now but other books have me sidetracked! I have a four day weekend and am hoping to knock out a good chunk of the rest of them.

  18. Just finished Dr. Bird’s… this week. Started Sex and Violence, and have Belle Epoque and Nazi Hunters to finish after that. I feel pretty sure I’ll finish all by the end, but other books may conspire against me.

  19. Finally checking in! I’ve read four out of the five nonfiction titles, and a copy of GO just arrived at the library for me today!!

    Here are my thoughts:

    Nazi Hunters: 4/5 This felt like an episode from Mission Impossible, but it was REAL!

    Imprisoned: 4/5 I was so angry as I read this book.

    The President: 5/5 I guess since I belong to the generation that can tell you exactly where I was on 11/22/63 this book was a powerful one for me.

    Courage: 3/5 Don’t know why this book didn’t impress me.

    I’ve also started Belle Epoque, which might keep me up all night tonight. I’m hooked.

  20. Pam Pam

    Finally got my hands on GO, and I devoured it in one fell swoop. LOVED it! Definitely my favorite of the NF picks, mostly because it is so different than the others (and so unlike what’s already out there).

  21. I joined in late so so far I’ve read Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross and loved it. I’m currently reading Charm and Strange and following it up with Sex and Violence.

  22. Anna Anna

    I kept forgetting to do check-in, so here’s my progress for the entire challenge.

    I’ve finished all of the nonfiction ones except Go, so nearly done! I think my favorite of them so far as been Imprisoned, though The Nazi Hunters comes in close. Really, though, all four are very good.

    For the Morris finalists, I’ve read Belle Epoque and Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, and am working on Charm and Strange. I loved Belle Epoque, and though I can tell Dr Bird is well-written, it didn’t really grab me. I do think it deserves the nomination, though.

    I should be able to finish both lists by the deadline. :)

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