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2014 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #7

2014 March 23
by Faythe Arredondo
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Hub Reading Challenge logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2014 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!

Hey readers! How is the challenge going for you? Are you reading more because it’s finally spring? Or because of the longer days? It’s been spring here since about January so I am already over the warmish temperatures.

Has anyone finished the challenge?  What’s your favorite book so far? Find any gems that are outside your comfort zone?  Tell me!  If you haven’t finished or even signed up yet, don’t worry! You still have plenty of time. The challenge ends on June 22.

As I said before, I’m not participating in the challenge this year, but I am still following along on social media by checking the Goodreads 2014 Hub Challenge Group and  the #hubchallenge hashtag. We’ve collected some tweets from your fellow participants– join the conversation if you haven’t already!

Keep reading, and remember, you have plenty of time to get through this challenge; it ends at 11:59PM EST on June 22nd. Please keep reading and tracking your progress and check back here each Sunday to let us know how you are doing and to see how other folks are doing.

If you are have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response and, perhaps best of all, to notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles.

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34 Responses
  1. March 23, 2014

    Midwinterblood this week. Loved the book. Would be so interested to teach it to high school students and hear their thoughts about it and then have them construct stories in a similar manner. It felt like a great lens through which to examine the human experience.

  2. March 23, 2014

    Conquered the challenge this week! I completed the 25-book challenge several weeks ago, but this week I finally finished re-reading the 22 or so books on the list that I had read pre-challenge.

    You can see my reviews of the books here:

  3. Kim Farnsworth permalink
    March 23, 2014

    This week I finished Nazi Hunters, March: Book 1, and the audiobook of Zombie Baseball Beatdown. March: Book 1 was my definite favorite. I only wish it had told a longer part of the story. I found Zombie Baseball Beatdown sort of preachy, but I do think there’s high appeal for middle grades.

  4. March 23, 2014

    I never checked in last week. Since Check-in #5, I finished 4 more books, bringing my total to 15. Technically I’ve completed the challenge, since I read all 10 Morris and Nonfiction nominees during the winter challenge. But I’m planning to read at least 10 more anyway, so I’m not counting them towards my completion of this challenge.

    In the last 2 weeks I’ve read:
    Hold Me Closer, Necromancer because in the end I couldn’t resist re-reading it. It’s a favorite of mine. That’s not something I thought I’d ever say about a book that could be considered “Horror!”
    Beautiful Music for Ugly Children: So glad I read this one! Definitely one of the highlights of my challenge reading. Have already started recommending it.
    How to Speak Dog: an amusing nonfiction book with some very practical information and advice. I plan to book talk this at the middle schools this Spring.
    Rust v.2: Secrets of the Cell I’m intrigued with this series and am looking forward to seeing where the story goes in v. 3.

    For my secondary goal of reading something in every category, I have just 2 lists to go, the Alex Award and the Schneider Family Book Award. I have copies of Rose Under Fire and Relish, so I expect to complete that mini-challenge in the next week or two. It also looks like I will get to read every graphic novel on all of the awards lists, which will be a first. Usually there are several that aren’t purchased by the libraries to which I have access. In fact, the only books I don’t think I’ll have access to are some of the audio books. Speaking of audio books, I’m in the middle of Crap Kingdom. It’s definitely not my thing. But I can see book talking it, if I can convince myself it’s OK to use the word “crap” in a school presentation. First I have to make myself finish listening to it.

    One of the things I really like about the Challenge is that it encourages me to look at these books from the point of view of an award committee member. What is good about this book, even if I don’t like it? I try to keep that in mind for my reviews and responses. I think it makes me take a more professional approach to my reading, which is a very good thing.

  5. Kendall permalink
    March 23, 2014

    Read 5

    Belle Epoque
    Will & Whit
    Dodger (audio)
    Rose Under Fire
    Eleanor and Park (audio)

    Working on
    -Possibly Courage Has No Color (eep it was an ILL for one of my coworkers and she finished it early)
    -Sort of Viva Jacquelina (its an Overdrive audiobook that I get to every once in a while)

    I am going to try to get to something from every category, like other people have mentioned.

  6. Amy permalink
    March 23, 2014

    I’ve read The Universe versus Alex Woods and Golden Boy: a Novel (the one by Abigail Tarttelin), bringing my total to 11. You can see reviews here:

  7. Debbie permalink
    March 23, 2014

    Four books finished this week, bringing my total to 30. On we go!

    Killer of Enemies – Dystopian sci-fi with a strong female character with an Apache background. I had a few issues with it (mostly editing stuff) but my students will definitely read it.
    Zombie Baseball Beatdown – Gross and funny, while still managing to address a few real issues. My students will gobble this down like a fast food burger made with tainted meat!
    Better Nate than Ever – Cute and I liked the gentle handling of sexual identity for younger readers.
    Two Boys Kissing – The highlight of the challenge so far. I want to hand out copies to random strangers. PUT THIS AT THE TOP OF YOUR READING LIST. (Yes, I am shouting that from the rooftops!)

  8. Jen Jazwinski permalink
    March 23, 2014

    Finished All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry this week. This was my favorite so far and puts me at 5. Now listening to Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger which I read in print last year.
    Goodreads shelf can be found here:

  9. March 23, 2014

    Finished Midwinterblood (wasn’t impressed) and Scowler (so creepy!) this week. My count is 18 completed.

  10. charlene.librarian permalink
    March 23, 2014

    Only completed Midwinterblood this week and am continuing to enjoy Chip Kidd’s book on graphic design. I’m up to 14 titles and looking forward to the next 11 (or more). Happy reading/listening this week.

  11. March 24, 2014

    I’m at 10 books completed so far:
    The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Help for the Haunted, The Sea of Tranquility (Alex award winners are the only adult books I even read anymore!)
    Whit and Will – loved the creativity that all the characters displayed and its positive message Charm and Strange, Better Nate Than Ever, Winger – all male, first-person narratives but radically different everywhere else
    The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy – my only nonfiction read so far, this one had me in tears
    Getting the Girl – my only reread, but as a big Markus Zusak fan it was a good excuse to revisit his work
    and Scowler – certainly deserves the Odyssey award, but disturbing and graphic, a hard book for me to listen to.

    Now I’m listening to Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (delightful, love the Victorian prose) and deciding between Maggot Moon and Belle Epoque which both came into my library at the same time. I also have Chip Kidd’s Go and am making my way verrrry slowly through that! Otherwise, so far, so good. I’m just hoping to stay on pace and finish in time.

  12. Sara Ray permalink
    March 24, 2014

    I completed one this week, Boxers, and I enjoyed it. Not my favorite graphic but an interesting read. I am partly through two novels and two audios but got distracted by This Star Won’t Go Out (about the girl FioS is inspired by). I think there is about 13 weeks left with 10 left to go — but soooo many more I want to read from the list so I may just continue the challenge through the summer this time!

  13. Julie T permalink
    March 24, 2014

    Finished 4 books this week:

    Killer of Enemies (2/5) – Too graphic descriptions of the killings, esp, the snakey thing
    Winger (2.5/5) – Coed private school w/ guys who had 1-track minds. Maybe if I were
    a guy I could relate. Ending, however, was not expected. So sad.
    Navigating Early (2/5) – Highly unlikely that a war hero would do this. Sorry, but I
    paged thru & read all the Pi story before going back & reading the
    main story. Too distracting.
    Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan (4.5/5) – So sad, but so true. Was talking to a teacher here at
    school who knows this situation 1st hand. Very good book.

    That’s 49 crossed off the list. Have 15 on hold at local library.

    Angela Critics made a comment about looking at these books from the viewpoint of an award committee member – trying to find the reasoning behind the selections. However, some of these books have, in my opinion which doesn’t hold much water, no redeeming value whatsoever. Even tho I really dislike GNs strongly, some of them I can see why they were picked because of the subject matter. Those, I would like a lot more if they were written in non-comic book style. On the other hand, the fiction ones, Strobe Edge in particular, were perfectly worthless as far as I was concerned. This challenge has challenged me to read books I normally would not have picked up under any circumstance. Some of you read from certain lists, but I read what comes up from my hold list at the library. I am really trying to finish the whole list, but some of the audios are not available in this area. So far, my favorite books is All the Truth That’s in Me.

  14. Beth permalink
    March 24, 2014

    A three book week for me! Not impressive compared to some other posts, but it’s huge for me.

    #9 – Beauty Queens – So glad I finally got a chance to read this one. It’s been on my shelf forever. I vascilated between finding it hilarious and a little cheesy, but I think that’s the point of the parody. I think the students at my school are going to love hearing book talks on this one.

    #10 – Swim the Fly – I read Carter Finally Gets It a few weeks ago and was really disappointed. There were a lot of plot similarities, but I found the tone much more appealing and the narrator much more sympathetic. I will just never relate appropriately to a teenage boy narrator (finding toilet humor and barf stories hilarious), but that’s exactly why this book is perfect for so many boys at my school.

    #11 – Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong – I really love Faith Erin Hicks’ art in every book she does, so the pairing here was excellent! The liked that the story was mostly light, but had some heavier moments and honest characters. We have a very invested Robotics team at my school, so I’m excited to have a Robotics story to share with them.

    Working on The Testing & Beautiful Music for Ugly Children for next week!

  15. Carly permalink
    March 24, 2014

    Haven’t finished anything new this week, but am midway through several titles, so hopefully next week will give my total a big push! I have a display up in my (high school) library with the Challenge list printed out, the participant badge displayed, etc., and I’ve had several readers (both faculty and students) recommend titles to me from the list that I haven’t gotten to yet; pretty awesome when the reader’s advisory goes both ways!

    Still holding at 9 titles completed for the Challenge so far.

  16. March 24, 2014

    I finished I AM THE MESSENGER for book 12. I am on to BRANDED BY THE PINK TRIANGLE for number 13!

  17. Allison permalink
    March 24, 2014

    I finished 3 books this week. Whoo hoo! I’m finally feeling like I’m not behind. I read The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Branded by the Pink Triangle, and Go: a Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design. Three excellent books.

  18. Robin Brandt permalink
    March 24, 2014

    This week I read Lo–Ash and McNeal–Far Far Away. Not really excited by either book.

    This brings my total to 21.

  19. Library.Lil permalink
    March 24, 2014

    It’s been a few weeks since my last check-in. I’ve read 8 more bringing my total to 15. I also gave up on one, Kingdom of Little Wounds. I was confused and couldn’t get into it.

    #8 Audrey Wait—I liked it. I was surprised, though, that a book from 2008 had a few references that made it seem dated already.

    #9 100 Questions you’d never ask your parents—good information presented in a very precise, non-judgmental way. My only qualm is the title. I get that the point is that the questions are sensitive, but it sounds almost like you shouldn’t be asking your parents these questions and I don’t think that’s a good blanket statement to make.

    #10 Far Far Away—not at all what I expected.

    #11 William Shakespeare’s Star Wars (audio)—loved it! Super fun adaptation. My husband, who is not a Shakespeare fan, could hear parts of it over the baby monitor and he kept coming in when it got to parts he recognized so he could see what they did for notable lines like “these are not the droids you are looking for” and “let the wookie win.”

    #12 Eleanor & Park (audio)—loved how naturally the love story happened! It’s a relationship I would have wanted in high school.

    #13 Imprisoned: the betrayal of Japanese Americans During WWII—good information on an important topic and well put together.

    #14 Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass—I was frustrated a lot of different elements of this one, though I’m sure some are because they are realistic.

    #15 Relish—loved it! I love her visual recipes!

  20. March 24, 2014

    I read 100 Questions You’d Never Ask your Parents in one sitting, should I be flabbergasted because I learned a lot. Up next is Star Wars Jedi Academy. I am now at 14, almost there! This year I will finish!

  21. March 24, 2014

    It has taken a while since I have a short commute to work, but I finally finished Dodger by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs. Absolutely marvelous!!

  22. March 24, 2014

    Finished! (The 25, at least). Since last check-in, I’ve read Out of the Easy, which was great, and Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, which I loved. I missed the last check in because I was trying so hard to read Kingdom of Little Wounds. I really wanted to like it, but I was so dang bored that I stopped after 130 pages.

    I’m going to keep reading books off of the list since I’m encouraging the teens at my library to complete the challenge, but with all of the ones I’d have to ILL, there’s no way I’ll conquer the list.

  23. Donna Siebold permalink
    March 24, 2014

    I finished The Sea of Tranquility and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. I enjoyed both of these titles. I was tremendously moved by the Sea of Tranquility. I thoroughly enjoyed Hold Me Closer and would actually enjoy learning that it is the first book in a series. I am still listening to Scowler, my commute to work is brief, so I am not moving very quickly. I hope I can listen to all of it without losing my lunch. I always thought I had a very high tolerance to gruesome gory material, but OMG this is a serious challenge. I also just started Audrey Wait. So far, okay only.

  24. Becky permalink
    March 24, 2014

    I haven’t commented since the challenge began! I am running a bit behind, with only seven titles read. I read The Adventures of Superhero Girl last night and really enjoyed it. It’s been difficult for me to really get into the challenge this year since I’d already read so many of the books before the challenge started and there are so many great books being published now that I want to read. Onward!

  25. March 24, 2014

    Took a little time to read some off-list titles, but made a point on my last library trip to pick up several challenge titles.

    This weekend I read Midwinterblood by Sedgewick, which I really liked, although I could see how others might not. I liked the concept of the same souls being connected through the different stories, even as their relationships varied. I also read Better Nate Than Ever by Federle, which was entertaining. These 2 titles put me at 10 completed.

    I just started The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Extence today, but am not far enough in to make a comment really.

    In my library bag, I have Nazi Hunters, Brewster, Belle Epoque, Lexicon, Golden Boy by Sullivan, & Boy Nobody & the rest of my Spring Break ahead of me :)

  26. Jennie Evans permalink
    March 24, 2014

    I missed last week’s check in and then didn’t read anything (either challenge or non challenge) for another week so I’m feeling like a slacker. :)

    Since the last time I actually checked in I finished:
    Zombie Baseball Beatdown
    Out of the Easy (which I LOVED)
    Far Far Away (also highly enjoyable)

    I’m almost finished with The Testing and hope to start Between Shades of Gray later this week.

  27. March 25, 2014

    I’ve been doing this with a lot less focus this year, but I’ve still gotten through a bunch of titles. I’ve gotten through the 6th volume of Strobe Edge, but I’m still going, because how can you not finish something you’ve started? I also read Lexicon, listened to Etiquette & Espionage, and read the Adventures of Superhero Girl. I’m currently reading Sea of Tranquility, which so far seems pretty great. I joined the goodreads group for the yalsa challenge, and I have to say I’ve really enjoyed almost everything I’ve written because I’ve listened to my fellow readers about what is good. Last year I finished super early, hopefully I’ll get it done again this year, but with a bit more leisure.

  28. Brenda Schwarz permalink
    March 25, 2014

    I never checked in last week and this week I am starting a couple of books I downloaded from Overdrive. It has been slow going and sometimes I wonder why I am doing the challenge. I then remind myself that even though I may not get all the books done I am reading books that I normally would not read and that is a good thing. hopefully this week will go better.

  29. March 25, 2014

    Finished 4 more this week, putting my total at 35:

    Strobe Edge v. 6 3/5
    Boxers 4/5
    100 Questions You’d Never Ask Your Parents 2/5
    Viva Jacquelina! 4/5

    Going to try to break out of my comfort zone now that I’ve got a comfyish total. Reading Lexicon now to start on the Alex titles.

  30. Shannon Krug permalink
    March 26, 2014

    I finished one, Swim the Fly. A good break from more serious reads. I found it extremely funny in several parts, and could have done without a few parts. I liked the Grandpa and the role playing scene! That should be 12 total .. almost half-way. I’m starting All the Truth That’s In Me.

    • Shannon Krug permalink
      March 26, 2014

      Correction – 13 total – I am (over) half-way!

  31. Samantha Tai permalink
    March 26, 2014

    Last week I read Saints and finished Golden Boy. Currently I’m listening to and reading Better Nate Than Ever. I’m really enjoying this book and glad for the opportunity to both hear the author read the story and read it on my own.

    I’m also reading Lexicon right now. I don’t think I’d ever have picked this book up on my own, so I’m really glad for the challenge right now. Lexicon may be my favorite book I’ve read so far. It’s been hard to put it down.

    I’ve read 31 books so far. Even though I’ve read 25 books, I plan to read as many more titles as I’m able before the challenge ends. I’m keeping track of my books and reviews at Goodreads.

  32. Anna Chappell permalink
    March 26, 2014

    Just one this week – I finished listening to The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson. It was incredibly touching, both horrifying and hopeful.

    I’m currently working my way through the Kingdom of Little Wounds, which I should have done for next check-in. So far, I’ve got 11 done (21 if you count the Morris/Nonfiction). Getting there!

  33. Meaghan permalink
    March 26, 2014

    I’m a bit late on this week’s check-in, but read book #13: Will & Whit this past week. Feeling like I need to pick up the pace if I’m going to read more than 25!

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