2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #4

2015_reading_challenge_logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 9 counts, so sign up now!

Now that we are a few weeks into the 2015 Hub Reading Challenge but still have more than three months before the deadline, I thought it would be interesting to discuss strategies for completing the Challenge. Personally, I’ve had a busy winter, so I haven’t been able to get started yet and I am already thinking about how I am going to catch up. So, I want to hear from all of you. What approach do you take to the Challenge? Have you already finished all 25 books? Are you just reading down the list or are you organizing your reading list by genre or favorite authors? Do you try to move outside your comfort zone when you are picking books from the list? Or do you stick to familiar territory? Do you have a goal for each week or month? Do you review the comments from other Hub Challenge participants on Twitter using the #hubchallenge hashtag or have you joined the 2015 Goodreads Hub Reading Challenge group to find out what to move up on your to-be-read pile? Are you at the mercy of your library’s hold list? No matter what system you are using, I would love to hear more about it and the books you’ve read so far. And, even if you haven’t gotten started yet like me, let me know in the comments if you have a plan for how you are going to finish in time for the June 21st deadline.

Don’t forget that books you read for the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge count for this challenge as well, but if you’ve read any of the other books prior to February 9, you’ll have to re-read them if you want to count them towards your total.

2015 reading challenge logo - participantYou have until 11:59 PM EST on June 21st to finish at least 25 books. When you read the weekly check-in posts, again, please don’t forget to read the comments and keep track of your progress by commenting yourself! If you review books online, please include links to your reviews. Also, don’t forget to post the Participant’s Badge on your blog, website, or email signature, and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email.

If you are a particularly fast reader and 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. 


32 thoughts on “2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #4”

  1. This year, my goal is to read all the Alex winners. My strategy is to read an Alex award winner, then, read a couple of graphic novels. The graphic novels are quick reads, s my total books read moves u more quickly. I am still working on Bellweather Rhapsody, which I am finding hard to get into, though I don’t know why because it is witty and intelligent, two characteristics I love in books. I actually finished Lockwood & Co., 47 Ronin and Trillium.

  2. I listened to Revolution (book #12) and was very impressed. It’s a great story and the added sound bites really make history “come alive”. I enjoyed the 1st book in the trilogy, Countdown, but I thought Revolution was even better. I’m halfway through Those Who Wish Me Dead which has me biting my fingernails!

  3. This is my first check-in because I keep forgetting to do it. I’ve read Jackaby, The Shadow Hero, In Real Life, And We Stay, and I’ll Give You the Sun.

    I LOVED Jackaby. It’s been my favorite so far. I also really liked The Shadow Hero and In Real Life (I’m trying to read more of the Great Graphic Novels this year because it’s not my strong point). I thought And We Stay was just okay, not spectacular, and I’m really on the fence about I’ll Give You the Sun. I really didn’t enjoy it until the end.

    I’m working on Bellweather Rhapsody, but I’m SO bored with it.

    1. I also thought I’ll Give You the Sun was just OK. Although I am not glad to hear you are bored with Bellweather Rhapsody, I am relieved to hear that you feel the same way I do.

  4. This is my first check-in! I’m glad I finally remembered to do it! So far, I’ve read three books:

    The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim – E.K. Johnston (2 stars)
    Breakfast Served Anytime – Sarah Combs (4 stars)
    The Young Elites – Marie Lu (4 stars)

    I’m currently reading Evil Librarian!

  5. Third check-in! I finished The Young Elites (very good, darker than I expected, but I really enjoyed it) and We Were Liars (very well-written, probably was too forewarned on there being a twist to be really shocked). So far, 7 books (17 with the Nonfiction/Morris books).

    My strategy is really just to figure out which books are easiest to get hold of, and read those. My first sources are what my library owns and then what digital titles are available through our ebook consortium. Last, I can do ILL, but I try not to rely on that since I can usually meet the 25-35 book goal without it. So I end up reading all over the list (and outside of my comfort zone) based on what can I get. I did make sure I had at least one title from every list, however!

  6. I’m behind on my updates, so I’m jus tgoing to list…
    #6. The Story of Owen (This one has stuck with me!)
    #7. Gabi, a girl in Pieces
    #8. Afterlife with Archie (flashbacks to way back)
    #9. In Real Life
    #10. Skink (audio)

    My strategy is what’s-available-that-I-haven’t read-outside-the-timeframe, mixed with graphic-novels-are-faster-reads, a bit of I-can-listen-to-that-in-the car, and a little that’s-outside-my-usual-fare.

  7. My second check-in and my second completed title – this week I finished THIS ONE SUMMER, which I found…disappointing. I’ll review it more fully on my blog soon, but I just didn’t find the story terribly compelling.

  8. This is my first check-in for the whole challenge, but I did read the Morris/Nonfiction titles in December. The exception is Ida Tarbell, which I FINALLY finished this evening. I wanted to like it, but I found it very difficult to get through.

    I enjoyed all of the Morris titles, with The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, The Story of Owen, and Gabi, A Girl in Pieces particular standouts.

    The Nonfiction titles were also very good this year. Popular was a clear favorite for me and I’ve already recommended it to several people.

    So far, I’ve read 10 titles:

    The Scar Boys–Loved the 80’s stuff and the imagery at the start of the novel was horrifyingly beautiful. Probably the best beginning of any of these titles.
    The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender–Loved the Prologue, then the author lost me a bit with the weirdness in the first chapter. By Chapter two, I was hooked again. My favorite of the bunch! Utterly lovely poetic language.
    The Story of Owen: Dragonslayer of Trondheim–Interesting world building and I loved Siobhan. I didn’t love the ending, but I’m curious about where the author plans to go in the next book.
    Gabi, A Girl in Pieces–Gabi is definitely a character to root for and I think that teen readers will love her.
    The Carnival at Bray–A coming of age story set in Ireland. Lots of observations about life and love.
    Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek–A surprisingly wise memoir from a young writer about her quest for popularity using a guide from the 1950s. Loved it.
    Laughing at My Nightmare–A young man tells what it’s like to live with spinal muscular atrophy. I loved Shane Burcaw’s self-depreciating humor. Approach this one with caution if you’re easily offended.
    The Family Romanov–I’m embarrassed to admit that I remembered little about the Romanovs from high school history classes, but I found this account riveting.
    The Port Chicago 50–An little-known event that sparked integration in the US Navy. extremely readable and informative.
    Ida M. Tarbell–This was a slog to get through. The writing was fine and the research was spot on. I simply wasn’t interested in the subject matter.

  9. With 3 days off school due to snow, lots of time to read. My list this week:

    #29 Afterlife with Archie 1/5
    #30 Bad Machinery 1/5
    #31 47 Ronin 1/5
    #32 Trillium 1/5
    #33 Wolf Children 1/5
    #34 Seconds 1.5/5
    #35 The Shadow Hero 1.5/5
    #36 My Friend Dahmer 1.5/5
    #37 Find Momo 2/5 I can take just as good photos
    #38 Ms. Marvel 1/5
    #39 Those Who Wish me Dead 5+/5 Fabulous book
    #40 The Martian 3/5

    Okay – so I guess after 3 years doing this challenge, I still do not like graphic novels. The Dahmer book wasn’t any better this year than last year. Finding Momo was like Where’s Waldo. It didn’t take any longer than 5 sec to find the dog on any given page. On the other hand, “Those Who Wish me Dead” was absolutely fabulous and riveting. Could not put it down. By far, my favorite so far – even better than Bellweather Rhapsody. Over 1/2 way to the end. Am down from 600 to 390 on the list for All the Light We Cannot See.

    1. How do I choose what to read? Whatever becomes available at the public library. I don’t go by lists, just what is available. When nothing is ready for pick-up, I rely on my school library for those titles we have in our collection. Am always listening to one in the car also. Half Bad is what I have now, and it’s just so-so. Do like the English narrator however.

  10. Beyond Magenta and Grasshopper Jungle this week. I really liked Grasshopper Jungle and it’s unique forward, backward, everyone included, even with only one protagonist, manner of story telling.

  11. I only finished Seconds this week. I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels, though I do get into them when the story is compelling or exciting. In my opinion, this was neither. I’m 1/3 of the way through Confessions and enjoying it enough (though as of now I can’t see recommending it to any teens I know…), but I’m pausing for a bit because my turn on the hold list for Amy Poehler’s memoir is finally here, and I need a little humor break, anyway!

  12. Last week, I read 47 Ronin, Seconds, The Shadow Hero and I’ll Give You the Sun. I’m about halfway through Beyond Magenta. I’ve now completed 18 of the 25 books! I don’t really have any specific strategy in completing the challenge. I’ve sort of focused on the graphic novels recently, but I am limited to what is currently available at my library and what comes in from my hold list.

  13. Read This One Summer. Not impressed / not much point to the story / wanted it to be something more. Currently reading The Story of Owen: Dragonslayer of Trondheim and really enjoying it. I appreciate the alternate history.

  14. I am working on reading All the Light We Cannot See, which I am enjoying even though it moves pretty slowly. I also re-read five books this week, so I still have 17 re-reads and one more first-time read before I’ve conquered the challenge.

    When the YMAs are announced, I usually have my library’s catalog up on one tab of my browser and the YMA announcements on another. This way I can start putting holds on things as soon as I know they’ve won. I can do 20 holds on my library card, and my wife can do 20 on hers, and then I have a card for another library system just in case the one I work at doesn’t have a particular book (that happens A LOT). I use my maximum number of holds and start bringing home giant stacks of books for us to read.

    My wife does the regular 25-book challenge, so she just picks the books that sound interesting to her. I conquer the challenge, so I first bring home all the books I haven’t read or haven’t hear of, then I start bringing home all the ones I have to re-read, which this year was somewhere around 2 dozen. The re-reads give me time to wait when things are on a long hold list, like All the Light We Cannot See, which I just got last week even though I put a hold on it in February.

  15. I’ve only finished one this week: #9 – The Crossover. I did not expect to like this book, I’m not overly fond of the novel in verse, but I kept at it and am so glad I did. It was an excellent book – great handling of a very serious matter.

    I am in process on Gabi (I don’t care for the format, but she is growing on me) and Ida Tarbell.

    My approach is to start ordering what we have in our library system first. Then I order from the other three local systems to which I have access. I don’t care what category the award came in, I just go for finishing as many books as possible. I have some trouble obtaining audio books and graphic novels so I have never finished the entire challenge – and I am not much for rereading, so I rarely do that – I will do it if it won in paper earlier and is now an audio, but otherwise, there are just too many fish in the sea. Finishing 25 in the time frame of the challenge is easy for me, but I don’t enter myself as complete until the very end so that I can check off everything I have finished.

  16. I am already falling so far behind! So I am still working on Port Chicago 50, perhaps I can buckle down and read it on my lunch breaks this week. That is my #2 book so I am still sitting at the beginning.

  17. Last week I read Find Momo and Beyond Magenta. I’m currently listening to Five, Six, Seven, Nate and nearly done with The Young Elites.

  18. I bring my total up to 4 with:
    The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – strange indeed
    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander – fantastic!

    In the past I have tried to sample books from all of the various award categories but I may be stymied this year since our public library does not offer any of the audiobooks. I’ll try to go back and see if any have materialized.

  19. Adding #5 to my previous post – how could I have forgotten this one?
    All the Light We Cannot See – five stars!!

  20. My strategy is to read whatever books I have access to.

    I finished my first two books of the challenge this week: Noggin and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. I’m rereading We Were Liars and will start Jackaby soon.

    I really enjoyed Noggin. If you can get past the premise of a head being attached to someone else’s body, it is an enjoyable read. I thought the characters were funny, interesting, and mostly well developed, particularly Hatton. Travis made me laugh out loud and at times get very angry with his decisions. Teenagers will be able to relate to the feeling of not completely belonging and people going different places in life.

    I didn’t like or dislike The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. It was beautifully written but I found myself asking “what’s the point?” The stories of Ava’s ancestors were interesting but I didn’t feel like they moved the story forward. After spending all that time learning about her family the ending arrived quickly. The title of the book also gave away the ending for me. I would have loved this book if the plot was tighter. I wanted the back stories to be more intertwined.

  21. Finished one more this week. Moving so slow this year, even listening to the audiobooks.

    #3 – Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders – I’ll admit this wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t care for the format (story within a story) and the plot didn’t wow me. I’m still glad I read it. It wasn’t a waste of time, just not my favorite.

    Total = 3

  22. I am finally in the game! I have four completed, am listening to an audio and reading a novel. My strategy is to listen to as many of the audios that interest me and that I can get my hands on (since a long commute will help with this)… read as many graphics as I can that I can get my hand on… then read as many novels as time will allow (my reading has been slower since starting a new job). The last part of my strategy may involve re-reading a few short books if I’m running out of time in June (The Crossover, This One Summer, etc).

  23. I finished listening to Love Letters to the Dead- loved it so much! Now I am listening to the amazing audiobook Fat Boy vs The Cheerleaders and it is so funny!

  24. I just have one book to add from the last couple of weeks bringing my total to 11 – All the Light We Cannot See (in my defense it is a long book). I liked this book a lot and really enjoyed the lyrical writing style and the interesting look at radio during the WWII era. I can only think of a few high school students that I would hand this to because of the length and the style, but I can definitely see why it has been so popular with adults.

    I create a shelf in Goodreads for the Hub Challnege books I want to read. I usually start with the books that I already have on my to-read list and then move on to those that are less in my comfort zone. Other than that, my approach is pretty haphazard.

  25. Everyone I ran into was talking about All the Light We Cannot Seeby Anthony Doerr, so that had to be the next book on my list. I finished it this weekend and I LOVED it. It’s beautifully written, lyrical, haunting. I didn’t want to put it down and we are definitely putting it on the summer reading list for 12th grade.
    Just prior to that I finally finished The Family Romanov ; it all still ends the same way, horribly. There is no hope left for Anastasia theorists. This book definitely illustrates the time period in an illuminating way and from multiple perspectives. Plus, my great-grandfather emigrated from Russia during this time period so I found it really interesting and kept wondering how much he personally experienced.
    I just started readingEverything I Never Told You, which first sentence is: “Lydia is dead.” After reading about WWII and the Russian Revolution, and now Lydia is dead… I needed something to counteract all the sadness, so while I’m reading that I’m also listening to Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders, which is the perfect antidote and change of pace. I’m only on the second CD, but it’s hysterical and the actor narrating is super talented.
    So my strategy is to mix things up. I have some graphic novels next in the lineup, and some more amazing audio books, that will keep it varied, interesting and fun!

  26. This is my first check-in since I just had sinus surgery and have been kind of out of it the past couple of weeks. So far I’ve read Pusheen the Cat, Through the Woods, and In Real Life. I liked all of them except I didn’t get the endings to some of the stories in Through the Woods although I did like the illustrations and creepy factor. I’m currently listening to Define Normal and I really like it so far. I’m also reading The Terrorist’s Son which I find very interesting. In choosing what I wanted to read, I tried to do a mix of familiar things like audiobooks and not as familar things such as graphic novels and books from the Alex list.

  27. This week I finished Acid, Seconds and And We Stay. This brings my total to 23 books. Currently I’m reading Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki and The Martian. I’m also listening to Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders. See my reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/1270547?page=1&shelf=yalsa-hub-challenge-2015

    I’m not worried about finishing the 25 books for the Challenge and plan to continue once I reach 25. I don’t think I’ll conquer the Challenge because I don’t think I’ll be able to get all of the audiobooks and I’m not sure I want to re-read some of the books I read before the challenge started. I did get a head start with the Morris/Non-Fiction challenge. I read all five Morris contenders prior to award day and three of the non-fiction titles. I read Popular when it was first published so I don’t know if I’ll re-read it for the challenge.

    As for choosing which books to read when: the Alex books that are recently purchased by my library are 14 day loans, so I’m reading these since I have more of a time limit on them. Otherwise, I have a pile at home and at work from which I’ve been choosing. I’m not sure what I’ll choose to read after finishing the two titles I’m currently reading. Skink is next on my listening list.

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