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How To Read: Step by Step Instructions to Pleasure Reading

2014 November 17
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reading

Reading for your own enjoyment takes practice. I know it sounds a little crazy– but folks practice their hobbies all the time and why should recreational reading be any different? It can be hard today to turn off distractions and just read. So here is a practical guide; follow it and you will soon find yourself enjoying reading. And for those of you reading this post who don’t need any help in this regard, I invite you to share your tips for happy reading.

Step 1: Pick book.

This is one of the hardest steps of the process. But fear not, you can handle it. There are so many ways to choose a book: pretty cover, friend recommendation, favorite author, saw the movie, library/book store display, read about it somewhere (twitter, instagram, facebook, tumblr, pinterest), heard about it somewhere, random browsing, librarian recommendation, teacher recommendation, it’s your favorite book and you want to read it for the tenth time darn it, read a review, literary awards, found it (in a rental vacation house and in the plane seat flap next to the barf bag perhaps), it’s a classic you’ve been meaning to read, and so on… Point being, any reason to pick a book is a good one if it works for you.  Some other resources that are helpful in finding books:

As you are selecting books, keep an open mind (even on books you did not like in the past.) read more…

The Monday Poll: Most Believable Post-Apocalyptic YA Lit

2014 November 17
by Allison Tran
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monday_pollGood morning, Hub readers!

Last week, in honor of Veteran’s Day, we asked for your favorite YA book depicting the the veteran experience. The top pick, with 44% of the vote, was Laurie Halse Anderson’s most recent release, The Impossible Knife of Memory. It was followed by Gary D. Schmidt’s Okay For Now, with 23% of the vote. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, on a totally different note, we want to know which version of a post-apocalyptic world in YA lit you think is the most believable. Do you think society will crumble and stay that way? Will it be rebuilt as a dystopia with an evil leader? Will people be able to breathe the air outside after the big event happens? Will there be zombies? Vote in the poll below, or add your choice in the comments if we missed it.

Which YA book features the most believable post-apocalyptic worldbuilding?

View Results

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We Need Diverse Books: Spotlight on Benjamin Alire Saenz

2014 November 14
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benjaminsaenzLast month, I began a series devoted to highlighting diversity within YA literature in an effort to support the We Need Diverse Books campaign–check out my first post in the series for more information and to read about Sara Farizan’s novels. This month, I thought I’d focus on another critically acclaimed YA writer, Benjamin Alire Saenz, an award-winning author (2013 Printz Honor!) and poet.

A remarkably unique voice in YA literature, Saenz draws heavily from his own experiences as a young Chicano boy growing up on the Mexico/New Mexico border in the 1960s. His work also often deals with sexuality and homophobia, a result of Saenz’ own struggles with coming out which he did quite late in life. His intersecting themes of race, culture, class, and sexuality certainly make his novels stand out amongst the YA canon but it is not this alone that makes him so noteworthy. read more…

Tweets of the Week: November 14

2014 November 14
by Katie Shanahan Yu
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Are you attending the YA Lit Symposium this weekend? Be sure to tweet all about it with hashtag #yalit14!  Here’s the latest happenings this week on Twitter…

tweets of the week | the hub

Books and Reading

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We Are Family: Sibling Stories in YA Lit

2014 November 13
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we are family imageI did not begin my career as an older sister on a very positive note. In fact, it is difficult to find an video of my brother’s infant years without having the footage interrupted by a bouncing three-year-old who springs into the frame to sing out some variation of “Look at me!”

Happily, despite some rough patches, my relationship with my brother is one of the most stable and significant aspects of my life.  He’s my friend, fellow sci-fi television & folk music fan, joint owner of favorite childhood books, cooking idol, and one of my all around favorite people on the planet. Consequently, I have a soft spot for stories featuring siblings.  Just as there are many different kinds of families and individuals, so too are there many different kinds of sibling relationships and all are complex & fascinating.

personal effectsPersonal Effects – E.M. Kokie (2013 Best Fiction For Young Adults; 2013 Rainbow List)

Since his beloved big brother T.J. was killed in action in Iraq, Matt has been moving through his quickly collapsing life in a daze.  Between failing classes, getting in fights at school, and trying to avoid his dad’s anger and disappointment, Matt feels like his purpose disappeared with T.J.  But when his brother’s personal effects are finally delivered, Matt is convinced that he might finally be able to understand T.J.’s death.  But T.J.’s possessions contain certain shocking revelations that force Matt to wonder how well he really knew his brother.

imaginary girlsImaginary Girls – Nova Ren Suma (2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound)

It isn’t uncommon for younger siblings to believe that their elder sisters are extraordinary, but Chloe knows she’s far from the only person to recognize that her sister Ruby’s someone special. Ruby is the girl that everyone longs to touch–the girl everyone wants to be.  When Ruby wants something to happen, it does.  She’s untamable, unpredictable, and almost unbelievable.  But after a night out with Ruby & her friends went horribly wrong, Chloe was sent away. Now, two years later, they’re reunited–but Chloe can’t help wondering exactly how far Ruby was willing to go to get her back.  read more…

Jukebooks: The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

2014 November 12
by Diane Colson
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Carnival at BrayIt’s 1993. Maggie is being uprooted from everything that she knows and loves: Chicago, comfort television, and the enthralling attention of her Uncle Kevin. Now she is an ocean away, trudging through the rain at a carnival in a small town by the Irish Sea. Why? Because Maggie’s mom has met another man, and this time she married him. Despite her loneliness, Maggie comes to love the people of Bray, particularly a handsome lad named Eion.

Even as life is growing richer for Maggie, Uncle Kevin is hitting a downward spiral. It is because of Keven that Maggie and Eion take off to Rome, to see Nirvana play in concert. Maggie screamed until all that came out was, “a joyous gurgling sound.” Despite the huge trouble resulting from their impromptu trip, Maggie and Eion plan to see Nirvana when they come to Dublin. Kurt Cobain killed himself before this concert could take place.

Like Janis Joplin in last week’s Jukebooks, Kurt Cobain is a member of the “27 Club.” This is an admittedly morbid allusion to a group of musicians who died at the age of 27. The idea came about when five musicians (Brian Jones, Alan Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison) all died within a two year span, all at the age of 27. Cobain, and later, Amy Winehouse, are also included in this very undesirable club.

Here is Nirvana, singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in Rome, 1994.

-Diane Colson, currently reading Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block

YALSA YA Lit Symposium: The Student Perspective

2014 November 11
by Allison Tran
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yalsa_ya_lit_symposium2014Are you getting excited? YALSA’s YA Literature Symposium in Austin is just a few days away! If you’ve never been to a YA Lit Symposium, you might be wondering what it’s all about. Leading up this year’s Symposium, we’ve been featuring interviews with Symposium attendees past and present to give you a picture of why you should attend and what to expect.

Our final interview features Alyson Feldman-Piltch, who shares with us the valuable perspective of a library school student. 

What was the most memorable thing about the YA Lit Symposium you attended?

This was the very first conference ever attended, so that in itself makes it fairly memorable.  I just remember being in awe that I was in the same room as all these authors- and that they actually wanted to talk to me; and that other people wanted to talk to me too!  I was nervous that as a student I wasn’t going to fit in, but I talked to people, made some contacts, and even keep in touch with a few!

What was your favorite author experience/presentation at the Symposium?

Right before I came to the Symposium I had read No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Michaeux Nelson.  Since I had never been to a conference before, I had no idea if I would actually get a chance to interact with the authors, so I wrote her a letter thanking her for sharing her family’s story and telling her how much I appreciated her book.  In the hubbub of some mixer, I handed her the note and just sort of walked on my way, but later on she came up to me and thanked me for my note.  I was totally on cloud nine. read more…

The Monday Poll: Your YA Lit Pick for Veteran’s Day

2014 November 10
by Allison Tran
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From the US National Archives, Series Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, compiled 1882 - 1962Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you to weigh in on which characters from different YA books should meet. 56% of you would like to see a get-together between Tris from Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Katniss from Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games. They would probably have a lot to chat about! Another popular choice, with 18% of the vote, was Glory from Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King and Frankie from E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, the United States pauses to honor our war veterans by observing Veteran’s Day on November 11. In honor of those who have served, what is your favorite YA book that addresses the veteran experience?  Vote in the poll below, or add your choice in the comments if we missed it.

What is your favorite YA book that addresses the veteran experience?

  • The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (44%, 33 Votes)
  • Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (23%, 17 Votes)
  • Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt (9%, 7 Votes)
  • Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy (9%, 7 Votes)
  • Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis (8%, 6 Votes)
  • Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick (7%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 75

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Tweets of the Week: November 7

2014 November 8
by Allison Tran
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tweets of the week | the hub

 

Books and Reading

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Gearing Up for the YA Lit Symposium: Let’s Talk Reality

2014 November 6
by Allison Tran
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yalsa_ya_lit_symposium2014We’re just over a week away from YALSA’s 2014 YA Lit Symposium in Austin, Texas. Are you getting excited? We are!

The theme for this year’s Symposium is “Keeping It Real: Finding the True Teen Experience in YA Literature.” Let’s take a minute to mull that over before the Symposium kicks off next week, shall we?

  • What books or authors do you automatically think of when you think “realistic YA fiction?”
  • Is there a pivotal YA book in your life that reflected your experiences so clearly, or conversely, opened your eyes to a totally different reality?
  • Do you naturally gravitate towards realistic fiction, or are you a genre reader?
  • How does today’s realistic YA fiction differ from the YA “problem novel” a lot of us grew up reading in the 70s and 80s?
  • Do you have a “go-to” recommendation for realistic YA fiction that seems to win the heart of most any reader?
  • What forthcoming realistic YA lit titles are you most looking forward to reading in the coming months?

My answers to a few of the above questions… read more…