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2013 Hub Reading Challenge check in #16

reading challenge logoNot 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!

Boy21For some reason, despite all of the great feedback I was hearing, I dragged my feet a bit in reading Boy 21 by Matthew Quick. People on listservs were RAVING about how good it was. Boy 21 was even on YALSA’s 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults List. So even though it didn’t really seem like a book that would normally appeal to me, I purposefully checked it out of the library and took it home. I would periodically stare at the cover, consider it for a moment or two, and then time and again put it back on my gigantic “to read” pile while I grabbed another more appealing title. But over this past weekend, I felt the call of Boy 21, so I finally cracked that cover and began reading…

…and I didn’t stop until I had finished the very last sentence! And then I wished it would go on even longer. (And then, if I’m being completely honest, I hugged it a bit before placing it lovingly and regretfully on my “to be returned” pile of library books.)

What makes this book so wonderful? As always, I struggle a bit trying to describe the magic of a really special book. Boy 21 is a book with fantastic male characters who are both typical and atypical for their geographic locations and experiences. It’s about basketball and astronomy, and about discovering there’s more to both then just playing the game or seeing bright lights in the sky. It’s about that one special friend who both embraces you as you are and also helps you to become more. It’s about learning to care about someone else’s life and, well, being more than your own. And it’s about discovering and valuing the things that are most important to you. In short, it’s just a really special book that I think just about any reader would enjoy.

Have any of you made a really special discovery during the reading challenge thus far?

— Nicole Dolat, currently reading Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form 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!

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check in #15

reading challenge logoNot 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!

enchanteddodgerI did it! I finally read both Enchanted and Dodger and returned the books to my local library. That brought my total to 17, and then I took that momentum and went whizzing through Heist Society (how have I never read this?!), Friends with Boys, and This Is Not a Test. All in all, a pretty good couple weeks as far as reading in general and this challenge in particular. I’ve got five books to go, and five weeks left — I may actually make it this year!

What about you? Are you going to complete the Hub Reading Challenge this year? Did you set any personal goals (like reading an entire list, or something from each list) and if so, how are you faring? Have you discovered anything about your reading habits or preferences during the past couple months? Has your reading produced any great insights or burning questions?

Think about it, because on Wednesday, May 22, from 2 to 3pm EDT, we’ll be hosting a Reading Challenge chat on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook, and we hope you’ll join us on whichever platform you prefer.

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form 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!

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #14

reading challenge logoNot 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!

How is everyone’s reading coming along? I can’t believe there are just six weeks left in the challenge! Are you on track to finish in time?

Which list or award have you enjoyed reading from the most? What new gems have you discovered that you’ll be keeping a closer eye on in the future — interesting formats, new authors, new genres?

On May 22 from 2 to 3pm EDT, we’ll be hosting a Reading Challenge chat on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook, so plan to join us on whichever platform you prefer!

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form 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!

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #13

reading challenge logoNot 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!

Another check-in and another admission of failure! I finished NO books for the challenge since my last update. I was distracted once again by shiny ARCs. I don’t feel bad about it. I should, but I don’t. I see it as summer reading program prep. When these books are released, I can put them in the hands of the teens who will love them.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t given up on the challenge! I’m still in it. I’m currently reading Heist Society and enjoying it. Then I hope to switch back to the Alex Award winners since that was my original goal. Where did the time go? How are all of you doing? Any of you struggling? Have any of you finished all the Alex Award winners?

Mark your calendars! On May 22 from 2-3pm EDT, The Hub will be hosting a Reading Challenge chat on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook. More details to come!

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form 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!

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #12

reading challenge logoNot 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!

Twelve weeks down, eight to go! A big welcome to all of our participants who are joining us after reading about the challenge in the most recent issue of YALS — remember that anything you’ve read since the challenge started in February can count toward your total, even if you didn’t know about the challenge!

For those of you who are reading outside of your comfort zones, how have you enjoyed trying a genre or format you don’t normally read? Any surprisingly delightful finds? Any awards or selected lists you’ll be following more closely from here on out?

How are you choosing your books? I’m sure some of it depends on availability at your library or bookstore, but are you using Goodreads reviews, recommendations from friends, or comments other participants leave on these check-in posts? Or are you maybe just drawn to certain covers?

What’s been your favorite book so far? What are you most looking forward to reading before the challenge ends?

Keep up the good work!

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!

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check in #11

reading challenge logoNot 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!

51BVlp-PrNL._SL175_How is everyone doing with the challenge? I have to say, I’ve let myself slip a bit with some easy reading distractions (*hangs head in shame*). I finally had a chance to listen to the audio book for The Diviners. I feel like I’m in the minority when I say that I have not (personally) enjoyed any of Libba Bray’s previous books. (I tried, honestly I tried…) I had high hopes for The Diviners because so many people have raved — even people who report to not being huge fans of her other books, just like me. And I have to say, there was definitely a lot about this book I enjoyed. Sadly, our heroine Evie was not among them. And there’s always something about the way Bray tells a story that loses me — I find myself connecting to the story in fits and starts, but never being thoroughly engaged throughout. But I loved a lot of the support characters she created (Theta and Henry high among them). And the audio book was performed exceptionally well by January LaVoy, who created an immense number of entirely unique characters and moods through her voice. I really felt transported back to the 1920’s. So even if you’re not a fan of Bray’s works (like me), the audio book experience (thanks to January LaVoy) was a real treat.

What kinds of books (paper or audio) are you loving … or not loving so much?

— Nicole Dolat, currently listening to Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (finally!)

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!

2013 Hub Reading Challege check in #10

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 logoTwo weeks ago I was up to 11 titles, with grand plans for both adding more to the list and broadening my reading horizon by trying something I wouldn’t normally pick up. I still haven’t finished (well, started) either of the two books (Enchanted and Dodger) I mentioned last time, but I did quite enjoy Ultimate Comics Spider-man, v. 1, The Round House, and Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb. Admittedly, those were all books I had every intention of reading anyway, so I don’t think they really fulfill my goal of branching out, but I do get to add three more titles to my total. On the other hand, I am now in the middle of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, which is not something I probably would have picked up on my own, rave reviews notwithstanding. So far I’m loving it.

Plus, I totally gave in and read Eleanor and Park, even though it’s new and doesn’t count. I have no willpower when it comes to shiny new books. But after Mr. Penumbra and I part ways I really am going to read Enchanted and Dodger, and I added a couple more titles to my library hold list that I definitely wouldn’t have on my radar were it not for the Reading Challenge. My mini goal for the next couple weeks is to try really hard to focus on challenge books, since, if my math is correct, we’ve just about reached the halfway point.

How are you all doing so far? Do any of you find it difficult to both keep up with new books and read “backwards” to catch great titles you missed? Have any of you instituted reading “rules” to keep yourself on track for the challenge? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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!

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #9

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 logoSince my last check-in, I have read all of … one book. Ooops. To be fair, I have been on vacation for the last three weeks or so. I did keep with my goal of reading the Alex Award Winners and LOVED Where’d You Go Bernadette. I’m recommending it to everyone. Loved it. Next on my list (after sneaking in my teen book club book) is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

Have your reading challenge goals changed since you started? Are you reading more or less than you wanted too? How many of you have read or listened to your 25? Let me know what’s going on in the comments!

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!

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #8

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!

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #7

reading challenge logoNot 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!

Another week, another check-in! What did you finish this week? How did you like it? What’s been your favorite title so far and why? Have you tried a new format (like a graphic novel or audiobook) that you’d never experimented with before? How did you like it? Are you doing the challenge with a friend or colleague? Do you think you’ll finish the challenge in time?

We’re thinking about hosting a chat on Twitter about the challenge where you can discuss with us and with other participants what you’re reading and what the challenge has been like so far. Is that something you’d be interested in? Have you done other Twitter chats before (like #libchat or #readav)? Is there some other social media site you’d rather use?

Keep up the great reading and listening in the coming week. Good luck!

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form 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!