2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #9

Not signed up yet for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, and the challenge runs until 11:59pm EST on June 23, so sign up now!

the hub 2016 reading challenge

This has not been my most successful Hub Challenge year, due a lot to the 500+ page adult book I’m working on and my discovery that I like video games, but I am trying! I’m a little behind but the two most recent titles that I’ve read I have really enjoyed. First was Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I actually started it in February and then put it down. At the time, I wasn’t able to commit my full attention to is and I felt like the book –  which is a letter to his son about police violence, institutional racism, and the joy and pain of African American and black cultures –  deserved more. So I waited a week or two and started again when I had fewer distractions. It’s a very interesting and different for me since I have very little experience with the situations that Coates describes: I’m white and from a relatively privileged background. But I think it’s so important to read outside your experience in order to have empathy, compassion, and just plain knowledge of people different from you. Coates’ writing is lyrical and moving and worth taking time to digest. I hope this book is required reading while also hoping that someday our lives will be such that African American sons won’t need books like this from their fathers.

On a slightly different track, I also listened to Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan on audiobook and can highly recommend it. It makes sense that this was an Odyssey Honor title since I can’t imagine reading this without musical excerpts. The audiobook includes different readers and harmonica music to make the story of three lives changed by one magical harmonica during WWII come to life! The book made me tear up multiple times and the story and production are amazing. If you’re looking for a great family listen for a road trip this summer, I would start here.

Next up for me is another audio, this time from the Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks list: Randall Munroe’s What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. Munroe’s webcomic xkcd is a favorite and I’m looking forward to his blend of science and humor. Plus, Wil Wheaton, nerd spokesmen and former U.S.S. Enterprise crewmember narrates so it’s sure to be fun!

What are you reading? Add your thoughts in the comment below and join in the conversation on social media, too! We’re chatting on Instagram, Twitter, and the 2016 Hub Challenge Goodreads group. When you’ve completed the Challenge, be sure to fill out this form.

— Anna Tschetter, currently reading Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

17 thoughts on “2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #9”

  1. Just finished #20: Notorious RBG. This is a book I never would have read since I’m not really that interested in biographies of supreme court members. I should say, WASN’T really interested. RBG is now my new hero! While I have a general knowledge of the supreme court and its workings, this brought it to life.

  2. I have some catching up to do, but I read Ms. Marvel Vol. 2 and 3, so I’m on my way. I’ve also read (and really liked) Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and The Bunker Diary.

  3. Since my last check-in (two weeks ago), I’ve read:

    * Trashed by Derf Backderf (very well done, not my favorite though)
    * The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (audio is fantastic)
    * Half the World by Joe Abercrombie (liked better than the first one!)
    * SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki (cute but a little too meandering for me)
    * A Silent Voice 1-3 by Yoshitoki Ooima (very sweet once the main character understood how awful he’d been)
    * Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova (absolutely adorable, loved it)
    * The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs (a lot of fun with some good discussion on feminism in geek culture)

    I’m listening to Echo right now, and so far I agree about the music!

  4. Finished Lumberjanesand loved it. Way to go Jo, April, Mal, Molly, Ripley! Still working on my pile…

  5. I read Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle. It’s really relevant to what’s going on in the world today. I enjoyed it.

  6. Three books this week:
    ~ All Involved by Ryan Gattis. Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
    ~ X by Ilyasah Shabazz. The growing-up story of Malcolm X was ok, nothing special.
    ~ What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. Interesting but made more so by Wil Wheaton’s excellent narration.

  7. I have finished only one this week, This Strange Wilderness, which I found entertaining, interesting, and the disturbing (as far as killing the rare birds to draw them – until he stopped). This puts me at 16.

    I am almost done with Challenger Deep. I’m still really looking forward to Bone Gap, Everything, Everything, and a few graphic novels!

  8. The Echo audiobook was great! So much crying while driving.

    That was the only one I finished this week, bringing my total to 18.

  9. I am in a bit of a lull – trying to read other things too! I haven’t checked in for a while, but since my last check in I finished 3 books.

    *The Iron Trial – I was a bit disappointed in this one. It was just middle of the pack fantasty for me, but I did booktalk it at a middle school and got quite a few kids excited about it, so I think it is a great choice for the Quick Picks list.
    *First Flight Around the World – Another one I didn’t love. For such an exciting topic, the writing kind of bored me. I’m glad I read it though because I love learning about pieces of history I didn’t know anything about previously.
    *Humans of New York: Stories – Amazing! I liked what one reviewer said, reading this book reminds you what it is to be human. Such a wide range of stories and experiences. A really touching and inspiring book. Plus I loved seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda in there of Hamilton fame! Bonus!

    And I’m currently working on 3 more. My total is 13 and I’m determined to beat the last year I did the challenge, when I only finished 16!

  10. I am in the middle of The War That Saved My Life and enjoying the unusual story that is set in the framework of WWII. I also read These Shallow Graves — I enjoyed it, but the title didn’t fit the story — what did you guys think?

  11. It was a busy week but I managed to go through two books, Trollhunters and The Darkest Minds.

    Trollhunters was good, but I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if I read it. I don’t know if I didn’t like his voice or I’m just not used to listening to books.

    The Darkest Minds was also good. There were not a lot of surprises but knowing what will happened almost made it more suspenseful to read. For example, you know she’s going to press the panic button but you don’t know when.

  12. currently listening to Trollhunters. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but have found it very compelling. I’ve made the required 25, but still going. It’s addicting.

  13. I read two books this week and am almost done with a third.

    Bunker Diaries – this is my second time reading the book and this time it left me with more questions than answers. Dark and gritty. Six people are kidnapped and put into an underground bunker. The kidnapper is never seen and each character remembers him differently. The kidnapper has the place bugged with video cameras and is watching their every move. The book is the diary of Linus a sixteen year old boy. At one point early in the book, it is stated if you are reading this I am dead. The ending leaves some questions about what happened to Linus. Is he dead? Who found the dieary? It would be interesting if there was a companion novel from the kidnapper’s point of view – why did he do this? How did he pick the victims? While some seemed random others seemed planned. Chilling!

    The Unraveling of Mercy Louis. Secrets meant to protect the ones you love can sometimes cause more harm than good. Mercy is a senior in high school and the school’s basketball star. The school year starts with a dead baby found in a dumpster and the conservative town is determined to find the mother of the baby. The story is told in the alternate points of view of Illa and Mercy. Mercy becomes afflicted with a mysterious condition that develops in the other girls – some are convinced the devil is cursing the town…

    Almost done with Girl at War – hard to put down!

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