2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #12

Not signed up 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 on June 23, so sign up now!

the hub 2016 reading challenge


It took me awhile, but I finally finished lluminae: The Illuminae Files_01 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which I read and loved, though I sort of wish I’d listened to it instead (it’s a 2016 Top Ten Amazing Audiobook.)  I was swept away by the action almost instantly, but the format…the format was so disruptive for me I found reading it a bit of a struggle.  I generally enjoy books with unusual storytelling–epistolary, journal entries, and the like–but the actual printed formatting of lluminae kept pulling me out of the experience as I scanned to see which bits I could skip (I found the document headings and page detritus were pretty repetitive and unnecessary except as decoration to add an air of authenticity.)  Plus, I found turning the book this way and that in order to read one particular characters’ sections was difficult; lluminae is not a small book!

All that said, the story itself was excellent.  Compelling characters, solid plot twists, some truly scary (and disturbing) passages, and a satisfying-but-open conclusion made me very glad I stuck with it.  As a friend of mine said, lluminae was good enough that it didn’t require any gimmicky formatting; I’m curious to check out the audiobook to see how that changes my reading experience.

Have you read or listened to anything you want to try again in a different format?  What are you reading or listening to now?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and join the conversation on social media using the #hubchallenge on Instagram, Twitter, and our Goodreads group.

If you’ve finished the Challenge already, fill out this form.

— Julie Bartel, currently reading Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson and one of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs mysteries

7 thoughts on “2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #12”

  1. I’ve gotten behind in my posts, but in recent weeks, I’ve finished Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Ghosts of Heaven, Lumberjanes 1 and 2, Book of a Thousand Days’ and listened to Gabi, A Girl in Pieces. I especially liked the Lumberjanes books, but I enjoyed them all.

  2. Darkest Minds – Ruby is a survivor of a mysterious disease that has killed millions of children in the USA. On her 10th birthday she wakes up to find her world changed and ends up in a rehabilitation camp run by the government. The camps are brutal and kids disappear. Ruby and the survivors have special abilities and hers have put her life in danger…I did not have this book in the middle school library and I am now buying the trilogy to put in our collection.

    Squirrel Girl – I do not have much experience reading comic books. I actually started the comics in the wrong order;-) Once I got myself on the right track I did enjoy Squirrel Girl’s spunk and sass. I handed them over to my 10 year old daughter and she is enjoying them.

    I have read 27 books but I am not done with what I want to read from the list…

  3. Since my last check in, I have finished 3, bringing my total up to 16. I’m not sure I’m going to make it to 25, but I’m not ready to give up yet!

    Because You’ll Never Meet Me and SuperMutant Magic Academy: my reaction to these two were similar. They were not quite what I was expecting and I found them both to be a little weird and out there. Some of it I enjoyed, especially SuperMutant Magic Academy, but over all I was sort of disappointed. Which is odd because usually I like weird stuff. I don’t know.

    Between the World and Me: Hard stuff to read. It was profound and amazing and difficult and everyone should read it. I feel like I only understood a fraction of his message and I’ll have to re-read it probably several times. But a very important book about race in our country at this time.

  4. I didn’t finish any books this week, but I’m half way through book #25: Symphony for the City of the Dead. I wonder what Shostakovich’s earlier music would have sounded like if he didn’t have to compose music in fear of offending Stalin? Anderson explains how Shostakovich put bits of folk songs, revolutionary songs and a lot of symbolism in his music. After reading about a symphony, I go to youtube and listen to it. My listening experience and understanding is certainly enhanced by having read about it first and by having read about the conditions (and stress) he had to compose under. This is a great book for anyone interested in Russian history, Shostakovich in particular or music in general.

    There are still a few more books I’d like to read after this book if I have the time. I’ll keep going on the challenge after I finish this book.

  5. Agree about Illuminae – the format was too much for me. I’m going to try it in audio, but I just couldn’t enjoy what seems like a great book because of the disruptive nature of the format.

    This week I finished number 24 (Trollhunters on audio – creepy and gruesome, but a really cool story, and I’ll definitely recommend it to kids who love exciting, swashbuckling, troll-killing stories!) and number 25 (Stonewall Honor – Wonders of the Invisible World – which I didn’t LOVE love, but I’m always excited to read some quality LGBTQ genre fiction)!! I’m just SO excited – this is the first time I’ve finished the challenge!! YAY!!

    You can read longer reviews of these two on my GoodReads page

  6. I looked back at previous check-ins and realized I haven’t posted since check-in #8! I’ve read 6 books since then, which puts me at 26 books read. I’m not going for the full count, but there are still books that look interesting.

    *Bones & All – This was an odd and somewhat grotesque story, though never gratuitous. Maren is relateable in her attempt to figure out who she is and how she fits into the world. It’s a universal theme presented in a unique way.

    *Illuminae – I listened to this first, and then looked at the hard copy. Illuminae is definitely a book that should be listened to, using the hard copy as a supplement to look at ship schematics, etc… There is a full cast along with sound effects, and both are used to enhance the tension. The story sucked me in, and I listened to it every moment I could. My only complaint was the very, very end. The set up for the sequel felt clunky, and as shadenfreunde as it is, somewhat anticlimactic.

    *Rad American Women – An interesting choice of women presented. I liked the diversity in backgrounds, interests, and accomplishments.

    *The Ghosts of Heaven – This is an odd book. Very thought-provoking in the sense of connectedness and time. I liked that elements of each story showed up in the other stories.

    *March, Volume 1 – I love reading history presented in a graphic format. It makes feel more real, warts and nastiness and all. March would be a good supplement for middle schoolers and teens learning about the Civil Rights Movement. My kids will be reading this when they’re older.

    *Trashed – an interesting look at trash – how much of it we make, how it’s picked up, and what happens to it afterwards. The dynamic between the main characters reminds me of some of the guys I was around in the military – a similar black, macabre sense of humor.

  7. Glad to find the check-in today. Last week, I finished Bone Gap and Nimonaand now still working on Sally Ride, Roller Girl, Trollhunters, and Born Frees.

    Happy reading/listening this next week!

Comments are closed.