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 (that’s still a solid month of reading and listening time), so sign up now!
I’m currently on an audiobook kick. I just finished Randall Munroe’s What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, read to great effect by Wil Wheaton, and I’m partway through Libba Bray’s Lair of Dreams, in which January LaVoy creates a stunning auditory landscape with approximately one million different character voices. What If? frequently had me laughing out loud (on the treadmill, so I was that person in the gym). Randall Munroe is probably most famous for his (beloved) xkcd webcomic, so I was expecting to laugh, and Wheaton’s energetic narration was a lot of fun. For me, it took awhile to get through simply because the content felt more digestible in small-ish doses; I personally wouldn’t have wanted to listen to so many thought experiments for hours on end (for instance, on a road trip), but taken in twenty minute chunks I found them completely delightful. I don’t listen to a ton of audiobooks normally (my listening time tends to go to podcasts and radio), but I love to be read to (file under: things we carry with us from childhood; thanks Dad!), so I’ve been really enjoying the change of format.
I’m loving Lair of Dreams, and I’ve discovered an awesome benefit of listening to this particular title; I’m enjoying the 1920’s slang that is peppered throughout everyone’s (especially our main protagonist from book 1, Evie’s) speech a lot more when I can hear it. The cast of characters is still expanding (and representing an increasingly diverse NYC as it does), and the story is reeling me back in quickly. I almost didn’t start this, because I didn’t feel like I had time to revisit The Diviners first (it’s almost 600 pages!), and I really needed a refresher on everything that had happened (I read it well over 3 years ago), but a quick detour to the time-saving Recaptains site brought me back up to speed quickly (the site is awesome, and designed to refresh readers’ memory about previous volumes in a series, so it’s all spoilers. Consider yourself warned. I use it a lot for next installments, especially if the time between volume publications was long).
I’m also working through The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geek Girls by Sam Maggs (in print). The overall tone of the text is refreshingly positive – fandom being, at its heart, about celebrating something that moves you – and incredibly direct, leaving zero room for the idea that anyone can shut anyone else out of a fandom, or that any group of fans could be more “legit” or authoritative than any other. I am excited to share this with a ton of my students, and I’m also finding it to be a great overview for me in collection development and reader’s advisory terms; there is so much content out there, it can be overwhelming, and although I certainly am an enthusiastic fan in many arenas (*she wrote, with an eye on her complete Buffy dvd collection*), there are plenty of shows, games, series, etc. that I know some of my students love but that I won’t realistically have time to consume in their entirety. I’ve already found lots of fun ideas for possible displays and read-alike recommendations, and there are a lot of potential programming ideas to be found here too.
What have you been reading for the Challenge lately? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and join the conversation on social media; look for the #hubchallenge on Instagram, Twitter, and our Goodreads group. If you’ve finished the Challenge, a) bravo! and b) fill out this form.
-Carly Pansulla, currently reading We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie