Tag Archives: Hub Challenge 2013

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check in #11

20 Apr

I don’t  very often choose humorous books. The only book I read for the Challenge this week  Sparks: the epic, completely true blue, (almost) holy quest of Debbie,  by S. J. Adams, was really funny!


Debbie has spent every Friday night for the many years, with her friend, Lisa, watching Full House. But Lisa now has a boyfriend and Debbie is on he down for hear first Friday night, bringing to a head a secret she’s has been keeping: she is in love with Lisa.  So begins her journey to beaching her own person. Along the way we encounter a quirky cast of characters and a fun, fast-paced story of one night in Debbie’s life. This is  a great read when you are looking for something light that tackles a serious subject.

2013 Hub Reading Challege check in #10

13 Apr

My favorite YA book of 2012 was Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I was thrilled to see it on YALASA’s Printz, Best Fiction & Amazing Audio lists, so I decided it would be the audiobook with which I cross the finish line.


Yes, I have read 25 of the 80+ books on the Hub Challenge list.  Cue fanfare.

I was both excited and a little nervous.  First, I was thrilled to revisit a book I loved so much. When I read it the first time, I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day. Nothing else got done that day, except a couple of walks for the girls. And yet, I was nervous. Would the voices of the audio version match those in my head? There’s a lot you don’t know until you read Kittyhawk, the second part of the book. Was the whole thing ruined because I knew what was ring to happen? But it worked. I loved Julie’s voice, read by Morven Christie.  At first, I wasn’t thrilled with ‘s portrayal of Maddie, voiced by  Lucy Gaskell but soon grew to be OK with it.

Even though I’ve read the required 25 books, I’m still continuing to read for the Challenge. I also completed #26: My Friend Dahmer by Derfe Backderf, a great graphic novel on a terrible subject.


Backderf went to middle & high school with Jeffrey Dahmer and has told the story of their high school years here. If not for the Challenge, I would never have read this book. It is not a fun read, but it is certainly interesting. And it made me think of all the stupid things I did in high school; what I paid attention to and what I ignored. It is worth picking up.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #8

30 Mar

My favorite of the two books I finished this week was The Diviners (audiobook) by Libba Bray.


I listened to it in the car as I drove to & from work and as I wheeled around town during Spring Break. At first I wasn’t sure how it would all fit together. Then, during the Ruta Badovsky episode, I worried it would be too scary. But Libba Bray expertly creates a terrifying place, without being graphic, a far more effective technique that kept me going. I’d read review that mentioned  the large number of characters and the difficulty the reviews had keeping track, but I didn’t find that problem. in fact, I now want to know how they all will connect in the next book. There was also a pint where I felt some characters (Mabel and Theta) had disappeared, never to return, but Bray set up an ending that let me know that she hand;t forgotten them and would have a part to play in the next book.

I also finished The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, a graphic novel about the civil rights movement. I like the way this personalized the situation and demonstrated through words and facial expression, how both families were impacted. I think that kids nowadays, so far removed from the civil rights movement, all get a realistic picture of what it was really like. It was a good read and a useful tool for Social Studies teaching.

This makes 24 out of the 25 I have to read to meet the Challenge. Once I meet it I’ll keep going. there are still lots of books on the list I want to read.

Me & Earl and the Dying Girl

20 Mar

Such vulgar dialogue! And yet, I really liked Me & Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews.


In fact, I almost abandoned it when the first bit of vulgarity began between Greg & Earl. I’m glad I kept going because I really liked the book. The novel is part confession/apology (in the Classical sense), part slapstick humor. I like the realism of it. As much as I like dystopian YA fiction, this was a refreshing change. What i especially appreciated is the way Andrews portrays Greg, who is credited with a selfless motivation by peers and adults, but  feels like a fraud because he knows his friendship with Rachel, dying of leukemia, is much more complicated. He is a very flawed, but real character who you can’t help liking.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #6

16 Mar


I only managed to finish Seraphina this week, which brings me to 20 books. I started off very ambitious and read Challenge books almost exclusively.Then, I realized it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so I’ve slowed down. I think part of me doesn’t want to get to 25 and be done. I plan to keep reading any others I can get even after I’ve reached 25. I don’t think I’ll conquer the entire list, even though part of me wants to. This has really let me find some new things I wouldn’t have picked up. I don’t especially like graphic novels and I’ve read more in these 2 months than I did all last year.



In her first novel, Rachel Hartman creates a rich world of humans and dragons. It took me a few chapters to get into it to, but once in, I was hooked. Rich characters, an exotic location, and a villain I didn’t see.

As I started reading, I kept thinking back to Arthur C. Clarke’s  Childhood’s End. I hadn’t read that in decades and was sketchy on the details, but there was a feeling to Seraphina  that made me think of Childhood’s End. It took me a while to realize what the connection was. I think it is the attitude. I think there is a similarity between the Goreddi’s attitude towards the dragons that is reminiscent of humanity’s attitude towards the Overlords. Or at least some people’s attitude towards the Overlords, it has been quite a long time since I read it. I might need to pick it up and add it to my Spring Break book pile.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #5

9 Mar

A light reading week here, but very busy with lots of other things. I finished Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce


and read Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert, a graphic novel.


This was quite good, although I wonder if it would be as good to someone who didn’t have some background knowledge about the Annie & Helen story.  I like that it gave more background about Annie’s life than one often gets.

I started Seraphina and I am really enjoying it. For some reason, it has me thinking about Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, which I haven’t read in decades. I might have to get a copy to see why. More on this later.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #4

2 Mar


I only finished 2 books: In the Hand of the Goddess and The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pirece. I had a tough week & needed something lighter than many of the other books offer. I read versions with these covers… not the originals.  I think they are from the 90’s.


9780689878565  9780689878589

Here’s a funny story for you.  I abandoned listening to Rick Yancey’s Isle of Blood because, on the second disc, I started gagging while I was driving. I have a very sensitive gag reflex and figured this down;t bode well for the rest of the book or the drivers around me.




2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #3

23 Feb

When I teach writing to kids, I usually have to probe to get them to add sufficient detail,  Christopher Paolini clearly does not suffer from this problem in Inheritance,  the final book in his Inheritance Cycle.


Last summer, I tried to sit down and read it, but just couldn’t bear to wade through the overabundance of detail.  When I saw it on the HUB Challenge list, I decided to give it a try as an audiobook. I can see why it appeared on the Amazing Audio list. Gerard Doyle does a fabulous job, keeping me connected to the story in spite of the writing. I don’t know how he kept up his enthusiasm for the story because mine flagged towards the end. Several times I thought Paolini could have stopped and I would have been satisfied.

I reread Alanna:the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. I had read these in the 90’s and listened to this series at the beginning of 2012, after reading the Beka Cooper series, which was awesome. It was nice revisiting an old friend.

To pad my list, I read 2  graphic novels: Drama by Rania Telgemeier and Stargazing Dog by Takashi  Murakami.

9780545326995    9781561636129

The first was a delightful quick read and about what one expects from the cover, title and description.  The second is darker than the cover suggests. It chronicles a man’s downward spiraling life and the dog who remains faithful to him. It made me rather sad.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #2

16 Feb

TBI – traumatic brain injury is a term I hear a lot on NPR. I sort of thought I understood it, but Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer provided insight into the degree to which TBI impacts the life of the person who has been injured  as well as the family and friends around them.


I was a little skeptical at first, worked it would glorify war, but it really didn’t. Whether you agree with the politics of war or not, this novel compassionately portrays the aftermath of injury. It got me thinking of Gabby Giffords to and the remarkable progress she’s made since she was shot in the head, and the long road she & her family still have in front of them. This book isn’t long, but it certainly makes you think.

More fun was Friends with Boys a graphic novel by Faith Erin Hicks.


This was a very sweet, realistic (in spite of the ghost) portrayal of the difficulty of finding your place in high school. Brought back some memories for me. I had a popular, athletic twin sister who seemed to fit in right I away. I was the shy nerdy twin & had to work a little harder to find my niche.

Finally, I just finished The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth.


This debut novel also considers finding your place in the world against the backdrop of family tragedy, evangelical Christianity and the exploration of sexual orientation in rural Montana. Danforth treats the subject with a delicate hand and even makes Aunt Ruth, who sends Cameron to a private school to “cure” her of her homosexuality, believable.  You might not like what Aunt Ruth has to say, but you can see that she really believes she acting in Cameron’s best interest.

I’m still listening to Inheritance I have lots of HUB Challenge books sitting on the “to read” shelf, so there’ll be another post on the HUB books next Saturday.

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