Tag Archives: Panels Challenge 2016

Wrap Up: 2016 Goodreads, Reader Harder, Panels, and Surprise Me Challenges

Yet another reflection on my reading challenges of the past year. Looking back, I feel pretty satisfied with my reading accomplishments in 2016.

2016challengeGoodreads Challenge
This year, I upped my goal to 130 from 125 (my goal for 2014 and 15). I was able to surpass it, with a total of 137 books, just a few less than last year. I think I am going to stick with 130 again for 2017. If you want to see everything I read, here’s a link to My Year in Books, courtesy of Goodreads.

dnfRead Harder Challenge and Panels Challenge
I set out with good intentions to use these challenges to diversify my reading, and I lasted until about the summer before I stopped finding books to fit categories. I read 13 for Read Harder and seven for Panels. I guess these sorts of challenges are just not for me, so  doubt I will try participating in 2017.


1294462_610283705699430_153240590_oSurprise Me Challenge
This is a challenge just for me, to replace the Random Reads Challenge I did in 2015 that was not continued by the blogger who hosted it. I read 11 of the 12 books randomly chosen from my TBR list, and I only missed reading all 12 because one of the books is lost in the house somewhere, I can’t find it in a local library, and I’m not going to buy another copy. This challenge gave me the variety I was looking for, without having to follow someone else’s plan, so I will do it again for 2017.

How did you do in meeting your reading goals and challenges this year?

Surprise Me Challenge August ’16

In 2016, I am continuing to let random.org choose a book from my TBR list, to be read sometime during the month. My randomly generated number for August is 319 (out of 430 in my TBR list). SURPRISE!, I will be reading The Chair, Vol. 1 by Peter Simeti, an adult horror graphic novel. A graphic novel is a lucky choice for August, as school is starting and I have some other books on desk that I must read soon.

 Here is the Goodreads summary:

Richard Sullivan has spent the past ten years as an innocent man on death row. Witnessing savage killings at the hands of the prison’s sadistic and psychotic Warden, Sullivan decides that in order to survive he must match the brutality occurring in the prison. But as he fights to escape his fate, Sullivan is forced to question his sanity and confront his own horrific past.


2016 Challenges: July Progress

  • Goodreads goal of 130 books: 13 this month, 94 total
  • 2016 Horror Reading Challenge  goal of 16+ books: One this month, 15 total
  • Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge (24 specific categories of books): One this month– category 3, 13 total
  • Panels’ 2016 Read Harder Challenge (26 specific categories of books): One this month-category 14, seven total–still gotta get going on this one.
  • Surprise Me goal of one book per month: One this month, seven total

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/4/16

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Happy Independence Day! We are having gloomier and cooler than usual weather here, so I spent the morning reading and kind of watching the Tour De France. We are getting out to a local festival in a bit, and I’m hoping the park won’t be that muddy.

Last Week’s Books:

Adult: Mort(e) by Robert Repino was a book that caught my eye at Barnes and Noble, and then I saw that it was a book recommended by one of my favorite booksellers. It is a post-apocalyptic novel, the premise being that the ants spent centuries preparing to rise up against mankind and developed something for the water supply that would allow/force the other animals to help them. Mort(e) is a former house cat named Sebastian who was surprised to find one day that the fur on his hands had fallen away, he could walk upright, had grown to a size bigger than humans and could understand their language. The animals are able to overthrow most of their human oppressors in a short amount of time. Mort(e) joined the Red Sphinx militia, but what he most desperately wants is to find his best friend from before the change, Sheba was the dog next door, and Mort(e) believes that she must have survived. On his quest to find her, Mort(e) stumbles upon a human resistance group that believes he fulfills a prophecy. This is fine satire from an author I hope to hear more from in the future.

Dare to Disappoint: Growing up in Turkey  is an engaging memoir by Ozge Samanci. She recounts her childhood days, when her parents stressed that the only way she could get ahead in life was to study hard to get into better and better schools and eventually obtain a college degree from a prestigious university so she could support herself. Ozge was a dreamer who longed to become an explorer like Jacques Cousteau, but who turned away from her dreams because studying math or engineering would be better for her future. It is not until she has continually struggled in college that Ozge “dared to disappoint” her parents, particularly her father, and pursue her own goals. Samanci’s drawings are supplemented with collage images, stamps, and more, making them a vibrant and inspiring look into her life. This book counts for my Panels Challenge 2016 (category 14–a slice-of-life comic not set in the U.S.)

Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Surprise Me Challenge July ’16

In 2016, I am continuing to let random.org choose a book from my TBR list, to be read sometime during the month. My randomly generated number for July is 342 (out of 412 in my TBR list). SURPRISE!, I will be reading The Good Braider by Terry Farish. I’m looking forward to reading this book that I have already added to both my school library collections.

Here is the Goodreads description:

In spare free verse laced with unforgettable images, Viola’s strikingly original voice sings out the story of her family s journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and finally to Portland, Maine. Here, in the sometimes too close embrace of the local Southern Sudanese Community, she dreams of South Sudan while she tries to navigate the strange world of America a world where a girl can wear a short skirt, get a tattoo or even date a boy; a world that puts her into sharp conflict with her traditional mother who, like Viola, is struggling to braid together the strands of a displaced life.

Terry Farish’s haunting novel is not only a riveting story of escape and survival, but the universal tale of a young immigrant’s struggle to build a life on the cusp of two cultures.

2016 Challenges: June Progress

  • Goodreads goal of 130 books: 17 this month, 81 total
  • 2016 Horror Reading Challenge  goal of 16+ books: Five this month, 14 total
  • Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge (24 specific categories of books): Two this month– category 7 and 12, 12 total–halfway there!
  • Panels’ 2016 Read Harder Challenge (26 specific categories of books): One this month-category 26, six total–gotta get going on this one.
  • Surprise Me goal of one book per month: One this month, six total

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/27/16

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Summer means I am reading many more adult books than usual, so I will identify them as such immediately. This is not to say that some adult books won’t be selected for high school or teen collections, but I am a middle school librarian so they are not ones I would include in my schools’ collections.

Last Week’s Books:

Magarent Peterson Haddix is off to a great start of a new series with Under Their SkinSpoiler alert:  Middle schooler twins Nick and Eryn just can’t leave well enough alone when their mother plans to remarry and they find out their new stepdad has twins just their age whom they will never be allowed to meet. On a chance snow day, the two find themselves home alone and trudge to Ava and Jackson’s mom’s house and discover that the two are robots. In fact, they discover that EVERYONE older than they are robots, who were given the task of recreating mankind from frozen embryos many years after the rest of humanity was wiped out. But of course, that’s only the beginning of the story. Although the science in this science fiction novel is a bit iffy at times, kids won’t care as it is a page turner. And it will also make them think.

Through the Woods, written and illustrated by Emily Carroll, is a graphic novel/picture book hybrid that is delightfully dark and creepy and definitely for middle schoolers and up. The five short stories are ghostly and/or ghastly and the vivid (mostly) black and red illustrations are a perfect match. There’s a lot of unsettling teeth/mouth imagery, which always seems to freak me out a bit. This book counts for my Horror Challenge 2016.

House Arrest by K.A. Holt is such a heartprint novel in verse! As the book opens, we learn that we are reading the court ordered journal that Timothy was “sentenced” to write as part of his probation for stealing a man’s wallet. Readers quickly learn that there is much more to the story–Timothy used the stolen credit card to buy over $1100 worth of prescription medicine for his baby brother, who must rely on a trache to breath. Timothy and his mom are struggling to not only care for Levi but to afford house payments and food since Timothy’s dad walked out on them. The voice is SO STRONG in this book! Timothy is at first the tough guy, insulting his probation officer and clamming up when visiting his therapist, but once he opens up, readers see the fragile yet strong, wonderful person inside. I can’t wait to share it with my students in the fall. Don’t miss this one.

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson should be required reading for students learning about the Holocaust. Leyson was a young teen when the Germans barged into Krakow, changing his life forever. Leyson gives us an inside look from someone who worked for Oskar Schindler and was on his famous list. This book has been out for a few years so I am a little late in the game, but the rave reviews of others are all true. Please direct your students to this fine, important memoir.

I picked up Beautiful Darkness  by Fabien Vehlmann from my local public library because it is a watercolor graphic novel–and that fulfills a category in one of my reading challenges. Its description as an anti-fairy tale was intriguing as well. Boy, did I have no idea what was in store for me! The book opens as Aurora and Prince Hector are sharing tea and all of a sudden strange goop starts plopping down from the ceiling. They and other “cave” inhabitants are able to crawl out, revealing that they were all inside the body of a dead little girl. These miniature people are now in the forest and must find a way to survive amidst the animals living there. Except their survival turns into something reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, as they do not live peacefully and often turn against one another. One horrific, unsettling thing happens after the other and it is all done in a somewhat cute drawing style, making it all the more creepy. I was a bit stunned after reading it and then gave it to my son who is entering high school and he had the same reaction. My 20-year-old daughter has it now, so it will be interesting to hear her thoughts as she relishes the macabre. This book counts for my Horror Reading Challenge 2016. This book also counts for my Panels Challenge 2016 (category 26–watercolor comic).

I don’t think there are enough words to describe how much I love Andrew Smith’s work. I finished listening to 100 Sideways Miles and was again blown away by how strong of a voice he gives to the teenage boys he writes, his beautiful use of language and repetition, and his thought-provoking stories.  Finn Easton is a 17-year-old whose life so far has been defined by three things: 1. his mom was killed and he was severely injured by a freak accident when a dead horse fell off of a bridge and onto them 2. he has epilepsy and 3. his father wrote a cult science fiction novel and named his main character after Finn and referenced Finn’s unique scar from the aforementioned accident. Finn is trying to “break out” of his father’s book and be his own person with the help of best friend Cade Hernandez and new girlfriend Julia. This book about first loves and road trips and growing up and away is a treasure. And I must once again say what an excellent narrator Kriby Heyborne is. He helped bring Finn to life in a way that made me so glad I listened to the book rather than read the print version.

Adult book: Fables, Vol 6 is the continuation of Bill Willingham’s great series of fairy-tale characters come to life and living a secret existence in tandem with our world. In this installment, Jack (of beanstalk fame) tries his hand as a big-time Hollywood producer, we definitively learn who The Adversary is, and Little Boy Blue becomes quite the badass hero. Great as always.

Batgirl, Vol 1. The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone is the start of the New 52 Batgirl, who in later issues “becomes” Batgirl of Burnside. Again, I am enjoying so many different iterations of this character. Standing out in this book is Batgirl’s introspection. She is a bit broody, like Bruce Wayne, and yet there is also a wry humor about her as she is stikes out to fight crime again after an experimental operation cured the paralysis she suffered from the Joker’s attack (in Killing Joke). I have three other volumes to read as my husband fed my Batgirl obsession for my birthday 🙂

Currently Reading:

On Deck: