Best of the Best Challenge: Final Update

After finishing the 25 books of the original challenge, I did start to lose momentum and became more easily distracted. In the end, I did not make it to my revised goal of 35. However, I managed 33, which is quite a respectable number.

Since my last update, I finished listening toRotters by Daniel Kraus. I’ve already mentioned my reaction to that audio book, so I”m not going to revisit it. If you like gruesome, horror stories without a supernatural side, try this book. It is well written with an interesting premise.

I also returned to Susan Coopers The Dark is Rising sequence and read the last two books in the series. These books really are comfort reads for me.

Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos.
This was the one book on the Nonfiction Award list that fell flat for me. The information was interesting enough, and I did learn things. But the tone was inconsistent. I could really tell that it was written by two people. Their voices didn’t always blend well. It often felt a bit like reading a textbook or sitting in a lecture. I felt like I was being taught, not told a story. The good news is that I have now read all of the Nonfiction Award winners. Another list completed!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I would never have read this book if it weren’t part of the challenge. But it turned out to be one of my favorites! I came of age in the 80s and really enjoyed the nostalgic romp through the popular culture of my youth. With its focus on gaming and unabashed obsession with the 80s, it sounds like a book only a geek could enjoy. But the story is an interesting, fast-paced adventure that should have a broad appeal. Watch this space for a full review.


Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts. Illustrated by Laura Park.

This book certainly deserves its place on the Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list. Rafe Khatchadorian is starting middle school, a place he likens to a maximum security prison for kids. While sitting in a boring assembly listening to the assistant principal read the school Code of Conduct, Rafe comes up with a brilliant idea to make middle school much more fun and exciting – he will try to break every rule in the Code of Conduct before the end of the school year. Rafe’s escapades make for a fun read.

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd. Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I usually enjoy short story collections and the collection included stories by some of my favorite YA authors. Plus, I had just read Ready Player One and was ready to indulge my secret inner geek some more. But most of the stories just didn’t speak to me. They were okay, just not great. My favorite parts were the cartoons between the individual stories. My favorite stories were “Quiz Bowl Antichrist” by David Levithan and “The Quiet Knight” by Garth Nix.

Jane by April Lindner.

The final book I read was Jane by April Lindner. It is a retelling of Jane Eyre with Jane forced to drop out of college after her parents are killed in an accident. Mr Rochester is reborn as a rock star, poised to begin a massive comeback tour. This was another book that was enjoyable, but didn’t blow me away. It certainly makes the classic story accessible to a new generation. But it left me wanting to go back to the original because, in my memory, it was somehow much more satisfying.

Coming soon: a reflection on the overall experience of participating in the challenge.



About booksnquilts

I'm the Children's Services Coordinator for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Central Virginia.
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