2012: The #nerdprintz Challenge

I sit here tonight, thinking about dipping my toes into the 2012 challenge waters. I’m just finishing up my greatest year of reading ever; do I want to chance losing that momentum because of challenges I might not complete? Do I want to risk being upset with myself about something reading related? Then a thought crossed my mind:


Oh, voice in my head. Such a kind guide you are. But you’re right. After constant urging of my students to “keep moving forward” if they fail, and to learn from their mistakes and move on. . .if I backed off from a challenge I had in my head just because I was afraid I might not succeed, how could I face my students when we return in January? Not with an honest conscience, that’s for sure.

My plan: read all the Michael L. Printz winners. Fortunately, there are only 12 (soon to be 13). I can do that. I have read 2 of them already: Monster (2000) and Looking for Alaska (2006). Will I read them again? Yes! Those books are amazing. I consider it a gift to be able to read them again.

“But Brian, what about the honor books? Shouldn’t you read those, too?”

You know, voice in my head, you can be pretty annoying sometimes, you know that? I would love to read the honor books. So sure, they’re in there, too. I’ve read some of them already, but there are a lot I haven’t read. I will be reading the award winners first, though.

“But Brian, what about all the other books you want to read next year? How are you going to have time for them?”

LISTEN, VOICE. Stop bringing up good points! I’m trying to feel competent here, you know? There are people who are going to read this, and I wouldn’t mind it if they were more on the side of “YEAH, let’s do this!” and not “whoa, that’s. . .kind of a lot. . .” But here’s the deal: I am going to try to read them, too. The summer is going to be a big help for this. More than anything, though, my love for reading is going to win out. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, VOICE? ARE YOU?!

. . .

That’s what I thought.

So, here we go. I’m all in. I might not make it. That’s okay. It might take me 2 years. Or 3. That’s okay. I’m in: I’m going to read all the Printz winners and honor books in 2012. Will you join me?

Past Printz Challenge

Top Ten of 2011

Hosted by Broke and Bookish

2011 was a big year for me as a reader. I read 39 books (and counting), which for some people is not much. For me, that’s almost as many books as I’d read in the past 4 years combined. I’m glad it was such a strong reading year, and I’m excited to continue it next year. But don’t let me get ahead of myself. Before I can get into next year, I need to finish this year. So here are my

Top Ten Books I Read in 2011

They are in the order in which I read them, so you can read into that whatever you’d like. I’m pretty sure it means nothing, but hey, do what you want.

1) Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

This was the first book I’d read in a while that I could not stop reading because I was enjoying it so much. Mockingbird jump-started my year of reading, and I haven’t looked back.

2) Looking for Alaska by John Green

I was late to the John Green bandwagon, but I’m not getting off it now. I read this in February, but the characters still haunt me. I’m pretty sure I only stopped reading this one to sleep. I didn’t even eat.

3) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Pretty much the outstanding novel you’d expect from two amazing authors.

4) Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor

In one word: beautiful. There’s a perfect balance of mystery and wonder overlaying the story of Raine as she finds herself and more at the resort at Sparrow Road.

5) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I wanted to like this book, and it turns out I loved it. A powerful and masterfully told story.

6) Divergent by Veronica Roth

I’m a sucker for a good dystopian. I’m even more of a sucker for a great dystopian, which Divergent definitely is.

7) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book is told like a years-old legend, and the magic it invites the reader to believe in is powerful stuff. I don’t know why I had been putting this one off.

8) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Again, I know I’m late to the party on this one (by a couple years), but wow. I love this book, and I’m glad I finally picked it up and gave it a whirl. Awesome read.

9) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

There’s a reason this is showing up on nearly everyone’s short list for best books of 2011. It’s beautiful, it’s dark, it’s haunting, but most of all: it’s amazing.

10) Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

There is something truly wonderful about this book. Fantasy and reality are mixed together in a beautiful way.

Honorable Mention: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I couldn’t believe I put my top ten together and this wasn’t in there. Seriously great debut novel. I can’t classify it into one genre: it’s just about everything. If this were a top 11 list, there’s no doubt this book would have made the list.

Happy 2011, everyone! Time to look forward to a great year of reading in 2012.