Read This Next: Winter Reading Challenge

As you may have heard, we here at CPL are hosting a Winter Reading Challenge BINGO game.  Expand your reading horizons, get a BINGO, and enter your BINGO card to win some great prizes.  There is still plenty of time to read along with us!

While I can’t win any of the prizes, I am still aiming for a BINGO on my card and I can still tell you about what I have been reading lately:

Read a book featuring a character(s) with a disability

I just finished When We Were Vikings, a debut novel by Andrew David MacDonald. The story is told from the point of view of a young woman named Zelda, who was born on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum.  She lives with her brother Gert, and they do their best to get by.  Zelda has rules for living, a penchant for using her Word of Today, and she tries to understand the world through her favorite book, Kepple’s Guide to the Vikings.  She feels that the Vikings were legendary, and she dreams of living her own life in a legendary way as well.

Over the course of the book, which starts on her twenty-first birthday, Zelda strives for adult milestones.  She gets a job at a small library, which leads to one of my favorite lines in the book: “A library is a very heroic place to work because librarians help people get stronger brains”.  She gets more serious with her boyfriend and learns what heartache feels like.  And she tries to help her brother Gert, who is ignoring his college courses and running with a rough crowd, and learns that the world is full of both heroes and villains.

We read this story through the perspective and understanding of Zelda.  We see her live her life in a world that views her differently – from those that love her, to those that try to take advantage of her, to those who underestimate her and her abilities.  In the end, Zelda teaches everyone that each of us deserves a chance to be legendary.

For a few more suggestions for this BINGO square, click HERE.

Read a science fiction or fantasy title:

I don’t usually read science fiction or fantasy, so I thought this would be a good challenge.  I chose Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, the first in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series.  Now, I may be merely easing into science fiction here, as the main element of sci-fi is time travel, which is a concept that I really enjoy.  Think Time Traveler’s Wife, Life After Life, or Oona Out of Order.

St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research is not your typical academic institution.  The historians time travel to “investigate major historical events in contemporary time”.  In other words, they might travel back in time to watch a Shakespeare play performed in The Globe Theater, or travel back to a hospital on the front lines in WWI to determine what caused it to burn to the ground.  They are not allowed to insert themselves into history or to attempt to change things – history has a way of making sure that they can’t.  Madeline Maxwell (Max) is a new recruit at St. Mary’s.  She makes it through her training at the top of her class, but from the very first, her time jumps are fraught with the unexpected.  It turns out that there is a rogue group of history time-travelers who are determined to change history at any cost.

This was such a fun read, written with a light hand, the story full of adventure and humor. The characters, especially Max, are worth rooting for on their adventures; some of the places they go are wild to think about (dinosaurs!); and the premise sets up for an entertaining series.  I have already requested the next one!

For a few more suggestions for this BINGO square, click HERE.



Read a biography in graphic novel format:

This last one is probably my favorite of the three, Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redness.  This is a graphic novel biography of Marie and Pierre Curie.  First, this book is the perfect example of just how beautiful a graphic novel can be.  The colors leap off the page, the art is gorgeous and complements the story, and reading it feels like an experience.  Hmmm…this one might also fit under the “Read a book you picked just because of the cover” square?

This book is full of information about the Curies.  We learn about their early lives, their meeting and marriage, their work together.  We see Marie Curie fight the Nobel committee for recognition of her scientific contributions.  We see the struggles of their personal lives, and the triumphs of their science.  And we see her tragic death because of her own discovery.  Lest you think this is a biography-light, it is full of information, as seen through seven pages of citations.  And lest you think this is all science, it is full of heart and humanity.  If you think heart and science don’t go together, please see page 180, which brought tears to my eyes.  I loved this book so much, I bought a copy to keep on my bookshelf.

For a few more suggestions for this BINGO square, click HERE.

For those with a BINGO card,  you will see that I need to read “A cookbook featuring a cuisine you have never tried” and “A book in translation” to get a BINGO.  I’m on it!

We have plenty more suggestions for our Winter Challenge.  You can find them here, or you can feel free to email me at   Let’s read bigger, together!