Thursday, December 20, 2012


So, in a conversation on Twitter the other day (started by the Nerdy Book Club post that Katherine Sokolowski and I wrote to help Colby find great YA books-EVEN if there is some kissing...), we all started to share our "book gaps" -those books we kind of avoid reading.  Donalyn Miller challenges us all to think about our book gaps and to make a goal to read more of those. She gave a hashtag to the idea--#bookgapchallenge. I tend to avoid lots of historical fiction.  I am not a fan of the lives of women before recent times--not only because their rights were limited, but because they seem to wear pretty uncomfortable clothes. Oh, I love fairy tales and Philippa Gregory's historical fiction where women are wearing puffy fancy dresses, but the thought of itchy high-collared dresses makes me gag. And I don't like the cold--so those books set in "Little House on the Prairie" times are not my faves (even though I did love Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was younger.)  Anyway, I tend to avoid historical fiction.  BUT, I do read some historical fiction and if the characters are good, I can get past the itchy clothing and the cold weather.

As our #bookgapchallenge conversation continued, I realized that I have several book gaps--not just one. Lots of conversations with Tony Keefer (who agrees with Colby about the kissing books) over the years have reminded me of this. I often go to Tony when looking for adventures and books with action. It isn't that I don't like adventure, but I tend to read books that are character-based.  Plot is secondary to me. Setting means almost nothing.  This need for characters I love, means I don't read many plot-based books. I tend to skip over the action-packed adventures that many of my kids have fallen in love with.

So, Tony Keefer, Katherine Sokolowski and I made a pact.  Katherine and I will read H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden, an action-packed book that Tony chose for us. And Tony will read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, a YA romance that Katherine recommended. (I will read this one too as Katherine highly recommends it and we have very similar tastes in books.)

H.I.V.E. arrived today.  I have been thinking about this book.  I have read other action/adventure books but I usually read them because I feel like I have to. I read them because I know I have kids who will like them and I don't do much beyond getting through them. But I am going to try to approach this one differently--to see if I am missing something in these books that will help me enjoy them more. I have faith in Tony's decision on book title and I am going in with an open mind. I am excited to try something new.

I love this idea of the #bookgapchallenge and I plan to talk to my kids about it. I think to make it work, you need to connect with other readers. I am not the best person to choose an adventure, so I needed to find a reader friend who could recommend one for me.  I want this for my kids--find some books that are different from what you usually read, stretch yourself a bit and see what happens. A great challenge for 2013, I think. What are your book gaps?


  1. I love this idea! Historical fiction. Not the itchy dress part, but the learning about other times and places. My gap is fantasy and dytopian stuff. Just. don't like em.

  2. Such a great idea! I'll be talking with my primary kids about this too! I like realistic fiction and fantasy but my gap is historical fiction. Any recommendations?

  3. Historical fiction is one of my faves! I just read a bunch of civil rights books and a couple revolutionary wartime books. I bet you even read some historical fiction without thinking about it. May B. by Rose is a great verse novel set in the early 1900s I'd guess. Rev War ones I read were Sophia's War by Avi and Five 4ths of July - the latter being really excellent. Civil Rights ones - The Rock and the River by Magoon, Mighty Miss Malone by Curtis, Lions of Little Rock by Levine, Glory Be by Scattergood, A Thousand Never Evers by Burg. Or contact me @ muellerspace on Twitter for specific time periods.

    1. Thanks for the historical fiction titles! I'm reading May B. right now and LOVE it!! I may contact you on Twitter for more recommendations!

  4. I also love action/adventure. Anything by Roland Smith is amazing, and his Storm Runners series was really good on audio. I also love love the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz and all books by Will Hobbs.

    My book gaps are definitely romance for one and then poetry and nonfiction as well. Any suggestions for finding good poetry books when they come out?

  5. Feel free to follow my reviews on Goodreads (Mary Lee Hahn). I've been asked to serve on the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children's Poetry Committee, so you'll see LOTS of new poetry books popping up there!


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