Entertainment

Akata Witch

Fantasy lovers, if you haven't yet read Akata Witch, put down whatever book you're reading right now and get to it. It is a gorgeously original and magical book that will steal your breath away. Full of adventure, peril, juju and just a hint of romance, it's by Nnedi Okorafor, the same brilliant author who wrote the Binti series that I'm also enjoying right now. (Go read Binti, too.

Book Vending Machines

Some schools are installing vending machines that dispense free books to kids who read as rewards, but why stop there? So many schools depend on sponsors and sell their products in their vending machines for money; as a kid I remember even getting product placement on my book covers, and there were always sodas for sale at lunch. It's quite unhealthy, and despite all of the work that the Obamas did to improve the problem, there's more we can do.

Startling Harry Potter Revelations

Harry Potter fans are well aware that Harry Potter Book Night is fast approaching on February 4, and many youth groups and schools have fun plans to celebrate the day, from games and activities to simply re-reading the wonderful series. Since the series ended, author J. K. Rowling has revealed many secrets about the world of Hogwarts, some on the website Pottermore and some on social media, others in her fabulous interviews.

2019 Reading Challenges

Yes, there's the annual Goodreads Challenge, which is simple enough: you simply choose a number of books you hope to read in the New Year and attempt to meet that goal before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2019. For some, that's enough, and those of us who do a Goodreads Challenge often increase our quota each year as a personal challenge.

If You Come Softly

Earlier this month, I wrote about John Green and Rosianna Halse Roja's new book club, Life's Library, that my sister bought me a membership to for my birthday in November. I just finished reading the first selection, Jacqueline Woodson's If You Come Softly, and I'm not disappointed. It's a simple yet moving story about first love, tragedy, prejudice, violence against young Black men and much more.

Wytches

When I picked up a copy of Wytches at our local comic book shop, I thought it looked incredible. I read the prologue, which chilled me to the bone, and I believed the reviews by Stephen King and other critics who claimed that it would be the scariest graphic novel of all. While I can't confirm that the review held true upon completing the collection, it did prove to be scary and interesting, but most of all it was provocative, built with metaphors for the anxieties and depressions that many of us face in life.

Life's Library

Life's Library isn't a book club for John Green fans who are expecting to read his works. Instead, it's a collection of books selected by Green and Rosianna Halse Rojas that's curated around a community of readers who get to discuss the books online together. Every six weeks, the club discusses a new book in a Discord community. The books aren't chosen around a theme, just books that the curators really enjoyed and want to share with the community.

Scarlet

I'm so glad to have picked up The Lunar Chronicles, particularly after I finished the last installment of Saga and am now heartbroken from it. (Let's be honest, fans; we all knew this was coming. It wouldn't be Brian K. Vaughan if it didn't happen.) I finished Scarlet in a day and just picked up Cress, and I'd rather just read it than deal with all the terrible feels I'm having this time of year. Spoilers ahead!

Cinder

I may be a bit late to the game when it comes to the Lunar Chronicles, but I'm completely hooked after the first book. Cinder, which has been dubbed a cross between a fairy tale and Star Wars, is the story of a cyborg teenager who has a complicated history, to say the least. In her world, cyborgs are second class citizens and don't have rights of their own, which is where her wicked stepmother comes in. It takes place on a futuristic Earth that has to contend with leaders on other planets, interplanetary politics and troubles with things like hovers and portscreens.

Best Books of 2018

As 2018 wraps up in the next few weeks (can you even believe it's almost over?), it's time to start thinking about anything you want to finish in 2018 that you didn't get around to just yet--including books! There are so many great lists of "The Best Books of 2018" available that there's no shortage of ideas if you don't already have a TBR (To Be Read) pile, but if you have a list we'd love to know what you want to read and what you enjoyed most in 2018. 

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