In the Stacks: The HUB Reading Challenge – Working My Way to the Finish Line!

So as some of you know, I have been challenging myself to finish YALSA’s Hub Reading Challenge. My goal is to finish 25 approved titles, whether they are books, graphic novels, or audiobooks by June 22nd. I have been at it just over a month now, and so far I have made it to book number 8 on my literary quest of reading awesomeness. Sounds like something Jack Black would say, doesn’t it? For my first three books I am proud to say that I was able to run through them in just under a week and a half and I definitely got my history on.

myfrienddahmerBook numero uno was titled My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf. Ha-ha-oh! Sorry guys, but just looking at the author’s name I have to say, I feel so bad for all of the horrible jokes that he must have endured in his life. But anyway, back to the book. My Friend Dahmer is the story about none other than Jeffrey Dahmer, one of the most despicable serial killers of the 20th Century. Now instead of focusing on Dahmer’s serial killing spree, the book (sorry, graphic novel) focuses on Dahmer’s life from middle school through high school. Author Backderf was a fellow classmate with Jeff, and only one of a couple of people close enough to ever be considered something of a friend to him. It seems that Dahmer was clearly an oddball in school to say the least, and this story really shows the events in his life that helped transform him into the monster he became. For anyone interested in reading it, it’s well worth your time.

The second title I read was Joseph Lambert’s graphic novel Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller. This was truly a wonderful graphic novel, and Ihellenkeller say that because the imagery in the story was so well captured. Lambert actually made a brave effort by illustrating certain parts of the story through the eyes of young Helen. Helen Keller was a deaf and blind young girl, who with Annie Sullivan’s tutelage learned to still become a highly functioning woman in America. Now I’m sure most of you have either read or seen The Miracle Worker which focuses on the initial meetings of Annie and Helen and the bitter struggle Annie faced teaching young Helen how to act and behave. The story ends with that breathtaking climax by the water pump where Helen finally “understands” all of the items around her and how to identify them using ASL.  Well guys, in Lambert’s graphic novel, that’s only part on. The story continues on and actually reveals a lot of interesting background information on both of the main characters from childhood on. So if you feel like learning more about these people, besides what you encountered with The Miracle Worker, you simply must check out this book.

trinityTo finish this blog, I would just like to share some feedback on the third book (well… graphic novel) that I read on my list which was called Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm. Now I want to caution you all about this one, this book contains an abundant amount of scientific knowledge within its wonderful pages. It is definitely a story where you might have to read certain pages, and then re-read them again in order to grasp what point it is that the author is trying to captivate. Trinity shows an in depth perspective of the entire Manhattan Project from start to finish, resulting of course with the dropping of Fat Man and Little Boy over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What I found to be a marvelous part in the story was what transpired after the bombs were dropped and World War II ended. You can see what became of the men and woman who participated in the Manhattan Project in the years that followed, and also all of the guilt that plagued some of the brilliant minds behind the atomic bomb such as Robert Oppenheimer. So to summarize everybody, focus hard on the parts about nuclear physics and chemistry (they do illustrate some examples to help you understand the basic concepts), and enjoy the magnificent tale that brought weaponry and warfare to a whole new level.

-Steve

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