2024 Reading Challenge Update: April Winner and What You Read This Month!

The end of April means the end of the semester! Congratulations to all of Northeastern’s 2024 grads, and to everyone who made it through final exams and final projects.

Aliah Mahadeo is the April Reading Challenge winner! Aliah will receive a digital gift card to bookshop.org—perfect for picking up some new summer reads. Congratulations to everyone who read a book this month and told us about it. April’s theme was “a book about nature, the environment, or climate change.” Here are some of the eco-focused titles you enjoyed:

What You Read This Month

Cover of Fire Weather

Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World, John Vaillant
Listen to the audiobook
“A stressful and well-written read, edge-of-your-seat action and the science behind modern fire.” — Kim

Cover of Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, Jon Krakauer
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
“I listened to the audiobook, which had me on the edge of my bus seat during my morning and evening commutes. Jon Krakauer’s firsthand account of the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster is gripping and visceral, and you can really feel his own heartbreak, helplessness and guilt. Really, though, maybe people should stop climbing Mt. Everest?” — Brooke

Cover of Birnam Wood

Birnam Wood, Eleanor Catton
Read the e-book | Find it at Snell
“There’s no such thing as an ethical billionaire.” — Priscila

Cover of The Sixth Extinction

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
“It explores the current mass extinction event and the impact of human activity on the planet’s biodiversity. Kolbert provides a compelling narrative that weaves together scientific research, history, and personal anecdotes to illustrate the severity of the ecological crisis we face. It’s a thought-provoking and sobering read that sheds light on the urgent need for action to protect our planet. — Sudhanva

Cover of The Overstory

The Overstory: A Novel, Richard Powers
Read the e-book | Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
“This book was greatly out of my comfort zone…I really enjoyed how all the characters’ stories were so interconnected with each other and the natural world. I really enjoy books that really focus on the characters, so I really liked that about this book, but I did find it to be very slow and sometimes the wording seemed a bit muddled or dense. I overall liked this book even though it was not the type of book I normally read.” — Aura

Cover of The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles: A Novel, Karen Thompson Walker
Find it at Snell
The Age of Miracles is a poignant and thought-provoking novel that explores the consequences of the Earth’s rotation shown through the eyes of a young Julia. Karen Thompson Walker’s storytelling is both captivating and hauntingly beautiful, offering a unique perspective on resilience, adaptation, and the fragility of human existence. The novel’s exploration of the interconnected way of all living things and the importance of cherishing the present moment makes it a standout work of speculative fiction that stays with the readers, including me, long after they have finished reading. Highly recommended for those interested in thought-provoking narratives about the human condition in the face of existential crisis.” — Shivangi

And What to Read in May

The Reading Challenge theme for May is “a comic book or graphic novel.” Whether you’re a longtime comics fan or brand new to the genre, here are some recommendations for your May read!

They Called Us Enemy, George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven R. Scott, and Harmony Becker
Read the e-book | Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
Long before he played Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, George Takei was born to Japanese immigrants living in Los Angeles. In 1942, when Takei was five years old, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which ordered the incarceration of all Japanese and Japanese American people living in the United States. For the next three years, until World War II ended, Takei and his family were shuttled between internment camps. They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s graphic memoir of life behind the barbed wire of the camps, and of the resilience of his family and community in the face of a hostile and suspicious nation.

Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze
Read the e-book | Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
Even if you’re not a Marvel superfan, it’s hard not to be thrilled by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ rendering of T’Challa, aka Black Panther, the Wakandan king who doubles as a superhero. Coates’ story and Stelfreeze’s illustrations bring Wakanda to life in all its Afro-futuristic sci-fi super-tech glory.

Paper Girls, Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson, and Jared K. Fletcher
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
It’s easy to imagine Stranger Things vibes in this series from Saga creator Brian K. Vaughn, but Paper Girls defies all comparisons. In 1988, four young paper girls discover a mystery that will shake their small suburban world to its foundations.

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, Tom Hanks
Read the e-book
If anyone knows the movie business, it’s Tom Hanks. This unique novel, interspersed with Tom Hanks-created comic books, offers a tongue-in-cheek glimpse behind the behind-the-scenes of Hollywood. A World War II soldier returns home, then disappears; a comic book artist creates a superhero based on that soldier; a director decides to turn that comic book into a superhero epic; and then we meet the eccentric cast and crew.

Need more reading recommendations? Check out our suggested e-books and audiobooks for May! If you’re in Boston, you can stop by the Snell Library lobby in person on May 15 and 16 for Reading Challenge stickers, bookmarks, comics and graphic novels to check out, and friendly librarians who love talking about books!

And when you finish your next book, make sure to tell us about it for a chance to win the May prize drawing! (For more chances to win, make sure you submit your reading to the Massachusetts Center for the Book, as well as the Northeastern University Library.)

As always, happy reading!