Jax Stacks Reading Challenge: April

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April brings us another two-theme month, with "A book in a different format than you usually read" and "A book in a genre you don’t usually read". Check out both of these lists below for ideas for your book selections! Be sure to put some books on hold and stop by your local library branch to pick them up along with your Jax Stacks Reaching Challenge bookmark, if you don’t have one already.

Also, don't forget that a lot of these books you can download a digital copy of through Hoopla or Overdrive. Or if you prefer a hard copy, try out our curbside pickup service which is fast, stress-free, and available to make all your reading quick, easy, and safe!

Are you looking for other readers to talk about the challenge with? Check out our open thread on Facebook and our monthly in-person book club meetings (registration required) to chat about what you’re reading and what you would recommend! If you haven't yet, be sure to sign up for our Jax Stacks readers monthly newsletter and stay on top of all the monthly happenings!

#Book in a Different Format Than What You Usually Read


  1. The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware

“With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.”

Audiobook read by Imogen Church, a silky smooth audio performer who is easy on the ears.

  1. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett

"Ann Patchett, the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, returns with her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.”

Audiobook read by Tom Hanks, who was handpicked by Ann Patchett to read her powerful family saga and he is a perfect fit.

  1. A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James

“On December 3, 1976, gunmen stormed Bob Marley's house, machine guns blazing, nearly killing all inside. Marley left the country three days later, not to return for two years. Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters assassins, journalists, drug dealers, and even ghosts, this is the fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time and its bloody aftermath, from Kingston in the '70s, to a radically altered Jamaica in the 1990s.”

Audiobook read by a full cast of seven voice actors who bring this historical novel to life.

#Graphic format

  1. Climate Changed, by Philippe Squarzoni

“What are the causes and consequences of climate change? When the scale is so big, can an individual make any difference? Documentary, diary, and masterwork graphic novel, this up-to-date look at our planet and how we live on it explains what global warming is all about. With the most complicated concepts made clear in a feat of investigative journalism by artist Philippe Squarzoni, Climate Changed weaves together scientific research, extensive interviews with experts, and a call for action. Weighing the potential of some solutions and the false promises of others, this groundbreaking work provides a realistic, balanced view of the magnitude of the crisis that An Inconvenient Truth only touched on.”

Comic books can be serious AND hefty – check out this 484-page graphic novel on your phone, tablet or computer through hoopla!

  1. The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo

“This insightful, illustrated case study is perfect for people looking for a fun introduction to the KonMari Method of tidying up, as well as tried-and-true fans of Marie Kondo eager for a new way to think about what sparks joy. Featuring illustrations by award-winning manga artist Yuko Uramoto, this book also makes a great read for manga and graphic novel lovers of all ages."

If you read this book when it first came out and were confused about how to fold your underwear to look like burritos, here is the manual with illustrations!


  1. What If?, by Randall Munroe

“The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with updated and expanded versions of the most popular answers from the xkcd website.”

What if your favorite website existed as a print book, with the stick figure illustrations you know and love?

  1. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne

“Professor Aronnax and his two companions, trapped aboard a fantastic submarine as prisoners of the deranged Captain Nemo, come face to face with exotic ocean creatures and strange sights hidden from the world above.”

This unabridged timeless adventure tale is only made better with the addition of brilliant illustrations by William O’Connor.

  1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L.Frank Baum and Robert Sabuda

“A pop-up version of the classic story with a shorter version of the text.”

Pop-up book artist Robert Sabuda has transformed several classic stories into intricate masterpieces. You can’t take his works home from our libraries, but you can find him in the library catalog and see which branch near you has his pop-up books available to read in the library.


  1. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James

“When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind -- until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.”

If you’re not ready to flash a romance (or other guilty pleasure) cover around town, an ebook is a great way to keep your books close to your vest.

  1. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

“Napoleon's turbulent history with Russia including his doomed 1812 invasion provides the setting for Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. Often referred to as the greatest novel of all time, Tolstoy's classic follows the tumultuous personal lives of two aristocratic families touching on all of the great human epochs; youth, matrimony, age and death.”

Ebooks are also great when your book is 1225 pages long and you don’t want to hold a book that big!

  1. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

“Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe”

Footnotes are great, and they’re great in ebook form, where you can just tap on a symbol to get to your footnote and back without having to find your place again!

#A book in a genre you don’t usually read

  1. The Escape Room, Megan Goldin

The Escape Room is a thriller and mystery, where an escape room becomes more than just game.  

“In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they'll do anything to get ahead. When the four of them are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, things start to go horribly wrong. If they want to survive, they'll have to solve one final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?”

  1. Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories, by Kelly Barnhill

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories is a collection of eight dark fantasy short stories and one novella.

“A short story collection featuring elements of magic realism while touching on the themes of love, knowledge, grief, hope, and jealousy. Teeming with uncanny characters whose lives unfold in worlds at once strikingly human and eerily original, these stories demonstrate the strength and power -- known and unknown -- of the imagination.”

  1. This Time Next Year, by Sophie Cousens

This Time Next Year is a warm-hearted romantic comedy with great characters and laugh out loud scenarios.

“Their lives began together, but their worlds couldn't be more different. Minnie Cooper and Quinn Hamilton have never met, but their mothers gave birth to them at the same hospital just after midnight on New Year's Day. Quinn was given the cash prize for being the first baby born in London in 1990-- and the name Minnie was meant to have, as well. Since then each of her birthdays has been a disaster. The two meet at a friends' New Year's party on their mutual thirtieth birthday, and the encounter leaves them both wanting more.”

  1. Yellow Wife, by Sadeqa Johnson

Yellow Wife is an 1850s historical fiction that reads like a thriller. A powerful and enriching story based on a true story of a woman's experience in slavery in the 1850s. 

 “Born on a plantation but set apart from the others by her mother's position as a medicine    woman, a young slave is forced to leave home at eighteen and unexpectedly finds herself in an infamously cruel jail.”

  1. Flawed, by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed is a young adult dystopian that shows there is no such thing as perfection.

“In a future society where 'flawed' people who have committed crimes are branded with an F, a young girl takes a stand.”

  1. The Deep, by Alma Katsu

The Deep is historical fiction based on the tragic event of the Titanic.  

“Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner's illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers - including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher - are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes. Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic's sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognizes while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not - could not - have survived the sinking of the Titanic.”

  1. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown

A remarkable nonfiction story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics.

“Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.”

  1. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a graphic novel about relationship, compassion, and self-respect.

“The tale of a curious boy, a greedy mole, a wary fox and a wise horse who find themselves together in sometimes difficult terrain, sharing their greatest fears and biggest discoveries about vulnerability, kindness, hope, friendship and love”

  1. The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu

The Three-Body Problem is a hard science fiction novel about alien contact.

“Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion."

  1. Size 12 is Not Fat, by Meg Cabot

Size 12 is Not Fat is a chick lit mystery for a rainy day or beach read.

“Assistant dorm director Heather Wells investigates the mysterious deaths of several students when neither the police nor her colleagues believe they are victims of foul play.”

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