I had set a goal of reading 75 books this year. I did not make it – I blame the fact that I went on a close to two month reading hiatus where I just couldn’t get into reading. Oh well! I did manage to finish 56 books, listed and categorized below. I provided some commentary for the ones I could actually remember!
I’m a bit heavy on the popular fiction and am going to try to branch out a bit more next year when 75 will be reached!
Thanks to OverDrive for letting me download books for free, thus enabling me not to go broke on books this year. And thanks to Goodreads, for making it so easy to keep track of what I read! I think I got them all.
My absolute favorite books this year.
- We Were Liars (E. Lockhart) – I adored this young adult suspense novel I read over the summer. Kept me intrigued and surprised me in the end. Plus I loved the island setting close to Martha’s Vineyard – one of my favorite summer destinations.
- The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah) – Great World War II read. I am a sucker for this genre, and I have always liked Hannah’s work – though usually I find them more guilty pleasure readings and less thoughtful works. This was both a bit of a guilty pleasure and a unique look at World War II. Very well done.
- Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys) – Another World War II read, this time by brilliant young adult author Sepetys, this book was recommended by a former student (with a note that it has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey). It is a simply gorgeous book that I fell in love with. Cannot wait for Sepetys’ new one this year.
- Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (Claude M. Steele) – This book changed the way I think about stereotyping and is a must-read for any teacher, or anyone really. Fascinating look behind stereotype threat and the effect it has on various identities. And I read this on the beach – that’s how interesting it is. Please do yourself a favor, read this book, and grow.
Books that made me think.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie) – This book was required summer reading for my 8th grade students’ Global Studies class. LOVED it. Laugh out loud funny while forcing you to think. Gave me a whole different perspective to thinking about how to teach through a diverse lens. This book also encouraged me to seek out other books that allow my students to see things from a different perspective.
- Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology (Leah Remini) – I have loved Remini since Stacy Kerosi caroused on the Bayside Beach with Zach Morris. I have also found scientology interesting but didn’t know much about it. This book was fascinating, and though I know it is told from a single perspective, it made me question the practices of this so-called religion and whether or not Leah’s claims are truthful. I will be doing more reading on this subject, for sure.
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Patrick Lencioni) – Read this if you want to better understand how to work with others and what each team member brings to the table. It’s short, funny, easy, and thought provoking.
Books that reminded me what it is like to be a young adult.
- Out of the Easy (Ruta Sepetys) – an interesting look at life in New Orleans French Quarter in the 50s.
- The Beginning of Everything (Robin Schneider)
- The Impossible Knife of Memory (Laurie Halse Anderson)
- Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Meg Medina) – Fantastic book about the real threat of bullying in schools. Piddy is a character everyone should read.
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Jesse Andrews) – Another young adult book about kids with cancer. I enjoyed this so much more than The Fault in Our Stars – it just seemed more real and less melodramatic (though I do love that book too.
- Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell) – It was good; for me it wasn’t great. Maybe because I don’t really understand the Fangirl world, I couldn’t get it into it. I found myself skimming through the Simon Snow excerpts. But I know many adore this book – maybe it’s for a younger crowd.
- I Love You, Beth Cooper (Larry Doyle) – Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it.
Books I couldn’t stop reading.
- The Vacationers (Emma Straub) – Thouroughly enjoyed this read about a dysfunctional family vacationing in Mallorca. Beautiful scenery, well-written, at times laugh out loud funny, and a great depiction of true family life.
- Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand) – I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book as usually I have a hard time with particularly gruesome war stories. But this was masterfully written and such an amazing story, I couldn’t put it down. Another World War II addition to my list and an inspiring look at the human spirit.
- Where’d You Go Bernadette? (Maria Semple) – Fantastic, couldn’t put down book. Her flaws make Bernadette easy to root for and identify with. Original plot and superb characterization left me recommending this book to many.
- Home Front (Kristin Hannah) – An interesting multi-perspective book about the relationship between a married US soldier deployed in Iraq and her stay at home husband. Hard to put down.
- Defending Jacob (William Landay) – I really loved this book. So suspenseful and an ending I did not see coming.
Books I finally read. Continue reading