My goal was to read 60 books this year but I didn’t make it. I blame Italy. (Too much Prosecco does not, in fact, allow for close reading – or any reading for that matter. I was, however, sober enough to snap a few picures of bookstores in Rome.) My summer road trip with the kids also took a chunk out of my summer – when I would normally be reading at the beach while the kids swim, I was drivingdrivingdriving…and shopping. Still I am currently on book 54, so I am happy with that. Of course if I only read 50-ish books a year, it will take me TEN years to read all the books on my to-be-read shelves. Never mind the titles listed in my want-to-read notebook (which I anally copied over into a new notebook yesterday).
Here are some additional thoughts about my reading/blogging year:
1. Not all Young Adult books are created equal.
I have been reading a lot more YA fiction these days. I have two teenagers at home (a daughter, 15 and a son, 13) who are both avid readers. My son, in particular, is constantly telling me I have to read [insert title]. I also teach high school English and I am really, really working hard to create a culture of book love in my room. I am slowly, but surely, building a classroom library and I am trying to read my way through it so that I can offer real advice to those kids who need it. So when I say that not all YA is created equal I feel like I have a little bit of credibility. Here are the YA titles I read this year:
1. Reality Check – Peter Abrahams
2. I Am Not Esther – Fleur Beale
3. Things Change – Patrick Jones
4. Between – Jessica Warman
5. Chasing Boys – Karen Tayleur
6. Nevermore – Kelly Creagh
7. The Day I Killed James – Catherine Ryan Hyde
8. Ashes – Ilsa J. Bick
9. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
10. Drowning Anna – Sue Mayfield
11. Jane – April Lindner
12. He’s After Me – Chris Higgins
13. The Returning – Christine Hinwood
14. I’ll Be There – Holly Goldberg Sloan
15. Divergent – Veronica Roth
16. Nothing But Ghosts – Beth Kephart
17. Things You Either Hate or Love – Brigid Lowry
18. Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness
19. Gone – Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson
20. Nevermore – Linda Newbery
21. The Heights – Brian James
22. 40 Things I Want To Tell You – Alice Kuipers
23. The Death of Jayson Porter – Jaime Adoff
24. Surrender – Sonya Hartnett
25. The Ask and The Answer – Patrick Ness
26. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick
27. Played – Dana Davidson
28. Right Behind You – Gail Giles
Of those titles here were my favourites.
#1 NO CONTEST: The Fault in Our Stars – John Green ( I have SO MUCH love for this book. Everyone should read it.)
#2 Nevermore – Kelly Creagh
#3 Ashes – Ilsa J. Bick
#4 The Ask and the Answer / Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness (Yes, I know it’s cheating to put two books in one slot, but these are the second and third books in Ness’s amazing Chaos Walking trilogy, which starts with The Knife of Never Letting Go.
#5 Between – Jessica Warman
#6 Nothing But Ghosts – Beth Kephart
#7 The Death of Jayson Porter – Jaime Adoff
#8 Surrender – Sonya Hartnett
#9 Right Behind You – Gail Giles
#10 Played – Dana Davidson
When I read YA fiction I am looking for good writing, authentic characters, good writing. I mean, if we want kids to know what that is – we have to make sure they have opportunities to read it. I think YA has come a long way from where it was, but there is still a lot of junk out there. (Sparkly vampire books, I am looking at you!)
2. I have less patience for books than I used to. ( aka I am aware of the dwindling sand in my reading hour glass.)
Last year I started a Book Graveyard, a place to keep track of the books that I just couldn’t get through – for whatever reason. If I give a book a couple tries, or a few dozen pages and I just can’t read it – I make note of it here. Robby Benson’s novel Who Stole the Funny? recently landed there. Sorry, Robby. I still love you.
3. I don’t love any books. (At least that’s what my kids tell me.)
I actually love all books; I just don’t like some of them. Here are some of the titles I read this year, which I didn’t like at all.
Now You See Her – Joy Fielding
The Heights – Brian James (YA)
The Returning – Christine Hinwood (YA)
Jane – April Lindner (YA)
Death Comes to Pemberley – P.D. James
Graveminder – Melissa Marr
Until It’s Over – Nicci French
4. But here are the ten titles I did love this year. (I’ve left the YA books off this list and the titles aren’t in any particular order.)
#1 The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
#2 A Spell of Winter – Helen Dunmore
#3 Room – Emma Donoghue
#4 The House at Riverton – Kate Morton
#5 The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes
#6 The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
#7 Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson
#8 Stitches – David Small (graphic novel)
#9 So Much Pretty – Cara Hoffman
#10 Evidence of Blood – Thomas H. Cook
If I am going to consider my entire year of reading, though, my absolute favourite book would be John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars – which I can’t recommend highly enough.
5. Blogging failures.
I started 2012 with this ridiculous notion that I would post book-related content every day. Yeah. That lasted until April 17th.
6. My blogging year in review. A look back at some of my favourite posts.
I posted several entries this year I was really proud of. Who knows if anyone saw them but me.
My shelves, my life part one (although I don’t think I ever did a part two, come to think of it!)
Me and Mr. Jones (my thoughts after the death of Davy Jones)
7. Some content that wasn’t mine, exactly, but which is worth a second look.
8. Blogs I admire
Bella’s Bookshelves – crazy smart reviewer and Canadian!
Books I Done Read – witty and honest and also Canadian
Nerdy Book Club – keep your finger on the pulse of kid-related books and stuff
Savidge Reads – Simon is a voracious reader and promoter of all things literary
Dot Scribbles – I always add new titles to my want-to-read list after visiting this blog
The Perpetual Page-Turner – content galore, well-written, too
bite by Michelle – if you are even remotely interested in food, this is a keeper
9. And my first ever giveaway…was
The Golden Book of Bovinities by Robert Moore which went to Lynne from Dartmouth, NS
10. Looking ahead to 2013
I am currently reading Gillian Flynn’s novel Dark Places…I might even finish it today (although it’s not likely). I’ll head over to chapters.indigo.ca and roll the calendar over on my little group 50 Books in 2012…Speaking of Chapters/Indigo, I have a shopping cart order just waiting to be placed. I will continue to read read read – nothing gives me quite as much pleasure.
And how about another giveaway. Hey, if you made it to the end of this really long post, you deserve the chance to win something…so I’ll draw a name at random from anyone who comments on this post between Jan 1 and 31st…and send a book-related gift your way!
Happy New Year…and all the best for 2013.