Bookish lists – I want yours

I have a love/hate relationship with the end of the year. On one hand it means I have to reflect on all the ways I have flailed and failed, my squandered opportunities, that 10k I didn’t quite manage, the times I wasted worrying about things and people I can’t change. On the other hand, once 2013 slips into the past, I can start thinking about what I can accomplish in 2014. The places I’ll go, the people I’ll gather close, the ways I can improve my life, the books I’ll read. calendar

And that’s another reason I love this time of year – every book lover/organization on the planet shares their best books lists. I love lists. I love reading about the books that have risen to the top of the heap. I love it that there’s always disagreement and someone’s best book invariably ends up on someone else’s worst list.

It’s easy enough to find fantastic book lists online. Book Riot has a great selection of the Ten Best Top 100 Book Lists . And, of course, at this time of year everyone wants to weigh in on the best books of 2013. Here’s a small sampling.

Good Reads

Publisher’s Weekly


Huffington Post


Seabury Reads

I, too, always offer a top ten list. I’ll do that in the next few days because although I did meet my reading challenge of 60 books, I am hoping to read a couple more before year’s end and, who knows, perhaps one of those books will be worthy of a place on the list.

In the meantime, I’d love to feature your favourite books of 2013 here at The Ludic Reader. If you’ve posted a list at your blog, link me up. Otherwise, shoot me an email (ludicreader AT and I’ll let you have the floor in an upcoming post. Or leave a comment and tell me about the best or worst book you’ve read this year.

29/365 – Sunday Salon

What’s your favourite childhood book?

I was lucky growing up. Both my parents were readers and there were always books in my home. Trips to the library were a regular thing and there was always the Scholastic flyer to supplement my own collection. (I remember books costing a pittance compared to know and yet I also remember squirrelling away my dimes and nickels so I could buy the books I wanted.)

I actually talked about first literary loves last January. You can read that post here

Then I’d love for you to tell me about those early books – the ones that turned you into a reader.


 We’ve spent the day getting ready to paint my daughter’s bedroom. She already has a lifetime of keepsakes, most of which we packed away for her. She had a hard time parting with half-written stories and scraps of paper with a meaningful doodle on it, but when we stood in front of her bookcase, she was ruthless. The books she’s loved – The Little House on the Prairies series, Little Women, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, (which was my book and is definitely worse for the wear but I am thrilled that Mallory loves it as much as I did!), A Little Princess,  get pride of place, but many others were kicked to the curb without a second thought. How can she be my kid?

I am much more precious about my books and have always hated parting with them – even the books I’ve hated and wouldn’t recommend to anyone. I’ve gotten a little bit better in the past couple of years because I don’t have the luxury of limitless space. Oprah’s site recommends these tips for culling books from your shelves.  I guess she’s sort of applying the same rules we use to strip the dead wool from our wardrobes: if we haven’t worn/read it in the last season/year we should probably say bye-bye.

When I do relent and make some wiggle room for new books on my shelves (this is my already-read shelf) I generally remove:

books I hated and wouldn’t pass on

mysteries I would never read again (aka Harlen Coben but not Thomas H. Cook)

books I have made several attempts to read, but just couldn’t get through

Books on my tbr shelf will remain there (I’m nothing if not stubborn) until I have read them.

How about you –  do you keep all your books? If not, how do you decide what stays and what goes?

Over to you…great books for teens

When I only begin to read, I forget I’m on this world. It lifts me on wings with high thoughts.” – Anzia Yezierska

So, we’re in a deep freeze here in Eastern Canada. That’s what happens when you get complacent about winter, I guess. Until the last few days we’ve had a perfectly respectable winter…but minus 30 with the wind chill, come on!

In the real world I teach high school. I don’t have a long career behind me because I started teaching, got frustrated, abandoned it and did other stuff and have only recently returned. It’s shocking how many kids today don’t read. Shocking. What I would like to do is compile a list of great books for teens and I am looking for suggestions. I would also like to make a list of books/poems/plays that every teen should read before they leave high school. Yes, we have a curriculum, but I am shocked at the gaps in their reading.

Great books for teens.

A comprehensive reading list for teens.

Any thoughts?