Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Make America Read Again

Finishing a very important book while train-ing around Europe this summer, Photo credit: Jerry Oswalt III

Many people assume that because I am a librarian all I do is read all day every day. I wish. I won't go into all the roles a school librarian plays, especially a solo one exhaustively advocating for staff, but let's just say between all that, after school meetings (which, for some reason, this year seem to be in excess), supervising sports to try and subsidize my salary, and commuting over two hours a day (over 10 hours a week), there is not much awake time to read. Most of my "reading," at least during the school year, occurs through absorbing audiobooks on my commutes and keeping volumes of poetry in my bag to peruse whenever I have free minutes in Costco lines or Jiffy Lube waiting rooms. 

Imagine my disappointment when I contracted some pneumonia-like virus five days before winter break--a.k.a. Prime Reading Time--and I am STILL sick while writing this 2 days before returning to work. Jonathan Safran Foer's new novel, Here I Am, has been taunting me from the nightstand for months as my reward for making it through another semester, and I haven't even opened it (insert immense sad face) despite having saved it specifically for this luxuriously long break. I did make it halfway through Boy Erased by Garrard Conley, though, and he's coming to speak at Writers Week in February, so that's awesome.

Besides Here I Am, a few other titles high on my list to kick off 2017 include: Hold Still by Sally Mann, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer, The Dylanologists by David Kinney, and Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong (another one I started and thought for sure, especially being poetry, I would have finished before the year's end).

Notable titles from 2016
Two books I had intended to read for years and unsurprisingly loved both of them: Devil in the White City and The Poisonwood Bible.
Two books I thought I wouldn't like but read (well, listened to) anyway and both, surprisingly, became favorites: The Goldfinch and Station Eleven
Two books that helped me better understand our country and its faults: Between the World and Me (racism, slavery, Black Lives Matter) and Most Dangerous (Vietnam War)
Favorite YA novels of 2016: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

Without further ado, below is the full list of 55 books I read in 2016, including two I re-read (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Dylan's memoir, Chronicles). This also includes The Raven King, the last book in Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle series, even though the audiobook deleted itself off my phone while I was on a cruise ship in August, and I have yet to actually finish the last quarter of it in print format.

Last year, I kept intending on sharing my list of 2015 books but never quite got around to it, so that list of 58 is included below as well. Bolded titles in both lists are linked to Goodreads reviews or, in the case of Half a Life, I'll Give You the Sun, and Unorthodox, to previous blog posts. Stay tuned for a post inspired by Falling that I started over the summer but for various reasons delayed finishing until this week.

Self-Portrait, July 4th

2016 Books in order of date finished

1) Perfect Example by John Porcellino (graphic novel) - 2 stars 2) Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer (audiobook, non-fiction) - 3 stars 3) Echo by Pam Ryan Muñoz (YA fiction, audiobook) - 5 stars 4) The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless (memoir, audiobook) - 4 stars 5) The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (non-fiction) - 3 stars 6) H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (memoir, audiobook) - 3 stars 7) Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (non-fiction, mostly audiobook) - 5 stars 8) Nothing by Janne Teller (YA fiction) - 3 stars 9) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (fiction, audiobook) - 5 stars 10) My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (graphic novel) - 4 stars 11) Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (YA fiction, audiobook) - 2 stars 12) Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (YA fiction, audiobook) - 3 stars 13) Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (memoir, audiobook) - 3 stars 14) 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith (YA fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars 15) Half a Life by Darin Strauss (memoir) - 4 stars 16) Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (audiobook, fiction) - 3 stars 17) The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (fiction) - 2 stars 18) The Martian by Andy Weir (fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars 19) The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle (poetry) - 3 stars 20) Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins (picture book) - 4 stars 21) Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (picture book) - 4 stars 22) All American Boys by Jason Reynolds (YA, audiobook) - 4 stars 23) My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (memoir) - 3 stars 24) First They Killed My Father by Luong Ung (memoir) - 4 stars 25) Falling by Elisha Cooper (memoir) - 5 stars 26) Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (YA historical fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars 27) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (fiction, audiobook) - 3 stars 28) Nightbird by Alice Hoffman (YA/children’s fiction) - 3 stars 29) Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (Non-Fiction, audiobook) - 5 stars 30) The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (fiction, audiobook) - 3 stars 31) Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (non-fiction) - 5 stars 32) The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (fiction, audiobook) - 33) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling (fiction, play) - 3 stars 34) Bastards by Mary Anna King (memior) - 3 stars 35) The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars 36) Ghosts by Reina Telgemeier (graphic novel) - 4 stars 37) The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (fiction, audiobook) - 5 stars 38) Grave Mercy by Robyn Lefevers (YA fiction, audiobook) - 2 stars 39) (re-read) Chronicles V 1 by Bob Dylan (memoir, audiobook) - 4-5 stars 40) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (YA fiction) - 4 stars 41) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (fiction, audtiobook) - 4 stars 42) Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer (its own category) - unrated 43) (re-read) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (fiction) - 5 stars 44) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (fiction, audiobook) - 5 stars 45) Fake ID by Lamar Giles (YA fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars 46) Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (YA fiction) - 5 stars 47) Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers (Childrens) - 5 stars 48) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer (fiction, audiobook) - 5 stars 49) Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio (picture book) - 4 stars 50) Pug Meets Pig by Sue Lowell Gallion (picture book) - 4 stars 51) Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz (novel in verse) - 3 stars 52) Emmy&Oliver by Robin Benway (YA fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars 53) Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer (non-fiction, audiobook) - 3 stars 54) Today Means Amen by Sierra DeMulder (poetry) - 4 stars 55) Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman (YA fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars

Reading Old Man and the Sea while staring at the same sea in Cuba

2015 books in order of date finished

1) This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki (graphic novel) - 3 stars
2) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (YA fiction, audiobook) - 4 starts
4) Blue Horses by Mary Oliver (poetry) - 4 stars
5) If I Wrote A Book About You by Stephany Aulenback (picture book) - 5 stars
6) A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver (poetry) - 4 stars
7) Reality Boy by A.S. King (YA ficition, audiobook) - 3 stars
8) Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford (picture book) - 4 stars
9) We are in a Book! by Mo Willems (picture book) - 5 stars
10) The Jacket by Kirsten Hall (picture book) - 5 stars
11) The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat (picture book) - 5 stars
12) Journey by Aaron Becker (picture book) - 5 stars
13) Hug Machine by Scott Campbell (picture book) - 4 stars
14) The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak (picture book) - 4 stars
15) The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (YA fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars
16) Dog Songs by Mary Oliver (poetry) - 5 stars
17) Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (fiction) - 4 stars
18) The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins (fiction) - 4 stars
19) Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (YA fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars
21) Izzy & Oscar by Allison Estes & Dan Stark (picture book) - 3 stars
22) We Were Liars  by e. lockhart (YA fiction) - 3 stars
23) Your First Word Will Be Dada by Jimmy Fallon (picture book) - 3 stars
24) Chicago Baby by Jerome Pohlen (picture book) - 4 stars
25) Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan (non-fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars
28) Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon (fiction) - 3 stars 
29) Pig and Pug by Lynne Berry (picture book) - 3 stars
31) The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (YA fiction) - 3 stars
33) The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt (picture book) - 3 stars
34) Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl (YA memoir, audiobook) - 4 stars
35) The Family Romanov (YA non-fiction, audiobook) - unrated
38) Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry (picture book) - 4 stars
39) Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae (picture book) - 5 stars
40) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (YA historical fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars
41) The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars
42) Relish by Lucy Knisley (graphic memoir) - 5 stars
44) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (non-fiction, audiobook) - 5 stars
47)  Sketchy by Olivia Samm (YA fiction) - 2 stars
48) Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (non-ficition, audiobook) - 4 stars
49) Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King (YA fiction) - unrated
50) Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (non-fiction, audiobook) - 4 stars
51) I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (non-ficition, audiobook) - 4 stars
53) Animal Farm by George Orwell (fiction, audiobook) - 2 stars
54) March by John Lewis (graphic novel, memoir) - 5 stars
55) Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Anthony (picturebook) - 3 stars
57) The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (audiobook) - 5 stars
58) The Sculptor by Scott McCloud (graphic novel) - 4 stars