Monday, January 3, 2011

Looking Back....Looking Forward

The beginning of a new year means it's time for me to delete the list of books I read in 2010 that appears on the right hand side of the page and start a new list for 2011. I am always both reluctant and excited about it.

Looking Back

I'm reluctant because even though there are 80 books listed (which doesn't include picturebooks, many professional books, and self-help books on topics such as running, cooking, etc.), I feel like I've just started! There are so many books I haven't had time to read this year. But, there are also many books on my list that I loved and that will stay with me forever. By far, my favorite read of the year was Monsters of Men, the third and final book in the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. It was the perfect ending to an all consuming, captivating, and enthralling series. I also read a few series in their entirety such as the Tiffany Aching Adventures (Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight) by Terry Pratchett and the Queen's Thief series (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, the King of Attolia, and The Conspiracy of Kings) by Megan Whalen Turner.

A few other favorite YA reads of the year were If I Stay by Gayle Forman (a great article on this book is on NPR today), Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X Stork, The Cardturner by Louis Sachar, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi and Numbers by Rachel Ward.

For children's literature, my favorites of the year were Countdown by Deborah Wiles, As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins, Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick,  A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata, The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor, Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm and  The Boneshaker by Kate Milford.

 Of course, none of these titles are really showing up as Newbery or Printz contenders. Even though I have read most of the titles that are being tossed around, I still find that these books are the ones that have stuck with me over the year. As  Gayle Forman states in her NPR article I posted a few days ago, I want "a book that sucks me in from chapter one, makes me think and, above all, makes me feel. I want to finish the book a slightly different person than I was when I started it."

Looking Forward

As I reflect on my year of reading, the one thing that's always nagging at me is my professional reading. Like many of you, I subscribe to many professional journals such as The Reading Teacher, Language Arts, The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Reading Research Quarterly, The Journal of Children's Literature, The Horn Book, The Journal of Literacy Research, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, The Dragon Lode, and more. Every month, these journals stack up, waiting to be read, while I turn my back to read YA/Children's literature. This reading is important and I eventually get to it, but unlike YA/children's literature, I usually don't have anyone with whom to share my thinking about the many, many great articles and research.

So, my New Year's resolution for blogging is to post my thoughts about one of these articles each week. I think this will keep me on top of my reading, provide a space for sharing my thoughts and a place for others to share their thoughts with me. I haven't figured out a format or particular day of the week yet, but I have started sifting through the latest journals. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Happy Reading in the New Year!

1 comment:

Vana Raye said...

I loved "If I Stay." After I read your post, I went back and looked at all the books I read this year and thought about the ones that stuck with me the most. I am 9 books shy of your total for the year, but I'm still pretty proud that I read 71 books this year! Without a doubt, the book that stuck with me the most was "The Adoration of Jenna Fox." My favorite children's book that I read was "Pish Posh" by Ellen Potter. It's the kind of book that I could read over and over again and it just puts a smile on my face everytime.