Student Snippets


My 2014 Reading in Review

For most of my adult life, I've had a loose goal of reading 52 books a year (one a week, or roughly four a month).  I keep a handwritten list of all the books I read, but I don't always count them or hold myself to 52.  This year, however, I realized I was at 50 on December 29, and powered through to get to 52 by the 31st (yay! or, maybe I'm too obsessive about an arbitrary number!).  

Jessamyn West at is always setting goals for her reading, like more women or more authors of color.  I was planning to analyze my list that way and see where my holes were, but typing it out I realized that I read a pretty diverse range of books.   Fiction, non-fiction, YA, classics, men women, international authors... I definitely read more than just tales of women battling the patriarchy, as my husband would have you believe.  (Please note that he says that very kindly, of course.) 

Thoughts on my 2014 reading:

  • Re-reading most of Harry Potter to stay a step ahead of my older daughter, who discovered the wizarding world for the first time, was awesome.  
  • I read a lot of great fiction.  My favorites include local author Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You, and Anthony Doerr's current best-seller All the Light We Cannot See (weird how those titles go together!).  But I read so many other great books too, I can't limit the "favorites" to just two.  Jennifer Haigh -- read anything by her!  Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library - loved it!
  • It was a good year for non-fiction, too.  Moby-Duck, a super detailed expose of 28,000 bath toys that fell off a container ship in the Pacific, was fascinating, but took me an entire month (which might be why I was so rushed at the end).  Random Family, an in-depth portrait of young people in the Bronx, was incredibly real, and so quietly desperate. 
  • The best memoir I read last year was, hands down, If a Tree Falls, Jennifer Rosner's account of her children's hearing loss and the discovery (both real and imagined) of her deaf ancestors. Her companion children's book, The Mitten String, is also wonderful.  I recommend reading them together, for sure.
  • My low point was probably (definitely!) Maureen McCormack's (Marcia from the Brady Bunch) autobiography.  Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!  I read this last spring, mostly while watching my kids play softball, and received many mocking comments from other parents.  But, just try to beat me in Brady Bunch trivia, I dare you!
  • The one book I wouldn't re-read is The Winter People.  Spooky, scary, other-worldly.  I almost put it down without finishing several times, but for some unknown reason, I stuck with it, only to have it haunt me a week or so ago when I was walking in the woods and came upon a rock formation like the one in the book... just writing those words gives me chills. 

What did you read in 2014?  Do you set reading goals?  Do you meet them?  Do you care?

The 2014 List

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Helen Fielding

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

Beyond the Bear, Dan Bigley

Shopping for Porcupine, Seth Kanter

When the Emperor was Divine, Julie Otsuka

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson

Garlic & Sapphires, Ruth Reichl

The Amazing Thing About the Way it Goes, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt

Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling

Early Decision, Lacy Crawford

News from Heaven, Jennifer Haigh

Absurdistan, Eric Campbell

One Good Egg, Suzy Becker

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, Roz Chast

Dear Life, Alice Munro

The One Safe Place, Tania Unsworth

Here's the Story, Maureen McCormack

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Rob Lowe

Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling

Yarn Over Murder, Maggie Sefton

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Chris Grabenstein

The Winter People, Jennifer McMahon

A Guide for the Perplexed, Dara Horn

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle

The Hungry Ocean, Linda Greenlaw

Cause Celeb, Helen Fielding

Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

The Pleasure of my Company, Steve Martin

Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng

Wonder, RJ Palacio

Moby-Duck, Donovan Hohn

Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank

The Mother-Daughter Book Club, Heather Vogel Frederick

The Fault in our Stars, John Green

The Astronaut Wives Club, Lily Koppel

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snickett

Counting by 7s, Holly Goldberg Sloan

Out of my Mind, Sharon M.Draper

Perfectly Miserable, Sarah Payne Stuart

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

If a Tree Falls, Jennifer Rosner

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

I Work at a Public Library, Gina Sheridan