2014 in Books

I read a lot in 2014.

Total books: 43

Most read genres: YA (including realistic fiction, sci fi, fantasy, and historical fiction), contemporary literary fiction.

Biggest reading development: Audiobooks! I was inspired by my mentor teacher last year, who told me that there was never enough time to read all the books one needed as an English teacher and that she listened to audiobooks every day in the car. I listened to my first audiobook, The Giver, in February and then seven more. The Corrections was the longest, at 19 CDs and 1.5 months of driving time.

Best book: Bring Up the Bodies. We read Wolf Hall in the Klein Family Skype Book Club in 2013, but the sequel was better thanks to more compelling history (5 years of attempted divorce proceedings aren’t actually the most interesting) and a more streamlined structure.

Best YA dystopia: I guess The Maze Runner. I’m rather tired of this genre, and the worst entrant of the year was certainly Divergent, which I couldn’t get through. Ender’s Game is shaping up pretty well for me right now, though.

Best YA tearjerker: If I Stay. Sorry 13 Reasons Why, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska–losing one’s family is more upsetting than a troubled teen girl.

Series I’m most glad has ended: Pretty Little Liars. Things were always pretty unbelievable and these books have been a bit of a slog for a while now, and the 16th book took the cake. Hopefully this was the finale–a bit of a cliffhanger end makes me think not.

YA book I should have read years ago: Jacob Have I Loved. Excellent.

Best book I reread: Of Mice and Men. Didn’t like it much in 9th grade, liked it much now in advance of teaching it to 7th grade.

Book I most enjoyed teaching: Monster by Walter Dean Myers. Unlike any other book most students have read in terms of content and structure.

In 2015, my reading plans include:

  • More audiobooks in the car, while getting ready, while cleaning, etc.
  • More YA, beyond just what I’m teaching or thinking about teaching. Sticking mostly to realistic fiction.
  • Revisiting some of the books my students are reading independently/in literature circles, including Lord of the Flies and Flowers for Algernon.
  • Returns to some of the weightier 19th-century tomes I’ve had cued on my Kindle for a while. I’m looking at you, Mill on the Floss. Maybe even you, Les Miserables.
  • More library books, fewer purchased books.
  • More pre-bed reading and less pre-bed phone playing.

As for a goal number of books…maybe 50? Possible thanks to the shorter length of many of the YA books I read, more consistent progress through audiobooks, and a lot of travel time planned this year.

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