Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Must Read in 2016 - The List

It's time to choose the list for this year! Below (in no particular order) are the books I plan to prioritize. There are 32 this year (I had 39 last year). I'm hoping a bunch of them will fit into this year's Pop Sugar Challenge as well. 
To add to your own list, be sure to visit the home of the Must Read Challenge - There's a Book for That. Go ahead and join us - there's no set of "rules" to follow. We all hope to read a good chunk of our must read lists... but we understand about needing some wiggle room. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Pop Sugar Reading Challenge Update 2015

Pop Sugar Reading Challenge - 2015

So what did I read? 

more than 500 pagesFeedMira GrantI could NOT put this book down. Only sad that I lost my favorite character.... definitely want to read the rest of this series.
Classic romanceRebeccaDaphne du Maurieraudiobook -- It's so funny what you remember as you reread a book after a few *cough* decades. I remember adoring this book in high school. I still adored it. As I listened, though, I felt way more anxiety for the main character than I did when I read it in high school. I KNEW what was coming... though sometimes it took until the events were almost upon her before I really knew what was about to happen. I also have an older perspective. She's in her early 20s. As a late teen, I didn't really SEE how immature she was. Now I kept thinking, "oh, you poor little lamb".
Became movieThe MartianAndy WeirThere's a TON of science in this book. I'm glad I read it before I saw it (though I do think the movie did an excellent job. Let's science the SHIT out of this!
Published this yearWinterMarissa MeyerOh how I love this series! Taking fairy tales into space? That rocks.
With number in titlePeriod.8Chris CrutcherI'm not a huge sports person, but this story had enough other storylines that I was able to enjoy it. There was even some cool mystery! (This book was also on my Book Gap 2013 list and Must Read 2014 list. Glad I got to it.)
By someone under 30ViciousV.E. Schwabaudiobook EOs.... those with extraordinary talents. What make some heroes and some villains? Didn't really love the narrator but I did LOVE the book.
With nonhuman charactersStone in the SkyCecil CastellucciScience fiction with aliens counts as "non human", right? This was the second in the Tin Star series. (Cecil also wrote my favorite of the "Journey to the Force Awakens" series - Moving Target about Leia!)
Funny bookBetter Nate than EverTim Federleaudiobook - I'm so glad the author narrated this one. He was great!
By female authorMy Final Tally: Women: 24 Men: 11 Mixed: 3
Mystery or ThrillerJackabyWilliam RitterDescribed as "Doctor Who meets Sherlock" - this was a creepy paranormal mystery read (YA)
Book with one word titleMidwinterbloodMarcus SedgwickQuirky, VERY odd..... thought provoking. There were so many threads that wove through this tale. (Printz winner)

Book of short storiesDiverse Energies (mixed)mixed authorsUsually a book of short stories ends up having some real "bleh" tales. I enjoyed them all - and some were really great!
Book set in another countryRose Under FireElizabeth Weinaudiobook - I liked this one even more than Code Name Verity)
Nonfiction bookStrange Fruit (GN)Joel Christian GillI know a lot of people REALLY liked this one... but I only thought it was okay.
A popular author's first bookSoullessGail CarrigerSteam punk romance (a bit steamier than most YA tends to be). I definitely enjoyed this one and picked up the others in the series.
Book from an author you love that you haven't read yetI didn't really have one to put here. I had a TON of books I read by authors I love... but nothing I had really "missed" along the way.
Book a friend recommendedHandbook for Dragon Slayers (AlyB)Merrie HaskellI LOVED this story! It won a Schneider (for positive portrayal of disability) and it was a fabulous fantasy tale.
Pulitzer Prize Winning BookMausArt SpiegelmanWhoa. This was a seriously dark and painful read.
Book based on true storyCourage Has No ColorTanya Lee StoneMaybe it's cheating a bit - since this is NF and not really "Based on a True Story"
Book at the bottom of TBR listNever gonna happen. My TBR pile isn't really that organized.
Book your mom lovesJonathan Strange and Mr. NorrellSusanna ClarkeStarted (but haven't yet finished - the audiobook is really long!)
Book that scares youLockwood & Co Whispering SkullJonathan StroudI love this series. SO CREEPY! And this one ended on a serious cliff hanger
Book more than 100 years oldPride and PrejudiceJane AustenWell. I read this one because everyone said I should. I actually enjoyed it after I viewed the miniseries version (so I could picture everyone). I also read this so I will enjoy the ZOMBIE version more. That's on my 2016 list.

Book based on coverCure for DreamingCat WintersSO GOOD! I loved all the suffrage movement historical pieces. I'm also now fascinated by the history of hypnotism.
Book you were supposed to read in school but didn'tYeah.... nothing in here. I honestly read everything I was told to. I do still want to read a few I wasn't instructed to read (like The Bell Jar)
MemoirWishful DrinkingCarrie Fisheraudiobook (read by the author) I adore Carrie Fisher. I am a HUGE Star Wars fan. I knew she'd had major struggles with mental illness, but she was so honest and open in this memoir. The non-Star Wars portions weren't as interesting to me as the Star Wars parts were, though.
Book you finished in a dayTuck Everlasting Natalie BabbittI've read this one before (a few times)... but gave it a re-read. I read it first as an adult, and didn't like it that much. On repeated readings, though, I found the imagery and ideas much more appealing.
Book with antonyms in titleGlory O'Brien's History of the FutureA.S. Kingaudiobook - This is the first book I read by this author - but it certainly won't be the last.
Book set somewhere you want to visitThe Name of the Star -- LondonMaureen JohnsonA bit of a slow start - but then I really enjoyed it.
Book from birth year (1972)Didn't get to this one.
Book with bad reviewsHeck - don't ALL books get some bad reviews?
TrilogyBirthmarked Prized PromisedCaragh M. O'BrienI got to listen to this author while I was at a conference in CT in 2014. She is so fascinating! I plan to read her new series in 2016 (Vault of Dreamers is the first book and the second comes out in 2016)
Love trianglePrizedCaragh M. O'BrienNot a huge fan of the love triangle - but I did like the trilogy (though the first book is my favorite)
Set in futureAlienatedMelissa LandersCool premise but the romance line started to overpower the science and aliens by about midway through. Some may love that, but it slowed the pace of the story for me.
Set in high schoolAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseBenjamin Alire Sáenzaudiobook - beautiful and heartbreaking.
Color in titleBeyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak OutSusan KuklinInteresting for me - since I have almost no knowledge or experience with this topic. Many reviewers pointed out the glaring lack of diversity within these tales, though.

Made you cryI'll Give You The SunJandy Nelsonaudiobook - beautiful and heartbreaking. I found the narrative style intriguing as well. The story is told in two voices - by twins. One twin tells the pieces of the story that are in the past, and the other tells the current parts. We alternate between the two as we start to piece things together.
With magicThe Witch's BoyKelly Barnhillaudiobook - I definitely liked this, though parts dragged a bit.
Graphic NovelIn Real LifeCory Doctorow, Jen Wang (Illustrations)One of my favorite graphic novels of the year. I love this look at gaming (and especially women in gaming!)
By author you've never readFinding SerendipityAngelica Banks LOVED IT! I loved that Tuesday's mom is an author and she has to follow her into the world of writerly creations. I loved how this book encourages creativity and imagination.
You own but haven't readTenGretchen McNeilIt would be interesting to hear what those with no Agatha Christie background think on this book. I had some inklings/clues about what was happening because I know Ten Little Indians. I purchased this ebook when it was on sale. I'm glad I got to it!
Takes place in hometownNope. Never did.
Originally in another languageAnother one I didn't get to.
Set during ChristmasA Shiloh Christmasby Phyllis Reynolds NaylorSweet story - a wonderful 4th book in this series.
Author has my initials (MS)Blue Lily, Lily Blue Maggie StiefvaterMaggie rocks. I love so many of her books, and I love to follow her posts online as well. She's an author, a car racer, and an artist (and I'm sure a lot more!) Anyway - I adore this series and I have the last book (The Raven King) on my list for 2016
A PlayNope
A Banned BookMiseducation of Cameron PostEmily M. DanforthBeautiful but painful read about acceptance. Beautiful because Danforth is nuanced and gentle, even when describing those who made horrific choices that damaged Cam. I loved that she was able to show that flawed humans aren't inherently evil. So often we forget that people need to LEARN better before they can make better, more generous choices.
Based on or turned into TV showPhoenix IslandJohn DixonLocal author - Lots of action! I promptly handed the book off to my 13 YO son. His response was, "This looks like my kind of book!"
Book started but not finished beforeHouse of HadesRick RiordanRead this with my son. He adores this series. I love the characters, the mythological tie-ins, and the action.

Did you take the challenge? I'm definitely doing this again for 2016!


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Must Read in 2015 Update

It turns out that when you set reading goals based on the fact that reading is pretty much your ONLY hobby.... and then start a new hobby (crochet).... not all the reading goals get met.

Overall, though, I am fairly pleased with the amount of reading I did this year. (My lack of blogging about said reading is an entirely different matter, of course).

"Must Read in 2015" List  (Pop Sugar Challenge will be a separate post)

I had 39 books on this list. I read 29 of them....

There are four I am still reading (one is a super long audio book, one is a read aloud with my son that I left at home and we are almost done, one is a super long book that I just started)

Six are getting added to the 2016 list. I think 2016 will be my year of mostly "catching up" with just a few new books added.

TitleAuthorCategoryGenreDate ReadNotes, Awards, etc.
FeedAnderson, MTYADystopianNov 2014 ... shhhNot terribly excited by this one. 
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My PrettyHeppermann, ChristineYAPoetryNov 2014Well done - intriguing commentary on modern life through fairy tale allusions
Handbook for Dragon SlayersHaskell, MerrieMGFantasyJanuarySchneider  -- LOVED IT
Period.8Crutcher, ChrisYARealistic FictionJanuarySports book - but with lots of other great plot points. 
Hansel and GretelGaiman, NeilMGFairy TaleJanuarySo creepy - especially with the illustrations
Cure for Dreaming, TheWinters, CatYAHistorical FictionJanuaryI LOVED this one! Lots of great suffrage history. 
Better Nate than EverFederleMGRealistic FictionJanuary audiobook version - so funny! 
JackabyRitter, WilliamYAHistorical Fiction/ ParanormalJanuaryCreepy and good. Okay for younger YA audiences
Witch's Boy, TheBarnhillMGFantasyJanuaryaudiobook - Excellent story and amazing narrator
Shadow Hero, TheYang, Gene LuenYAFantasyJanuaryGraphic Novel, Cybils short list
Blue Lily, Lily BlueStiefvater, MaggieYAFantasyFebruaryI ADORE THIS SERIES. I can't wait for the next one. 
ViciousSchwab, VictoriaYAFantasyFebruaryaudiobook - What if we could gain special powers? Creepy as heck.
SoullessCarriger, GailYAFantasyMarchI REALLY like this series - Steampunk fantasy Rec by @kindleaholic
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseSáenz, Benjamin AlireYARealistic FictionAprilStonewall, Prinze, Pure Belpre  -- excellent story.
Body Electric, TheRevis, BethYAScience FictionApril
Glory O'Brien's History of the FutureKing, ASYAScience Fiction? Aprilaudiobook version -- AMAZING and hard to categorize. 
AfterworldsWesterfield, ScottYAFantasyMayaudiobook version -- tale in two parts -- one of the young author as she moves through the publishing world and one of her story. 
The DungeoneersAnderson, John DavidMGFantasyMayARC from Walden Pond Press -- I LOVE this author and so do my students. 
Adventures in GraphicaThompson, TerryProfessionalNonfictionJuneWhat an excellent resource for those who want to teach with graphic novels/ sequential art. 
AshfallMullin, MikeYAPost-ApocAugustExcellent!! Will definitely continue this series. 
A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the CountryCooper, IleneMGNonfictionAugustLots of great information.
Wishful DrinkingFisher, CarrieAdultMemoirAugustaudiobook version (narrated by Fisher) 
Martian, TheWeir, AndyAdultScience FictionAugustRead it before I saw it!
Phoenix IslandDixon, JohnYAScience Fiction / Action AdventureSeptemberLocal author group
Spider's BiteEstep, JenniferYAFantasySeptemberAudiobook Recommended by Rachel S
AttachmentsRowell, RainbowAdultRealistic FictionOctoberaudiobook version -- interesting story style. 
RevolutionWiles, DeborahMGHistorical FictionOctoberDidn't finish - but called it done
I'll Give You the SunNelson, JandyYARealistic FictionOctoberaudiobook version -- amazing
Pope JoanCross, Donna WollfolkadultHistorical FictionNovemberrecommended by Rachel and Andrea -- This was fascinating! I wanted to punch almost all the male characters in the face throughout, though. 
Night GardenerAuxier, JonathanMGFantasyCURRENTLY READINGReading aloud to my son - we are almost done. 
Johnathan Strange & Mr. NorrellClarke, SusannaAdultFantasy

Audiobook Recommended by Joyce -- quite good (need to see the series). Listening to it and it is LONG
Caged Graves, TheSalerni, Dianne K.MGHistorical FictionCURRENTLY READINGLocal Author group
Diverse EnergiesBuckell, Tobias SYADystopianDECEMBERShort stories - diverse
WyndeBarr, TriciaYAScience FictionCURRENTLY READING
September GirlsMadison, BennettYAFantasyADD TO 2016 LIST
Circa NowTurner, Amber McReeMGRealistic FictionADD TO 2016 LIST
Unbound, TheSchwab, VictoriaYADystopianADD TO 2016 LIST
Dreams and ShadowsCargill, RobertAdultFantasyADD TO 2016 LIST
The Story of OwenJohnston, EKYAFantasyADD TO 2016 LISTRecommended by Kathy
None of the AboveGregorio, IWYARealistic FictionADD TO 2016 LISTLocal author group
Blog design by Imagination Designs using images from the No Monsters Under My Bed kit by Lorie Davison