Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking Back – My favorite reads of 2007

First, I must have a qualifier. These are my personal favorite books that I read this year. Many of these books were published before 2007 but I read them this year. I don’t pretend to be a great literary analyst, but I know when I like a book and it doesn’t have to be a work of great literature for me to enjoy it.

The rundown for my reading in 2007 is as follows (I didn’t start keeping a list until February 18, so I have no idea what/how much I read before then):

125 books total. Broken down that is:

85 children’s and young adult fiction books
14 children’s and young adult nonfiction books
22 adult fiction books
4 adult nonfiction books

Here are my personal favorites that I read this year:

Children’s & Young Adult Fiction

Life as We Knew It (Susan Beth Pfeffer) – this was one of those books that had me thinking for days – how would I react to the same situation – could my family survive? It made me long for a wood stove.

Just Listen (Sarah Dessen) – I love Dessen’s books and this may be my personal favorite. A tough topic (acquaintance rape) that she handled beautifully.

Golden (Cameron Dokey) – This book make me want to read other novels that are based on fairy tales – I loved it.

Rules of Survival (Nancy Werlin) – I love teenage problem novels and this one was handled incredibly. This book made me rethink the issue of child abuse.

Sisters Grimm series (Michael Buckley) – One of my faults as a middle school librarian is that I lean towards reading more books appropriate for 8th graders than 6th graders. I couldn’t get enough of these books. They were a blast to read and I’m getting ready to run by the bookstore for the fifth book. I’d recommend them to anyone who loves A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Such a Pretty Girl (Laura Weiss) – My favorite problem novel of the year and hands down, the best first line: “They promised me nine years but only gave me three. Today my time has run out.” A chilling book about what to do when your father is a molester and your mother doesn’t believe you.

Elsewhere (Gabrielle Zevin) – A different view about life after death. I loved this book. I loved the concept. It too was a book that made me think about how I would handle things if I were the main character.

Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan) – I had heard much about this book (and the series) but didn’t read it until this summer. It’s pure fun to read and an instant success as a booktalk.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling) – I cannot begin to relate the excitement in my family (and my extended family) the week before this book came out. We were all on vacation and copies of the first six books floated around as people fiercely debated what was going to happen. It didn’t disappoint and will remain one my favorite reads ever.

Daniel Half Human and the Good Nazi (David Chotjewitz) – I’ve read a lot of Holocaust fiction, but this one hit an area I’d never read about – young boys campaigning for the Nazis to win and what happens when one finds out that his heritage isn’t as “pure” as he thought. The ending blew me away.

Wednesday Wars (Gary Schmidt) – I would never have picked up this book had it not been for the rave reviews of it on so many blogs. I loved, loved, loved it – it is one of my personal picks for the Newbery.

Looking for Alaska (John Green) – I’m not exactly sure why I picked up this book. It doesn’t come anywhere close to being appropriate for middle school. I really glad I read it, though. It reminded me of the coming of age stories I had to read for English when I was high school, but much better.

Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature (Robin Brande) – Yet another novel I discovered thanks to the blogs I read daily. I loved the characters in this story, and coming from a conservative part of the country, I could certainly relate to the controversy.

Deadline (Chris Crutcher) – The first thing I could think of was “Boy, would I kill my kid if he were dying and didn’t have the decency to warn me” – but who could deny someone the right to live his last year of life on his own terms?

Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher) – Teen book groups should be using this book as a discussion book. I've loaned to a couple of teenagers and we have had interesting conversations as a result. I honestly don't think many teenagers have any idea about how easily some people are wounded by the words and actions of others and Asher's book does a great job of showing it.

Book of a Thousand Days (Shannon Hale) – It would have been impossible to read the number of blogs I read each day and not come across seemingly hundreds of glowing reviews for this book. I agree – it’s wonderful – and it should be a contender for the Newbery.

Adult Fiction

World Without End (Ken Follett) – I thought it would take five days or so to read this book – it took me two and I ignored everyone and everything until I finished it. I love good historical fiction (especially set in England) and this certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Secret Servant (Daniel Silva) – Daniel Silva is my favorite writer of thrillers, and I ate this one up in one afternoon.

Rituals of the Season (Margaret Maron) – Her Deborah Knott books are set in North Carolina (in the county next to where my parents grew up). The mysteries aren’t that hard to figure out, but I love the characters – they are so much like my cousins that I smile when reading about them.

And the Shofar Blue (Francine Rivers) – I read several Christian fiction titles this year and this was my favorite. Rivers does an excellent job of portraying how turning away from God will ultimately lead to personal destruction.

Adult Nonfiction

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver) and The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan) – I dare anyone to read these two books and not change their views about what they eat and where it comes from.

Tomorrow I’ll post my reading goals for 2008.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Let me just say it now, you have great taste in books :) Some of your favorites are my favorites as well. I'm so excited that 2008 will see the release of both the sequel to Life As We Knew It (the dead and the gone) and a new book by Sarah Dessen!!! The few from your list that I haven't read, I'll have to make a point of looking for soon at the library.