My Year in Books

This year I definitely embraced my librarian-ness and read 94 books (ooh, so close to 100!). You can my Goodreads Year in Books here, or just look at all the pretty covers:

I have been thinking it hasn’t been a great year for books for me (there’s probably an additional 10-15 not listed that I did not finish), but looking back there have definitely been some that have warmed my heart! I am quite stingy with my 5 star ratings (it must be a book that I want to put in the hands of every person that I know), but these are the ones that made the cut.

My Favorite Book of the Year

Chemistry by Weike Wang
I love this type of writing of style: short, succinct, and a bit snarky. This is the only book I’ve ever left on my Kindle after reading it because I knew I wanted to read it again. Which I am doing right now and loving it just as much as the first time. It follows a woman trying to get her PhD in Chemistry and it is funny and sad and moving and smart. For all you math lovers out there, the epigraph of the book is the mathematical definition of epigraph. Swoon! (psst, if you like this style of writing, check out Suzanne Finnamore’s Otherwise Engaged and The Zygote Chronicles, two of my favorite books of all time.)

Other Five-Star Books:

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crowe by Jessica Townsend
Yes, I know you’ve heard a lot of “this is the next Harry Potter,” but this might actually be true in this case (there’s already plans for a movie). There is just so much to love about this book–it’s fast-paced, heartwarming, and wonderful world-building. If you have kids, this would make a great read aloud (I know because this was the book I did read it aloud on our Thanksgiving road trip to Houston. Made the 11-hour drive fly by!)

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
John Green at his finest, making you love a girl with mental health issues without turning her into a manic pixie dream girl. I think anyone who knows someone dealing with mental health issues should read this, by which I mean everyone should read this.

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harris
This brought back memories of the wonderfully fun, nonsensical poetry of Shel Silverstein. Another great book to read aloud, but be prepared for pleas of “just one more!”

The War that Saved my Life and The Way I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
I love books that make you want to give every character a hug and a warm mug of tea. I also love any book involving found family. And I love books with imperfect heroines. Summary: I loved these books.

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
“Why would I want to read a book about octopuses?” BECAUSE OCTOPUSES ARE AWESOME. And this book is wonderfully written and gives you a sense of awe and wonder about nature and life. AND ALSO OCTOPUSES ARE AWESOME.

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
So I read that other best non-fiction book of the year about crime and it felt a little bit like homework. The story was interesting, but I just couldn’t get into it. Then I read American Fire and remembered that the telling of the story is just as important as the story. Even though the culprit is known early in the book, Hesse kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole wild ride.

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
Yes, it has a really weird title. But every time I see this book in the library, I clutch my heart and let out a little sigh because it’s another book where you want to give every character a hug and hot cocoa. Plus, feel old as the history of the Berlin Wall is explained to children who have no memory of seeing pieces of it for sale in department stores. Also has a beautifully written scene about jigsaw puzzles.

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
First: THE DOG IS OK. I repeat, THE DOG IS OK. (Yes, I did have to flip forward, which I never do, to check.) Do you like rockets? Do you like kids and narrators that see the world a little differently? Do you like found family novels? Do you like books where the DOG IS OK? Then read this already, ok?!?!

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet
Make sure to read the book-book of this and not the ebook, because each page is a work of art. I had no idea E.B. White may be one of my favorite authors. And it introduced me to this letter.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I did have to bump this rating up from 4 to 5 because I spent the entire year telling people to read this book. An important read that would make a great school-wide book club choice.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
This book is indescribable, as it is “not exactly a memoir,” but more if you had a super-awesome, funny, smart best friend who would email or text you random bits about her life. Knowing that she died from ovarian cancer in March (but not before trying to find her husband a new wife), makes many of the entries that much more moving. Another book that needs to be read in book-book form and not an ebook.

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
This was almost going to be my favorite book of the year. It reminded me of the best part of Harry Potter, which is the band of three against the world. There are dragons and knights and books and, of course, holy dogs! This would also be a great read aloud and has so much to discuss about morality, friendship, otherness, books, history….  I plan on listening to the audiobook for the start of my fitbos challenge next year, but then again, the book is so charmingly illuminated, I may want to read the hardcover again. I really want someone else to read it so we can talk about how magical it is.

For 2018, I’m going to try to tweet my reviews using #read2018. Please join me!

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3 comments on “My Year in Books

  1. I only read 2 of the same books!! The Art of Racing in the Rain and Victoria. And I actually listened to Victoria while driving – I had loved the Masterpiece series so much, I just had to read the book. (And they’re continuing the series on PBS starting January 14th!!)
    I’ll work on reading more if your list 🙂
    Happy 2018 Meg!!!

  2. Last year you gave your favorites by category, that is how I found out about Make it stick – which I loved! Did you read any really good math or education books this year? Thanks!!

  3. Ok, I have the first 3 books on you list on my waitlist at the library… I think The War That Saved Life May be on the shelf! Did you ever read “The Ark” by Margot Benary-Isbert? I think you’d like it if you haven’t.

    Thanks again for this list, Mrs Librarian!!

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