Today I completed one of my big 2011 goals!
I completed my 100th book of the year. Goodreads happened to offer a challenge that would track everything for you, which was a big help so I didn't have to count up my written list all the time.
I chose Charlotte's Web for book #100. Somehow I made it through childhood without ever reading it. It was at the top of the 100 Best Children's Books the other year, and I figured it would be an appropriate book for this special position on the list. It did not disappoint. What a wonderful book! The writing is clear and clever, and even educational (I love the vocabulary that kids can learn from reading this!), and the characters really come to life. It is so sweet and I can just imagine how enchanted a child would be reading this. If I ever have kids, I will surely read this one aloud to him or her.
Other notables from my year's reading:
I read eleven nonfiction books this year, and eight of them were first-person memoirs.
- My favorite by far was Bossypants, in audio, by Tina Fey. She is awesome but also hilarious. I want to be like her when I grow up. (I look forward to listening to Mindy Kaling's new book; I have a feeling I also want to be her when I grow up.)
- Also very interesting was The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, by David Grann. That book is about what happens when explorers stop being polite and start getting real--with plants, animals, and people that want to kill you.
I read a few grown-up literature books this year, including:
- My favorite discovery was the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde (the first of which is The Eyre Affair). Fun adventures and clever wordplay? Yes please! I've read five of the books this year; the sixth just came out this spring.
Most of what I read was/is young adult literature. Don't scoff; some of it is amazing! (And some of it is stupid [I have never read Twilight, I don't intend to, and its very existence makes me angry].) I've read both types this year, some for the two YA book clubs I joined. Some of the ones I liked most were:
- the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan: Greek myths come to life, fast-paced adventures for middle-grade girls and boys alike. There are five books; I can't wait to read the last one!
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: a fun satire of modern pop culture mixed with a girl version of Lord of the Flies. Fun for any high schooler.
- Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales: The perfect girl becomes not-so-perfect. Excellent for teen girls feeling a lot of pressure to do everything and do it right.
- Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (sequel to Chains): A must-read by one of the best historical-fiction writers for young adults. Get an up close look at slavery and the Revolutionary War in the New York area.
- Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko: You simply have to read these. Life on Alcatraz is fascinating enough, but the characters seem so real, and the plots are alternately touching and adventurous. Fantastic reads for boys and girls (and their parents!).
Other outstanding YA books that you should absolutely read no matter how old you are: