The Year in Reading…



As many of you know, I keep a list of every book I read over the course of a year. After more than twenty years of doing this, the list (without comments or ratings) is a mirror into my life – what I was thinking about, the books that won major literary prizes, and how busy I was. Depending on the year, the numbers range from 50 to over 100: lower when my son was young, then slowly rising, then going way up during my graduate school years – before unexpected titles begin to appear as I started reviewing books for School Library Journal (SLJ).  As of last night, I’ve read 65 books in 2014 – but there are two I have to read in the next week and that gets me close to 70 so I’ll squeeze in a few more to reach that goal.

Here’s the whole list – from January to December….


I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson (This 2011 novel had been on my “to read” list. Set in 1974, the story of a Welsh girl obsessed with David Cassidy. A funny and insightful book that explores the nature of celebrity and how important those obsessions can be for young people just beginning to think about romantic relationships.)

Schroder by Amity Gaige (a novel loosely based on the story of Clark Rockefeller)

Fatty Legs: A True Story by Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (Set in 1941, the story of an Inuit girl whose desire to learn to read leads her to a residential church-run school where she has a traumatic experience)

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg (The story of a Haitian girl against the backdrop of the 2010 catastrophic earthquake)

The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr (reviewed for SLJ: “This story follows the harrowing journey of Kalinka, a Jewish orphan searching for safety, and the horses that provide her with comfort, power, and hope. Set in 1941 in war-torn Ukraine, Kerr’s novel is also a tale of survival-not only Kalinka’s, but of Przewalski’s horses, a rare breed of wild horse that dates back tens of thousands of years.”)

The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood by Roger Rosenblatt

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (at the recommendation of Emily Crowe at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley – now looking forward to the movie)

The Paperboy by Vince Vawter (a Newbery-Honor book)

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala (one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2013 – a memoir by a woman who lost her husband, two sons and her parents in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami)

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson (a memoir by the youngest member of “Schindler’s List.”)

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

The Dinner by Herman Koch (I read this on a flight to Mexico – perfect vacation reading. In fact, I left it in the hotel lobby and it was gone five minutes later)

Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks (read this one in the perfect place – Oaxaca)


Quesadillas: A Novel by Juan Pablo Villalobos

Can You See Me Now? by Estela Bernai  (reviewed for SLJ)

The Road to Guadalupe: A Modern Pilgrimage to the Virgin of the Americas by Eryk Hanut (while in Mexico, I became fascinated by the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe – which led me to this book)

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

Under the Egg by Laura Mass Fitzgerald

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt  (this one took awhile – as did the next book….)

Vango by Timothee de Fombelle (loved this young adult book which was my first starred review for School Library Journal)

Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley

Everybody Paints: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family by Susan Goldman Rubin

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Silver People by Margarita Engle

Watch Out Hollywood! by Maria Lennon (reviewed for SLJ)

Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen (impulse read – don’t know why – maybe I was listening to a Steely Dan song. Fagen seemed grumpy.)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Love Nina by Nina Stibbe (read about this in Nick Hornby’s column in The Believer. If Hornby loves a book, I read it.)

The Storied Life of A.J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson


My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (the best book I read this past summer)

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Malkai

The Perfect Place by Teresa Harris (reviewed for SLJ)

River Music by Leigh Sauerwein (reviewed for SLJ)

Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (in the top 5 of my 2014 reading)

Grace by Grace Coddington  (I read this when the “September issue” came out and I started wondering about Grace Coddington’s career)

Stoner by John Williams (another book that would be in my top 5)

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Wilson

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

My Near Death Adventures by Alison DeCamp (reviewed for SLJ)

The Red Pencil by Andrea Pinkney

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (the best book I read all year – maybe the best in the last 5 years)


Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

An Age of License by Lucy Knisley

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akintiorskaya

Rain Reign by Ann Martin

Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

To be continued…lots to say about all of the books on the list, but if I commented on all of them, the post would never end!

On deck is a book I am reviewing for SLJ and Greenglass House by Kate Milford. Based on student reviews, Milford’s book has been on my list for awhile, but I had to get on the wait list in the school library!  Onward to 70…







2 thoughts on “The Year in Reading…

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