For the past fifteen years, I’ve written down every book I read. It’s just a list. No memorable quotations. No thumbs up or down. I write them down primarily because I have a bad memory and usually can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday. The list is incredibly helpful when people ask for recommendations, but the best part is looking back and seeing how many books I’ve read over the course of the year. I read fewer books per year when my son was young. When I was in graduate school, the list was impressive, but I was reading so fast that I’m not sure it’s fair to count some of them! Now, I’ve kind of leveled out at about 60 books per year.
I just looked at the 2011 list which currently stands at 58. But…the next couple of weeks look promising. I expect to add a few more. Below are the five best books I read this year. I don’t distinguish between books written for children or adults. A good book is a good book.
1. Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie by Lauren Redniss (a biography-in-collage of the famous husband and wife. It is simply one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read. I didn’t think I was interested in radium until I began reading Radioactive. A love story, a dual biography, a beautiful piece of art. I love this book.)
2. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (I was late getting to this one, but it was well worth the wait.)
3. You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon (interconnected stories about the lives of military wives at Fort Hood, Texas)
4. Drawing From Memory by Allen Say (the picture book author and illustrator uses photographs, comics, words, and drawings to tell his inspiring and moving story.)
5. Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck (I told you this would be included on every list for a while. Talking mice. Romance. Adventure. What else could you want?)
My favorite picture book of the year was Blackout by John Rocco. This brilliant book even made me wish for a – very temporary – power outage!