A Decade of Reading


I began keeping a list of every book I read since 1999, so I’m taking advantage of yet another snowy afternoon to look back on what I’ve read over the past decade.  This is the first time I’ve read through the lists since I began keeping them, and what is most striking is that they reflect the events of the year.  For example, during the years I was in graduate school, I read nearly 100 books per year, but almost all of them were assigned reading.  Many, read in the wee hours of the morning, I barely remember.  After graduation, I’ve settled back into a pattern of about half of that; between 40 and 50 books per year seems to be the average.  Even on those lists, there are books I would be hard pressed to tell someone about.  I remember really enjoying Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (December 2002), but I don’t recall any details.  After 2005, things become a little clearer.

Based on the past five years, these are the books (adult and young adult’s) that still make my heart jump in recollection of how much I love—and remember—them:


The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak  (I know this is considered a young adult book as well.  I put it here because it’s cross-marketed, and because it is the first book on my list regardless of where it’s shelved.)

The Rain Before It Falls by Jonathan Coe

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Atonement (and Saturday) by Ian McEwan

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill

Young Adults:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Hunger Games and Firecatcher by Suzanne Collins

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin


Just add a blanket and a steaming mug of hot cocoa…


Today’s topic: books for girls.  I know.  There’s no such thing as books for girls.  Books are books, right?  But…let’s be honest.  You just reach a time in your life when you have questions and there’s nothing like a good book to remind you that this road to adulthood is well traveled.  Here are ten books that I recommend to middle school girls when they need to remember that they are not alone:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow…10 Books for Middle School Boys