Many of you know I'm a book junky. I read all the time; it's how I unwind, entertain myself, and escape! I didn't grow up loving books. I actually tell my students that I was the kid who went through school not really reading anything cover to cover, and fumbling my way through. I was definitely a late bloomer. It wasn't until the fateful day when I stumbled into 12th grade and something just clicked. I was in a gothic literature course, and suddenly I really wanted to read Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Frankenstein. I remember sitting in that class in a circle and discussing the books, like a book club. The students' voice mattered more than the teachers and that really inspired me; it absolutely motivated me to want to go home and carve out the time to read what we were discussing. The other fateful event that happened to me was Mrs. Schnepp's writing class. To say that I LOVED being in that class is an understatement. I found myself in that class. I discovered my voice and for the first time in a very long time, it wasn't about dancing (which thankfully earned me admittance into a wonderful college, but I was becoming very disillusioned with the industry as a whole), it was about my story. Through this life changing year, I found a passion for reading and writing and reaching people through teaching.
I tell that story because there are a lot of kids out there who haven't fallen in love with reading or found the motivation to do well in school and because of my personal experience, I believe in the late bloomer. So, here are some of my favorite books that I've read in 2010. Feel free to share any books that you loved this year too!
For anyone who has a strong sense of justice, you'll love this book. It takes place during the Civil Rights Movement and takes you on the journey of a privileged southern belle who goes against the tide and uses her voice to help others who have helped her be the person she is. I LOVED it!
The Hunger Games Trilogy
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a realistic fiction reader all the way, but I couldn't put these books down, and I totally jumped in my car on the day that each book came out and made it my mission to get my copy. Katniss Everdeen is fierce. There were so many layers of themes that keeps your mind cranking as it takes you through an intense plot. You'll love it.
I watched Jonathon Franzen's interview on Oprah a few weeks ago. I was glued because I wanted to see how they would both handle the awkardness of how he didn't want to be a part of her book club a few years ago with The Corrections. I thought both Oprah and Jonathon Franzen did a fantastic job of addressing it and acknowledging its uncomfortable situation, but they didn't dwell too long on it. Jonathon Franzen described his writing process of being very alone and cold, where he puts himself into a place where he can work out all of the things that his mind processes about life on paper. I felt his conflict of living in this modern day world and connected to it too. I think many will find themselves somewhere in the characters of this book...thought provoking.
Three Little Words
Once in awhile I pick up a biography/memoir. This book written by a young writer was poignant about her childhood in the foster care system. Her story has a happy ending, but she is very passionate about using her voice to express what many in the foster care system go through. It's very real, and I sincerely appreciated what she had to say. If you like The Glass Castle, you'll appreciate this one too.
Growing up in New York and spending a year at NYU certainly gave me some grounding to connect to what the main character goes through in this historical fiction meets realistic fiction. Her grief was gripping and the connection to the French Revolution was awesome. I learned a lot to say the least.
You can see that I have YA fiction as well as adult fiction on my memorable list. I LOVE reading books that my kiddos are reading. I love to buy them and put them in my classroom library and talk about and share them with my kiddos. So much fun!
Here are a few more titles that I enjoyed:
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
I am Number Four
Songs for a Teenage Nomad
Happy reading, dear friends!
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