Thursday, January 6, 2011

What's On My Bookshelf for 2011?

I've never been a fan of January.  It's a pretty dull month, no?  No holidays; no upcoming events to look forward to.  I guess February is pretty much the same.  The days are short; the air is cold.  Brutally cold.  I hate bundling up to leave the house.  I hate dressing in layers to sleep through the night.  I hate the threat of snow that lingers above, taunting its plan to interfere with my nonexistent social life.

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing winter is good for is enjoying a large highly caffeinated beverage while sitting in a comfortable chair in my favorite bookstore - which is most likely going out of business, but that's for another post.  Thankfully, Christmas falls in the winter, which means I have plenty of gift cards to support my coffee and reading habit.

For the sake of my WIP, I've had to limit my reading time to avoid neglecting my writing.  If I'm digging a book, I'll have no problem vacationing in that author's literary world, only to later realize hours (or days) have passed and I have yet to write a word. 

At the same time, it has been way too long since I've escaped my own world.  So, to kickoff a new year, I'm setting a goal I can easily attain: a book a month.  Of course when summer hits, I'll read five books a month, so this is strictly a temporary benchmark to get me back in the swing of things.

As of now, I have mapped out the titles I plan exploring this year.  Of course, I always take suggestions, and love reading with other people.  It's rare I get to engage in intellectual conversations these days, but if a book has what I'm looking for, I'll have a lot to say.  If any of my fellow YA readers plan on tackling one of these, let me know.  We'll discuss!

My 2011 Reading List

1.  Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) <--suggested by my co-worker who wants us to read it together.  I will not lie; I was turned off by the "girly" cover, but the book jacket saved my curiosity.  Oh, and Jay Asher blurbed about it, and his opinion is gold.

2.  Carter Finally Gets It (Brent Crawford) <---a comical, easy, laid back story that claims it will hook me.  If it delivers as advertised, it will be a good light-hearted choice before tackling....

3.  The Book Thief (Markus Zusak) <--- I'm disappointed I haven't read this yet.  That's all I'm going to say.

4.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Levithan) <--- I just bought this the other day.  I had a 50% coupon and $5.00 in Borders Bucks, but the shelves were pretty much bare. I'm a huge John Green fan, and I figured, hey, for a hardback to cost $3.81 with tax, I'll give it a try.  And I've never read a YA novel written by two authors, so I'll be curious to see how that worked out.

5.  After (Francine Prose) <--- I'm interested in this novel because it deals with the aftermath of a nearby school shooting.  When I started teaching, this was never even a thought that crossed my mind.  After participating in my first mandatory drill for professional staff, it became my biggest career-related fear.

6.  Wintergirls (Laurie Halse Anderson) <--- One of the few titles I have yet to crack open from my former neighbor, who of course I did not discover until after she moved away.  Figures, right?!  I've tried to forget that she spoke at my high school and I never knew about it.  I've also tried forgetting that her oldest daughter and my brother were friends through the school paper, and he never once said, "Oh, hey, you know that book in your hand? My friend's mother wrote that..."

7.  The Life of Pi (Yann Martel) <--- I've been told by many to read this book, including one of my high school history teachers.  I have high expectations for this piece, and I'm aware it doesn't kick off with a bang.  Since I know that, I should be okay.  I'm told the final third of this book is amazing.

8.  Jay's Journal (Beatrice Sparks - Editor) <--- I happened to see this in Borders recently.  My initial thought was: Wow, this has the tendency to be really bad.  But, it should be a quick read, and I'm curious about the perspective it will offer.  Besides, I can tell it's the type of story kids will be into, and since it lacks vampires and zombies, there is a good chance I would recommend it.

9.  I Am The Messenger (Markus Zusak) <--- a good friend has told me to read this on more than one occasion.  I'm thinking I'll finally get to it this year.  I think most people know the feeling of having little to be proud of, whether it's something we experienced or are currently going through.  I'm thinking I'll be able to relate to this character, and hopefully, learn some new things that will adjust my train of thought.

10. The Virgin Suicides (Jeffrey Eugenides) <--- another recommendation from a friend that has intrigued me to the point where I must learn what this book is all about.

**The final two are debut novels from two very talented authors.  Both are being released this summer.  I'm PUMPED!!!

11. Wildefire (Karsten Knight) <--- Karsten is a young, emerging author who I discovered based on the recommendation of a fellow blogger.  (Sorry, I don't remember who, or else I would tag you...)  He continues to impress me with his vlogs and contributions to the YA Rebels.  Karsten is a highly entertaining, versatile, all around cool dude.

12. The Great Lenore (JM Tohline) <--- This novel actually falls under the category of literary fiction, which is the genre I visit when I realize I'm an adult and should explore works geared for an older audience.  I've dubbed this guy, without his knowledge or permission, my literary hero.  JM has accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time, and if I were to place a bet, I'd bet on him.  That's right; you heard it here first: JM is going places.  He is one of the most insightful, knowledgeable, and respectful writers I've stumbled upon, and most importantly, he is a kind soul who has gone out of his way to encourage and support my passion.  His blog has become my favorite on the web; I continue to walk away with something new.  It's like taking an online course in writing and publishing.  I will read anything this guy writes.

How about you?  Anything good on the reading list this year???


  1. The movie based on "The Virgin Suicides" is kind of disturbing but good. I admire Sofia Coppola for making this type of film.

    Well, I'll have to read some baby books this year (more out of necessity than want). But I do really want to read the popular Millenium Trilogy ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," etc.)!

  2. That's quite a range of books you have there.I'll be reading a lot of YA books this year, but to mix it up I'll also read some thriller and crime, although I'm currently reading a classic fantasy. lol

  3. Of course, this is one of my favorite blog posts yet. I think I might steal the idea and make a New Years Resolution to read a certain ten books (hoping I'll read way more than that, but I want to commit to at least a set ten that I already own on my book shelf). I'll be adding some of these to my GoodReads "to read" shelf as well! Also, I don't know if you'd ever be interested in talking to her, but one of my best friends had a gun go off in her classroom. It wasn't an intentional shooting, but terrifying none the less.

  4. I keep seeing "The Book Thief" at the book store. I think I'll have to actually pick it up and take a gander.

  5. Nice list-- I have a bunch of YA on my "to read shelf" as well. I am becoming quite the John Green fan myself, and I have a few of his I need to tackle soon.

    If you need a break from YA, (sorry to suggest it!) have you ever tried Jonathan Tropper books. They are good for light-hearted laughs. I may have said this before- sorry if I repeat.

    I just read a really quick middle school age book by Jacqeline Woodson- and I am sad that I did not stumble across her before! New author to collect....

    P.S. I finished Asher's book well before Christmas-- I left feeling satisfied and unsatisfied, not bad for his first novel.

  6. I'm currently working through a few business books at the moment. So nothing for pleasure during January, at least :(

    Sorry to hear about Borders. Unfortunately, I have a strong feeling that many of the big book stores will be doing the same within the next 10 years. Really makes me wonder about the future of publishing, whether e-Pub will be the way to go and how long before that happens.

    Other than that, I have been waiting for JM's book to come out since I first found out about him on your blog. And, yea. That's about it so far. With 4 kiddos under 5, it is rather difficult to get a decent amount of reading done at any given point in time. So, I'll take it where I can get it. I've heard about "The Life of Pi" all over the place too, so maybe that will tide me over until I can grab a copy of JM's book. Be sure to let us know how they all read. I'll expect a full-fledged book report for each one. :)

  7. Sal - Always enjoy hearing from you! I will make an honest effort to share the books I enjoyed in more detail. I always keep books I don't care for to myself - regardless of my preference and taste, I continue to respect all writers and the creative process, and would never document anything unfavorable about someone in the writing community. That being said, I'll certainly share my opinions with your privately haha!

    Hey, if you are interested, and if you remember when the time comes, let's read Lenore together. I would enjoy having someone to discuss it with, especially someone who also follows JM.

  8. That sounds like a plan to me. I will actually put it on my calendar and set a reminder...I have a great memory, it's just not very long.

  9. Haha! Alright then, it is a plan! I'm looking forward to it!

  10. Paper Towns. John Green. Brilliant .

    Loved loved loved the dialogue between the kids- LOVED that he acknowledge Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild in his thanks you's at the end....not to mention Marcus Zusak...LOVED the original idea of this book and complicated characters- I could go on....
    You need to add it to your list


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