#MustReadin2014 Fall Update


#MustReadin2014 is a nifty reading challenge dreamed up by one of my favorite bloggers, Carrie Gelson at There Is a Book for That. The idea is to make a dent in that endless and ever-growing To Be Read list by committing to a number of books you want to make sure you finally read. I have several reading challenges I’m trying to tackle in 2014, so I tried to be conservative with my #MustReadin2014 list: I selected just 15 titles.

Not surprisingly, I have read all but one of the middle-grade titles, and I’m struggling mightily with the YA. I am not sure how much YA I would really read if I didn’t teach a course on Adolescent Literature. 10-12 YA titles a year would suit me perfectly, I think, but as it is, I’ve already read 35 and I’m trying to reach 60 (a much too ambitious goal–I’m rather sad thinking how the last two months of my reading year are going to be spent mainlining YA–or quitting on the challenge–and I don’t like to quit things, even reading challenges I’ve set for myself.)

Since the last update in July, I have started The Raven Boys, but put it down long ago in favor of many other books. I was pretty sure I was going to love The Raven Boys, because I really loved Scorpio Races, but so far, I am very meh. And since I semi-abandoned the book so long ago, I’m probably going to have to reread the first 50 pages to remember what’s going on. SIGH.

I have finished two more books from the list:

boy 21

I wrote about Boy 21 by Matthew Quick in this post. I found it intriguing and somehow compelling, but it didn’t quite work for me as a novel.


I also just finished reading Rump aloud to my son last night. I was thrilled when he selected Rump from a big stack of books I offered as potential read-alouds. Reading aloud to my son AND reaching one of my own reading challenges? Score! I liked this fractured fairy tale and appreciated how Shurtliff transforms the essential elements of the Rumpelstiltskin story. It’s cleverly done and it’s a page-turning good story, especially as it moves toward the climax. But it nearly drove me crazy as a read-aloud–so many short, choppy, declarative sentences. I had such a hard time getting a reading rhythm going as I read aloud. My son loved the story, though, and kept begging for “just one more chapter” every night before bed. He’s going to be so excited when he finds out that Shurtliff has a fractured fairy tale about Jack, of Jack and the Beanstalk, coming out next spring.

I have 5 books left on my #MustRead list, and I think I will finish them all before the end of the year. Like Carrie,

I think it is interesting that certain books call to us at certain times. Some of my #MustReadin2014 titles sit on my bookshelf staring at me and I keep passing them by and reach for other books. It’s not that I don’t want to read them. I just don’t want to read them now. And then the mood hits . . .

I just hope it hits soon!





16 responses to “#MustReadin2014 Fall Update”

  1. Julie Avatar

    Thanks for the update, Elisabeth. Keep plugging away! I have wanted to read Rump since it was published. Hopefully I will get to it soon.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s a very quick read, Julie. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m a bit daunted by what I still need to accomplish to reach my reading goals this year–especially the 11 Newberys I still have to read. SIGH.

  2. Cheriee Weichel Avatar

    I wish I had only 5 books on my list. Like you, I bit off more than I could chew. I hate feeling that I have to read, so I decided to whittle my list down to five that I will commit to reading before the end of the year. As soon as I am finished reading all these mustreadin2014 posts I’ll get right on it.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love your idea of whittling your list down to 5 that you will commit to reading. It’s not like the other books are going anywhere–you will eventually get to them when the time is right. If you’re anything like me, though, as you were reading the update posts, you started adding more titles to your TBR list!! Ah well–nothing like planning now for #MustReadin2015!

  3. Mummified Selke (@mselke01) Avatar

    So true! I enjoyed RUMP and didn’t read it aloud. I have about 7 books left in the 44 I picked for the year..

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      44 is a challenging number! You’ve made incredible progress to have only 7 left!

  4. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar
    Ricki Ginsberg

    I found your post to be extremely interesting. What is it about the YAL that you dislike? Which books do you teach in your Adolescent Literacy course? I read Raven Boys, and I am in absolute agreement with your evaluation. Scorpio Races was fantastic, though. I want to know more!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Hmmm… Maybe I should write a blog post about reading YA! I liked YA–until I discovered middle grade and then I felt like I’d found my reading home. I think my problem is really just that time spent reading YA is time NOT spent reading middle grade! The quality of the YA books I pick up seems to vary more as well–maybe because I don’t have the solid recommendations for YA that I have for middle grade. (Most of my PLN is actually elementary teachers and librarians.) I’ve been meaning to post the syllabus (the latest version anyway) for my Adolescent Lit course on my blog–will try to get that up later in the week so you can take a peek.

  5. Crystal Avatar

    I would try Raven Boys on audio. The reader does a great job. I enjoyed it that way somehow more than reading it myself. Maybe though, I just enjoyed it more the second time through. Loved it in fact.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks for the recommendation of Raven Boys on audio. I often find that my reading experience is quite different in that format–there are many books that I have loved on audio that I found unreadable or at least unengaging in print. I’ll definitely see if I can get the audio. I also have a two hour round-trip commute to work which gives me LOTS of time for audiobooks!

  6. ejmam Avatar

    Rump kicked off the goodreads books for young reader fantasy and science fiction (Sword and Laser Kids) so I read it a few months ago. It was fun, although I had some problems with the gender roles. My boys liked it and don’t go in for that meta-analysis. I read Boy21 for the Cybils last year and surprised myself by liking it (I figured basketball — how will I get through this!?). Good luck finishing your challenges — mine will give me some real problems this year!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I had some questions about the gender roles as well–would love to hear more of your thoughts on that. I know I’m going to be struggling with my reading challenges in the next two months as well–though I do feel confident that I can finish this challenge–especially if I can find a couple of the remaining books on audio! Good luck!

  7. joshbaseball2 Avatar

    I will for sure have to add Rump to my list of books to read. It sounds like a good book. It also catches my eye because my wife and I watch Once Upon A Time every Sunday night and Rumpelstiltskin is one of the main characters in the show.

  8. carriegelson Avatar

    I loved the Raven Boys – but I read it all in one or two sittings over a few days of being very ill – you should try – not the ill, but the intense reading time. I got pulled right in. But Scorpio Races is still very much my favourite. Love, love, love Rump! I read it aloud twice – once to my children and once to my class. The children’s reactions made it a real winner. I enjoyed your answer to Ricki. MG fiction often does feel like “home” – lots of story, not so much angst.

  9. Lorna Avatar

    What an interesting perspective on Rump! I read it a while ago, but I agree there are some books that just don’t roll off the tongue right as a read aloud. It’s one of those funny tips, but I do think all writers (even students!) should read their work aloud. You just notice things in a different way. I admire your goal for reading more YA. I too am trying to read more with a 13yo and 10yo in the house, but I’m with you, I just really love the middle grade titles. Stretching ourselves as readers!

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