GirlXOXO, Estella’s Revenge, and Traveling with T are hosting A Month of Favorites, a bookish December blogging event. I can’t think of much that I like doing more than reflecting on my year of reading, so I am hoping to join in a few times over the month. Visit any of the hosting blogs for more details about today’s prompt.
Today’s Introductory prompt gave me a great opportunity to reflect on what I’ve read so far and what I still need to read in order to meet my 2014 goals.
Nerdbery Challenge: 1/12 books
#MustReadin2014: 11/15 books
YA Shelf of Shame Challenge: 8/12 books
Professional Development Reading Goal: 11/12 books
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 109/100 books
Picture Book Reading Goal: 594/350 books
Chapter Book & Middle-Grade Reading Goal: 87/100 books
YA Lit Reading Goal: 43/60 books
Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge: 26/12 books
Number of Books Total (not counting picture books): 172/200
I don’t usually do any kind of favorites post this early in December because I still have a lot of reading to do this month. To meet my reading goals for the year, I still have nearly 30 books left to read—mostly YA, sadly, but equally sadly, also Newbery winners. Unless I cheat in my definition of YA, there’s not really any overlap there either. I often do marathon reading in December—both because I’m out of school around the middle of the month and have some solid, uninterrupted reading time and because I’m desperately reading to achieve my goals. I don’t mind if I don’t make the goals, but I like to give it my best effort.
I was over-the-moon nerdily excited this morning when I was crunching numbers and goals and discovered that I need to read 28 books in December to meet my goal of reading 200 books this year. AND I need to read exactly 17 YA books and 11 Newberys to meet those two goals. 28 books! When I told my husband about this, he bestowed such a wonderful word on it: COSMIC. Yes. This is clearly the cosmos intervening in my reading life.
That’s a lot of YA and a lot of Newberys to read in one month. It doesn’t make December sound like my favorite reading month, as neither YA nor Newberys tend to be my favorite reading material. I am guessing that my criteria for selecting Newbery winners will be length. I already have several YA graphic novels chosen too. Graphic novels are such a lovely way to pad a book count.
The genre I’ve read the most of is picture books—nearly 600 of them. And middle-grade: nearly 100 titles.
What have almost entirely fallen by the wayside for me are books for grown-ups, and in some ways I regret that. I’ve only read a handful of books for grown-ups this year, but at least two of them will be on my top ten of 2014 list. (This Is How You Lose Her and Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant?) One of my unwritten goals for 2014 was to read more books for grown-ups, but since it was more of a “hey, I’d really like to do that” idea than a concrete goal, it didn’t happen. I’m thinking about something Bob Probst said at NCTE (I didn’t attend this session but I read about it in someone’s blog): reading nonfiction changes us. Something is wrong if we finish a nonfiction book and we’re still the same. And it’s that kind of reading experience that I miss when I don’t read enough nonfiction for grown-ups.
The most beautiful place I read this year was definitely this balcony in Mexico, followed closely by one of the lounge chairs you can see on the beach.
But my favorite place to read is curled up on the couch with my son. He nearly broke my heart a few weeks ago when he told me we have to stop reading picture books together because “it’s time for me to grow out of that.” SAYS WHO? SAYS WHO???? (It’s still too tender of a pain to even blog about! No more picture books together?!) But he shows no signs of “growing out” of big fat chapter books. Little does he know that I plan to read to him every night until he goes to college!
I prefer to read in large chunks of time, which I typically have on Mondays and Fridays, though I all too often fritter the time away on the Internet. Even if I don’t manage to read much during the day, I always read for a few minutes before bed. I listen to audiobooks on my commute (120 miles round-trip). And I read with my son every morning over breakfast and every evening for at least half an hour before he falls asleep.
Although I started reading middle grade seriously in 2013, I would still say that’s my favorite genre discovery for 2014. I feel so at home in middle grade.
I don’t think I could ever choose one favorite book of 2014, but I will try to choose 10 or 15 by the end of the year.