Books! Books! Books! First Ten for 2014

I'm trying to read 50 books this year and I'm a little behind, but pretty close to on pace. I'll post my thoughts every ten books so I can get some blog posts out of all this reading.

The first 5 books I read this year are by Avi, a young adult writer who visited our campus in January in conjunction with the UCLA history department. His books move quickly and have strong plots so it was a nice way to start the year. 

Something Upstairs by Avi: An interesting supernatural element based in realistic fiction/nonfiction. A fun way to explore a historical time period and suspend disbelief.  

Hard Gold by Avi: A journey west in search for gold and a lost family member drives the plot of this book. The use of primary source documents is great and it takes me back to the little time I’ve spent in Colorado. 

Crispin by Avi: This is my favorite of the Avi books. It has a compelling plot and taught me a great deal about medieval England.

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi: Again, Avi succeeds with plot, but the voice of the female narrator is a bit uneven as well as his handling of her African ally.  

Nothing But the Truth by Avi: An interesting format reveals how a classroom power struggle can get out of hand and how easily the truth can be misconstrued.

Several students recommended Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and somehow it ended up in my Christmas stocking! Thanks, Mom. But I finished it last year so it didn't make this list. It did, however, lead me to another Rowell book.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Even though I like Eleanor and Park better, I love how Rowell captures the discomfort of going away to college. I could just picture Levi sitting in front of my dorm room at U of O like I sometimes found Heath, Jessica Goodwin’s friend. I'm still not sure how I feel about her handling of bipolar, but really enjoyed the sister/twin and writing musings. Fanfic has never been my thing, but she has me curious. She has an incredible website too.

I wanted to read these next two titles before their movies come out. 

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: False started this book on the Kindle preview over a year ago, then found the paperback for cheap and devoured it in a week. Strong CNF storytelling and all of life is a journey, right? It made me want to hike the PCT even though I hate to camp.  

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:  This is a page-turner. I liked it better when I was in it than when I finished it. The unlikeable characters made me want this book out of my house and made me an extremely irritable wife for the whole week while I read it.   

I feel kind of bad about counting these next two as two, but they are beautiful and I reread them cover to cover for at least two weeks and they still wait for me at my bedside to help me get in a little meditation.
Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One With the Universe Part I by Yumi Sakugawa

Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One With the Universe Part I and II by Yumi Sakugawa 

These little graphic novels are a perfect way for me to meditate. The illustrations are lovely and the act of turning the pages and taking in each assignment from the universe helps ground me. Her other books are lovely as well. You can find them here.

So my next ten will have more writers of color. I realized after looking at my list that I'm solid when it comes to reading women, but right now my 2014 is pretty white. I plan to make my next ten more diverse.


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