professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Looking back

Yesterday I posted the last list of books I read in December of 2013. I am already building the list for 2014. I do not set goals; I just read. Last year, I read more than 600 books, many of them were picture books and early readers. However, there was a fair amount of YA fiction and nonfiction as well among those hundreds of books. Mindi Wells Rench asked those of us who post out our reading lists each month (here:) some interesting questions: What trends did you notice in your reading this year? How are you a different reader than you were this time last year?

As for trends, I do think there were a few this year. I tend to notice those when I am in the middle of a reading marathon. When I read a stack of F&Gs (folded and gathered picture books, pre-publication), I tend to see them better. I do know there were lots of bunny books this year. Nonfiction continued to be a trend in part, no doubt, to the CCSS. YA trends seem to come and go. For instance, the NYT Bestseller List for this week has all of John Green's books on it along with THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, ELEANOR AND PARK, and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, all realistic fiction. The children's list is topped by WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY joined by some new titles such as THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT and some holiday favorites like THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Some of the things I saw are fads (WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY and other books that come from other forms of media) and some might develop into trends. Only time will tell. I will observe that there were a few more slim and intense YA books this year than in the past. I celebrate that if it develops into a true trend.

Am I different reader this year than last. Most decidedly and emphatically YES, YES, YES! The reason I am a different reader is, in large part, due to the books I read and the new thinking they created. New words, images, fascinations, etc. are the result of reading a large quantity of books. I think I am more critical as well having read widely (and remember that, for me, reading can also be done with my ears). I am less likely to finish a book where I can see the ending coming, telegraphed by poor plot structure. And note the observation on the list I posted for December where I indicated that my lists do not include books I thought were dreadful. I do not blog about bad books. They are certainly out there, but I see no value in posting about bad books when there are so many good ones that deserve mention. I do not read blogs where the author posts about how awful a book was either. I know that being critical as a reader means being able to separate the wheat from the chaff. However, I do not think I need to give the chaff any space on the blog (which is here, BTW,

Thanks, Mindi, for asking me to reflect back on my reading in 2013. I have been asked which books are my favorites. Honestly, while there are stand out books, I tend not to make short lists. For one reason, they are HARD to do. Additionally, since readers have such varied tastes, my favorite books might just as well be your MEH books and vice versa. I have been reading all the best lists from reviewing sources (SLJ, Horn Book, Booklist, PW, etc.) and from bloggers. I admit that I have read most of the books on the lists. But I read the best lists mostly to make sure I have not overlooked a book. The year WHERE THINGS COME BACK won the Printz and Morris Awards, it received not one starred review. Last year there were several books that received 5 and 6 starred reviews yet did not win awards. I think I prefer, then, to keep my lists as they are: a document that reflects me as a reader in 2013. Here's to great new books in 2014!
Tags: best of, lists, reading, reflection
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