When I hear someone comment that there are no good books, I have to shake my head in dismay (and maybe utter a few choice words, too). My list of titles to recommend is well over 100. It is an embarrassment of riches. Perhaps in January a few of these titles will receive recognition with Newbery, Caldecott, King, Printz, and the like. However, award winners or not, they are all deserving of readers. The book group to which I belong is populated with really smart people: Katherine Sokolowski, Donalyn Miller, Colby Sharp, Karin Perry, Cindy Beth Minnich, Franki Sibberson, and Karin Perry. A day does not go by that6 we talk about what we are reading. We also muse about who the audience is for the book. We float books on to one another. We discuss what we liked and maybe did not appreciate. It is animated and respectful talk. It is OK to like a book and have someone else not be as thrilled. And vice versa: I can admit that a read did not excite me much and have someone else talk about why that book moved them deeply.
This all reinforces my "one size does not fit all" claim that extends to books. No reader approaches a book with the same expectations and experiences as another reader does. I might really connect with a book because of a situation, the way a character looks at life, a scene that affected me, etc. Another reader might also like the book but for different reasons. Each and every one of us is searching for that book that reaches deep within us. We are also on the lookout for the book that provides a much needed escape or an afternoon of just plain laugh out loud fun. So, as I look back at the hundreds of titles, I recall the laugh, the tear that escaped, the sigh, the moan, the TRANSACTION with the text. Be it a 32 page picture book or a tome of some length, each and every book I have read has added something to my life. Is that not a wonderful thing to be able to look back and observe?