This year I am sharing the experience I have reading (or listening to audio versions!) a variety of books. In January I read six books. Here is what I read in February.
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman- I must admit, this is the first book I struggled to finish in a long time. I started it, and kept reading, because Melanie recommended it to me, and I have LOVED everything she has ever suggested… until now. After persevering through the slow parts, before I began to like and appreciate the main character, I finally began to enjoy the story itself. Eventually, I did want to know how the story ended, and I admit there were tears by the end. I haven’t had to force myself to keep reading a story in awhile, so this was really a different experience for me.
- Dumplin‘ by Julie Murphy – I forget where I heard about this YA book, but I enjoyed listening to the audio version. It is a sweet story, with touching and sad and funny parts, about a young girl’s struggles with self image. The characters were amusing, but I did grow tired of the never-ending teenage angst. I think because so many of my recent YA reads have been Dystopian novels, this was a little less thrilling than I have been used to.
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – This was another odd reading experience for me. This YA book was highly recommended on a lot of lists last year, and I enjoyed Eleanor and Park by the author, so I was excited to read Carry On. However, for the first 100 pages (at least!), I was ANNOYED. This was such a blatant imitation of Harry Potter that I was offended. I began to keep a list of all the similarities just to amuse myself, since I was committed to finishing the book. It did eventually change and was fun in a silly sort of way, but it wasn’t one of my favorites.
- Fish in a Tree by Lynda Hunt- I listened to this YA story and really enjoyed it! Not only were there some good lessons about treating people kindly and different learning styles, but the teacher was a nice, normal role model and the characters were fun to get to know.
- Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes -I really enjoyed listening to this being read by the author, who also happens to be the creative genius behind some amazing Thursday night TV! I had read a variety of mixed reviews about this book, but I was impressed with the overall message- say yes to new experiences, say yes when you’ve said no in the past, say yes to saying no when it is necessary, and be yourself. Shonda’s message is one of woman empowerment and positivity! I can imagine the power of a year of yes in my life, and in those around me. It’s left me reflecting on lot, which is great.
- Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll – I believe this book was a recommendation from The Skimm, which should always remind me that the story will be dramatic, fluffy, somewhat annoying and mildly entertaining. I enjoyed the way the author jumped forward and backwards in time to tell the story more dramatically.
- It’s All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick – My dad recently gave me a bag full of YA books, and this was the first one I pulled out to read. I loved the fast-paced storytelling, the outlandish scenarios, and the humorous characters! This was a fun, quick read!
- Raising Ryland by Hillary Whittington – I saw a random tweet about this book and it caught my attention enough to read more about the family, their viral video, and the book telling the story of their child, born identified as a girl, but who grew to communicate that he was a boy. The moving story of how this family loved, accepted, and advocated for their young transgender child is one that every parent and educator should hear. I hope that as more families bravely tell their stories, not only will this seem more common to each of us, but we will build a more loving, accepting world that celebrates all of our many wonderful differences. For more information, please watch their video here.