Monday, January 3, 2011


I kept a little list of all the books I read last year.  Seventy-nine books total, which is more than my goal of fifty.  It has been my aim for the last few years to start reading more intentionally--to actually seek out the books for a purpose instead of randomly reading the books that fall into my lap from the universe, and I'm happy as I look down my list to see only a small handful that feel like a waste of time.  Quite a few of them were chosen specifically because I thought I could learn from them as a writer and as a human, and quite a few of the others were chosen because they were enjoyed by people whose taste in reading I trust.

It really does seem like a lot of books, even if it makes me a bit sad that quite a few of them have already gone missing off my bookshelves at school (Saint Iggy, So Many Boys, Linger, Notes from the Teenage Underground, Full Tilt, Two Way Street, and Jellicoe Road, off the top of my head...I'm sure some will resurface as the year goes on, but it always is a little heartbreaking to see how many of my books never make it past the first reader.)

There are some really good books on this list, books that have stayed with me, books I've recommended and booktalked and pushed into people's hands.  Books that have forged connections between me and other authors.  Some of these books are printed and on the shelf, and some still only exist in document form.  Some have created happy moments of discovery for my children (*snuggles Ramona*), and some have caused a few raised eyebrows (like when I was reading Naked Lunch while getting my hair colored...)  Some have kept me up at night reading feverishly (um, Diary, Full Tilt), and quite a few have made me cry (The Sky is Everywhere, The Flying Troutmans, Everything Beautiful, Jellicoe Road, Waiting for Normal) or laugh (Youth in Revolt, Then We Came to the End, Be More Chill).  Many of them have created fascinating and well-crafted worlds that continue to linger in my mind (The Unidentified, The Shadow Thieves, A Clockwork Orange, The Replacement). 

All of them make me happy to be a reader.  :)

1. A Certain Slant of Light, by Laura Whitcomb
2. Saint Iggy, by K.L. Going
3. Youth in Revolt, by C.D. Payne
4. Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
5. The Naughty List, by Suzanne Young
6. The Realm of Possibility, by David Levithan
7. Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
8. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
9. The God Box, by Alex Sanchez
10. Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers
11. Put Out More Flags, by Evelyn Waugh
12. The Lottery, by Beth Goobie
13. World War Z, by Max Brooks
14. How to Be Good, by Nick Hornby
15. The Castle of Crossed Destinies, by Italo Calvino
16. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt (reread)
17. An Acceptable Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
18. Everything Beautiful, by Simmone Howell
19. The Giver, by Lois Lowry (reread)
20. On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (read aloud to kids)
21. Be More Chill, by Ned Vizzini
22. Impossible, by Nancy Werlin
23. Full Tilt, by Neal Shusterman
24. Spanking Shakespeare, by Jake Wizner
25. waiting for normal, by Leslie Connor
26. Schooled, by Gordon Korman
27. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson (reread, readaloud to class)
28. Two Way Street, by Lauren Barnholdt
29. The Gum Thief, by Douglas Coupland
30. Heist Society, by Ally Carter
31. Mothers and Other Liars, by Amy Bourret
32. Posing Strange, by Amy Danziger Ross (rereread, beta)
33. Fishboy, by Hannah Moskowitz (beta)
34. Ramona the Brave, by Beverly Cleary (read aloud to kids)
35. Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris
36. Everything Beautiful, by Simmone Howell (reread)
37. Notes from the Teenage Underground, by Simmone Howell
38. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume (read aloud to kids)
39. Fool, by Christopher Moore
40. Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta
41. Girlfriend in a Coma, by Douglas Coupland
42. So Many Boys, by Suzanne Young
43. Beezus and Ramona, by Beverly Cleary (read aloud to kids)
44. Peeled, by Joan Bauer
45. Diary, by Chuck Palahniuk
46. The Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin
47. hush, hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick
48. A Good Boy is Hard to Find, by Suzanne Young
49. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
50. The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson
51. Superfudge, by Judy Blume (read aloud to kids)
52. Polaroids from the Dead, by Douglas Coupland
53. The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews
54. The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han
55. The River, by Gary Paulsen
56. Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater
57. Fudge-A-Mania, by Judy Blume (read aloud to kids)
58. Owls in the Family, by Farley Mowat (read aloud to kids, as prep for teaching it)
59. Death Benefits, by Sarah N. Harvey
60. City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare
61. The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff
62. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
63. Ramona and her Father, by Beverly Cleary (read aloud to kids)
64. The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades, by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser
65. The Shadow Thieves, by Anne Ursu
66. The Unidentified, by Rae Mariz
67. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
68. City of Ashes, By Cassandra Clare
69. Septimus Heap #2: Flyte, by Angie Sage
70. You Were Wrong, by Matthew Sharpe
71. Ramona and Her Mother, by Beverly Cleary (read aloud to kids)
72. Somewhere in the Darkness, by Walter Dean Myers (reread, teaching to 8th graders)
73. Guys Read: Funny Business, edited by Jon Scieszka
74. City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare
75. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
76. Point Counterpoint, by Aldous Huxley
77. Forged by Fire, by Sharon M. Draper
78. Slam, by Walter Dean Myers
79. Small Steps, by Louis Sachar


Mary's List said...

Impressive list! I read far fewer. Of the books on your list, I only have read Speak, Wuthering Heights, Owls in the Family, Somewhere in the Darkness, and On the Banks of Plum Creek (not all in this year of course) Do you recommend the Hornby book? I plan to read Juliet Naked soon (also by Hornby) What's Spanking Shakespeare all about?

Elissa J. Hoole said...

The Hornby book was good--I especially think he's wonderful with dialogue, but this is my review: "A difficult book for me to review, somehow--such an interesting premise and such engaging writing and yet disappointing in the end because so little was resolved. The characters were unique and believable; there was humor abounding. The book raises interesting points about the nature of goodness--and pokes fun at how insufferable "being good" can make people. It's a quick read, but it doesn't quite deliver in the end." from

I'd happily lend it to you. Spanking Shakespeare is a YA about a boy named Shakespeare who is writing his humorous memoirs to win a creative writing scholarship.

Jill Hathaway said...

I struggle with whether to loan my own personal books to my students. Now I tend to keep my stash in a cabinet behind my desk. I will let a kid read something during class, but then get it back before he/she leaves. Unless they are super trustworthy. That way they get hooked and then go to the library to look for the book. I've lost way too many of my favorite books/money by letting kids wander off with them. The one that stings the most is my hardcover of Melissa Marr's WICKED, LOVELY. I don't want to buy a paperback now. I want my hardcover! Those things are expensive.

Elissa J. Hoole said...

ha, Jill...yes. the hardcovers hurt. we don't have a school library, and most of the kids would never make it to the public library (middle school is, I suppose, a bit different?) I'm their main source of reading material. I finish a book, say goodbye to it in my heart, give a booktalk, and it starts the rounds. usually every time I finish a new book, there ends up being a waiting list for it, and I just love tempting my reluctant readers (I have many) with the perfect choice off my shelves. I try to resign myself to the fact that I'm going to lose them and that it's all for the sake of promoting reading and getting kids excited, and I *think* the payoff is worth it because I have enough regular "customers" to my library who are so happy to have books available to them. Plus, I suppose I couldn't justify buying as many books if I didn't lend them out. But oh, the signed ones nearly kill me. :(