Unfortunately, last year two of my good friends were given cancer diagnoses. They do not know each other, although they have the same name. I’ll just tell it to you because it’s the most common women’s name of my generation and therefore lends a certain anonymity: Jennifer. You probably figured that out, right? So, anyway….Their cancers were different, but both required a lot of down time — not exactly an easy task for these couple of dynamos. We, their friends, sent them books to read and shows and movies to watch, or lists of such.
Variety is key. High, low, middle. I started thinking about what I had read in 2014. A lot of children’s literature, since I’m diving into that arena with my own writing. A lot of independent novels and poetry, so the quality of the editing and writing was mixed. I also reread with my kids (Narnia, Harry Potter) and for the only book club I’ve ever really been a part of, the Classy Book Club — David Copperfield. Looking back at my ’14 list, here are my favorites in reverse chron order:
- Golden State by Michelle Richmond
- This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Pachett
- Smile by Raina Telgemeir
- Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
- Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
- The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
- Joy Street by Laura Foley
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (yes, I binged!)
- Princess Posey and the New First Grader by Stephanie Greene
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford
- Midnight in Austenland (which I liked better than Austenland) by Shannon Hale
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
- The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
- Is Everyone Hanging Out with Me? by Mindy Kaling
- Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding
- The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
February is almost over, but already, I’m sticking to that diversity rule when it comes to what I read. It’s a good one. Don’t be afraid to read something out of your comfort zone, whether you prefer literary fiction or new adult. There’s no point in being snobby about a genre if you won’t at least give it a try. You might just fall in love with your next best thing.
By the way, both Jennifers are doing really well.
The Seeing Stone by Holly Black
A couple of nights ago, my daughter and I finally finished Book 2 in The Spiderwick Chronicles. It’s still a bit scary for my 7-year-old what with the eating of cats by goblins, etc. (We love cats. And dogs. In fact, our old dog Audrey just passed away last week. Sad.) This story and the maturity of the writing are probably a better fit for an 8 or 9-year-old. Still, she’s loving it the way some people love horror movies. So, it’s onward to Book 3! I’ll let you know how it goes.
And yes, I’ll admit—I want to read all of the books before we see the movie. My kid doesn’t even know there’s a movie yet, so this is strictly my bag.
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