1. Dramarama, E. Lockhart–I picked this up thinking I might use it in the sample curriculum I was writing but decided to use just 2 YA novels instead of 4. Still, I really enjoyed it. it’s about this girl who goes away to theater camp with her flamboyant best friend who has to keep his queerness hidden in their Ohio school. Especially awesome for teenage theater geeks.
2.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie–I did use this for the sample unit. It’s just utterly fantastic. Very funny, but also bracingly honest.
3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, emily danforth–a favorite YA novel of mine, also for the sample unit. I wrote about this in great detail on the blog previously. It’s amazing.
4. All of a Kind Family–ok, so I wanted some nostalgia and I found this at the library book sale. I love this book. I remember reading it so clearly as a kid. you guys remember it too right? that sweet potato at the market! the library lady! the paper dolls! eating crackers and chocolate babies in bed! sukkot! the button game! Charlie and the library lady getting it on! the beach!
5. Running Blind, Lee Child–eh. he writes thrillers that take almost no time to get through and this is one of my favorites because it actually involves Reacher having friends, which is, you know, nice.
6. The Death and Life of Great American School System, Diane Ravitch–a really amazing exploration of how the nice sounding buzzwords “choice” and “accountability” are destroying our schools. Will post my annotation soon.
7. Lost in School, Ross Greene–I’ve read one of his previous books and really liked the different paradigm he presents for dealing with difficult kids. This basically takes that paradigm and applies it to schools. A good read.
8. Shut your eyes tight, Verdon–a mystery that I enjoyed while reading and have since forgotten all about. Which is fine.
9. The Nightmare, Keplar–yet another Scandinavian mystery, this one written by a husband and wife team. the writing is…not great, though some of that might be translation, but I enjoyed the plot and it’s a quick read.
10. Outrage, indridason–one of my favorites of the Scandinavians
11. The Theban Mysteries, Amanda Cross–I don’t know that you could even exactly call what Cross does mystery writing since her mysteries are such low stakes-but I LOVE hanging out with Kate Fansler.
12. Trust me, Jeff Abbott–eh. an ok thriller, i guess, concept way better than execution.
13. The Stranger, Camila Lackberg–I really love her. And I really liked this book.
14. Next of Kin, Roger Fouts–a longtime favorite that I re-read for a book annotation. If you like chimps, language acquisition, animal rights, sign language, or a story about a chimp that reads Playboy, mixes herself gins and tonics, and masturbates with a vacuum cleaner, go pick it up.
15. What’s the Matter with White People, Joan Walsh–the Salon writer presents an interesting argument about the two competing narratives for the vanishing middle class. She has some really fascinating ideas about how Democrats have screwed themselves, despite being much better for the country than the GOP. It’s a political memoir, too, which I enjoyed.
15/16. Quentins/Nights of Rain and Stars, both Maeve Binchy–just lovely, quiet, cozy novels.
17. On Detective Fiction, P.D. James–insights from a master.
18. A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver–god, I love her poetry so so much. one thing i noticed, in addition to all of the trademark nature imagery, is what a great sense of humor she has. there’s one poem where she presents two contradictory ideas and then ends with “are you following me?” hehe.