2012: My Year in Books

Back in my younger days, New Year's Eve brought a lot of pressure. I felt like I had to do something "cool" to usher in the New Year. Now I'm older, wiser, and so over that.

Proof: It's New Year's Eve 2012 and here is how I spent my evening: I survived the mass of humanity at Wal-Mart (with my daughters in tow) and came home to make a fancy dinner of taco salad (I say fancy because I whipped up some Rotel dip in the crock pot. AND I made guacamole.) While the girls watched Cars upstairs and snacked on popcorn and hot chocolate, determined to stay up until midnight, Jason lounged on the downstairs sofa and flipped between football and one of the Star Wars movies. I was tucked away in our study, reflecting on the books that I read in 2012. I am sure my younger, hipster self would say, "LAME!" but I say, "BLISS!" (If it's any consolation, I drank champagne with a splash of cranberry juice as I blogged ; it's NYE after all. I am not totally lame--yet.)

Landry made it until midnight!

Peyton lasted until about 10:30.
 This year my blog has turned less bookish and more philosophical about my views on religion, politics, and life in general, and I will not apologize. At least I am writing, so I will count 2012 a successful year for my writing and reading life. For the second time, I participated in the Goodreads challenge, and I set a goal to read 150 books in 2012. Mission accomplished! That's 14,328 pages. You can see my complete stats here. As I stated last year, most of these books were picture books, and some purists would say (including my husband), "Those don't count!" Well, whatever. How many BIG books did you read this year? I am an elementary librarian; I read to other people's children for a living. That should count for something.

Just like last year, I have compiled two lists of my Top 10--one for fiction/nonfiction (a mix of adult, YA, and middle-grade) and one for picture books that I read aloud in the library.

My Top 10 Fiction/Nonfiction of 2012: 
1. Wonder by RJ Palacio--If you've been anywhere near me over the last six months, chances are I probably told you to read this book, or I might have even a pushed a copy into your hands. It's what I do. Read more here.
2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King--I still catch myself thinking about this book. Read more here.
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn--If you have not read this, then you are missing out on one heck of a reading ride. (It's got bad language and is disturbing. Don't read this, Mom.)
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene--WOW. Read more here.
5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness--Ugly cried twice. Proof that "YA" is for adults, too. Powerful, powerful book.
6. End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe--It took me two months to finish this nonfiction book because I knew how it was going to end. I thought I could prolong the life of the amazing Mary Anne Schwalbe by keeping her alive in the pages of this heartwarming and heartbreaking book. Beautiful testament to the power of reading.
7. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate--Landry and I read this together and just finished it this week. A truly beautiful read aloud experience. Read it with your kid or your class or just for yourself. Your heart and soul will thank you.
8. Every Day by David Levithan--Another fabulous YA book that made me look at love in a whole new light. Most importantly, it made me THINK.
9. Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt--A heavy middle-grade novel that adults will love. Read more here.
10. A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson--Extremely well-written chick lit.

*Landry's Pick for 2012: 
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick--I have not read this one, but Landry LOVED it. "It chocked me up, Mom. That's the sign of a great book!"--Landry Bailey


My Top 10 Picture Book Read-Alouds of 2012:
1. Press Here by Herve Tullet--Best read-aloud experience EVER! Who knew pressing on dots could make kids and adults actually GASP in glee!?!
2. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen--FREAKING HILARIOUS! 
3. Guess Again! by Mac Barnett--The kids LOVED this one.
4. Woof: A Love Story by Sarah Weeks--Such a fun read-aloud experience because the words just roll like a wave. And such a sweet story with a great theme.
5. Waiting for Biblioburro by Monica Brown--AWESOME and TRUE! 
6. Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems--How can you not pick a pigeon book as one of the best of the year? A homerun with kids every time.
7. Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman--A sweet, simple story that the kids loved!
8. Postcards from Camp by Simms Taback--A unique book with removable letters.(A kid's dream--a librarian's nightmare, but still fantastic!)
9. Bridget's Beret by Tom Lichtenheld--LOVE this book and its theme!
10. A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Pena--Powerful read aloud for upper grades, and Kadir Nelson's illustrations are simply breathtaking! 

*Peyton's Pick for 2012:
E-mergency by Tom Lichtenheld--I have not shared this with the kids at school, but this is Peyton's favorite read-aloud of the year.   "It's really funny because "E" goes missing and it's just hilarious!"--Peyton Bailey   
 
 
At the beginning of this school year, I started a "professional" blog to share my read-alouds and lessons that I do in the library. It has become a huge undertaking, but I hope to keep it up because I want to show that librarians are not just over-educated Wal-Mart checkers. We are teachers! You can see my Red ReadingChair blog here. Also, to see the covers of all of these fabulous books, look on the left side of this blog.

As we stand on the threshold of 2013, take some time to reflect, make goals for yourself, and write them down (I prefer "goals" rather than "resolutions.") Fresh start, clean slate, blank page--whichever metaphor you choose--it brings a certain optimism and intentionality to life. I love it. And please make sure to include READ MORE on that list. Join the 2013 Goodreads Challenge if you need some accountability. I will continue with my reading and hope to read 153 books in 2013--and yes, most of them will be picture books. As always, I would like to read more novels. Maybe 2013 will be the year I become a faster reader.



I recently wrote a post about why we all need to read more for the sake of humanity. If you know me at all, you know that getting people to read is my PASSION. Some might not understand my burning desire to create life-long readers in both children and adults, but I will never apologize for my passion. Here's to 2013--a year lived with intentionality and PASSION.








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