15) When Your Child Struggles: The Myths of 20/20 Vision, What Every Parent Needs to Know, by David Cook. I will have lots more to say on this, as its very relevant to our life right now. It was a 90 minute read and I learned a lot about the difference between eyesight and vision. A really good hour and a half investment of time.
14) Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman. When we chose it for our book club, I was pumped because I loved his award-winner The Graveyard Book. This one was just as imaginative as Graveyard, but without any likable characters, a quality I can’t overlook.
13) Bellman & Black, by Diane Setterfield. I loved her debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, and had this one on hold long before it was released. It was beautifully written, amazing imagery, interesting plot and yet not quite as good her first one. Like #14, the characters weren’t quite as engaging.
11 & 12) Heir of Novron, Vol. 3(Riyria Revelations), by Michael J. Sullivan.
Yeah, judge a book by its cover. This trilogy (with #1 on the list that I read Jan. 1) is that awesome. Great characters, amazing adventure, plot twists galore. Ah, if only I can find far more books like this….well, I’d never sleep.
Rise of Empire, Vol. 2 (Riyria Revelations), by Michael J. Sullivan.
10) America's Women Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines, by Gail Collins. Her Texas book (#2 on the list) was interesting enough for me to download this title and listen in my quiet moments. Great information plus great writing style equals a wonderful listen. My current favorite statistic from the book is “in 1972, a woman with a college degree could make as much money as a man with an eighth grade education”.
9) When Kids Can't Read, What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers, 6-12, by Kylene Beers. The class I just completed was facilitated by Dr. Beers, who is completely unrelated to this Dr. Beers, but it caught my eye and I enjoyed reading the Kylene articles, so I found this book. Her failures in teaching are my failures, so her reflections and new methods resonated with me. I don’t think it goes far enough, but I will look this up again when I get closer to being back in the classroom.
8) The Penderwicks: a Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and A Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall. Read The Penderwicks. Listen to The Penderwicks. Wait for the movies to come out in several more years. Buy several copies and lead a 5th grade girls book club at your local school with it. Listen often with your younger children so they can be exposed to wonderful story telling. Yeah, I Rosalind, Skye, Jane, Batty, Jeffrey, and Hound.
7) Love, Ruby Lavender, by Deborah Wiles.
My kids’ beloved kindergarten teacher recommended this title to me after she read the Penderwicks and wanted to share one of her favorites. I love Ruby Lavender and want to be as wonderful as her grandmother someday.
6) The Wide Awake Princess, by E.D. Baker. From the author of Kyla’s beloved Tales of the Frog Princess comes the story of Sleeping Beauty’s little sister who is unaffected by magic, which is a fine twist. Unlike the Frog series, this one is not on audiotape so Mama gets to read it often.
5) The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, A Flavia De Luce Novel, by Alan Bradley. The sixth in the series, it might be the last. I love, love Flavia and the last book turned everything upside down in the very last sentence, and this book kept it going through the end. Supposedly, it’s even better on audiobook (from a reliable source, BFF Susanne) and I found the first two books on CD at Value Village, if anyone wants to try them out.
4) Love Does: Discover A Secretly Incredible Life in An Ordinary World by Bob Goff. He’s got a surreal life story but an even more extraordinary heart. It’s quick, but worth reading.
3) Read Right: Coaching Your Child to Excellence in Reading by Dee Tadlock. I picked up this book on the on a chance encounter who (3 degrees of separation) knew that Garfield HS in Seattle used this program for its struggling readers. When I began this, I had to vent in a document I called “Read Right notes—Stupid things it says that make me angry”. I did read the whole thing because it turned my brain (and a lot of my graduate work) on its head….pardon the pun. I’ll be gnawing on this information for a while, but I will give the author a D for unprofessional writing.
2) As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda, by Gail Collins. I’m not sure exactly why the title appealed to me. Maybe I need a boost in feeling Superior in Seattle while laughing at Texas, but it was a really fun audio-read. First it gave an insightful historical perspective of what being a Texan means, from the Alamo to the Empty Spaces paradigm. Then it gave several examples from financial deregulation, education, business, and global warming that “as Texas goes…so goes the nation.” I think the author began in earnest to be fair and even-handed, but by the end of the book, you could tell she was rolling her eyes. I’ll read more by her and try not to have nightmares about Texan presidents.
1) Theft of Swords, Vol. 1 of Riyria Revelations, by Michael J. Sullivan. Some of the final books I read and loved in 2013 were two prequels of a fantasy adventure genre. So I was really excited when the 650-page first volume of the actual trilogy came in just before Dwayne sent me to the cabin for a few days. I read it in less than 24 hours in a overstuffed leather chair in front of a cozy fireplace. It was the perfect book to read in the perfect setting. Think of it as a book along the same style as The Princess Bride, but one you would never read aloud to your children. (It’s a tad bit violent with magical dragon-weapons eating people gruesomely.) This books sets a high standard for fun reads for the rest of this year. Luckily, I have two more extra-thick volumes of this series to go.
As always, red denotes nonfiction.