5 Jan
Posted in: reading
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My Year in Books

Reading has always been an escape for me. A good book can both relax and invigorate me. I’ve spent many nights reading just one more chapter into the wee hours.

One of my goals when I became a parent was to instill a love for books in my children. We’ve done that job well. Our three oldest carry books with them when we run errands. They’ve been known to wake up early, hop out of bed, and curl up with a book on a couch while they wait for the rest of the house to start the day. We listen to audio books on the way to school and on road trips. Our home contains hundreds of books in our personal library. We’ve spent hours talking about characters as if they’re flesh and blood: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Will Treaty and Alex Rider to name a few. Books and literacy are a passion of mine.

a shelf of books at a public library

I’ve kept track of the books I’ve read over the last few years. I’m always surprised how many books the list contains. It would be even more if I counted the books I read to the kids. I read quite a few young adult books. I tell people it’s so I’ll know what my oldest is reading but really I like the genre. I wish the YA genre would have been as big when I was classified as young adult. I discovered new adult fiction authors this year I adore and read books I wish I would never have picked up. The following is a breakdown of my 2014 book list:

  • I’m a bit of a World War II junkie. I don’t go very long without reading something, whether nonfiction or historical fiction, dealing with that era. I learn something new with each book. My knowledge of that time period for our country and world was completely lacking from what I learned in the public school system. Two decent WWII books I read this year are The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure and A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-torn Skies of World War II  by Adam Makos. Belfoure’s book made me think about what I would do for a stranger and what would push me to risk everything. I’d like to think I would risk everything because it’s what’s the right, humane thing to do for my fellow man, but I’m not sure I could make the leap. Fans of The Book Thief should give The Paris Architect a read. A Higher Call is about the power of being human vs. being enemies. While it’s not as well-written as Unbroken, the book isn’t your standard WWII read. A Higher Call delves into what might push someone to go against orders and whether or not stepping outside the line is worth it.
  • Late in 2014, I discovered two new authors, Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty. I read two novels by Moyes and four from Moriarty. Both write compelling characters and pull at your emotions. There’s a reason Moriarty’s book Big Little Lies garnered a lot of buzz after its July release. I enjoyed the connections and characters in the book. The book revolves around a school and a group of very different mothers. I could see parts of my own domestic life in the novel, minus the high drama. It’s my favorite of the four I read. I’ll be surprised if One Plus One by Moyes doesn’t make it to the big screen. The characters are realistic even with their over-the-top circumstances. I found them endearing and became invested in the paths they would choose.
  • One of my favorite YA book series is the Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman. His last book in the series, UnDivided, was released in 2014. The books deal with several topics that can polarize groups: abortion, organ donation, parenting, politics, medical science, and cloning. The series has four books plus an optional electronic novella which I think should be put in the printed books. I’ve begged my husband to read this entire series solely so I can have someone to engage in discussion. The concepts and plot twists in this series have stuck with me more than almost any series I’ve read. I can’t seem to get Shusterman’s work out of my head. I didn’t think the series needed a fourth book, but I did like the way the dystology eventually comes together. If you enjoy The Hunger Games or Divergent, give Unwind a chance then send me an email to let me know your thoughts.

I’m always adding to my growing list of books to read. Do you have any books to recommend?

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