Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007: Rewinding to Find the Best...

I read so many great books this past year. I haven't kept track of how many books or how many pages like so many of you do. (Math never being my strongest subject.) But I thought I would take a bit of time to look back at this past year. I think almost without a doubt that the author whose work I became most obsessed with was Margaret Peterson Haddix. I believe I read fourteen of her books in the past twelve months. (If you can trust my math that is) H.G. Wells was another obsession coming in with eight books. But of course it's not quantity necessarily as much as quality. For the record, I didn't consider books that I was rereading. Yes, I love Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead and Pastwatch and Worthing Saga...but I knew that already. I read them (for the first time) about six years ago. I value rereading, I love to squeeze it in when I can. But this is all about new discoveries, new favorites, new finds, new obsessions.

Authors (most not particularly new) that I *discovered* and /or *loved* and/or became obsessed with in 2007

Margaret Peterson Haddix: Just Ella, Turnabout, Shadow Children series--seven books in all, Running Out of Time, Because of Anya, Double Identity, Escape From Memory, Takeoffs and Landings
Jeanne DuPrau: City of Ember, People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood.
Michael Buckley: The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tales Detective, The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects, The Sisters Grimm: The Problem Child, Sisters Grimm: Once Upon A Crime.
Kate diCamillo: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Tale of Despereaux
Jonathan Stroud: The Amulet of Samarkand, Golem's Eye, and Ptolemy's Gate.
Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Martian Chronicles, Quicker Than Dead,
H.G. Wells: The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon, The Food of the Gods, When the Sleeper Wakes.

Favorite Books Not Published in 2007

Home and Other Big, Fat Lies by Jill Wolfson. In my opinion, this book SHOULD have won the Newbery. It was infinitely better than The Higher Power of Lucky. And it could possibly be the best book about foster care ever, ever written. With Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes being tied or a close second.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. This Newbery Honor was so, so, so good. I highly recommend it to adults and kids alike.

Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle was an incredible read. I just loved it.

I was charmed by Julia's Kitchen by Brenda A. Ferber that won the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. I was one of the few not impressed with A Great and Terrible Beauty. However, this second book wowed me. I just loved it. I read it all in one sitting, and for those not familiar with it--it is a big, thick book.

For younger readers, I think Toys Go Out is a great read or read aloud choice. The author is Emily Jenkins.

Year of the Dog by Grace Lin was a thoroughly charming book for young readers. I just loved it!!!

Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by David Lubar

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. One more reason why Julie Brinker is my best friend. (As if introducing me to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn wasn't enough!)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Gallery of Regrettable Food by James Lileks. My review begins, "Part of me thinks it should almost be illegal to have this much fun reading a book..."

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Life As We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer. If I ruled the world, one of the things I'd do (but not the only thing I'd do) is make sure everyone reads this book. I just can't begin to explain how powerful and intense this book is. Read it, and it will stick with you for life. There is no forgetting this one. It *changes* you.

Favorite Books Published in 2007

What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know
by Sonya Sones
Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
Greetings From Planet Earth by Barbara Kerley
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Cupid by Julius Lester
Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford
First Light by Rebecca Stead
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson
Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
Book of A Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf by Jennifer L. Holm
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Wildly Romantic by Catherine M. Andronik
Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess
Billie Standish Was Here by Nancy Crocker
Walt Disney's Cinderella retold by Cynthia Rylant


Melissa said...

That is an impressive list! I really should give Libba Bray another chance, shouldn't I?

Carl V. Anderson said...

Very cool Best of/Year in Review post. You certainly have read some amazing books.

As I mentioned in my post, I am completely shocked that I had no rereads this year. That is so unlike my normal M.O. that I really am beginning to wonder if I've been body snatched!

I don't keep track of pages either, but I did find it much easier to track my reading by keeping a draft post on my blog, unpublished, and just added title and author to it as I finished a book. In fact that draft post was added to and became the post I published today. The instantaneous nature of the internet sure makes it easier to keep track of things. I use blog draft posts for lots of stuff. Ha!

Discovering new authors is really great, isn't it. All told I read 19 new authors, which for me is probably a record. And may explain why I didn't get to rereading books. That and my obsession with Ian Fleming and John Scalzi.

Becky said...

That is a great idea, Carl. I'll have to remember to do that next year. Maybe if I keep track of it from day one, I'll finally be able to count up my totals properly without much guess work.

Melissa, I'm looking forward to reading Libba Bray's next book, Sweet Far Thing, though I'd almost bet money that it will be checked out and off the shelves for quite a while, so it may take a bit of luck for me to get my hands on it. You might want to give Bray another chance. But every author isn't for every person. So she may never be one you'll appreciate or seek out.

Debi said...

The amount of reading you get done absolutely floors me, Becky! And how incredible that you loved so many of them! This was really a fun post!

Abby said...

My favorite authors discovered this year were Jordan Sonnenblick and (very recently) Lee Weatherly.

What a fun list!

(And I completely agree with you about Life as We Knew It... it's become required reading for everyone in my department and we can't wait for the sequel...)

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

Great list! I'm impressed by the content AND by the recordkeeping involved. Some of my favorites are on your list, too -- all the more reason to seek out some of the ones you mentioned that I haven't read (Hattie Big Sky has been on my list for a while). Thanks!