BOOK LOVE

I will continually add to this list. I have a goal of reading 40 books I haven't read before this school year. I'm doing this to stretch myself and because I have started watching tv way too much. I love love love tv and have nothing against it but I need to keep reading widely/diversely.
  1. 1.
    The Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
    Why is JK Rowling's name the biggest? She didn't write it as evidenced by the fact that is not NEARLY as magical as the real books. It was nice to have my imagination back at Hogwarts, but I felt like the writing was very mediocre.
  2. 2.
    Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
    Suspense and sort of YA. The last 100 pages are where it gets actually good. The plot twist seemed a tiiiiiiiny bit contrived but I feel like it will be a hit with my students.
  3. 3.
    All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    I understand that this is one that everyone talks about, but it was the best book I have read in years. Rich, complicated, beautiful, funny, complex, and absolutely worth the 500+ pages and the hard copy weight. Wow. Cannot recommend enough. Especially if you're a historical fiction fan and you haven't read it???? DO IT NOW.
  4. 4.
    Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
    Lauded as one of the original "edgy" YA novels, it reads more as a cautionary tale written by conservative parents. I didn't love it and the ending is abrupt and isn't believable, honestly. Yeah yeah, drugs are bad, I know. This diary-style rendition lacks a lot of authenticity I felt. Written in 1971 sooooo I get it. But! It is a banned book so I had to check it out.
  5. 5.
    Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
    Magical realism. It is really interestingly written and I liked it a lot. I felt that it was a lot more magical than I expected though and felt like a lot of it floated by me - I felt like much of it was quite blurry. Though it was beautiful.
  6. 6.
    Jesus the King by Timothy Keller
    This book is so rich and good, but it is basically a commentary of the gospel of Mark. So while it isn't difficult to read, it is dense and so I have taken it slowly. It's been so so good though. I definitely recommend it for those seeking to see exactly who Jesus is in the Gospels.
  7. 7.
    Diary of an Oxygen Thief by Anonymous
    A student was reading this and it looked interesting so I asked to borrow it. IT IS THE MOST APPALLING AND SELF-INDULGENT CRAP I HAVE EVER READ. I don't want it to exist. Probably written by someone who uses Catcher in the Rye as a self-help book.
  8. 8.
    Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
    I'm not too sure how I hadn't read this until now but wow it's good. It made me cry.
  9. 9.
    For One More Day by Mitch Albom
    Just really heartwarming and honest. A student gave this to me to read. We actually traded Mitch Albom books. How cute is that??????? And it was a freshman boy!! Reading!! Amazing!!
  10. 10.
    Feed by M.T. Anderson
    This is a dystopian novel about a future where "feeds" are implanted in the human brain. So it's an instantaneous internet connect controlled by your mind. It was super weird and terrifying. But I was fascinated. So. It also isn't the classic dystopian YA story structure, which I appreciated.
  11. 11.
    Unreasonable Hope by Chad Veach
    Started and finished in one day. "Pain is relative, and Jesus is reality." Yes & amen.
  12. 12.
    The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
    An exploration of guilt and innocence and justice, this book follows a strange timeline of girls in juvenile detention and not in juvenile detention. It has insightful things to say about how society determines guilt, and it is also a ghost story. So. It is a perfect storm for Halloween. Pick it up! I loved it.
  13. 13.
    Scary Close by Donald Miller
    This book about intimacy and the importance of vulnerability in healthy, lasting relationships is SO IMPORTANT. Don Miller writes like he is having coffee with you and it is the best. I honestly just love all his writing.
  14. 14.
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    So I started this one because Pulitzer obviously. It is really long and at times can seem like it is never going to reach what is, according to the back cover, the entire premise of the novel. But it eventually does. It takes time. It reminds me of a Russian novel - the way it spans such a long time period and the grittiness of the characters. They're so real that you don't particularly like any of them. It has some really important things to say about art and beauty and value.
  15. 15.
    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
    I expected it to be creepy, but it isn't at all. Just peculiar. I find the method by which Riggs developed the story to be fascinating. He started creating characters based on old photographs he would find at estate sales etc. I find that fascinating.
  16. 16.
    Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
    A strong sequel to the first book. I'm going to start the third sometime over break.
  17. 17.
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    This book is funny and heartbreaking and honest. I read it in two days while my kids were taking finals. It has some really beautiful things to say amid the teenage boy stuff.
  18. 18.
    Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan
    This is a book that is absolutely needed by the church today. I needed to read it. I learned something with practically every sentence.
  19. 19.
    Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
    Matt gets accused of threatening to bomb his high school and Ursula stands up for him as a witness. Matt didn't actually have any plans to bomb the school but his reputation is destroyed regardless. Oates explores how reputations are made and destroyed and how one true friendship can heal you.
  20. 20.
    Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
    I mean, whoa. This is the perfect book to get me halfway to my goal of 40 new books this school year. This book is about rest, learning how to say "no" for the sake of more meaningful connection and "yes." It's about sabbath and silence and purpose from God. It's about leaving behind striving. It's everything I've needed to read and I read it in one afternoon. So. Good.
  21. 21.
    Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
    A pretty epic conclusion to my adventures in Peculiardom! I loved this conclusion.
  22. 22.
    How's Your Soul? by Judah Smith
    This book asks you to examine your insides under the assertion that in order to live a happy and fulfilled life, your soul has to be happy and fulfilled. True change happens inside out, not outside in. It's easy to read and encouraging.
  23. 23.
    In a Land of Paper Gods by Rebecca Mackenzie
    A book about a young missionary girl in China during World War II. She has an active imagination, gets into lots of trouble, and questions so much about the world. There was really beautiful writing in here for sure and it was a really fascinating story.
  24. 24.
    Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
    The firsthand account of a woman who had an unexplainable mental break which turned out to be symptoms of an extremely rare autoimmune disease. It was a pretty fascinating read.
  25. 25.
    Where'd You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple
    I am positively obsessed with this book. I devoured it. It is hilarious and unique and interesting and honest. Oh SO GOOD.
  26. 26.
    The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
    An allegory about heaven and hell by Lewis. It's sometimes confusing and sometimes abundantly clear. Lewis makes you think, that's for sure.
  27. 27.
    The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
    I read If I Die In A Combat Zone in college (O'Brien's memoir about Vietnam), but somehow I missed reading this. The story telling is stupendous and heartbreaking and all too true.
  28. 28.
    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
    Humans can entertain two opposing ideas at the same time - we are messy and searching. This book reminded me of that in all the best ways. Also I wanted to cry.
  29. 29.
    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
    Heartbreaking and honest and just beautifully written. I loved it. The storytelling is complex and rich.
  30. 30.
    Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
    This book is set in Singapore (where I live) and that's why I picked it up. It made me smile to see all my fave places in literature and also THE DRAMAAAA. It seemed pretty realistic. It's a trashy, easy novel. But if you wanna see how the other half lives, this would be it. I need to find me one of these billionaires. 💍
  31. 31.
    My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
    Not what I expected. It made me feel sad but it was really well-written. I liked The Chosen better because I felt like I got to know the characters better, but this was super interesting.
  32. 32.
    The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
    I'm a girl who feels like she is constantly living in pieces. This book made me weep because it made me feel known. This life and world is broken, but we can choose to use that brokenness for good. Oh man. Break me wide open and let my love pour out.
  33. 33.
    Let's All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs
    Uh oh. God told me I'm supposed to do some things that sound really scary to me through this book. I want to be courageous.
  34. 34.
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    I'm not a fantasy girl but I did get lost in this interesting world where an evil Woods is trying to overtake several kingdoms. It was definitely a bit slow in some places though and took much longer to read than I anticipated.
  35. 35.
    A Step From Heaven by An Na
    Oh. This book. It broke my heart in so many ways. The writing is gorgeous - spare and peppered with Korean and English words to a Korean ear. The story is painful and hard, but also hopeful and open-handed. Please read it. It is small but mighty.
  36. 36.
    Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
    I adore memoirs. Lauren Graham's gave me the warm fuzzies of hanging out with her. It made me realize what a kind and loving person she is - softer around the edges than I thought I guess. I loved her stories. It felt nice to hang out with her. I hope her blue coat is returned to her someday!!!
  37. 37.
    Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen
    Spent three hours yesterday afternoon crying my way through this. I'm always trying to prove myself. This book reminded me why that is not a way to live.
  38. 38.
    How To Break A Boy by Laurie Devore
    Lots of drama but it got it right - high schoolers can be so mean.
  39. 39.
    Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
    I think I can safely say this is my favorite book on my list. I was nervous to start a 580 pager with about a month and some change to go on my goal. If it didn't immediately draw me in, it was gonna be tough to finish this and another book. I was so wrong. When I wasn't reading this book, I missed it. I read every spare minute of the day. Adiche is wise and honest and this book has all the elements I need: raw honestly about race and religion and America and Africa and relationships and wow
  40. 40.
    The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
    Finished this in less than an hour. It's written in alternating chapters from present and past about a teenaged father. It was good and short, poetic in a way. IN OTHER NEWS I COMPLETED MY GOAL OF 40 NEW BOOKS THIS SCHOOL YEAR ✨
  41. 41.
    City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
    Ever since i finished book 40, it's been so hard to finish another! Hahaha. I'm reading like 5 at once. I really liked this YA take on the unrest in the Congo. Complicated.
  42. 42.
    The Girls by Emma Cline
    Creepy and unsettling. The premise intrigued me bc for some reason I am fascinated by cults. I finished it in less than a day. Recommend but also with some reservations bc some of this ish is hard to handle.
  43. 43.
    Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
    I thought I knew the twist but then another arose. Sad, suspenseful, and heartwarming. It was a good first summer read!
  44. 44.
    Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist
    I love how she writes. This one was brutally honest about the struggles she has gone through and the purpose of those struggles. I loved it.
  45. 45.
    Encounters with Jesus by Timothy Keller
    Keller talks about each personal interaction Jesus has on earth and it's significance. Such a good read. I learned a lot.
  46. 46.
    Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
    Nonfiction. Stories from a death row lawyer in Alabama examining the connections between race, poverty, incarceration and the grave injustices we inflict. I am absolutely wrecked. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone and everyone!
  47. 47.
    Sold by Patricia McCormick
    The story of a young Nepalese girl sold into sex slavery. Heartbreaking.
  48. 48.
    The Quiet American by Graham Greene
    Graham Greene is a great author - he subverts stereotypes and explores the depravity if man in such interesting ways. This one was great - bit of a slow burner. But. Basic moral of the story? America, stop trying to butt in to everyone's lives bc you are literally killing innocent people ok?
  49. 49.
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    I'm not sure how I haven't read this before but it honestly floored me - how accurate, how relevant, how painful. Also, my high schoolers loved it so there's that.
  50. 50.
    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
    Written about the time when Miller was adapting his memoir into a movie and the lessons he learned about telling stories and how those pertain to how we live our lives. Oh man. This book hit home for me - what kind of story am I writing? And most importantly, the plot isn't really what makes a story good as much as the character arc.
  51. 51.
    Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
    I stayed up late reading this one. YA fiction at its finest, honestly. Two unexpected protagonists ❤️❤️❤️❤️
  52. 52.
    The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
    One of my favorite movies but I hadn't ever read the book. It was really good. I love Matthew Quick's style of writing. Also, I don't like movie covers on books but this was the only copy I could find 🙄