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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


A Year in Reading Suggestions: November Recap & December Plans

Why We Broke Up - Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman If You Could Be Mine - Sara Farizan The One and Only Ivan - Patricia Castelao, Katherine Applegate We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

November's theme was one that didn't particularly excite me, mostly because I couldn't immediately think of any books I own that easily fit the theme -- but I did some research and was able to use several books from my long library "to-read" list to fill it out. Although they were all award winners, I found them to be a pretty mixed bag.


Here's the official reading prompt for November:


In November, read an award winner.
Books win awards for a reason—usually because they are great. Check out a book that won the top prize in any of a number of national or international book awards.


Here's what I read:


Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler - I've been wanting to read this book since it was published, and I decided it fit this theme well enough for its winning of a Printz Honor in 2012 (although it didn't take the top prize that year.) Overall, it was a bit of a disappointment, but it does contain an especially skillful portrayal of first love.


If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan - This won the top prize in the Lambda Literary Awards Children's/YA category in 2014, but it ended up being even more disappointing than Why We Broke Up. A pity, because more books featuring diverse characters are so needed.


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate - This won the Newbery in 2013, and everyone has wanted me to read it since it was published because my husband's name is Ivan. This book is one that deserves its honors -- sweet, with lots of heart, and brought tears to my eyes.


And ... bonus round! I also read


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - I read this one in November for my book club, but it ended up winning the Goodreads Readers Choice Award in the YA category. And it is, in fact, a good read.


And with this month's books, my Year in Reading Suggestions will be coming to an end.


In December, read someone else’s favorite book.
Your best friend, your neighbor, your child, your chiropractor. Ask somebody you know to identify their favorite book and then pick it up to find out why they love it.


I will be reading Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, which is a favorite of the friend who turned me on to this reading list, and Watership Down by Richard Adams, which ranks high on a couple friends' lists, and which I've been meaning to read for years.


Stay tuned! I've found that I've loved doing a reading challenge so much that in 2015 I will be attempting not one, but THREE, one of which I designed myself. I will post it here soon in case others want to try it -- it is particularly catered to my TBR pile and will be most useful for other book hoarders like myself.