Thursday, December 29, 2011

Unachievable Goal: My Year in Books

I set a goal this year of reading 125 books.  I am not going to make it, and I may not even get to last year's level of 109 books.   I was probably overly-optimistic when I set it.  I did read a lot however, this year, and if I kept track of numbers of pages, I probably read  many more pages this year.  I realized that quite a few of the ooks I read were longer-than-usual books.  One of my achievements this summer was to read the entire George R.R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire series - those books totaled over 5000 pages.  Another goal I'd set was to read more nonfiction.

 I read 14 nonfiction books --- from a knitting memoir to a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to a history of the number zero--- quite a variety of topics and quite frankly, several were somewhat challenging reads.  (Especially Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea.  The writing was terrific, but the abstract mathematics got to me eventually.) A couple of the nonfiction books I read stand out:  Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend , which described not only the dog(s) but chronicled the changes in American culture, and Packing for Mars:The Curious Science of Life in the Void.   I was fascinated with the descriptions of astronaut training, and I learned a lot about space travel.  I especially like books which answer questions I didn't know I had!

 I discovered  some new-to-me authors and series this year.  I especially enjoyed Louise Penny's Inspector Armand Gamache series, and I loved Mark Schweitzer's Hayden Konig series!  I can't wait to read new works by either author.  I continued to read the Charles Todd Inspector Rutledge series and continued visiting with Martha Grimes' Richard Jury, and Lindsey Davis' Marcus Didius Falco.

Staying abreast of middle school literature is a professional goal as well as a personal goal.  I read a number of books that either appeal to my students or that go along with our curricula.  I read several books about the Holocaust when I was teaching 7th grade.  Hana's Suitcase in particular stands out, and I also read it aloud to my students.  I was also very impressed by the 7th grade novel Swallowing Stones.  This book was a page turner and it really appealed to my students with its accurate depiction of adolescence and the moral dilemmas.

So what are  my goals for this year?  To keep reading of course.  I will probably keep the 125 books read as my goal, and see if I get any closer!

To see more in-depth reviews of the books I've read, check my books out on Goodreads. com . You can access them by clicking on the Goodreads button at the left.

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