Tag Archive | book list

Middle Grade Fantasy About Fighting Injustice

Shepherd is a new book discovery website that lets you browse lists of books on a particular theme or topic (e.g. middle grade books about unlikely friendships, zombie books, etc.). Each list is written by an author who has a connection to the topic and personally recommends five titles that fit the theme. When Shepherd invited me to put together a list, I decided to recommend books in the same vein as my two middle grade novels Sparkers and Wildings, that is, children’s fantasy novels about fighting social injustice. You can read my recommendations over on Shepherd (and maybe you’ll find you enjoy list-hopping!).

If you want some behind-the-scenes tidbits: one of the titles on my list, Ptolemy’s Gate, is the third book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, which I read as an actual middle grader (I remember really wanting the first book, The Amulet of Samarkand, when I saw it in a book fair catalogue–and I got it!). Years later, after I’d written Sparkers, it struck me that it probably showed the influence of Stroud’s trilogy. The other four books on my list are much more recent titles, all of which I read as an adult. In terms of tone and theme, I think The Troubled Girls of Dragomir AcademyA Wish in the Dark, and the Bartimaeus Trilogy, for that matter, are the most similar to Sparkers and Wildings, so if you liked my books, I think you’d like those, and vice versa!

Finally, my Shepherd list says “best books,” but really they’re just favorite books (and books that I’ve actually read, of course!). In assembling the titles, I had to make some decisions, and two books that I considered including were Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon and Daniel José Older’s Dactyl Hill SquadThe Girl Who Drank the Moon won the Newbery and is in many ways a fairy tale, but it does have things to say about oppression and political power. I’ve only read the first book in the Dactyl Hill Squad series, but it stars Black and brown kids in an alternate Civil War-era United States–with dinosaurs!

The Books I Read in 2021

In 2021, I read 106 books, up from 69 in 2020. I had a feeling my numbers would be up! I guess 2021 was a good year for reading. (2022 might not be, since this coming semester I’ll be teaching three courses for the first time ever.) I suspect serving on the Kids All Iowa Reads Committee contributed to my increased book intake since I read so many middle grade novels for that selection process. I also started the year off strong with a stack of SFF my brother had given me for Christmas, and I ended the year with some highly anticipated SFF reads as well.

Here are the books I read in 2021, rereads bolded, with links to any related blog posts:

Dread Nation Justina Ireland
Echo North Joanna Ruth Meyer
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow Natasha Pulley
A Memory Called Empire Arkady Martine
Prairie Lotus Linda Sue Park
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky Kwame Mbalia
Rick Alex Gino
Serpentine Philip Pullman
Gideon the Ninth Tamsyn Muir
Indian No More Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell
Clean Getaway Nic Stone
From the Desk of Zoe Washington Janae Marks
Efrén Divided Ernesto Cisneros
Closer to Nowhere Ellen Hopkins
More to the Story Hena Khan
Stand Up, Yumi Chung! Jessica Kim
Pippa Park Raises Her Game Erin Yun
Fireheart Tiger Aliette de Bodard
When Stars Are Scattered Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed
The Year We Fell From Space Amy Sarig King
New Kid Jerry Craft
Class Act Jerry Craft
Snapdragon Kat Leyh
Race to the Sun Rebecca Roanhorse
Snapdragon Kat Leyh
The Magic Fish Trung Le Nguyen
The Only Black Girls in Town Brandy Colbert
A Wish in the Dark Christina Soontornvat
The Calculating Stars Mary Robinette Kowal
The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman
Dragon Pearl Yoon Ha Lee
Girl Mans Up M-E Girard
Other Words for Home Jasmine Warga
The Miraculous Jess Redman
All the Birds in the Sky Charlie Jane Anders
The List of Things That Will Not Change Rebecca Stead
Sal & Gabi Break the Universe Carlos Hernandez
The House That Wasn’t There Elana K. Arnold
The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane Kate O’Shaughnessy
The Barren Grounds David A. Robertson
Things You Can’t Say Jenn Bishop
Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe Carlos Hernandez
For Black Girls Like Me Mariama J. Lockington
Serena Says Tanita S. Davis
Pet Akwaeke Emezi
Itch Polly Farquhar
All Systems Red Martha Wells
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez Adrianna Cuevas
Things in Jars Jess Kidd
The Fountains of Silence Ruta Sepetys
The Raven Tower Ann Leckie
Rascal Jean-Luc Deglin, translated by Edward Gauvin
The Fated Sky Mary Robinette Kowal
Ghost Talkers Mary Robinette Kowal
The Bird King G. Willow Wilson
Shine Lauren Myracle
Fireheart Tiger Aliette de Bodard
Un monde à portée de main Maylis de Kerangal
Firekeeper’s Daughter Angeline Boulley
Winterkeep Kristin Cashore
This Is How You Lose the Time War Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Raymie Nightingale Kate DiCamillo
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children Kirstin Cronn-Mills
You Know I’m No Good Jessie Ann Foley
Every Color of Light Hiroshi Osada & Ryōji Arai, translated by David Boyd
Don’t Go Without Me Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Anaïs Nin: Sur la mer des mensonges Léonie Bischoff
La Manticore Maylis Vigouroux
The Silence of Bones June Hur
Heretics Anonymous Katie Henry
Dig A.S. King
Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories Naomi Kritzer
Upright Women Wanted Sarah Gailey
Magic for Liars Sarah Gailey
Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II Andrea Warren
Show Me a Sign Ann Clare LeZotte
The Hazel Wood Melissa Albert
Louisiana’s Way Home Kate DiCamillo
Are You Listening? Tillie Walden
Legendborn Tracy Deonn
A Bestiary Lily Hoang
Midsummer’s Mayhem Rajani LaRocca
Letters from Cuba Ruth Behar
Six of Crows Leigh Bardugo
American Betiya Anuradha D. Rajurkar
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph Brandy Colbert
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Erika L. Sánchez
Hey, Kiddo Jarrett J. Krosoczka
We Are Not Free Traci Chee
The Daughters of Ys M. T. Anderson & Jo Rioux
Dancing at the Pity Party Tyler Feder
Fighting Words Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Spin With Me Ami Polonsky
In the Role of Brie Hutchens Nicole Melleby
Please Ignore Vera Dietz A.S. King
Light from Uncommon Stars Ryka Aoki
This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Kenneth Oppel
The Unbroken C. L. Clark
Tye Leung Schulze: Translator for Justice Dawn K. Wing
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda Becky Albertalli
She Who Became the Sun Shelley Parker-Chan
The Parker Inheritance Varian Johnson
Playing the Cards You’re Dealt Varian Johnson
The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy Anne Ursu
Dactyl Hill Squad Daniel José Older
The Ship We Built Lexie Bean

The Numbers:

  • Total books read: 106
  • Books in French: 3 (3%) (all thanks to Isabelle)
  • Books that were not prose novels: 28 (26%) (Prose non-fiction/memoir/essays: 2; Novels in verse: 2; Short stories/short story collections: 3; Graphic novels/comics including non-fiction: 15; Picture books: 1; Novellas: 5)
  • Books read in translation: 2 (2%) (French to English: 1; Japanese to English: 1)
  • Books read for the first time: 97 (92%)
  • Books read not for the first time: 9 (8%)
  • Books by category (as decided by me): Adult: 28 (26%); Young Adult: 28 (26%); Middle Grade: 49 (46%); Picture Book: 1 (1%)

These next categories are identity-based and therefore necessarily approximate. How someone identifies can’t always be deduced from a name, an author photo, or even a set of pronouns, and not everyone chooses to identify publicly as anything, which is fine. Consequently, this isn’t guaranteed to be 100% accurate, but I’m still curious about my own reading habits, so only take this for what it’s worth.

  • Books written by women (where at least one co-author, co-editor, or contributor is a woman): 83 (78%)
  • Books written by self-identified trans or non-binary authors: 10 (9%)
  • Books by authors of color: 47 (44%)

Finally, my favorite books of 2021, excluding rereads (I picked these on New Year’s Day without thinking about it too hard and…came up with a lucky seven again! But these choices were borderline capricious and I loved many books this year, so don’t ascribe too much meaning to this):

  • A Memory Called Empire Arkady Martine
  • Snapdragon Kat Leyh
  • The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane Kate O’Shaughnessy
  • Winterkeep Kristin Cashore
  • Light from Uncommon Stars Ryka Aoki
  • She Who Became the Sun Shelley Parker-Chan
  • The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy Anne Ursu

Middle Grade Book Pairings

This calendar year, I’ve been serving on the Kids All Iowa Reads Committee, a group of mostly librarians (I’m one of the few non-librarians) who select a single children’s book (as well as a shortlist of finalists) for statewide programming. There are also Adult and Teen All Iowa Reads selections. The 2021 Kids All Iowa Reads title is Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai, and the 2022 title was selected yesterday and will be revealed very soon!

In any case, as a result of my committee membership, I’ve read more middle grade literature than usual in 2021, and in reading so many books, I noticed some interesting connections between stories. This post presents pairings of MG books that share something in common.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks and Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca: Both feature girl bakers and a baking contest at a local bakery.

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park and Letters from Cuba by Ruth Behar: These two historical fiction titles feature girl dressmakers who face discrimination in their new homes.

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone and The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane by Kate O’Shaughnessy: Both of these books are about interracial road trips in a Winnebago with an older woman at the wheel.

More to the Story by Hena Khan and A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat: These are MG retellings of classics (Little Women and Les Misérables, respectively), but you don’t have to know anything about the original stories to enjoy them.

The Year We Fell from Space by Amy Sarig King and The List of Things that Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead: Both of these books deal with divorce, anger management, and being haunted by a guilty secret.

The List of Things that Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead and Itch by Polly Farquhar: This kind of relates to the guilty secret above, but these two titles have a protagonist stewing over a moral dilemma. Plus both main characters have chronic skin conditions that require management.

Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez and The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas: Each of these books stars a Cuban American boy who moves to a new town and quickly makes friends.

The Books I Read in 2020

In 2020, I read 69 books, down from 93 in 2019. I didn’t actually think it would drop by so much! Quite a few of those 69 were picture books and graphic novels, and in 2020 I also did a lot of rereading, which was enjoyable. Most notably, I reread Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, which I adore, and then I reread the first four books of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series in preparation for reading the final two books, and now I am a rabid fan. I was so sad when I didn’t have any more Return of the Thief to read.

Here are the books I read in 2020, rereads bolded, with links to any related blog posts:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Lisa See
A Treason of Thorns Laura E. Weymouth
Fireborne Rosaria Munda
Mission catiche! Aurélie Del Prete, Eliane Garmy, Valentin Mathé, Marie-Noëlle Schmitz & Fabienne Cinquin
This Is How You Lose the Time War Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Every Heart A Doorway Seanan McGuire
Down Among The Sticks And Bones Seanan McGuire
Beneath The Sugar Sky Seanan McGuire
The Downstairs Girl Stacey Lee
Northanger Abbey Jane Austen, performed by Flo Gibson
Possession A. S. Byatt
We Contain Multitudes Sarah Henstra
Last Seen Leaving Caleb Roehrig
Un Voyage Sans Fin Sang Miao, translated by Shaïne Cassim
everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too jomny sun
Tu m’attraperas pas! Timothy Knapman & Simona Ciraolo, translated by Alain Gnaedig
Le cimetière des mots doux Agnès Ledig & Frédéric Pillot
Quelle horreur! Claire Lebourg
Les petits chats sont comme ça Jan Pfloog, translated by Mireille Archambaud
Mon île Stéphanie Demasse-Pottier & Seng Soun Ratanavanh
The Book of Dust Volume Two: The Secret Commonwealth Philip Pullman
The Song Is You Arthur Phillips
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
This Is How You Lose the Time War Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Débridée: Le monde vu par mes yeux chinois Siyu Cao
Difficult Loves Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver and D. S. Carne-Ross
La toute petite Olga Olivia Godat & Raphaëlle Barbanègre
Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone Sequoia Nagamatsu
Le chat qui n’aimait pas les croquettes Odrade
In the Forest of Forgetting Theodora Goss
Grimoire Noir Vera Greentea & Yana Bogatch
Animus Antoine Revoy
The Dam Keeper: Book One Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi
The Dam Keeper: World Without Darkness Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi
Decelerate Blue Adam Rapp & Mike Cavallaro
Conservation of Shadows Yoon Ha Lee
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen Lucy Knisley
Stargazing Jen Wang
Contrepoint edited by Lauren Gidon
The Dam Keeper: Return from the Shadows Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi
This Was Our Pact Ryan Andrews
The Braided Path Donna Glee Williams
The Book of Dust Volume Two: The Secret Commonwealth Philip Pullman
Journal d’un enfant sage Jean-Michel Maulpoix
The Best of Uncanny edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
The Scholars Wu Ching-Tzu, translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang
The Question of Hu Jonathan D. Spence
So Far from the Bamboo Grove Yoko Kawashima Watkins
A Line in the Dark Malinda Lo
The Raven Boys Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves Maggie Stiefvater
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson
Blue Lily, Lily Blue Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King Maggie Stiefvater
La loi du rêveur Daniel Pennac
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog Adam Gidwitz and Hatem Aly
The Magic Fish Trung Le Nguyen
The Midnight Bargain C. L. Polk
The Queen of Attolia Megan Whalen Turner
The Thief Megan Whalen Turner
The King of Attolia Megan Whalen Turner
Till We Have Faces C. S. Lewis
Binti Nnedi Okorafor
A Conspiracy of Kings Megan Whalen Turner
Thick As Thieves Megan Whalen Turner
Return of the Thief Megan Whalen Turner
Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! edited by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Dominik Parisien, Nicolette Barischoff, S. Qiouyi Lu, & Judith Tarr
A Tale of Three Wishes Isaac Bashevis Singer & Irene Lieblich
World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments Aimee Nezhukumatathil

The Numbers:

  • Total books read: 63
  • Books in French: 13 (21%) (well, that was a jump, even if a lot of them were picture books!)
  • Books that were not prose novels: 39 (57%) (Like last year! Non-fiction/memoir: 3; Short story collections: 7; Graphic novels/comics: 12; Picture books: 10; Novellas: 7)
  • Books read in translation: 5 (7%) (English to French: 3; Italian to English: 1; Chinese to English: 1)
  • Books read for the first time: 50 (72%)
  • Books read not for the first time: 19 (28%)
  • Books written by women or non-binary authors (where at least one co-author, co-editor, or contributor is a woman or non-binary): 45 (65%)
  • Books by authors of color (obviously, how someone identifies can’t always be deduced from a name and an author photo, so this isn’t guaranteed to be 100% accurate): 24 (35%)
  • Books by category (as decided by me): Adult: 28 (41%); Young Adult: 21 (30%); Middle Grade: 9 (13%); Picture Book: 10 (14%); Indeterminate: 1 (1%)

Finally, my favorite books of 2020 (no rereads, I again picked these on New Year’s Eve without thinking about it too hard and ended up with a lucky seven):

  • This Is How You Lose the Time War Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
  • The Book of Dust Volume Two: The Secret Commonwealth Philip Pullman
  • In the Forest of Forgetting Theodora Goss
  • Conservation of Shadows Yoon Ha Lee
  • The Magic Fish Trung Le Nguyen
  • The Midnight Bargain C. L. Polk
  • Return of the Thief Megan Whalen Turner

The Books I Read in 2019

In 2019, I read 93 books, 19 more than in 2018 and the most books I’ve read in a year since 2015. I know this increase was driven by Isabelle’s and my coping strategy for the throes of late grad school: binge reading graphic novels, comics, and even picture books (we will never forget Trevor’s immortal line, “This is nice”) in between dissertation-writing sessions. I regret nothing. (I also continued to read SFF short fiction, and these days I usually tweet about stories I really liked.)

Here are the books I read in 2019, rereads bolded, with links to the occasional related blog post:

The Library Book Susan Orlean
Woman World Aminder Dhaliwal
Mimi and the Wolves Act I: The Dream Alabaster
Mimi and the Wolves Act II: The Den Alabaster
Mimi and the Wolves Act III: The Howl Alabaster
Starfish Akemi Dawn Bowman
Summer Bird Blue Akemi Dawn Bowman
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border Francisco Cantú
Black Wings Beating Alex London
Along the Indigo Elsie Chapman
Emergency Contact Mary H.K. Choi
The Language of Thorns Leigh Bardugo
This is my letter to the world: The Omikuji Project, Cycle One Catherynne M. Valente
Half-Witch John Schoffstall
The Light Between Worlds Laura E. Weymouth
P.S. I Miss You Jen Petro-Roy
That Inevitable Victorian Thing E.K. Johnston
Tell the Machine Goodnight Katie Williams
Moonrise Sarah Crossan
Girls on the Line Jennie Liu
Nightlights Lorena Alvarez
Sleep Tight, Snow White: 15 Bewitching Bedtime Rhymes Jen Arena
The Lost Path Amélie Fléchais
Trevor Jim Averbeck
Tess of the Road Rachel Hartman
The Brilliant Death Amy Rose Capetta
The Afterward E.K. Johnston
American Panda Gloria Chao
The Female of the Species Mindy McGinnis
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet Becky Chambers
Song of the Abyss Makiia Lucier
The Near Witch V.E. Schwab
Why Art? Eleanor Davis
Spiky Ilaria Guarducci, translated by Laura Watkinson
Aquicorn Cove Katie O’Neill
Anya’s Ghost Vera Brosgol
Witchmark C. L. Polk
In Real Life Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
The Prince and the Dressmaker Jen Wang
Pilu of the Woods Mai K. Nguyen
The One Hundred Nights of Hero Isabel Greenberg
If You Want to See a Whale Julie Fogliano & Erin E. Stead
Espera, Miyuki Roxane Marie Galliez & Seng Soun Ratanavanh, translated by Pau Joan Hernández
The Witch Boy Molly Ostertag
Lou! #1: Secret Diary Julien Neel, translated by Carol Klio Burrell
Fish Girl Donna Jo Napoli & David Wiesner
What Do You Do With A Chance? Kobi Yamada & Mae Besom
You & a Bike & a Road Eleanor Davis
Koko Be Good Jen Wang
Spinning Silver Naomi Novik
How to Be Happy Eleanor Davis
Riverland Fran Wilde
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Sunday in the Park with Boys Jane Mai
Jane, the fox, & me Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault
Drawing from Memory Allen Say
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant Tony Cliff
Dream Country Shannon Gibney
Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling Tony Cliff
The Three Rooms in Valerie’s Head David Gaffney & Dan Berry
Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules Tony Cliff
My Brother’s Husband Volume I Gengoroh Tagame, translated by Anne Ishii
Sadie Courtney Summers
My Brother’s Husband Volume II Gengoroh Tagame, translated by Anne Ishii
Gender Queer Maia Kobabe
Argonautika: The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts Mary Zimmerman
Snotgirl Volume 1: Green Hair Don’t Care Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung
Annihilation Jeff VanderMeer
Snotgirl Volume 2: California Screaming Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung
This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story Kheryn Callender
The Little Book of Life Hacks Yumi Sakugawa
Seconds Bryan Lee O’Malley
The Little Book of the Hidden People Alda Sigmundsdóttir
Authority Jeff VanderMeer
Bloom Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
Shadow Scale Rachel Hartman
Out Stealing Horses Per Petterson, translated by Anne Born
are you listening? Tillie Walden
The Shining Stephen King
I Curse the River of Time Per Petterson, translated by Charlotte Barslund with Per Petterson
Ordinary Wolves Seth Kantner
Childhood’s End Arthur C. Clarke
To Be Taught, If Fortunate Becky Chambers
In the Dream House Carmen Maria Machado
The People on Privilege Hill Jane Gardam
Blood Water Paint Joy McCullough
Her Body and Other Parties Carmen Maria Machado
The Power Naomi Alderman
Binti Nnedi Okorafor
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them Junauda Petrus
Lotus Lijia Zhang
The Raven Tower Ann Leckie

The Numbers:

  • Total books read: 93
  • Books in French: 0 (Whoops)
  • Books that were not prose novels: 54 (58%) (Still leaping up every year! Non-fiction/memoir/miscellaneous: 5; Short story/folktale collections: 5; Graphic novels/comics: 32; Picture books: 8; Novellas: 2; Plays: 1; Novels in verse: 1)
  • Books read in translation: 7 (8%) (Italian to English: 1; French to Spanish: 1; French to English: 1; Japanese to English: 2; Norwegian to English: 2)
  • Books read for the first time: 87 (94%)
  • Books read not for the first time: 6 (6%)
  • Books written by women or non-binary authors (where at least one co-author, co-editor, or contributor is a woman or non-binary): 71 (76%)
  • Books by authors of color (obviously, how someone identifies can’t always be deduced from a name and an author photo, so this isn’t guaranteed to be 100% accurate): 32 (34%)
  • Books by category (as decided by me): Adult: 30 (32%); Young Adult: 31 (33%); Middle Grade or Younger: 19 (20%); Indeterminate: 13 (14%)

Finally, my favorite books of 2019 (no rereads, I picked these on New Year’s Eve without thinking about it too hard, and I think I was pickier than in some years past):

  • The Afterward E.K. Johnston
  • Witchmark C. L. Polk
  • Spinning Silver Naomi Novik
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
  • Gender Queer Maia Kobabe
  • Out Stealing Horses Per Petterson, translated by Anne Born
  • The Stars and the Blackness Between Them Junauda Petrus
  • The Raven Tower Ann Leckie

The Books I Read in 2018

In 2018, I read 74 books, 4 more than in 2017. That’s the first increase in number of books read since 2015, but I’m still way down compared to the early years of grad school. (I also mentioned last year that I was reading more short fiction online and tracking the short stories I read; I did so again in 2018, and I think I read many more short stories than in 2017.)

Here are the books I read in 2018, rereads bolded, with links to (sometimes just barely) related blog posts:

The Starlit Wood edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
The Bear and the Nightingale Katherine Arden
La Petite Sirène suivi de Conte du Vent Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Louis Moland
La Reine des Neiges Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Louis Moland
The Language of Thorns Leigh Bardugo
The Best We Could Do Thi Bui
The Chosen Chaim Potok
Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence Nick Bantock
Sabine’s Notebook: In Which The Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Continues Nick Bantock
The Golden Mean: In Which The Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Concludes Nick Bantock
The Gryphon: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Is Rediscovered Nick Bantock
Dubliners James Joyce
Alexandria: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Unfolds Nick Bantock
The Morning Star: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Is Illuminated Nick Bantock
The Pharos Gate: Griffin & Sabine’s Lost Correspondence Nick Bantock
Seven Surrenders Ada Palmer
Soie Alessandro Baricco, translated by Françoise Brun
The Honey Month Amal El-Mohtar
Lucy and Linh Alice Pung
Fans of the Impossible Life Kate Scelsa
Saints and Misfits S. K. Ali
Tess of the Road Rachel Hartman
All Out edited by Saundra Mitchell
All American Boys Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
This Savage Song Victoria Schwab
That Inevitable Victorian Thing E. K. Johnston
Let’s Talk About Love Claire Kann
Tash Hearts Tolstoy Kathryn Ormsbee
Raven Stratagem Yoon Ha Lee
Giant Pumpkin Suite Melanie Heuiser Hill
I love this part Tillie Walden
The End of Summer Tillie Walden
Jane, Unlimited Kristin Cashore
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk David Sedaris
Sky Blue Water edited by Jay D. Peterson and Collette A. Morgan
The Poet X Elizabeth Acevedo
Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories Kelly Barnhill
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire Susan Tan
It’s Not Like It’s a Secret Misa Sugiura
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns Julie C. Dao
My Name Is Red Orhan Pamuk, translated by Erdağ M. Göknar
Wink Poppy Midnight April Genevieve Tucholke
The Art of Starving Sam J. Miller
The Small Rain Madeleine L’Engle
Amitié amoureuse Hermine Lecomte du Nouÿ
Picture Us in the Light Kelly Loy Gilbert
Somewhere Among Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu
The Tea Dragon Society Katie O’Neill
Original Fake Kirstin Cronn-Mills & E. Eero Johnson
Wild Beauty Anna-Marie McLemore
La Jeune Épouse Alessandro Baricco, translated by Vincent Raynaud
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories Ken Liu
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores Jen Campbell
Smoke Dan Vyleta
S. J. J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day Joan Bolker, Ed.D.
Till We Have Faces C. S. Lewis
Monstress Volume Three: Haven Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
And The Ocean Was Our Sky Patrick Ness and Rovina Cai
Bats of the Republic Zachary Thomas Dodson
The Drawing Lesson Mark Crilley
Feux Marguerite Yourcenar
Little Black Book of Stories A. S. Byatt
The Astonishing Color of After Emily X.R. Pan
Inkmistress Audrey Coulthurst
Another Phase Eloise Klein Healy
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing Hank Green
Puddin’ Julie Murphy
340 mps Léa Silhol
Girl Made of Stars Ashley Herring Blake
We’ll Fly Away Bryan Bliss
A Skinful of Shadows Frances Hardinge
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy Mackenzi Lee
Darius the Great Is Not Okay Adib Khorram

The Numbers:

  • Total books read: 74
  • Books in French: 7 (9%)
  • Books that were not novels: 30 (41%) (Well, this proportion leaps up every year! Non-fiction/miscellaneous: 2 (funny how weird things customers say in bookstores and a guide to dissertation writing wind up in the same  category); Short story/poetry collections: 13 (I think about one and a half were poetry); Graphic novels/comics: 6; Shorter works: 9 (includes fairy tales and Nick Bantock’s books)
  • Books read in translation: 3 (4%) (Italian to French: 2; Turkish to English: 1)
  • Books read for the first time: 71 (96%)
  • Books read not for the first time: 3 (4%)
  • Books written by women (where at least one co-author, co-editor, or contributor is a woman): 46 (62%)
  • Books by authors of color (obviously, how someone identifies can’t always be deduced from a name and an author photo, so this isn’t guaranteed to be 100% accurate): 17 (23%)
  • Books by category (as decided by me): Adult: 34 (46%); Young Adult: 31 (42%); Middle Grade or Younger: 6 (8%); Indeterminate: 3 (4%)

Finally, my favorite books of 2018 (no rereads, I didn’t set out to choose a certain number of books, and some of these choices are because the book made me think, even if I didn’t necessarily love the whole thing):

  • The Starlit Wood edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
  • The Language of Thorns Leigh Bardugo
  • Soie Alessandro Baricco, translated by Françoise Brun
  • That Inevitable Victorian Thing E. K. Johnston
  • Jane, Unlimited Kristin Cashore
  • The Small Rain Madeleine L’Engle
  • Amitié amoureuse Hermine Lecomte du Nouÿ
  • S. J. J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
  • Till We Have Faces C. S. Lewis
  • A Skinful of Shadows Frances Hardinge
  • The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy Mackenzi Lee

The Books I Read in 2017

In 2017, I read 70 books, 18 fewer than in 2016. That’s not as big a drop as from 2015 to 2016, but I was pretty sure my book count was going to come out lower this year, and I was right. Perhaps I could graph the decline over the course of grad school. I’m simply not spending as much time reading as I used to, but I still read some great books this year. (Also this year I kept track of the short stories I read, since I continued the new habit of reading more short fiction online, but I don’t think I’m going to do a Short Stories I Read in 2017 post.)

Anyway, here are the books, rereads bolded, with links for books I blogged about:

To Hold the Bridge Garth Nix
The Braided Path Donna Glee Williams
The Stuff of Thought Steven Pinker
Océan Mer Alessandro Baricco, translated by Françoise Brun
Difficult Women Roxane Gay
Possession A. S. Byatt
Breath, Eyes, Memory Edwidge Danticat
Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat
Stories of Your Life and Others Ted Chiang
Every Heart A Doorway Seanan McGuire
Some Kind of Happiness Claire Legrand
Gemina Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Of Fire and Stars Audrey Coulthurst
The Passion of Dolssa Julie Berry
La cantatrice chauve suivi de La leçon Eugène Ionesco
Électre Jean Giraudoux
Caligula suivi de Le Malentendu Albert Camus
Maisons de la colère P. M. J. Plouvier
La chanson de Roland translated by Joseph Bédier
Song for the Basilisk Patricia A. McKillip
Alcools suivi de Le Bestiaire et de Vitam impendere amori Guillaume Apollinaire
Midnight Is a Place Joan Aiken
We Are Okay Nina LaCour
Wolf Hollow Lauren Wolk
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Benjamin Alire Sáenz
The Queen of Attolia Megan Whalen Turner
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street Natasha Pulley
Blindness José Saramago translated by Giovanni Pontiero
On a Sunbeam Tillie Walden
The Waking Land Callie Bates
The Hate U Give Angie Thomas
L’absence Anna Boulanger
Ninefox Gambit Yoon Ha Lee
Footnotes* from the World’s Greatest Bookstores Bob Eckstein
Symptoms of Being Human Jeff Garvin
Crooked Kingdom Leigh Bardugo
Sunday in the Park with Boys Jane Mai
I, Coriander Sally Gardner
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children Kirstin Cronn-Miller
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet Becky Chambers
The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story Theodora Goss
The White Snake Mary Zimmerman
The Serpent King Jeff Zentner
A Closed and Common Orbit Becky Chambers
everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too jomny sun
Shadowshaper Daniel José Older
For Today I Am a Boy Kim Fu
The Walled City Ryan Graudin
The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley Shaun David Hutchinson
Code Name Verity Elizabeth Wein
Rose Under Fire Elizabeth Wein
Tess of the Road Rachel Hartman
Burial Rites Hannah Kent
Phyla of Joy Karen An-Hwei Lee
Too Like the Lightning Ada Palmer
The Swan Riders Erin Bow
Scythe Neal Shusterman
Monstress Volume One: Awakening Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Monstress Volume Two: The Blood Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
The Book of Dust Volume One: La Belle Sauvage Philip Pullman
The Pearl Thief Elizabeth Wein
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue Mackenzi Lee
Updraft Fran Wilde
Spinning Tillie Walden
A Line in the Dark Malinda Lo
The Secret in the Wings Mary Zimmerman
Juliet Takes a Breath Gabby Rivera
A Universal History of Iniquity Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley
Musiques de la frontière Léa Silhol
Fairy Tales Hans Christian Andersen (translated–and adapted?–by somebody…)

The Numbers:

  • Total books read: 70
  • Books in French: 9 (13%) (the good influence of Isabelle continues–also there was that French book sale on campus)
  • Books that were not novels: 19 (27%) (Goodness! Non-fiction: 2; Short story/fairy tale collections: 7; Poetry: 2; Plays: 5; Not easily categorized: 3; also Monstress Volumes 1 and 2 and everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too are graphic novels and On a Sunbeam is a webcomic)
  • Books read in translation: 5 (7%) (Italian to French: 1; Old French to Modern French: 1; Portuguese to English: 1; Spanish to English: 1; Danish to English: 1)
  • Books read for the first time: 63 (90%)
  • Books read not for the first time: 7 (10%)
  • Books written by women (where at least one co-author is a woman): 48 (69%)
  • Books by authors of color (obviously, how someone identifies can’t always be deduced from a name and an author photo, so this isn’t guaranteed to be 100% accurate): 17 (24%)
  • Books by category (as decided by me): Adult: 35 (50%–Wow!); Young Adult: 27 (39%); Middle Grade or Younger: 6 (9%); Indeterminate: 2 (3%)

And finally, my favorite books of 2017 (I did not include rereads, and I didn’t set out to choose a certain number of books):

  • The Braided Path Donna Glee Williams
  • Océan Mer Alessandro Baricco, translated by Françoise Brun
  • Possession A. S. Byatt
  • Wolf Hollow Lauren Wolk
  • On a Sunbeam Tillie Walden
  • Ninefox Gambit Yoon Ha Lee
  • Sunday in the Park with Boys Jane Mai
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet Becky Chambers
  • Tess of the Road Rachel Hartman
  • Too Like the Lightning Ada Palmer
  • The Book of Dust Volume One: La Belle Sauvage Philip Pullman
  • The Pearl Thief Elizabeth Wein

Twelve! That’s an auspicious number. May your 2018 be filled with wonderful books!

The Books I Read in 2016

In 2016, I read 88 books, 25 fewer than in 2015. I’m going to blame that on 紅樓夢 (A Dream of Red Mansions), which took forever to read. So here are the books. As usual, bolded titles are rereads, and there are links for the rare books I blogged about during the year. Oh, and this year, I’ve included the names of the translators for books I read in translation, since translators deserve recognition. Also, I read a lot more short fiction this year than I think I have in the past. More on that after the list of books.

The Hollow Boy Jonathan Stroud
My Brilliant Friend Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein
Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages Gaston Dorren
Illuminae Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Story of a New Name Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein
The Sparrow Mary Doria Russell
The Blackthorn Key Kevin Sands
The Goblin Emperor Katherine Addison
Children of God Mary Doria Russell
Bone Gap Laura Ruby
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein
This Is Where It Ends Marieke Nijkamp
Serafina and the Black Cloak Robert Beatty
The Young Elites Marie Lu
The Rose Society Marie Lu
Sorcerer to the Crown Zen Cho
Goodbye Stranger Rebecca Stead
The Rest of Us Just Live Here Patrick Ness
The Story of the Lost Child Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein
The Game of Love and Death Martha Brockenbrough
Pax Sara Pennypacker
Contes de la Tisseuse suivi de Voix de Fées Léa Silhol
Full Cicada Moon Marilyn Hilton
Nest Esther Ehrlich
The Dark Is Rising Susan Cooper
The Golden Specific S. E. Grove
The Perilous Gard Elizabeth Marie Pope
The Curse of Chalion Lois McMaster Bujold
A Study in Charlotte Brittany Cavallaro
The Scorpion Rules Erin Bow
Six of Crows Leigh Bardugo
Nimona Noelle Stevenson
A Madness So Discreet Mindy McGinnis
The Raven King Maggie Stiefvater
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street Natasha Pulley
Une vie à refaire: Mary MacDonald, fille de Loyaliste Karleen Bradford, translated by Martine Faubert
The Magician’s Land Lev Grossman
The Fifth Season N. K. Jemisin
A Bestiary Lily Hoang
A Long Stay in a Distant Land Chieh Chieng
The Blood Between Us Zac Brewer
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Heidi Durrow
Carry On Rainbow Rowell
The Lie Tree Frances Hardinge
Flexible Wings Veda Stamps
Novecento: pianiste Alessandro Baricco, translated by Françoise Brun
Sacra: Parfums d’Isenne et d’ailleurs, Opus I–Aucun cœur inhumain Léa Silhol
Exit, Pursued by a Bear E. K. Johnston
Summerlost Ally Condie
Court of Fives Kate Elliott
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out Susan Kuklin
Anna and the Swallow Man Gavriel Savit
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club Genevieve Valentine
The Girl from Everywhere Heidi Heilig
How to Say Goodbye in Robot Natalie Standiford
Guardian of the Dead Karen Healey
Dark Metropolis Jaclyn Dolamore
A Strangeness in My Mind Orhan Pamuk, translated by Ekin Oklap
Glittering Shadows Jaclyn Dolamore
Future Shock Elizabeth Briggs
The Steep & Thorny Way Cat Winters
Girl in Reverse Barbara Stuber
The Golden Compass Philip Pullman
Conversations avec la Mort Léa Silhol
Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid Lemony Snicket
I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You Yumi Sakugawa
Flora Segunda Ysabeau S. Wilce
A Dream of Red Mansions Cao Xueqin and Gao E, translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang
Monstress Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Seasonal Velocities Ryka Aoki
The Crimson Skew S. E. Grove
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog Adam Gidwitz and Hatem Aly
The Reader Traci Chee
The Story of Owen E. K. Johnston
Prairie Fire E. K. Johnston
Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul Ryka Aoki
Journey Aaron Becker
Quest Aaron Becker
Return Aaron Becker
Murder Is Bad Manners Robin Stevens
Poison Is Not Polite Robin Stevens
Ondine Jean Giraudoux
A Darker Shade of Magic V. E. Schwab
None of the Above I. W. Gregorio
Scarlett Undercover Jennifer Latham
The Smaller Evil Stephanie Kuehn
The Creeping Shadow Jonathan Stroud
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World Ella Frances Sanders

The Numbers:

  • Total books read: 88
  • Books in French: 6 (principally due to the good influence of Isabelle)
  • Books that were not novels: 18 (20%) (Wow, I seem to be diversifying! Non-fiction: 2; Short story collections: 3; Essay collections: 1; Poetry: 1; Picture books: 3; Plays: 1; Not easily categorized: 5; also Nimona and Monstress are graphic novels)
  • Books read in translation: 8 (9%) (Italian to English: 4; English to French: 1; Italian to French: 1; Turkish to English: 1; Chinese to English: 1)
  • Books read for the first time: 84 (95%)
  • Books read not for the first time: 4 (5%)
  • Books written by women (where at least one co-author is a woman): 68 (77%)
  • Books by authors of color (obviously, how someone identifies can’t always be deduced from a name and an author photo, so this isn’t guaranteed to be 100% accurate): 18 (20%)
  • Books by category (as decided by me): Adult: 30 (34%); Young Adult: 34 (39%); Middle Grade: 21 (24%); Picture Book: 3 (3%)

A note on short stories: For many years, I haven’t read much short fiction, spending almost all my reading hours on novels. (When I was younger and subscribed to Cricket magazine, I read a lot more short stories.) This year, though, I started reading more short stories, probably again thanks to the influence of Isabelle, who recommended half of the titles on the list below to me. Sometime in the latter half of the year, I started keeping a record of the short stories I was reading. Hence this list, in case you’re curious.

“The Uncarved Heart” Evan Dicken
“Cat Pictures Please” Naomi Kritzer
“Taste the Singularity at the Food Truck Circus” Jeremiah Tolbert
“Her Sacred Spirit Soars” S. Qiouyi Lu
“Limits” Donna Glee Williams
“The Circle Harp” Donna Glee Williams
“Almost Days” D.K. Mok
“Made of Cats: A Love Story” Judith Tarr
“Selkie Stories Are For Losers” Sofia Samatar
“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers” Alyssa Wong
“Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” Saladin Ahmed
“Where We Live” Heidi Heilig
“Hurricane Heels” Isabel Yap
“White Lie Sympathy” Isabel Yap
“Boat in Shadows, Crossing” Tori Truslow
“Fist With A Kiss” Isabel Yap
“Only Fools Fall” Isabel Yap
“Kaleidoscope Heart” Isabel Yap
“Water Finds Its Level” M. Bennardo
“RedChip BlueChip” Effie Seiberg
“Makeisha in Time” Rachael K. Jones
“On the Acquisition of Phoenix Eggs (Variant)” Marissa Lingen
“Razorback” Ursula Vernon
“Laws of Night and Silk” Seth Dickinson
“The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Her Field-General, and Their Wounds” Seth Dickinson
“Samantha’s Diary” Diana Wynne Jones
“The Fisher Queen” Alyssa Wong
“Santos de Sampaguitas” Alyssa Wong
“Dragon Brides” Nghi Vo

And finally, my favorite books of 2016 (in chronological order)! I didn’t let myself include rereads. And I didn’t set out to choose a certain number of books.

  • Illuminae Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • The Sparrow Mary Doria Russell (I think I owe this one to Andrew!)
  • The Goblin Emperor Katherine Addison
  • Sorcerer to the Crown Zen Cho
  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street Natasha Pulley
  • The Fifth Season N. K. Jemisin
  • The Lie Tree Frances Hardinge
  • Anna and the Swallow Man Gavriel Savit
  • The Girls at the Kingfisher Club Genevieve Valentine
  • I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You Yumi Sakugawa
  • Seasonal Velocities Ryka Aoki
  • The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog Adam Gidwitz and Hatem Aly
  • A Darker Shade of Magic V. E. Schwab

Lucky thirteen, I guess!