Friday, December 31, 2021

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2021


In case you aren't familiar with Goodreads, it's an awesome site for book lovers:  book reviews, book lists, quizzes, challenges...all sorts of cool stuff.  

This year I challenged myself to read 50 books.  Don't get too impressed.  Working as a children's librarian, I tend to read a lot of middle grade novels and other books for older kids, which are generally a lot shorter than adult books (but not infantile fluff, as some snobs seem to think).  I also counted two audio books, five graphic novels, and two novels in verse, all of which take less time than most adult books.  But still, I'm proud of my success.

Some interesting stats:

Fiction was 74% (up a little from last year)

Of that, about 13% were science fiction or fantasy.  Exhalation, by Ted Chiang was the best.

About 19% were historical fiction or classics.  Tie for most memorable:  Soul Lanterns, by Shaw Kuzki, about the bombing of Hiroshima, and R.J. Palacio's Pájaro Blanco (White Dove) about a Jewish girl in hiding in WWII.   

I also read a strangely high number of contemporary books with some sort of speculative element.  My favorite was the wish-granting fish in an otherwise very realistic middle grade novel, The Seventh Wish, by Kate Messner.  

Best novels of the year?     

-96 Miles, by J.L.Esplin.   A middle-grade novel about survival in the desert and the love between brothers. 

-Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech.  A fantastic middle-grade novel in verse from a boy who at first thinks poetry is stupid.  

-The Canyon's Edge, by Dusti Bowling.  A middle-grade novel in verse about survival in the desert and survival through tragedy. there a pattern here?

-The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennet, about identical twin sisters who choose very different paths.

Other favorites:  365 Days to Alaska, by Cathy Carr; How to Steal a Dog, by Barbara O'Connor; A Place at the Table, by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan; With the Fire on High, by Elizabeth Acevedo; The Girl with the Louding Voice, by Abi Daré.   


A staggering 54% were about animals.  Go figure.  My favorite?  Wicked Bugs, by Amy Stewart (I read the young reader's version, not realizing until  I'd checked it out).

Favorite non-animal book:  Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer 

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