I am someone who believes in the magic of books I am a passionate advocate for giving sharing, and buying books for every occasion. As a teacher I have a little classroom library and I’ve seen how a collection of books can create a safe place for my students. The shiest student can be standing in front of my bookshelves and be spontaneous met by another student where an impromptu conversation starts around “what to read”. Other times if a student has no place to “be” during lunch or break I often find him/her wandering into my classroom to look at my books and then finding a quiet corner to read. EVERY human should have their own little library at home even if it’s just a collection of a few books. What better occasion to help contribute to this library than Christmas! Because I always have people ask “what should I read?” I’ve decided to gather some of my favouites this year and post them for you! Please include any of your own suggestions in the comment section. It’s always a good thing to share title suggestions.
I have to admit most of my titles are for young adult and adult readers, however I HAVE to mention “The Good Little Book” by Kyo Mclear for young readers, especially young reluctant readers. It’s a charming story about how a book can be a young boy’s friend.
Young Adult titles
- “Dumplin’” by Julie Murphy. LOVE this novel! A great story about a plump high school girl with THE most positive body image. Love Willowdean’s voice. She’s funny and smart and a warrior princess at heart.
- “Sorcerer to the Crown” by Zen Cho. Who doesn’t like magic and British folklore? Another book with a strong young female character who, although is not our protagonist, is one of my favourite characters that I’ve met this year.
- “The Nest” by Kenneth Oppel. I’d describe this as a “supernatural allegory”. Creepy but beautiful at the same time. A story about the love of family told from the perspective of a young boy.
- “Belzhar” by Meg Wolitzer Literary summer school for troubled youth where the author for discussion is Sylvia Plath. A book that possesses enchanted journals as a plot device.
- The “Unwind” series by Neal Shusterman …all four of them. You want to generate a great discussion with your kid? Read the series with him/her. Seriously one of my favourite series EVER!
- “Lumberjanes” graphic novel series by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Shannon Waters and Brooke Allen. A group of “kick-ass” girls who go to summer camp and fight supernatural creatures. LOVE the art, love the story with a diverse cast of characters.
- “Nimona” by Noelle Stevenson. a graphic novel that again possesses a VERY strong (and hilarious) character that can morph into other beings. So funny and sarcastic.
- “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanajihara I can’t remember the last time a book made me cry but this one had me sobbing on a number of occasions. Brutal but beautiful. It’s a long and emotional read with unsettling topics.
- “The Girl with all the Gifts” by M. R. Carey.. I didn’t know I would enjoy “zombie literature” until I read this book. A story about a gifted little girl who just happens to be a “hungry”. One of my favourites…so much so I had our High School librarian buy 6 copies for students. Like “Unwind” it is a novel that conjures up some deep topics of discussion.
- “X: The Southern Reach Trilogy” by Jeff Vandermeer. I had to go on discussion sites to get my head around what I read, especially in the first (Annihilation) and the third (Acceptance). Science fiction and allegorical. Environmental themes as well as conspiracy theories.
- “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy. A good classic! I admit I hadn’t read Hardy’s novel until after I watched the movie (Amazing by the way!!!). The book has become my new “old” favourite.
- “The Illegal” by Lawrence Hill. Ok I admit I haven’t read this one yet…I’m saving it for my holiday BUT reviews are amazing and everyone I’ve talked to who has read it has raved about it. I LOVED “Book of Negroes” by the same author so I expect good things from this one.
- “My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante. Easy enough to read but deep in theme, especially regarding relationships. Fair warning, it’s first of a series called “The Neapolitan Novels” of which there are 4 and they are addicting.
- “The Sparrow” by Doria Russell. Science Fiction. Theological. Heartbreaking. Jesuits in Space. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?
- “Omens” (first of the Cainsville series) by Kelley Armstrong. One of my “dessert” reads. I downloaded and started reading “The Omen” after I met Kelly Armstrong at a book fair. 20 pages in I thought it was drivel, 30 pages in I was hooked and now I own all three (downloaded the third one the day it was available). I want to be friends with the main character…I find her so amusing.
- “Krampus the Yule Lord” by Brom Art…who doesn’t like a nice Christmas horror story? (amusingly creepy). Don’t worry, Santa is pretty kick ass in this story.
- “The Son” by Jo Nesbo. Not as gory as his Harry Hole series. One of my favourite of his. Mystery, crime and suspense. A story about an escaped murderer junkie who just happens to remind people of Jesus. Oh, and he’s the son of a policeman.
- Any Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child. If I’m in the mood for a quick crime story these novels are my “go to” books. Easy to read and there are 34 titles to choose from.
- “The Searcher” by Simon Toyne. Toyne deviates from his “Sanctus” trilogy (Which are “unputdownable” by the way) and writes a story about a mysterious albino man who arrives at a small town the same time an airplane crashes just outside the town’s boundary. This man knows all…but remembers nothing.
- “The Girl who Couldn’t Read” by John Harding. Weird things are happening in a insane asylum where “progressive” treatment means submerging a patient in ice cold water for endless hours. Murder, secrets, and insanity. I read this one in a day.
- “The Martian” by Andy Weir. I bought 6 copies for my classroom…they are all missing. My 10th grade boys LOVED this novel. I stayed up all night reading it. My students say the book is better than the movie!
I have just brushed the surface but I hope this little list helps you in your book gift buying adventures! Please write your own favourites of the year in the comments of this post!
Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!