Book News

Goodreads Best Books of 2016


The members of the Goodreads community voted on what they thought were the best books of 2016. Here are the results. Winners are listed first and then honorable mentions.

  1. Fiction
    • Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
    • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
    • The Girls by Emma Cline
  2. Mystery & Thriller
    • End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy #3) by Stephen King
    • A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Armand Gamanche #12) by Louise Penny
    • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  3. Historical Fiction
    • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
    • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
    • America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray
  4. Fantasy
    • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Harry Potter #8) by J. K. Rowling
    • A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab
    • The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson
  5. Romance
    • It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
    • Storm and Silence by Robert Thier
    • The Obsession by Nora Roberts
  6. Science Fiction
    • Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown
    • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
    • Bloodline (Star Wars) by Claudia Gray
  7. Horror
    • The Fireman by Joe Hill
    • The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
    • The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3) by Justin Cronin
  8. Humor
    • The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
    • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
    • Where Am I Now? by  Mara Wilson
  9. Non-Fiction
    • Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
    • The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction by Neil Gaiman
    • Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein
  10. Memoir & Autobiography
    • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Abraham Verghese
    • The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Sterling
    • The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper
  11. History & Biography
    • Leonard: My Fifty-Year Relationship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner and David Fisher
    • The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    • First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Anderson Brower
  12. Science & Technology
    • Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Fans de Waal
    • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
    • Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
  13. Food & Cookbooks
    • Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen
    • Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders
    • The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers by Loren Bouchard
  14. Graphic Novels & Comics
    • Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Anderson
    • Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
    • Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  15. Poetry
    • The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
    • The Universe of Us by Lang Leav
    • Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems by Pablo Neruda
  16. Debut Goodreads Author
    • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
    • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
    • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  17. Young Adult Fiction
    • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
    • The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
    • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  18. Young Adult Fantasy
    • A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
    • Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare
    • Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas
  19. Middle Grades & Children’s
    • The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan
    • Pax by Sara Pennypacker
    • The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2) by Rick Riordan
  20. Picture Books
    • The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
    • They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel
    • Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
Book News · Random Thoughts

Creating your own summer reading list

I came across this article on the Book Riot website and thought it was wonderful! Like the author, I am also a teacher, and I particularly like how simple her guidelines were. Here’s the link:


I’ll put this out there first: I am a public school teacher, and damn lucky to have an extended vacation of at least seven weeks every summer. I’ve been teaching since I left college at 21, so for my entire life, the months of July and August have been a change from the norm, and even throughout summer jobs and family obligations, I’ve never lost touch with the summer freedom feeling. A few years ago I secured my master’s degree and was finally ready to be done with required reading…except I missed it. I like rules and structure, and I missed having a list to at least taunt me about what I was SUPPOSED to be reading. That lead to my first self-created summer syllabus, a habit I’ve continued each summer with varying success.

Despite the academic connotations, I never stock my syllabus with titles I find intimidating. Instead, I evaluate where I am in various reading challenges, what I want to learn more about during the summer, and what my family will be doing at different times. Here are some steps to building a summer syllabus:

  1. Pick 1-2 books that help you meet your personal reading goals for the year.  I’m attending Book Riot Live in November, so I’m going to be adding titles by the amazing authors who will be speaking (you can see a full list here). I’m also loosely participating in the Read Harder challenge, so I’ll shoot for at least one book that will satisfy a line item there.
  2. Pick 1-2 books that address personal challenges and/or personal growth. My family is in the middle of a big move that will execute right at the halfway point of summer, so I’m thinking about a book that will make me feel guilty about all the stuff I own. My young kids are a little late starting preschool, so if I can find a homeschool-style book that doesn’t ick me out (lots of them have assumed that I am also interested in a gluten-free diet or strict Christian lifestyle, which is fine, but not what I’m looking for), then I will add that to the list.
  3. Pick 2-3 books that are in a favorite genre. I always add graphic novels, my favorite to read at the splash park. The summer is also the perfect time to start a new YA series, because they make me happy, and I like being happy in the summer.
  4. Pick 1-2 books that you’ve been meaning to reread. I reread a ton in the summer, maybe because I am home and sitting near my bookshelves more often than not. I have rereadFortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve every summer for a buncha years, and any Harry Potter revisiting usually happens in the summer months.
  5. Pick 1-2 books that support your career goals. Anyone you know who works in a school is spending a big part of their summer planning and preparing for the upcoming year. Aside from any suggested reading from my administration, I always have at least one topic that I’m researching (last summer I read a lot about Responsive Classroom, this summer I’m alllll book clubs and classroom libraries) and I usually try to hit at least two books in that vein.

And  there you have it. The bare-bones formula for a decent summer reading list. Adjust the number of titles based on how quickly you fly through books. Adjust the time period to address how long you want to be working on your list. With tiny tweaks, this could be a great way to plan your reading year. Or, if you’re a blessed vacationer like myself, give yourself a summer syllabus that eliminates head scratching the next time you find yourself in the bookstore or library. The best part? Come September, no one will know if you’ve stuck to the plan.
Do you plan your yearly or summer reading?  Do you find yourself saddled with syllabi from higher ups, or are you in total control of your book choices? Do you have any suggestions to help me flesh out the categories above?  I’d love to hear your summer reading thoughts.

Book News

Books being made into movies in 2016

For one of my reading challenges this year, I need to read a book that is being turned in to a movie this year. So I searched and found the official list on PopSugar’s website. Here’s the link: Book to Movies 2016. You need to scroll through the pictures at the top. However, I know I’m not going to remember to do that so here is the list. Some movies may not even be the same title as the book and I’m not even sure all of these are coming out this year. If I found the official release date to be in 2015 or 2017 I deleted it from the list. I divided them up into ones with movie release dates and ones without release dates but were listed on the PopSugar website as coming this year. The link of the release date will be a link to movie information, the book title link will be to the book on Goodreads.

Books to Movies with Release Dates:

No Release Date:

  1. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
  2. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen by Christopher McDougall
  3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  4. King of Heists: The Sensational Bank Robbery of 1878 that Shocked America by J. North Conway
  5. Brilliance by Marcus Sakey
  6. Get Her Off the Pitch!: How Sport Took Over My Life by Lynne Truss
  7. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
  8. Home is Burning by Dan Marshall
  9. It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario
  10. Six Years by Harlan Coben
  11. The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace
  12. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
  13. The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
  14. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  15. Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
  16. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray
  17. The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale
  18. Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
  19. American Tabloid by James Ellroy
  20. The Art of the Engine Driver by Steven Carroll
  21. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow.
  22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  23. Facing the Wind by Julie Salamon
  24. Sister by Rosamund Lupton
  25. 1984 by George Orwell
  26. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  27. Three Letter Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
  28. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
  29. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson
  30. Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel by Jason Padgett and Maurean Seaberg
  31. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
  32. Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy: A Civil War Odyssey by Peter Carlson
  33. The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
  34. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  35. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  36. The Queen of Katwe: One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion by Tim Crothers
  37. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
  38. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  39. You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers
  40. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
  41. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  42. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  43. The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
  44. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
  45. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  46. The Merciless by Danielle Vega
  47. Men of Granite: True Stories of New Hampshire’s Fighting Men by William McGee
  48. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  49. The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith
  50. The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas
  51. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  52. The Engagement by J. Courtney Sullivan
  53. The Diary of a Chambermaid by Octave Mirbeau
  54. Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
  55. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  56. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  57. Climb to Conquer: The Untold Story of World War II’s 10th Mountain Division Ski Troops by Peter Shelton
  58. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  59. The Van Cliburn Story by Howard Reich
  60. The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss
  61. The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero by William Kalush and Larry Sloman
  62. The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes
  63. Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron
  64. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
  65. A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion
  66. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
  67. The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by John Ronson
Book News · Random Thoughts

Billion eBook Giveaway!


Reading is Fundamental! has teamed up with UsTyme to give away a billion digitally remastered and drawn e-books to be read online or on most mobile devices. It is entirely free. Here is the link: I actually went on and downloaded them myself to practice my Spanish since they have them all in Spanish as well. The books are beautifully drawn. The phone app allows you to stream a video of yourself and child reading the books right in the app. When you register an account you immediately get 50 children’s book classics. Will James at wrong an article about the program: With more and more children using technology, it is important to help foster literacy through that technology. Here is a way for the children to use the tools they are familiar with, that give them that instant gratification we are becoming addicted to, and to foster a love for reading. I think it is a great program and am hoping to spread the word so that children everywhere have access to books.

Here are some images of the app. Stop by the website and check it out!


Book News

Congratulations to the 2016 ALA Award Winners!

Article originally written by Alice at Vamos a Leer: Congratulations to the 2016 ALA Award Winners!

We are thrilled to share the news that this year’s American Library Association (ALA) awards recognized several amazing Latin@ authorsamong outstanding children’s and young adult books. These authors have played an important part in the diversification of children’s and young adult literature and we are excited to see that their contributions have been acknowledged with such prestigious awards. Never before has the ALA awards recognized such breadth and depth of Latin@ and Latin American culture in a given year!

As author Meg Medina writes, “It has been a HUGE day for Latino authors and illustrators all the way around.  A ceiling-shattering day.  A day that represents such an astounding shift in respect and perception that it brings tears to my eyes as I am typing this. For the first time, we have Latino winners and honor books in so many of the major awards – the Feldman, the Seilbert, the Printz, the Caldecott, the Odyssey, non-fiction awards and the very highest one, the Newbery.”

This year’s 2016 winner of the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature is Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson, and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons. According to Latino USA, “For the first time in 94 years, a Latino author has won the John Newbery Medal for literature, considered one of the most important honors for American children’s books.” According to School Library Journal, de la Peña has said of his work, “‘Part of what I’ve been trying to do with my books is just focus on moments of grace and beauty in working class neighborhoods,’ he said. ‘This book maybe is about a kid learning to see himself as beautiful—his world as beautiful.’Last Stop on Market Street was also named an Honor Book for theRandolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children and was additionally deemed an Honor Book for the Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award.

Echo, an acclaimed young adult novel written by the talented author Pam Muñoz Ryan and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., was also named as a finalist for the John Newberry Medal.

Other Latino/a winners, finalists, and honorees include: Out of Darkness, written by Ashley Hope Pérezand published by Carolrhoda Lab, was named as an Honor Book for the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults; Written and Drawn by Henrietta, published by TOON Books, and written, illustrated, and translated from the Spanish by Liniers from Argentina, was named as an Honor Book for the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States; and Echo, produced by Scholastic Audio/Paul R. Gagne, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan and narrated by Mark Bramhall, David de Vries, MacLeod Andrews and Rebecca Soler, selected as an Honor Recording for the Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta, published by Penguin Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC won an Alex Award for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.

This year’s recipient of the Pura Belpré (Author) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience was Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, written by Margarita Engle and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir was also a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Two Belpré Author Honor Books were named: The Smoking Mirror, written by David Bowles and published by IFWG Publishing, Inc.; and Mango, Abuela, and Me, written by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez, and published by Candlewick Press.

This year’s recipient of the Pura Belpre (Illustrator) Award is Drum Dream Girl, illustrated by Rafael López, written by Margarita Engle and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Three Belpré Illustrator Honor Books for illustration were selected: My Tata’s Remedies/Los remedios de mi tata, illustrated byAntonio Castro L., written by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford and published by Cinco Puntos Press; Mango, Abuela, and Me, illustrated by Angela Dominguez, written by Meg Medina and published by Candlewick Press; and Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Finally, Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by writer/illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh was again recognized when it won the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children.

Congratulations to all the winners, finalists and honorees! We are so delighted to join in the chorus of acclaim and recognition that you deeply deserve!!!

Book News

Goodreads Readers’ Choice Awards 2015

The results of the Goodreads Readers’ Choice Awards by category:

Fiction – Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Mystery & Thriller – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Historical Romance – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Fantasy – Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Romance – Confess by Colleen Hoover

Science Fiction – Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Horror –  Saint Odd by Dean Koontz

Humor – Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Nonfiction – Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

Memoir & Autobiography – A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

History & Biography – Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Science & Technology – Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove and Howard Chua-Eoan

Food & Cookbooks – The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime: Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-Minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper! by Ree Drummond

Graphic Novels & Comics – Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer) and Fiona Staples (Artist)

Poetry – The Dogs I have Kissed by Trista Mateer

Debut Goodreads Author – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Young Adult Fiction – All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Young Adult Fantasy –  Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Middle Grades & Children’s – The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Picture Book – The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)