1st Quarter Reading: January-March 2015

I read some exceptional books this past quarter. Here is a list for those of you who are interested: 2nd Quarter Books

  • Happiness Advantange by Shawn Achor (256 pages), adult, non-fiction. I really enjoyed this book! Mr. Achor covers several principles to improve happiness at work and in life in general. A general idea from his book is that happiness precedes success and not the other way around.
  • The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal (336 pages), YA, fiction. A fun YA read with a strong heroine. Nalia learns at the age of 16 that she has been a stand-in for the real princess who was hidden for her protection. She is cast away and has to learn how to get along while she’s trying to figure out some newly found powers within herself and some mysteries about the kingdom.
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (206 pages), adult, non-fiction/memoir. The beautiful last words & thoughts of a computer science professor after his diagnosis with terminal cancer.
  • The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley (320 pages), adult, non-fiction. A thought provoking look at the educational systems in some of the highest performing nations in the world–Poland, Finland, and South Korea.
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova (352 pages), adult, fiction. The book that made me fall in love with Lisa Genova. Incredible author! This book is about a woman going through early onset Alzheimer’s. I highly recommend it!
  • Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (374 pages), adult, fiction. A legal page turner. This book takes place in the early 1980’s and centers on the death of a woman during childbirth and her midwife’s trial.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir (387 pages), adult, science fiction. **Language Warning** Fascinating story about a man who gets stuck on Mars after his crew believes he is dead. A funny, intelligent, and exciting read.
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz (304 pages), adult, non-fiction. One of the most influential books I’ve read this year. Barry Schwartz explores our consumerist society, the choices it provides us with, and the impact this has on us.
  • Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys (384 pages), YA, historical fiction. A story of a young Soviet girl and her family and their experiences in Soviet prison camps. A sad, gripping story but one that didn’t resonate with me emotionally as much as some of my other favorite WWII reads.
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines (259 pages), adult, non-fiction/biography. The important true story of a former slave who lived through reconstruction and the civil rights movement. This wasn’t really a fast read or a page turner, but I am glad I read it.
  • Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (352 pages), adult, fiction. Another of Lisa Genova’s books–this one is about a highly successful woman who gets in a terrible accident and has to learn how to function with a condition called left neglect (she doesn’t notice the left side of things).
  • January’s Sparrow by Patricia Polacco (96 pages), upper elementary, historical fiction. A short story of a family’s escape from slavery with beautiful illustrations. Patrica Polacco is incredible!
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais (272 pages), adult, fiction. Didn’t love this book. I actually really enjoyed the movie though! The plot changes in the movie made for a much more interesting and enjoyable story.
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown (320 pages), adult, non-fiction. I recommend this book to everybody! Another one of the most influential books I’ve read this year. I want to read Brene Brown’s other books too.
  • Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley (256 pages), YA, fiction. This was a reread for me. I enjoy this version of the famous fairy tale, although the ending is a little anti-climactic.  
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (560 pages), adult, fiction. Kate Morton is a genius! This book is a riveting mystery about a young girl abandoned in Australia in 1913 — it follows her and her granddaughter and their journey to discover their past.
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (352 pages), YA, fiction. I can imagine YA really loving this book. An interesting premise, though the writing left much to be desired. That being said, I will probably read the next book in the trilogy.
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (531 pages), adult, historical fiction. Beautiful writing and intriguing story revolving around a few characters during WWII.  
  • Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Ben Carson & Cecil Murphey (224 pages), YA/adult, non-fiction/memoir. Ben Carson’s life is incredible–he was raised in poverty by a single mother who emphasized the importance of reading & education. He grows up to be a world renowned pediatric surgeon. I enjoyed reading his memoir and discussing it with my book club friends.
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (352 pages), upper elementary, historical fiction. Loved this book following the scientific exploits of young Calpurnia during a time when she is expected to be a little lady. Excited for the sequel.
  • Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (336 pages), adult, fiction. Another beautifully written Lisa Genova novel about two women brought together during their personal life tragedies.
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (320 pages), middle grade, fiction. An incredible story about a young girl with cerebral palsy who cannot speak or write but has a brilliant mind.
  • Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang (320 pages), middle grade, non-fiction, memoir. This is a wonderful read for middle school age students (or older!) about one girl’s experiences during the cultural revolution in China.

Total: 23 books. Total Pages: 7, 469 pages. Average: 325 pages. 4 children’s books, 5 YA books, 14 adult books. 15 fiction, 8 non-fiction. 

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