The Year In Review! Books – 2014 edition

Continuing the tradition from last year, I recount the books I’ve read over the course of 2014. While last year I read a ridiculous 141 books, this year I did not come that far. I did read quite a lot, though, and many of them due to graduate school. I mean seriously. The two courses I took this year were filled with books, and many of them I completely enjoyed. So let’s review, shall we?

Total books read: 128

Not bad considering my original goal was 110, but I fell behind so I dropped it back to 100!

First book of the year: Souvenir Boys by David-Matthew Barnes

I had forgotten about this one! This is why I love this process. This is a book of poetry by fellow Bold Strokes Books author David-Matthew Barnes who has some amazing YA novels that I’ve reviewed here before. I enjoyed this book of poetry as well. My favorite poem was “Dear Mr. Sanchez” from this collection. It even inspired me to write some of my own poems, one of which I submitted for publication but which was rejected. Sad face. You can read my review right here on this site!

Last book of the year: In His Arena #1: Slave Eternal by Nasia Maksima

What a great end to the year! I reviewed this book for The Novel Approach Reviews, which I was recently accepted to as a reviewer. This book was fantastic. As a fan of Spartacus I enjoy stories with gladiators, and since I love Agron and Nasir, I thought this would be perfect. While totally different because it has fantasy elements, I adored this book. At this moment the review isn’t posted for The Novel Approach Reviews, however you can read my review on Goodreads here.

Adult books read: 47 (I think. Mature graphic novels and classic fiction not included.)

Favorite: This is a tough call. I really enjoyed Valerie Bronwen’s Slash and Burn, but I ended the year on such a strong note with Slave Eternal. I guess I’ll stick with both of those!

Teen books read: 6 (not including manga, of which there was a lot).

Favorite: I feel like this number should be higher. Oh well. But my favorite was definitely I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora. It’s the book I wish I had written. Not only is it about students who are obsessed with To Kill a Mockingbird, but it takes place in Connecticut! And the author is also a Bristol native, like me!

Children’s books read: 6 (More were read to my younger students, however many of them are not listed online so I didn’t include them.)

Favorite: Definitely One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia. Having gotten into recycling plastic bags and turning them into useful products, this book was awesome. I did an environmental project for my school based on plastic bags, so this was fantastic.

Manga read: 42

Favorite: Attack on Titan series by Hajime Isayama

I completely blame my students on this one. They kept talking about this series and begging me to get it for them so I reluctantly agreed to buy the first one to preview for myself as I knew it was a violent series.

FOURTEEN VOLUMES LATER I’m all caught up. WHAT AN EMOTIONAL RIDE! Characters die left and write, it’s incredibly gruesome, but I love the characters! Jean and Levi have grown to be my favorites. Volume fourteen left on such a cliffhanger I freaked out because the next volume doesn’t come out until APRIL. My student who is reading it keeps bothering me about the book, even though there’s nothing I can do to make it come faster.

Graphic Novels read: 2

Favorite: I only read two and while both were good, they weren’t favorites I suppose. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier was cute and a graphic novel memoir. Soppy by Philippa Rice was cute and simple in it’s drawings, but enjoyable.

LGBT books read (adult and teen, not including manga): 48

Favorites: Why do I do this to myself? So many of the books I read over the year were great. I ended strong with Slave Eternal, and Sweetwater by Lisa Henry was pretty phenomenal as well. And really interesting and different was Pet to the Tentacle Monsters! by Lilia Ford. Really great year for LGBT books!

Nonfiction books read: 14

Favorite: More tough decisions as each of the books had something great to offer. I think maybe my favorite would be Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Jared Diamond. I read it for my Spring semester course and it was a fascinating look at how human sexuality has evolved since our earliest ancestors and what drives humans today. It really was fascinating.

Books read for Graduate school: 16

Favorite: Hard to choose as both of my courses offered fantastic books. I loved Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Not only was the edition amazing, but I was so obsessed with the book I read every single annotation and then watched the miniseries. I also adored Maurice by EM Forster which I had read and enjoyed before. For my Fall course I really enjoyed The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, and I renewed my love for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I cannot wait for my next course!


The Year In Review!


Ahh, the end of 2013. It’s been a crazy year! To commemorate, over the next several days I’ll be making posts reviewing my year in books, my year in grad school, my first year living away from my parents house, and the release of my newest novel, Meeting Chance. I’m sure there will be some other good things as well, so keep an eye out!

For now, I go back to cleaning my apartment to end the year on a nice, clean note and start the year off right, and watching Muppet Christmas Carol.

See you soon!

End of the year blues…

It’s almost the end of the school year. There are only two more full days left and three half days. Last year at this time I would be thrilled to have a few months off to recoup, read, and plan for next year. This year, it’s bittersweet.

Yes, I look forward to a few months of downtime and a lot of reading (and writing. Camp Nano August here I come!) but there are some negatives about it.

First and foremost, because of cuts in the English department, I will not be returning to the Bristol school system next year. It’s devastating to me because I love it so much. I love my coworkers and my students, and I truly do feel that we are all one big family. The last three years at Memorial Boulevard has been an amazing experience and I cherish each moment. I thought I found a home there, and I did. I’ll miss everyone.

Second, not only will I not be in Bristol, but the school I love so much is closing. Memorial  Boulevard is over 90 years old, and the city decided to build two new buildings instead. Yes, I agree that is a bit outdated and needs some work, and yes there is mold in many rooms, but it’s a beautiful piece of architecture and has so much history! My grandmother attended the school when it was a high school in the 1940s. My classroom looks onto a field and is shaded by a beautiful tree that has the most interesting purple/green leaves. I love the pigeons that land on my windowsills and threaten to come into the room if the window is open. I love the squirrels that hang out on the brances and watch the students.

Despite all these things, I know I will find a new home somewhere. I’ve been applying for jobs and the right one will come to me, as everyone says.

It’s just sad to see such a wonderful time come to an end.