As an English teacher, I’ve always found it important to be a reader. When I was in school, I always respected the teachers who had the most passion for their content area. I always wanted to be the type of teachers who didn’t just talk the talk, but walked the walk. Sadly, I’ve worked with a lot of English teachers who don’t read books. It’s easy to get caught up in adult life—work, family, and everything else—but I think it’s still possible to read if you make it a priority.
If you cut down on your Netflix consumption, set it as a goal, and continuously seek out books that keep your interest, you’ll be able to reach this goal as well. Using GoodReads to set and track the goal was really motivational. It tells you if you’re on track or behind schedule. It suggests books your friends are reading. I think an accountability tool like this is crucial if you’re trying to reach a difficult goal.
One of the keys to achieving this goal was using audiobooks. Audible is my best friend since I can listen to books while driving, exercising, and doing chores. About 15 of the books I “read” this year were audiobooks. Yes, I count them among the books I’ve read. I don’t see why I shouldn’t. If you’re trying to read more this year, I’d really recommend recommend it!
I have a hard time picking a favorite, but here are the ten books that rose to the top, in no particular order:
The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. A love triangle in the late ’30s of New York City. Great characters and beautiful writing.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I highly recommend the audiobook version of this to hear all of his accent and language work. He’s an incredible performer with amazing life stories. Very enjoyable.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. This is non-fiction at its finest. I couldn’t put it down. It made me want to become a rower, and even though that’s never going to happen, I was still inspired.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. Another page-turner in the non-fiction category. Reading this gave me goosebumps in more ways than one.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. My favorite teen read of the year. If you’re looking for a good coming of age novel that explores LGBTQ issues, this is a great choice. I have teaching resources for it here.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. A touching story of a loner who starts to see the world differently. I loved the audiobook version.
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. This was my favorite elementary-age read this year. It’s an interesting take on an immigrant family moving into a new town, told from the perspective of a tree. I have teaching resources for this book as well! See them here.
Going Solo by Roald Dahl. I just love Roald Dahl’s storytelling. This book is the sequel to Boy, which I would highly recommend to Dahl fans too.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles again! This writer earns a very deserving place in my top ten with a book that Barack Obama recently named among his favorite reads of 2017 as well! It’s long and can seem dense at times, but the audiobook won me over. Loved this book.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. This is the best book for middle schoolers that has come out in a long time. Reading it aloud with them is SO much fun! Check it out if you haven’t.
Which books did you love this year? Share in the comments!