Must Read In 2016 Spring Update

One, of many reasons why I appreciate Carrie Gelson at There's a Book for That, is that she encouraged me to join a group of bloggers who winnow their Goodreads' to read list down to a mostly manageable number of books to commit to reading each year.  

This year I changed things up by picking books I wanted to read, not just that I thought I should read. So far this has been a good strategy. I committed to reading 36 specific books in 2016. I've already finished fifteen. While I have loved some of them more than others, they were all worth the energy I put into making sure I read them. 

Here (in no particular order) are my favorites so far. Each one of these garnered five stars. I've made links to a review if I finished one.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta was on my list last year. I carried it over for this year. It is a stunning read. 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates forced me to see the world through a different lens. It made the difference between thinking I knew what it meant to be black in America, and understanding it at a much more visceral level. I am certain that I read All American Boys by Jason Reynolds with more sensitivity and empathy because of having read Coates' work first. 

There are few things finer than a well written middle grade novel. Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart,the story of a young boy trying to cope after the death of his father, is the epitome of this reality. 

I love the Penderwicks family. Somehow I had overlooked the third in the series, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall. This is another heartwarming, enduring story about people I wish were real.

Pax by Sarah Pennypacker is a beautifully crafted and deeply philosophical story. I regularly stopped reading to write down quotes. I'm sure it will become a classic.

I lied about not putting these books in any particular order. 

I saved the best for last.

Each new book in Sheila Turnage's Tupelo Landing series makes me giddy with joy. Her words are imbued with a perfect marriage of joy and truth: a feat rarely achieved by other middle grade authors (and maybe even authors in general). The worst thing about finishing The Odds of Getting Even, is that I now have to wait for the next one in the series to be published. I might just go and start them all over again.

How is your list coming along?


  1. I can't wait to read this new title by Sheila Turnage! It is on my list. I am reading Pax aloud at our house right now. Lovely to read aloud. Great progress Cheriee!

  2. You have some excellent books here. I really loved Jellicoe Road (once I got waaaay into it). Between the World and Me is amazing. I also enjoyed All American Boys. Pax is such a powerful book. I too was jotting down quotes. The Penderwicks are sweet and fun. I have only read the first Tupelo Landing book. Maybe one day I will get to the rest. Looks like you won't have any problem getting through your list. I think you had a good plan.

  3. You have sold me on Between the World and Me.
    I cannot decide about Pax. It seems about halfy-halfy love/meh for it.