Rants & Reflections

2014: Year in Books

booksAfter a 6-month hiatus, I am back blogging! 6 months!? There is indeed a very good reason for said hiatus, and that would be the fact that I, in the past 6 months, have taken my very first stab at improving the literacy of America’s youth. Strangely, it doesn’t feel as if I’ve been gone long; looking back at my old posts and sitting on my old bed in my parents’ house for the holidays makes me feel like I was just here last Christmas, blogging about literary Christmas gifts and failing to win Goodreads challenges. So much has happened in the past 12 months, and even more in the last 6. I am officially a high school English teacher, though I’m not sure when I will actually start feeling like one. Hopefully I will find more time for blogging now that I am slowly getting a handle on things; but man, that crap they say about your first year teaching? ‘Tis God’s truth. I don’t think I’ve ever been so consumed by something that all my waking hours are spent working (and if not working, then thinking, constantly thinking) about work. But I’ve always been quick to adapt; now I’ve got it so that my job isn’t in total mind-control mode anymore, which is great, cause, well, blogging! (And other non-work related things!)

2014 was by far the most “life-changing” year of my life in the literal sense: I student taught in a small town while still trying to be a college student at a big 10 university, I had a summer internship in the big city, and I moved my life to a little river town to start my teaching career. And this is why looking at the list of books I read this year is so cool – I can track all the major changes of 2014 based on the books I was reading at the time.

The stagnant period of winter break before my final semester of college was YA: The Divergent series and It’s Kind of a Funny Story. I spent a good 3 days straight sitting on my dad’s chair by the fire with Veronica Roth’s trilogy, squirming with the discomfort of convoluted-yet-heart-tugging plots and sitting in the same spot for days.

My last semester of college (a.k.a. student teaching) saw a rereading of Wuthering Heights because I had to teach it – a terrible choice on the part of whoever thought to include it in a non-AP junior English curriculum – and a first-time reading of Freakonomics – as great a choice as Bronte was terrible. I only read 1 book for myself that semester which was The Cuckoo’s Calling, because I was too busy trying to manage a semi-real-person-pseudo-job with still being a college student. My Florida spring break reading was marked by Book Love, my choice of academic textbook for student teaching, proving that there really are no vacations for teachers.

After graduation, I took a trip to Colorado to move my roommate back and celebrate our past and future achievements. I read Peanut and Fangirl – both books about young girls with unusual identity searches. Apropos.

My summer internship gave me commuter train reading time. By far the most amount of reading of 2014 happened on the train, including my favorites (The Borrower and The Big Over Easy) and my least favorite (Ethan Frome). Feed, The Pigman, The Summer Book, The House of the Scorpion, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hack, The Borrower, The Big Over Easy, Ethan Frome, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake brought me such train companions as strange old men, even stranger young women, a hilarious detective, an iconic lawyer, and a children’s librarian with whom I had much in common, including, coincidentally enough, my soon-to-be place of residence.

Then I moved to that place of residence. I started a new job. I read some graphic novels to prepare for teaching, as well as Their Eyes Were Watching God. I managed to get through 2 novels for myself during my first semester teaching, a fact I am extremely proud of. One of these novels (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore) I borrowed from a new friend in my new town, which will surely mark the opening of a beautiful friendship. Cause books can do that.

And that was my year. My 2014 marked by the books I read. Even though I read some ultimately forgettable books, they will probably remain in my memory as checkpoints in one of the most pivotal years of my life.

Happy 2015 – may it bring good tidings and good books.


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