I'm getting close to getting caught up on my book lists and cruised past the halfway point in my goal of reading 60 books by time I turn 30 in September.
25. Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher by Geoffrey E. Mills
Obviously I chose this book for a bit of light-hearted reading; and it totally delivered. Luckily it was my last assigned reading book for grad school (woo hoo!) and it wasn't bad per say, it was just all about planning, conduction, and reporting action research which is obviously a riveting topic that everyone should delve into. It had a ton of great information, and was invaluable in the action research process, so if you're doing some action research in your classroom, I highly suggest it. If not, ditch it.
26. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
One of my students brought this book to me because she had absolutely loved it and my kids know I'm always looking for new books. This did not fail. It was emotional and powerful and I'll be damned if I didn't throw it down at one point and refuse to continue reading because I didn't like what had just happened. But of course I had to finish and find out what happened, I'm so glad I did. I'm pretty sure 2/3 of my class has read this book over the last 3 months and every single one of them loved it. High praise from a group of 5th graders with very different book tastes.
27. The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler
I actually didn't have a good idea of what this book was about before I started reading it. It showed up in my Books You May Like list in my library e-book app, so I downloaded it when I was pumping one day. It's a book all about girls from the 50's and 60's who gave their babies up for adoption because they were young, unwed mothers. The stories in this book were heartbreaking as many of the girls were forced into giving up their babies, or had no idea that it was even possible that they could keep their children. It was sad and frustrating at the same time. I did lose interest at some points because all of the stories were pretty similar, so they started to blend together.
28. Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn
Sometimes I swear I love young adult books way more than adult. This is one of those books that makes me think that. It's the first in a series called "An Unexpected Fairy Tale" and made me think a lot of the TV show Grimm. In the book, Mina discovers that she is a decedent of the brothers Grimm and that she is therefore cursed to battle the elements of different fairy tales. Her father was killed by the curse, and if she doesn't survive it, the curse will go after her younger brother who doesn't speak. I like the way Hahn incorporates fairy tale elements into the book without being cheesy or predictable, and I love how Mina is a dynamic character who grows as a person as she discovers just how strong she is.
29. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
No lie, chose this book because half of it is set in Maine and that is a rare enough occurrence in media that it caught my attention. This book is about the Burgess siblings; Jim, Bob, and Susan. Jim and Bob escaped Maine to move to NYC as soon as they could, while Susan stayed behind. All are a mess, and it's clear that losing their father in a freak accident when they were young is the cause of that (the kids were in the car while the dad was getting the mail, and the car ran over the dad). The siblings end up coming back together when Susan's son is arrested for a hate crime, and Jim and Bob (both lawyers) come back home to help their nephew. I didn't love this book, but I felt compelled to find out what happened to everyone, so I kept reading.
30. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
A classic. I've read this entire series too many times to count since my grandmother bought it for me when I was about 10. I started again, because one of my students picked up the series and was having a hard time with some of the vocabulary and understanding the time period. Then, of course, I got sucked back into the series and have been working through it since. I think this first book is my second favorite, because I love young Anne and how unpredictable she is. Her penchant for finding trouble borders on being ridiculous, but is also hilarious. And now I really need to find the movie version on DVD because I have no way to play my old VHS tape, and I love that movie.
31. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Book two in the Anne series. I love how this book shows her growth commitment to fulfilling her dreams. Rereading these books for the first time in almost 10 years, I picked up on so many nuances and subtle details that I had missed when I last read them in high school.
32. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This book is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I don't even know where to start with describing this book except to say that Hawkins is an amazing writer. The way she unravels a story with subtle details and descriptions is just phenomenal. I got to the end of the book and realized just how many times she hinted at the truth throughout the book, but I had missed it because I was so caught up in what was happening. This book reminds me a lot of Gone Girl in the way the story unfolds and the way the ending left me shocked, yet expecting it at the same time. In looking for a picture of the book cover, I was so excited to discover that it's being made into a movie that is coming out in October.
33. Fairest by Chanda Hahn
This is the second book in the Unexpected Fairy Tale series and it was just as good. Love the main character, Mina, and I love the use of fairy tale elements in a modern, mystical format. I'm only bummed that I can't seem to find the rest of the books through my library either in e-format or actual book. I'm hoping that they get them soon, because I'd like to see what happens next.