December 2016 proved to be a rich month for thought-provoking reading. I didn’t finish as many books as I thought I would, but I greatly enjoyed the four titles that I did manage to read during the month. I also came close to reaching my goal of reading 40 books for pleasure and professional development this year; I missed my goal by just four books. Here’s to more reading in 2017!
But first, a recap of the books I read in December:
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes / A student suggested this book for our young adult book club, and I’m so glad that she did. This was a title that I would not have sought out, so I was surprised by how quickly I became caught up in the plot. One thing that kept me reading were my questions. I had so many questions—questions about the Minnow, questions about the Prophet, questions about the Community—that I often found myself reading another chapter or two at night just to see if I could get some answers. Parts of this YA novel left me frustrated, others left me angered, and the rest just made me sad.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury / I am embarrassed to say that I had not read this classic until this month. While I was reading it, I kept telling Vinny, “Why haven’t I read this before?” Simply, it’s a must-read for any reader, and I know that it is book I will return to again and again now that I have read it once.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates / This is another book that will stay with me for quite some time. It is an important read, one that I think every American would do well to read today. I had the opportunity to see Coates speak at NCTE this past November in Atlanta, and I kept hearing his voice in my head as I read this epistle. Beautiful, moving, honest, heartbreaking. Another must-read.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead /Despite being a victim to brutal abuse and cruelty and a witness to unimaginable terror and violence, Cora, the novel’s protagonist, is indomitable. Her fierce and ferocious desire for freedom takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from the plantations of Georgia to the farms of Indiana. Whitehead imagines the Underground Railroad as an actual series of tracks, trains, and stations buried underneath the ground, built by the hands of the men and women seeking safe passage north to freedom. Cora marvels at each station, just as the reader marvels at her spirit and strength.