A Gift of Reading

Picture book tree on my bookcase. (Snowman wants to read the books!)
Picture book tree on my bookcase. (Snowman wants to read the books!)

This year I have read many, many books. I’ve reviewed a few here on By Word of Beth, but my varied blogging schedule hasn’t allowed me to review them all, or anywhere close to them all. Even this post is by no means all the books I’ve read this year. I would like to tell you a bit about the best of them, though, and so I’d like to present you with this gift — the gift of reading.

The books I’ve read this year have been fiction and nonfiction, picture books, middle grade, YA, books for adults  — a vast and varied treasure. (Did you know that the Greek word that became our word thesaurus means heaped up treasure? This post is a heaped up treasure of words, too, in a way.)

I won’t give a review of each of the books here — that would take too long. I will give you a link where you can read more about each title. Wherever possible the link will be to the author’s website.  The books are listed in the order in which I read them, within each category. On a few, I’ve added a comment because I just had to. Note: this list does not include books I’ve posted about over the course of the year.

Are you ready to open up this gift of reading? Here we go…

Picture books:

The Cat with Seven Names by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Christine Davenier

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr ~~ wow

Edgar’s Second Word by Audrey Vernick


Chapter Books/Early Middle Grade:

Junonia by Kevin Henkes ~~ excellent

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo


Middle Grade:

See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles ~~ heartwrenching, affirming, wonderful

The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo

Ghost Messages by Jacqueline Guest

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

Five, Six, Seven, Nate by Tim Federle

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book 4, The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

The Shakespeare Stealer by Garry Blackwood

Capture the FlagHide and Seek, and Manhunt by Kate Messner

A Summer of Sundays by Lindsay Eland

Three Bird Summer by Sara St. Antoine

Jake by Audrey Couloumbis

At the Sign of the Star by Katherine Sturtevant 

The Listening Tree by Celia Barker Lottridge

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead ~~ this was a re-read. I’m sure I’ll re-read it many times!

Road to Tater Hill by Edith M. Hemingway

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson ~~ that National Book Award was well deserved! Wow.


Young Adult:

Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements ~~ scroll way down!

A True and Faithful Narrative by Katherine Sturtevant


Adult Fiction:

That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

Chaplin & Company by Mave Fellowes

Seven Lives and One Great Love: memoirs of a cat by Lena Divani

The Summer House by Marcia Willett

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje


Adult Nonfiction:

One Pair of Feet: the entertaining memoirs of a young nurse during World War II by Monica Dickens

A Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Take Joy by Jane Yolen

Kings & Queens of Great Britain: A Very Peculiar History (with added blue blood) by Antony Mason

Work the Pond! Use the power of positive networking to leap forward in work and life by Darcy Rezac


I hope you’ll find something in this list to whet your reading appetite!


What is one book that you’ve read this year that you would recommend?


Remember that everyone who comments on a post on By Word of Beth in December is entered into the giveaway for a copy of Julie Andrews’ Treasury for All Seasons (or an alternate book if you already own that one).

6 thoughts on “A Gift of Reading”

  1. I love your choices and agree with some of your picks. I need to make a list, because there are some books you listed I’d like to check out.

    My choices — Adult NF: A Path Apprears: Transforming Lives: Creating Opportunity, by Nicholas Kristof. MG: A Time to Dance, by Padma Venkatraman and A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd. YA: Rachel’s Hope, by Shelly Sanders. PB: Gifts from the Enemy by Trudy Ludwig and Grandfather Ghandi, by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus. Like Darlene I also loved, loved “The Book Thief.” Beth, we can’t limit — you know that. I should do a summary blog of my favorites this year.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful list, Beth. I’ve read some of them, but you’ve given me a lot of new books to go and find.One of my favorite books that I read this year was K.A. Holt’s novel in verse, Rhyme Schemer.

  3. Thanks for this list. I will have to check some of these out. I just read a middle-grade novel I am recommending to everyone that I think should become a Christmas classic. It’s WinterFrost by Michelle Houts. Just charming. For picture books, a wonderful and beautiful new book is Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell.

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