The Book Log: Looking Backwards, Looking Forwards

So I thought I’d post some of my favorite reads from this year, as well as books I would like to read in 2012. I’ve organized the books into 3 groups: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Educational. Within the lists they are in random order.

Read in 2011


The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton – This woman is able to weave surprising yet believable stories through decades of events and characters. Family secrets. Past and present. Characters who stay with you.

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese – Heartbreaking story of the events that happened at a hospital in Addis Ababa and their lasting effects. Beautiful and hard to swallow at the same time.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – I know, this book is old news, but I finally got around to reading it and LOVED it!!!

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri – Fascinating tale of an Indian family that immigrates to the US. And the tale of a name.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – All I can say is, if you haven’t read it, you need to. And see the movie, too.

The Hunger Games Trilogy – Okay so this group of books is probably my absolute favorite for the year, the first book (The Hunger Games) being my favorite. I’m a sucker for young adult fantasy fiction.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – I read a few Gaiman books this year, and this was my favorite. A guy named Richard unintentionally and unexpectedly enters into an alternate world beneath the city.

The Paris Wife by Paula McClain – Interesting novel about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – I’d heard all about this book, but thought it would not interest me. I was wrong. Yes, there’s some scientific terminology in it, but the story of the cells of this otherwise unknown woman is a must-read.

The Winter Pascha by Fr. Thomas Hopko – I’m still reading this, but so far it has been a great help as I reflect on the Advent season.

Short Trip to the Edge by Scott Cairns – This Orthodox writer/poet and English prof tells about his trips to Mount Athos in search of a spiritual father.


Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners (SIOP) – Explains the SIOP model of sheltered instruction

Power of our Words – Analyzes teacher language and suggests ways to be more intentional when we speak to children/students

Myths and Realities: Best Practices for English Language Leaners – This is a must-have for ELL/ESL professionals!

To-Read in 2012


The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik

The Little Bride by Anna Solomon

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford


Girl Meets God – recommended to me by a friend – I always like spiritual memoirs

Organized Simplicity – Hoping this will help me get my home in better order!

One Thousand Gifts – Learning to be thankful

Learning a New Land: Immigrant Students in American Society – you know me and my love for immigrants!

To the Field of Stars – One man’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

Jesus, My Father, the CIA , and Me – Title sounds interesting, right? Recommended by a friend.


Instructional Coaching – I have to read this for work anyway.

Words Their Way With English Learners – I love the idea of Words Their Way/word study/developmental spelling! I just want to find ways to make it more applicable to ELLs.

How the Brain Learns – I’ve wanted this one for a while. I’ve learned quite a bit about brain researching and teaching/learning through school or district PDs, but I would love to get all his books for myself.

Literacy Work Stations – Debbie Diller has several great books on workstations, small groups, and classroom organization.

What were YOUR favorite books this year?

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