Best books list

Looking back over a year, critics always offer their best-lists.  When I think back over 2011, I enjoy remembering what books I read that really affected me.  Here is my list, though many of them were written before 2011.  Still, they are so worthy:



            Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

            Freedom, by Francens

            Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann

            The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Skloot



            The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Smith

            Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

            The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

            Jellicoe Road by Melinda Marchetta

            Skybreaker, Oppel

            Marcelo in the Real World, by Storke

            Shipbreaker, Bacigalupi


Middle Grade:

            Moon Over Manifest, by Vanderpool

            The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Kelly

            Mockingbird, Erskine


Picture books:

            Papa Papa by Margollo

            Daddy’s Lullaby by Bradman

            Baby Danced the Polka, Beaumont

            In so many of these books, the language is luscious and so fresh.  And the endings are often very special, particularly in the book by McCann, Let the Great World Spin, a line from an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem I want to read.  My husband and I talked about writing an article simply on wonderful endings of books.

            And Arnold Lobel’s poem comes to mind from his book, Whiskers and Rhymes:

            Books to the ceiling,

            Books to the sky,

            My pile of books is a mile high.

            How I love them,

            How I need them,

            I’ll be an old lady by the time I read them.”

            Happy New Year; happy reading.

About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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