Book #13 of 2016 was The Sleeper and the Spindle, by Neil Gaiman. My daughter called it "slight," and she was right. In fact, it's really more of a picture book, but I didn't realize that when I downloaded it onto my Kindle for my trip.
Book #14 was What You Left Behind, by Jessica Verdi. This is YA fare, the story of Ryden, whose girlfriend Meg died of cancer because she stopped her chemo treatment when she got pregnant with Ryden's baby. Now Ryden is raising Hope with no help from Meg's parents (I found this a little hard to believe), and trying to figure out how to move on with his life, which he is managing to complicate in various ways.
Book #15 was A Travelogue of the Interior: Finding Your Voice and God's Heart in the Psalms, by Karen Dabaghian. This is one woman's story of reading the Psalms and writing her own, in the process learning more about God and about herself.
Book #16 was Magonia, by Maria Dahvana Headley. Aza Ray is a teenager who struggles with living on the earth, and she finds out why when she starts to hallucinate a ship in the sky that turns out not to be a hallucination. Aza is from somewhere else, and she has to adjust to that idea and decide how she's going to negotiate her two worlds. This has been compared to Laini Taylor's books, and I think that comparison is very apt. The sequel to this comes out this year, and I'll definitely read it.
Book #17 was The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han. The title says it all. Belly (Isabelle) turns pretty. She does it in a beautiful setting, a beach house with boys she's grown up with. This would have been completely irresistible to me when I was a teenager. It's fairly forgettable, but there are some nice portrayals of relationships.
Book #18 was Secrets in the Dark, by Frederick Buechner, a collection of many of his sermons. I love Buechner and the way he turns a phrase.
Book #19 was Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor. I thought this was a beautiful book, and I downloaded another of hers right away. It's about navigating darkness, not being afraid of it, and trusting that God's presence is there just as much as it is in the light.
Book #20 was If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino. I read this because one of my daughter's classes was going to be discussing it on the night I visited. I found it a combination of brilliant and "too clever by half."
Book #21 was P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han. This was the sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before, which was my seventh book this year. More YA stuff about boys and love, with Korean protagonists. My students will love it.
Book #22 was The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin. This book is about loss, and it just aches all the way through. The main character is so miserable that I could hardly stand it, but I also couldn't put the book down until the end. A beautiful book.
Book #23 was Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham, the star of "Gilmore Girls." It's about trying to be an actress in 1995, something Graham may just know something about.
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