I know in some parts of the country spring is just beginning to poke its little green sprouts out of the ground, and in some parts of the world winter is fast approaching, but here in the desert where I live, it’s pretty much already summer, so of course my thought processes have turned to compiling my summer reading list. This year I am challenging myself to read all (okay, some) of the young adult titles that everyone else seems to have read, but for whatever reason I have never read myself. This list includes classics, new titles, and even hot titles that people who don’t read young adult literature have read. To get started, here are the first few that I plan to tackle:
I am more than a little ashamed to admit that I am one of the only, if not the only, youth librarian in the world who has never read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. Even my husband has read The Outsiders, and he’s not a young adult literature reader. I’ve never even seen the movie! It is required reading in many classrooms, but when I was in high school my teachers were focused on different books. By the time I realized that this was a classic I should have long ago read, I was already a librarian with a “to-read” pile twenty books high … and that pile only increases in size as each year passes. It’s high time I move Ponyboy to the top of the pile!
The next book on my list is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. In my defense I have tried to read this one on more than one occasion and just couldn’t get into it. I am going to try once again, though, partly because it’s hard to recommend titles that are like it when haven’t read it, but mostly because I recently realized I was starting to consider it a point of pride that I hadn’t read it, and that’s just a ridiculous thing to be proud of, in my opinion. The film based on the second book of the series is coming out this summer, so it’s time I sat down and gave this a real chance.
I have friends all over the country with whom I share reading suggestions, and for a while now I’ve been hearing that Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is amazing. I checked it out from the library and let it sit on my desk until it was long overdue, finally returning it untouched. I am a huge Cinderella fan and also a science fiction fan, so this sounded right up my alley, but it slipped through the cracks on me. Then I learned there was going to be a sequel, which made me less likely to pick it up again because that just meant I’d be adding at least two books to my pile. But now that a few more friends have filled my inbox with rave reviews, I think it’s time to get get my sci-fi on!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore is another book that is right up my alley: I’m a huge fantasy fan and when the protagonist of a fantasy is a girl who kicks butt, I’m an even bigger fan. With a recommendation on the back cover from Tamora Pierce, who is my favorite author and the most recent recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award, you’d think this would have been eagerly devoured a long time ago, but no. This has been on my to-read list since it came out in 2008, and it keeps getting pushed down the line by other books. I’m moving the butt kicking heroine back up to the head of the list.
I cannot tell you the reason I have never read The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman, because I honestly don’t have a reason. I’ve read other books of his and really liked them, I’m not usually intimidated by a thick volume (the Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite books), and I’ve never once read or heard a bad review of it. Even the controversy over the anti-religious nature of the book has never turned me off of it. It is still a popular book even though it’s an older one, too. Yet I have never even picked it up for myself — not even when the movie came out. Time to rectify this!
This may be enough to fill summer 2013, but I’m sure by next year I’ll have even more to add to the list of “books I should have read before.” What about you? Is there a book you haven’t gotten to yet that you think you should have? Are any of you willing to accept this challenge and make it your own, too?
Carla Land, currently reading Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce
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