Friday, April 8, 2016

Must Read in 2016: a Spring Update

Spring? Well, that's what the calendar says, so we'll go with that. But in my part of Ontario, it's looking anything but springlike.

It's a perfect time, though, for a Must Read in 2016 update.

Way back at the beginning of the New Year, while chilling on the Carolina coast, I created my absolute must-read list for 2016. It looked like this:

It still excites me to view this list. I've really enjoyed most of the books I've read so far, and am so looking forward to the remaining titles. I'm also happy with my progress - 40%.

Here are the six Must Read in 2016 books that I have completed:

Buddy and Earl by Maureen Fergus, pictures by Carey Sookocheff (Groundwood, 2015).

I love the imagination and the mismatched friendship in this debut of the Buddy and Earl series. Great fun! I can't wait to read and add the other titles (Buddy and Earl Go Exploring and Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby) to my library. Of course, I have to mention that this kidlit gem is also CanLit.

Young Charlottte: Filmmaker by Frank Viva (MoMA, 2015).
More CanLit creativity. I adore everything I have seen from Frank Viva. I can't think of anything that it reminds me of. Young Charlotte offers readers a unique view of the arts, and a jumping point for further research.

The Dogs by Allan Stratton (Scholastic Canada. 2015).
How appropriate is that cover? This is one creepy book. Every grade 7 and 8 student in my school read this Forest of Reading Red Maple nominee this year. Talk about reading engagement! I'm pretty sure I hooked a few reluctant readers with this one (that may or may not have been the goal). A very fun Kahoot session topped off our reading activities. I will always think about our school (intermediate grades) reading community when I see The Dogs. And did I mention? Yup - it's CanLit!

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (HarperCollins, 2015).

I can't say with total certainty that books like this didn't exist when I was a teen, but if they did, I was not aware of them. It makes me happy to see the strong, confident, and more diverse characters that are available to young readers today. I enjoyed connecting with Willowdean, and I think my younger self would have loved her. A good choice for the older YA crowd.

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Scribners orig. pub. 1934).
Tender is the Night is a recent read. I still haven't totally processed my thoughts. I wanted to like this book so badly, which is probably why I felt disappointed. I am such a fan of Gatsby, but this one felt disjointed and random to me, and a bit of a struggle to read.

Villa America by Liza Klaussmann (Doubleday Canada, 2015).
 By contrast to Tender, I quite enjoyed Villa America, an historical fiction set during the same time period (French Riveria 1920's). American ex-pats, Sara and Gerald Murphy (the subjects of Fitzgerald's dedication for Tender) hold court for the Lost Generation at their seaside home. The Paris Wife got me intrigued with this time period, and Villa added new characters that I wasn't aware of. I found the start a little slow, but happy that I stuck with it. 

Next up? I have just begun Dead Wake by Erik Larson. My husband recently finished it and gave it a thumbs-up. We are both huge fans of Larson's work. I am saving a couple titles for those long summer days when I can read slowly - poolside, at the beach, on a train, or in the shade of my backyard. Cold drink in hand, naturally.

I would like to thank Carrie of There's A Book For That for hosting the Must Read meme. Carrie is such a wonderful book resource, and I appreciate the inspiration she provides to keep writing about my reading. You can check out the progress of the whole Must Read community in the comments section of her Must Read post on her blog.


  1. Well done! Lots of wonderful and varied reading. Thank you for the kind words too Julie!

  2. I have added Young Charlotte and The Dogs to my want to read list. I wanted to like Dumplin, but it didn't work for me.

    1. Isn't that funny how that works - when you want to like something? Thanks for stopping by, Cheriee.

  3. Young Charlotte looks intriguing to me. I will be watching for it. Great job hitting 40%.

    1. I don't think you'll be disappointed, Crystal. Have you checked out Young Frank, Architect by Frank Viva, too? Thanks for checking in.

  4. I wasn't a huge fan of Tender is the Night either. It was my first Fitzgerald, and I am glad I still gave Gatsby a chance. I didn't know the first 3 books; thank you for sharing. I really want to read Dumplin'. I look forward to getting to it.


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