Tuesday, March 15

spring reading challenge ideas and recommendations

I've read fifteen books so far in 2016 and feel like my love of reading for pleasure has been re-ignited by reading a wide variety books. Reading challenges really help me mix it up and avoid falling into a reading rut or getting series fatigue! Here are a few books that are on my to-be-read list this spring, and a few spring break reading recommendations for you (titles link to Goodreads), inspired by my favorite challenges.

From The Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2016 Reading ChallengeA book you should have read in school

  • My pick: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - As an English major, I often felt like I was the only one who hadn't read this novel in high school; it seems to be part of so many readers' lists of favorites.
  • My recommendation: Antigone by Sophocles - We read this play in tenth grade English and it was A Moment for me. I love that waaaaay back in Ancient Greece, Sophocles was writing about a strong, powerful woman, but the character who really mattered to me in high school was Ismene, Antigone's meek sister who must decide whether to follow tradition, follow her sisters' lead, or forge her own path.

From Popsugar's 2016 Ultimate Reading ChallengeA book set in Europe

  • My pick: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - This book set during World War II was on all the must-reads last year, was a NYT best seller, and won the Pulitzer Prize. The plot, about a WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE blind French girl and an orphaned German boy working for the Nazis, sounds intriguing. 
  • My recommendation: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - It amazes me that I've studied World War II for years now and there are always stories and aspects of that span of time that I realize I know almost nothing about; this YA historical fiction novel is about a Lithuanian family sent to a work camp in Siberia under Stalin's orders. It is a heartbreaking book and a favorite among librarians, teachers, and students at my school.

From Stxrybooks' 2016 Reading ChallengeA book with a character that is similar to you

  • My pick: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly - I put out a call for books featuring characters like me on Facebook and my friend Marci, a librarian I've known since sixth grade, said Calpurnia's a lot like me when I was younger - a girl who loves nature, learning, and her family. I'm really looking forward to this one.
  • My recommendation: The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich - I think the reason I'm so addicted to this mystery series is because Stephanie Plum is such a real woman - she'd rather have Twinkies than a salad, her family drives her crazy, she's comfiest in jeans and a t-shirt, and she knows her attraction to bad boys is no good for her. It's so much fun to read about a lady who's kick-ass in her own way, not because she's a superspy but because she trusts her gut.

From Worthington Ave.'s 2016 Reading ListA book that's becoming a movie this year

  • My pick: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - The trailer for the film based on this book makes it look heartwrenching and amazing.
  • My recommendation: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness - We added this novel to our eighth grade curriculum after one of my colleagues fell in love with it and realized it would fill a big "magical realism" gap in our collection. Conor's mother has cancer, he's being mercilessly bullied at school, his father is basically absent from his life, and he's been sent to live with his overbearing grandmother. When the yew tree in his backyard comes to life on a nightly basis, Conor doesn't know whether to be terrified or vindicated. Liam Neeson is going to be the voice of the monster in the movie, and I can't wait!
What are you looking forward to reading this spring? You can see 


  1. All the Light We Cannot See = So Good. Pulitzer was well-deserved IMHO.

  2. Thanks for the recs! I am currently reading Bell Jar!