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As a teacher, I spend my days thinking. Deeply. Critically. It’s extremely taxing on my little brain, and one of my favorite pastimes is to come home, sit on my little porch, and read. Reading (as well as a good stress-relieving workout) is my escape, so when I flip through the pages of a novel, I need it to quickly transport me away from thoughts of: How do I differentiate tomorrow’s lesson on making inferences? How am I going to explain to Cara’s parent’s that their “perfect” child deserves a C in writing? Why is Luke struggling in math, but not in reading? And a million more similar questions.

Following, are some of the books that I enjoyed this past year (Shout out to goodreads.com for keeping tabs on all of them for me!). These are listed in order of my preference:

images-2The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth – I loved the first two books in this series, and I currently have the third on hold at the library. If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, you’ll also enjoy these. There are many unexpected biblical allusions, and each of the major groups that live within the city where the book is set, prides themselves in having a character trait we would say comes from the fruit of the Spirit. The heroine, attempting to unify a warring city, is learning that everyone should embody each of these characteristics.

images-1Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. This is a non-fiction book that blew me away from beginning to end. I know very little about Japan’s involvement in WWII, outside of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but this book is an Olympic athlete’s biography of his time in a Japanese POW camp. The best part is the ending. You won’t believe who he meets that changes his life. I bought it for my dad and he has recommended it to every person he has spoken to since the moment he turned the last page.

images-3The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. A friend of mine was appalled by the fact that I hadn’t yet read this book, so she immediately went out and bought me a copy. It is a great love story and the plot is very creatively written. This is definitely one to “take you away” from reality for a little while.

Room by Emma Donoghue. This story sounds extremely intense, but because it’s told from the viewpoint of a child, it’s easy to handle. It’s quite the adventure, and I loved it!images-4

images-5Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This is a mystery that was quite gripping in the beginning, but by the end of the book I had lots of questions. It just got too out of hand. Go easy on the twists, Gillian. But, then again, it had great reviews! You just might like it. 🙂

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer. This was an interesting novel about a 1920s bank imagesrobber. He never hurt anyone; he just wanted to keep himself from suffering in poverty.

images-6The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This book is fun, but definitely not my favorite. It’s an underdog’s story about a young boy getting the girl. The stuff they say and do as teenagers was the furthest thing from my mind when I was that age, so the book definitely made me a little uncomfortable, but I think that was part of the point. I’m a goody-goody. So what?

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Blah. This story was told from Ernest Hemingway’s wife’s point of images-7view. His writing is great, but he was one crazy man. This story further confirms that and makes you a little sick after hearing the author’s version of the details.

What are some books I should add to my reading list for the new year? I have a few in mind, but I’m always open to suggestions!