Category Archives: best lists

Underground Railroad


I’ve been resisting this book since I put the galley on my Kindle in August of 2016 (thanks Netgalley!). Books with this amount of hype are never my go-to read. I let it play out while everyone talks about it so I can see if it’s really something I want to invest in. Most times it’s not and I hear everything I need to know through conversation with others. I resisted when Oprah made it her book club choice but could not resist again when it won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

So I read it. I heard it was gruesome, and parts of it were. But then a friend asked me if it was worse than A Little Life and I chuckled to myself. Y’all, nothing will ever be worse than A Little Life. Nothing.

The Underground Railroad follows Cora, a slave in Georgia on the Randall plantation, as she makes her way off the plantation and navigates her life after leaving. She escapes. She does. But what does she escape? Not slavery, that’s for sure. The book alludes to this depressing quality multiple times. She moves from one set of chains to another despite her relocation to the North. I enjoyed this new perspective on the slave narrative. Another friend was saying that most slave books end after they’ve escaped and that’s it. Everything is great once you’re off the plantation and in the North, right? Definitely not true, and I appreciate that this novel continues that story for us to see. I also appreciated that the mystic / surreal quality of the railroad was not overdone (in the book the underground railroad is a literal railroad underground). I was thinking to myself after finishing it that if you didn’t finish school or paid zero attention in history you might actually think this is how the underground railroad worked. It’s a book that should definitely be read but not necessarily one I would tell you to buy / borrow immediately.

Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with a red spine


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Filed under 2017 Reading Challenge, adult, award winners, best lists, book club, book review, current news, fiction, netgalley, Reading Challenge

SLJ Battle of the Books


HelloooO! Battle of the Books contenders have arrived! These are the ones. I haven’t read ANY of them. What on Earth does that say about me?


FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie

FREEDOM OVER ME by Ashley Bryan

GHOST by Jason Reynolds – want to read!


THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge – have checked out ONE MILLION TIMES

MAKOONS by Louise Erdrich

MARCH BOOK THREE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell – read book 1

THE PASSION OF DOLSSA by Julie Berry – have checked out HALF A MILLION TIMES

SAMURAI RISING by Pamela Turner and Gareth Hinds

SOME WRITER! by Melissa Sweet


THUNDERBOY JR. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales

WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES by Julie Fogliano and Julie Morstad

WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER by Grace Lin – read book 1

WET CEMENT by Bob Raczka

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NPR Best Books 2016


For the last few years, I can’t remember how many, NPR has done this virtual concierge of their best book suggestions for the year. I like it, but I’m a list person so some part of me misses the basic list. See for yourself and you can how you feel. Please note, there are way more in this concierge thing than on a regular best of 2016 list because of the algorithm they have to choose different topics. 309 books!

I looked at them all. Because, why not? I have read, 11 of them. To completion! I have tried to read, or almost finished as I like to call it in Goodreads, 13 of them. That’s 8% – rounding up. Haha. Let’s include one more layer. There are 24 of them I have checked out and brought to my house but never opened, or only read the first few pages. That puts me up to 15% so I feel a bit better. Anything above 10% and I’m golden. Who can really compete with NPR?


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SLJ Best of 2016

Best of lists are coming out. School Library Journal has theirs up! Check it out for all your holiday shopping needs. Books they have on their list that I agree with are as follows..

Picture Books


Flora and the Peacocks. I love Flora & all her books.

Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cueves illustrated by Erin Stead which I read but didn’t review.

Middle Grade


Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. I can’t say I loved this one but, here it is.


The Best Man by Richard Peck. NEED TO READ THIS! It’s on lists galore.

Young Adult


The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry. I checked this out awhile ago, probably 6+ months ago, when someone at my old job suggested it. It takes place in 1241. Making that time period into a “best book” takes work, so I have no doubt it is amazing.

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The Lie Tree Frances Hardinge by and Scythe by Neal Shusterman are books that were also on the Publisher’s Weekly best books of 2016 list (as was The Best Man). So they must be good. I’ve checked out both. My husband started reading Scythe, and he never reads. Take that as a glowing review!

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NYPL Award-Winners 2016

Just in time for Christmas! The New York Public Library has selected and made lists for the most remarkable books of 2016. Check them out, they’re legit.

Best books for Kids 2016

Best books for Teens 2016

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My Brilliant Friend


I don’t get the obsession. I tried. I read all of book one and even checked out book two in preparation for my excitement. But it never came. It’s not exciting. I wanted to like it, I really did. Maybe it’s because it’s a translation? I have no idea. There was so much buzz around this author because of her presumed outing recently (she writes under a pseudonym)  and I really wanted to know what all of the fuss was about. But honestly, I don’t care. And I won’t continue the series.

More buzz from just two days ago. How?


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National Book Award Winners 2016


National Book Award has announced their winners. No surprise that The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead was the adult fiction winner. He had Oprah behind him after all and she’s basically God. I have Underground Railroad on my Kindle from a long time ago via Netgalley and should probably get to reading it. I also just got the first and last books in the March series so I can feed educated on that, waiting on book two. I’m not sure the other two peak my interest. But there are a few on the short / long list that did.


News of the World by Paulette Jiles was a finalist. I bought it a few weeks ago and was going to give it to my best friend for Christmas but she asked for something else instead so I guess it’s mine.


Miss Jane by Brad Watson was on the longlist. It is a book I checked out a few months ago and then didn’t open, per usual. I adore the cover. Isn’t it so beautiful? This would be a good paperback purchase.


Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo was a finalist for the youth selection. I read it back in April. I didn’t love it.


The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon was a finalist as well. I believe I have it at my house right now. It’s getting lots of buzz and I even heard them talking about it on the All the Books podcast this morning.

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