At the end of 2009, I started keeping a list of the books I read. The format of this list – and the criteria for inclusion – have changed over the years, but it’s interesting to see the history and evolution of reading, sort of like reading an old newspaper. I like to go over my readings at the end of each year; What genres, subjects and themes have I turned to in the last 12 months? On the other hand, what am I not reading? And based on that, what might I want to explore a little bit this year?
(It makes me feel like an organized reader, which I really am not. All these years have included a lot of “Oh no! The book group is this week and I haven’t started reading yet. X Y Z !”)
So what did 2021 contain? I knew a lot of stories would have happy endings, especially romances; memoirs, biographies and compilations of essays; titles for three groups of books; the possibilities we have considered for the Yakima Valley Read; reads again; some fantastic new series; the most recent volume in a series of mystery series that I enjoy; and great picture books. A deep, disorienting and frustrating month-and-a-half reading crisis in the fall, and the joy when it was over. Some fantastic reads including:
• “Everything Sad is Untrue: (a true story)” by Daniel Nayeri
• Dial A for Aunts “by Jesse Q. Sutanto
• The Great Glorious Whore of Everything “by Josh Ritter
• The heat of other suns: the epic story of the great American migration “by Isabel Wilkerson
• In the time of butterflies “by Julia Alvarez
• The Last Sun ”by KD Edwards
• Fluffy McWhiskers: Explosion of Cuteness “by Stephen Martin and Dan Tavis
And on the theme of reflecting on what you have read and what you would like to read this year, I would like to cordially invite you to participate in the annual Yakima Valley Libraries Winter Reading Challenge for adults.
If you’ve never taken our reading challenge or need a quick refresher: we provide bingo cards with squares for different reading categories such as “Book in Public Domain”, “Two Word Title Or “Travel / Travel story.” You can download your cards from our website or pick them up at your local library. You read and then complete the categories. With each bingo (row of five boxes) or blackout (complete card entire) which you complete between January 1 and the end of March, you can enter to win various gift cards.
The Winter Reading Challenge is a fun way for Yakima Valley libraries to recognize and encourage reading, whether the books you choose are old friends or brand new to you. Maybe something that you never really thought about reading, or that you don’t normally read. Some categories challenge you to ask for reading suggestions or tell other people about the great books you’ve read.
For full details – and a price list – see YVL’s website at www.yvl.org/winter. Just make sure you get all of your tickets by March 31! Special thanks to the Yakima Valley Libraries Foundation for their support.
Remember: have fun. Try something new. Listening always counts as reading. And picture books can be a sunburn in your life no matter how old you are.
And for my book that I “intended to read”, maybe 2022 will be the year when I finally read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.
• Julie Graham is Assistant Collection Development Librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. Learn more at www.yvl.org.