Jessica Day George

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Baby! And the Best of the Books!

So, I was going to put up my best of the year lists, and then I totally had a baby and stuff. For the purposes of this blog, the baby shall be known as Baby Roo. ALL HAIL BABY ROO! We call him Baby Roo because, at 6 lbs. 2 ozs. he was the smallest of my three children, and when we brought him home from the hospital even newborn clothes were so big that he looked like a handkerchief with knots tied at the corners, much like the illustrations of Roo in the Winnie-the-Pooh books.

Baby Roo got off to a bit of a rough start. The delivery went well, but about fifteen minutes later he stopped breathing. It turned out he had an infection in his lungs, and he ended up staying in the Special Care Nursery for ten days with oxygen masks and antibiotics and such. I was staying on at the hospital to be near him when I suddenly collapsed a few days later, with the same infection, which turned out to be Strep A. Strep A is not what you have when you have strep throat, Strep A is also known as the Flesh-Eating Bacteria, it's horrible and deadly. Roo and I were lucky to be in an excellent hospital (What up, LDS Hospital?! You rock!), and were able to get immediate care. We both made full recoveries and are doing well, though Roo cannot go out and about and potentially have germs breathed on him, and he is still very small.

And that, gentle readers, is our story.

Enough about sick babies, I say! It is now time for the books, and the talking of books thereof and whatnot! For behold, while I was in the hospital, I did indeed make a list of my favorite books from 2011. Now, remember, not all these books were published in 2011. Some were older, one or two were ARCs of books that are just available now. But I read them in 2011, and so they are on the list!

BEHOLD, I SAY! The list of my favorite books from 2011!

(And, incidentally, after maybe 1 or 2 on each list, they're not really in any particular order. I'm being a bit lazy this year.)

PICTURE BOOKS

1. THE CHRISTMAS MAGIC by Lauren Thompson and John J. Muth
2. A BALL FOR DAISY by Chris Raschka (This year's Caldecott Winner, announced on the day Baby Roo was born, no less!)
3. THE GIFT OF THE MAGI by O. Henry and P. J. Lynch (It's Lynch's beautiful illustrations that make this story magical for me.)
4. OUTSIDE OVER THERE by Maurice Sendak (The basis for LABYRINTH!)
5. PIG KAHUNA by Jennifer Sattler
6. BLOOM! A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT FINDING LOVE by Maria van Lieshout
7. SLIDE ALREADY! by Kit Allen
8. HIGHER! HIGHER! by Leslie Patricelli (Really, any of her books. My three-year-old cannot get enough of them!)
9. SONG OF THE STARS: A CHRISTMAS STORY by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Allison Jay

MIDDLE GRADE

1. A MILLION MILES FROM BOSTON by Karen Day (No relation to me, just an absolutely superb writer!)
2. A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS by Megan Whalen Turner (The Attolia books just get better and better, she's amazing!)
3. THE ADVENTURES OF NANNY PIGGINS by R.A. Spratt and Dan Santat
4. THE GIGGLER TREATMENT by Roddy Doyle (I disapprove of "poo jokes" usually, but this was hysterically funny.)
5. ICEFALL by Matthew J. Kirby (It's got vikings!)
6. LIESL AND PO by Lauren Oliver
7. WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick
8. ENCHANTED GLASS by Diana Wynne Jones
9. THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA by Tom Angleberger
10. HAZZARDOUS UNIVERSE by Julie Wright and Kevin Wasden (Not just saying this because they're my friends: this book is awesome.)
11. A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
12. LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld (Okay, so it's supposed to be YA. That's why I'm putting it at the bottom by the YA books . . . An avid middle grade reader could handle this book. They would love this book. This book is awesome.)

YOUNG ADULT

1. HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr (This really is my favorite YA book of last year. So beautiful, so heart-breaking!)
2. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor
3. IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman (You must, must read them both!)
4. DARKNESS FALLS by Cate Tiernan
5. FALLEN GRACE by Mary Hooper
6. WINTER TOWN by Stephen Emond
7. WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan
8. BOY 21 by Matthew Quick (So odd, so wonderful, so different from what I expected.)
9. ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin
10. DRINK, SLAY, LOVE by Sarah Beth Durst
11. SHUT OUT by Kody Keplinger
12. THE DEAD AND THE GONE/THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Again, you're going to have to read them both. Reading all three at one go wouldn't be remiss.)

(Yes, there are twelve favorite YA books. This is 2012, after all!)

NONFICTION

1. DOC by Mary Doria Russell (A fictionalized but historically accurate bio of Doc Holliday. You know you want to read it!)
2. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot
3. UNFAMILIAR FISHES by Sarah Vowell
4. BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey
5. MENNONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS by Rhoda Janzen
6. CHOCOLATE: A BITTERSWEET SAGA OF DARK AND LIGHT by Mort Rosenblum (If you attempt to read this without chocolate near at hand, you will suffer. I'm warning you!)
7. YES MAN by Danny Wallace (A reread. Just so I could laugh until I cried yet again!)
8. CHOCOLATE NEVER FAILETH by Annette Lyon (An awesome cookbook for chocolate lovers, full of fun facts and anecdotes as well as great recipes.)
9. THE UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER COOKBOOK by Dinah Bucholz (If you're a Harry Potter fan, you must have this. If you're curious about British cooking, you must have this, too. Full of classic recipes, with references to the Harry Potter books as well as the history of the dishes in general (Did you know what gravy used to be made of?!)!

ADULT FICTION

1. THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern (So good. So very, very good.)
2. AMERICAN GODS: The 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION by Neil Gaiman (So good. So very, very good.)
3. SHOGUN by James Clavell (I've seen bits of the miniseries. I've heard friends rave about it, while others couldn't make it through. BUT I MADE IT THROUGH, AND IT WAS AWESOME!)
4. HEARTLESS by Gail Carriger
5. THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Barbery
6. THE SILENT LAND by Graham Joyce
7. THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin (He better hurry the frak up with the sequel . . . )
8. I DON'T WANT TO KILL YOU by Dan Wells (I don't want to kill you either, Dan, but I do hate you just a little for writing the perfect ending to this trilogy.)
9. ROOM by Emma Donaghue
10. HARD MAGIC by Larry Correia (It's like Dashiell Hammett went nuts and started writing about telepaths!)
11. CHANGES by Jim Butcher
12. DANDELION WINE by Ray Bradbury/SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut (Okay, what's up with that? Well, this year I reread both of these for the first time since high school, and I have to say, they both got better with time, and I recommend you re/read them.)

7 comments:

Shelby said...

Congratulations on baby Roo!!
And also, thanks for some book recomendations:)

Mindy said...

Awesome list! Happy you two are doing better!

Andi Sherwood said...

Congratulations on the baby! Glad everything is fine now. Could you have a new book next? hehehe :)

pambelina said...

I just started reading your blog and I am so excited for your new bubs! I'm glad you are both doing well. Thanks for the book list; I'm always looking for recommendations from authors I adore!

Aria said...

Gah! I think my heart stopped for a minute reading that about you and the baby. Glad you're both better though, yay babies!!! *scrolls back up to read books*

Niki Cluff said...

My first baby required a 2 week hospital stay in the NICU. It's so scary, but a relief when it's over. Congrats on the baby! I love your books.

Sarah Beth Durst said...

I'm so sorry that you had to go through such a difficult time. *hugs*

But I'm so happy that both you and Baby Roo are doing well. Congratulations!!!