All tagged Best of 2015

2015 List of Awesome: Television

You know we've been doing our annual "List of Awesome" every year and it's always been books, but since I'm tinkering with the focus of CEFS moving forward (more on that later), I thought I'd highlight some of the things I really enjoyed this year that aren't books in these lists.

Also, I really like lists. If you've missed previous years' installments, they're all archived here. 

For the first 2015 List of Awesome, I wanted to spotlight some of the fabulous television that I've enjoyed this year. It goes without saying that we're spoiled for television these days--so much so, it sometimes seems overwhelming.

Recommendation Tuesday: Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

Cordelia Jensen's debut novel first got on my radar thanks to Stasia Ward Kehoe's guest post for our Verse Week celebration this year.  While I don't read all the blogs, it seems like it's not received much attention and I'm here to remedy that, because folks, Skyscraping is a special book. 

I coined the term "nostalgia lit" on a podcast episode a couple years ago, and I'm generally a fairly reluctant about books set in near history, but Skyscraping is a wonderful example of this particular almost-contemporary setting.

Friendship, Diversity and Adventure in Stacey Lee's Under a Painted Sky

A fantastic historical novel is a special thing--and I sometimes feel like it's a unicorn situation. The last historical novel I loved (that wasn't a verse novel) was Jennifer Donnelly's luminous A Northern Light and that was quite awhile ago. 

Fortunately, Stacey Lee's debut young adult historical novel about two girls on the Oregon Trail in the early 1800s, Under a Painted Sky, landed in my mailbox at just the right time, as it was the historical novel I've been looking for for ages and ages. 

Father always said, If you cannot be brave, then imagine you are someone else who who is. So I imagine myself as him, my optimistic father, whose steps never wavered, whose face never hid in shadows. Lifting my chin, I march after Andy as if my cares were few and my outlook, golden.

Under a Painted Sky starts off with a bang, with narrator Samantha--a skilled violinist of Chinese descent--being left with no choice but to flee her Missouri town. Dashed are her dreams of moving back to New York and pursuing a music career.

Review: Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose

Caroline Starr Rose brings a historical mystery to life in her beautifully crafted novel in verse, Blue Birds.

It is 1587 and 117 English men, women and children are left on the lush island of Roanoke near the shores of what is now Virginia.They expected fertile soil and friendly people. They were not disappointed in the land. But, the friendly Native people had become understandably jaded. The English who came before them brought disease and death to their island. 

In Which I Attempt to Discuss the Importance of Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer...

We are women. And we can be the person we want to be, not the version you wish we were.

You know how some things--whether they're books, movies, television show or whatever--that just work their way into your heart and don't let go? The things that become a part of you? That's the way I feel about Liza Palmer's books--every single one of them, each in a special way.

I loved Nowhere But Home because it filled that omnipresent FNL-shaped hole in my heart; More Like Her for its perfect final scene; A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents for its clear-eyed depiction of family; Seeing Me Naked is just a damn good book; and Conversations with a Fat Girlis laugh out loud hilarious.  

Her latest, Girl Before a Mirror, just might edge out the rest as my favorite.