31 Favorite Books to Celebrate my 31st Birthday


So, I cheated a bit with this list by counting some series and trilogies as one, but I think that’s fair because it’s my birthday and I get to make up the rules! As these are my favorites, I’ve posted about many of these titles. The links below will take you to my posts related to the books or authors.

My 31 Favorite YA and Adult Books:31favorites

  1. The China Garden by Liz Berry
  2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  4. The Eight by Katherine Neville
  5. Every Day by David Levithan
  6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  7. The Martian by Andy Weir
  8. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
  9. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  10. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  11. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  12. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
  13. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  14. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  15. Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  16. Cotton Malone series by Steve Berry
  17. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  18. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  19. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  20. Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
  21. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  22. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  23. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – link coming soon!
  24. Voyager from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
  25. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  26. Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi  
  27. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  28. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  29. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  30. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  31. Deadline by Chris Crutcher

How many of these have you read? Do you consider them favorites as well?

Writing to Authors


After moving to a new city last summer and not getting a full-time teaching position, I found myself with a lot of extra time. I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time, took up Zumba, and created a blog. I also decided to do something that I had thought about for a long time, but never had the time to sit down and do: I sent out a bunch of letters to some of my favorite authors. I wanted to let them know how much I enjoyed their books and appreciated their work. I shared part of a letter I wrote in an earlier post about Caroline B. Cooney. I found the addresses on various places around the web. I typed up cute letters and put them in the mail…and then I never heard from any of the authors. Not a mass-produced postcard response or anything.

I’ll have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. I’m not trying to book an author for an event or anything, but I’d like some kind of confirmation that my letter made it to its intended audience. I remember writing to celebrities in elementary school when we learned about letter writing, and we all got something back from the people we wrote to (I wrote to Patricia Richardson, aka Jill Taylor from the 90s classic TV show Home Improvement. I must not have been able to find Jonathan Taylor Thomas’s address!).

The only author I did manage to reach was Katherine Neville, author of The Eight. I sent her an e-mail (which means that perhaps my letter writing was a bit too old-fashioned) and she sent a response back lickety-split. I told her how much I enjoyed her novels and that until her next book came out, I was busy reading Steve Berry’s books. She wrote back:


In an age of social media and staying connected to your customers, I figured more authors would be willing to respond to a reader’s letter. Is this just wishful thinking on my part? I’d love to have a response from an author I’ve admired.

Has anyone else tried to contact an author before? Were you successful? Any tips on how can I find more up-to-date addresses? Or should I give up on the letter approach and contact authors through e-mail or their blogs?