In case you didn't know, I keep a running log of the books I read throughout the year over on the right sidebar (along with what I want to read, want to cook, want to create, and what's on the menu this week). It's a nice way to remember how well I do on my goal to read more, which helps encourage me to read even more. So without further ado, here's what I read last year and my thoughts on them:
Matched and Crossed by Allie Condie
Books one and two in a planned trilogy (I think), the books are a fun, quick read in the young adult genre. They are set in a future with a utopian society where your life is planned for you down to the smallest detail. I looked forward to the second book all year and I hear that Disney has acquired the rights to the book, which I think would translate very well to the screen. Can't wait to read book #3 in 2012.
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
OK, didn't blow me away, but a clean fiction book you could recommend for book club.
Farm City by Novella Carpenter
Memoir by the trailblazing "urban farmer", this was inspirational on some fronts and completely hippy crazy in other ways (what they did to feed their pigs!). But it was up my alley and I thought it was a fun read.
Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
The authors of Freakonomics referenced this book, so I thought "ok, I'll read that." Subject matter: prostitution in turn of the century Chicago. Ha! Not a book I can recommend to anyone, but I actually prefer non-fiction and since I learned about a segment of history that I was ignorant in, I liked it.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
By far, hands down the best book I have read in a very long time. It was so good! If you have not yet read it, I highly recommend it. The story of Louis Zamperini, WWII airman / Japanese POW camp survivor, is written with such finesse that the non-fiction subject matter flows with the ease of a novel and you can't wait to keep reading. Hillenbrand has a gift, a true gift for this literary genre.
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
After I read Unbroken, I had to go and re-read Seabiscuit. I love this book! I am glad Momma Kay had it on her bookshelf and let me borrow it.
Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
A Christian story about how a homeless drifter and art dealer millionaire forged a powerful friendship. Uplifting with life lessons to apply.
Lucy by Laurence Gonzalez
Novel about a half ape / half human girl who ends up in Chicago after being raised by her scientist father in the jungle. Interesting, I liked it. There were some references to inappropriate subject matter, but not enough that it bothered me.
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Novel set around the WWII siege of Lenigrad. Not anything I would recommend or read again. 2 stars.
Concierge Confidential by Michael Fazio
A fun little guilty pleasure showing the behind the scenes workings of concierge servie employees.
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
A highly acclaimed debut novel, I found it lacking. The author has been lauded by numerous literary agencies and for the life of me I can't figure out why.
My Life in France by Julia Child
If you know my
House of Prayer No. 2 by Mark Richard
A memoir of the author's life. Easier read but didn't blow me away.
The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson
Again, a novel that failed to inspire me. Following a family over many years, I was sad for them at the end that they just didn't do much with their lives.
The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flynn
Stemming from my Julia Child obsession love, I read the memoir of the author's experience at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. I enjoyed it, it was a fun read. I am looking forward to reading her next book, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, in 2012 (which I already have in my posession from the library).
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
I can't remember where I picked up this recommendation, but this book was so-so. The novel had a tone that seemed like any pulpy paperback and read like a pulpy paperback (even though it is a pretty big book).
She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel
A follow-up to the book A Girl Named Zippy (which I liked), the author again creates a memoir with the same light tone I enjoyed the first time around, especially when in real life the material being remembered can be rather heavy.
The Birth House by Ami McKay
Interesting in that it played to my interest in midwifery, but I did not enjoy this book. It was slightly depressing and I just didn't get the point.
Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy
Overall the book was slightly a downer, but I really enjoyed the author's writing style and the lilt to the book. I don't think I would read it again or even recommend that you do, but I have to appreciate it for how the talent put the words together.
A Love That Multiplies by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
I read their first book back in the day and enjoyed the second as much. I took away several thoughts of things I would like to implement in my life, most importantly the need (and desire on my part) to speak more softly to my children, modeling the instructions in Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.
Whew! For those of you keeping track, that's 21 books this year. Yeah me!
I probably even read more than that and forgot to record them. (Sometimes I wish I could get a print out from the library showing me all the books I have checked out during a certain time period, but I can't.) Most of the books were recommendations via Entertainment Weekly's new book reviews, but I also picked up some that had been recommended by blogs I follow or ones people suggested.
I am already working on my list for 2012. Right now I am reading Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time and I got The Secret Life of Henrietta Lacks for Christmas, which I am very excited about especially since I never told anyone that I really wanted to read it; Momma Kay just knows my love for non-fiction. I am going to be joining my friend Shanna at her monthly book club, so I will be reading the books off of that list. I also keep a Books to Read Wish List on Amazon, so whenever someone (or a media source) recommends a book to read I add it to my list there. (If you ever want to peruse my list or make suggestions, feel free.) When I am fresh out of books, I refer to my list and request books at my library (via their convenient website). My system couldn't be easier!