Thursday, January 7, 2010

The reading machine continues.

In 2008 I read 23 books and this past year I decided to go a little higher. My initial goal was 25 because I thought I'd stay on pace, but oh man did I outdo myself. I read a a lot of books this past year and of course I want to share them and perhaps a snippet or two about them, so here goes...

Lucky by Alice Sebold. After reading both of her fictional works I gave her memoir a shot and I'm glad I did. Although dark in subject, this book is still a fascinating look into Alice's life and the inspiration of her two fictional works.

My Friend Leonard by James Frey. If you liked A Million Little Pieces you might like this book a little bit more. Leaving off where AMLP ending James continues to talk about his life and obviously Leonard's as well and I just thoroughly enjoyed it.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. So many people had told me to read this book and I'm so glad I did. I was so entranced by Sayuri's story I could barely put this book down. It covers such a differnt time and place that it was quite fascinating to read about.

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger. Three women in their twenties dealing with love and life and I probably could have done without it. I just never really attached to any of the women that much so I wasn't a huge fan.

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I finally caught up with the female world and read this book and I gotta say, I'm a fan. Although I wanted to smack Becky every time she bought something I still laughed and loved Luke Brandon.

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger. Much better Lauren. The story revolves around a smarty pants Bette who ends up working at a PR firm at the expense of practically all of her relationships (a la Devil Wears Prada) and of course in the end she gets it right and gets the guy and that's how it should be, haha.

Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice. Never heard of this book? Yeah I hadn't either. But I enjoyed it so much that it got its own post on the blog.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. From the recommendation of many I read this book. I didn't love it and I didn't hate, it was just eh to me. Maybe I have to be at a different stage in my life to appreciate it but it just didn't click with me so much. Or maybe a movie version will change it all for me? Who knows.

Hot Six by Janet Evanovich. The sixth in the Stephanie Plum series and I couldn't even tell you what it was about, just that I probably loved it as I have loved all of the books in the series so far, you should definitely pick one up and give yourself a good laugh.

Frangipani by Celestine Hitura Vaite. A cute coming of age story of a professional cleaner and her daughter in Tahiti. Simple as that, cute and fun and an easy read.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. After failing a mountain climb Greg decides to build schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan making his story quite an incredible one. Although it sort of lagged a bit in the middle the story overall is pretty remarkable and worth checking out.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Love. This. Book. Who knew I would love historical fiction so much, because I certainly couldn't have predicted it. I was so curious about the actualities that I looked everything up and read about the Tudors and learned more than I ever did in school and the story overall is just so good! Even if the book was a bit longer than most books it was so worth it and so captivating.

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. Oh Nicholas, you write the sappiest and cutest stories. This one was no different in any way. John meets a girl. John gets delpoyed. They write letters. Life goes on without them. Basically sums it up, it was a sweet story but sort of predictable and pretty sad. However I may be convinced to see the movie this year since Channing Tatum is John and he's just dreamy, haha.

Seven Up by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum for the win.

The Namesake by Jhimpa Lahiri. The story follows a Bengali family, the Gangulis, more specifically their son Gogol and the life they try to lead in America. If I recall correctly I enjoyed this book but didn't love it. It was heart warming and fascinating to read a story from that perspective but I feel like the book ended several times before it really did. Nonetheless I was still a fan.

Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum rides again!

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. Jodi's newest novel and I definitely had mixed feelings. However it was the first book I fully reviewed on the review blog, so check it out.

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster. Loved this book. And get the full scoop here.

Chocolat by Joanne Harris. I'll always love the movie more but still a good story, read about what I thought here.

Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey. One of my favorite books of the year, if not ever. So yes it got a full review.

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella. Aw Becky and Luke move to Manhattan. And of course craziness ensues and I laughed and it was cute and I yelled at Becky but I still liked it.

The Pact by Jodi Picoult. Yes Jodi, you know how to tear at a girl's heart strings. This book definitely deserved a full post.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Absolutely loved this book, loved everything about it, loved it so much it has its own review as well.

To The Nines by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum to the rescue!

Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum yet again.

Growing up in the Holocaust by Ben Edelbaum. My mom gave me this book because it was written by her cousin-in-law's father and wow. Just wow. I don't think I'd ever read first person accounts from the Holocaust and this was definitely an eye opener. So incredibly sad yet amazing and just wow. If you can find this book, definitely read it, it's short but you'll take away so much from it.

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. As a blogger I felt it was my duty to read this book. And I'm glad I did. It was cute and it was fun, but I didn't love it. I definitely enjoyed the movie a whole lot more and I'm pretty sure it was because I got to see the food instead of envisioning it and there was more of Julia Child's life which was just as interesting I thought.

Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster. Jen's second book about life in the city with her dogs and her husband and all sorts of hilarity. Seriously the footnotes are some of my favorite parts of her books, hilarious.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Another book I was told I had to read. And I feel like I need to read it again. I know there is some major message in that book and I got most of it but after reading it I felt like I was missing something.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Yet another one that had been recommended to me countless times that I feel like I might have to reread again some day. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the book and the story but I just didn't get what I was supposed to take out of it. Maybe it's just me but the story just wasn't as exciting to me as it could have been and yeah, I'm still on the fence.

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas. Oh such a guilty, guilty pleasure. My best friend recommended it to me and I was hooked. A small town girl gets stuck with her sister's baby and ends up befriending one of the wealthiest bachelors in Texas and everything evolves from there and it's addicting, haha.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. I had briefly heard of William's story in the news and I'm so glad I was given this book to review, check it out.

Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella. I think the title says it all. Becky and Luke get married! But of course it doesn't happen without any issues, Becky's antics in this one are just as cute and funny and had me yelling at her just like the other two and I loved it.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Such a good story. Jeanette recounts her childhood living like a nomad with her free spirited parents. Her parents, although sincere in their beliefs, drove me crazy and I'm pretty sure she felt the same way but the stories she tells are just fasinacting and almost surreal, definitely a book to pick up.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. I saw this in the library and had to get it. Although a sort of prequel to TOBG I was just as curious about this story as I was the other. I loved that it switched between 3rd and 1st person and I loved reading Catherine's story even though I knew what her ultimate fate would be. Nice work Phillipa and yes I definitely have The Boleyn Inheritance waiting for me on my night stand, I'm officially sucked in to the Tudors.

Whew, made it. Did you? Haha. So yes those are the books I read last year. So now, what to read this year? I have a couple books already waiting for me but I'm still open to suggestions. Oh and are we friends on GoodReads? Because we probably should be, just saying. Woo reading!

happy thursday!


Chrissy said...

How about the Ted Kennedy memoirs book? Jon Krakauer's book on Pat Tillman? got those two for xmas.. right now reading The Northern Clemency by Philip Henscher, that's about family dysfunction in the UK... very interesting and the writing is very British as well as the humor... all the books u have listed I have read about 70% of.. Loved The Alchemist... I was told to read it too and yes a definite profound message...

Andrea said...

Three Cups of Tea is on my to-read list. I read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn this year too but I liked it a lot. It reminded me of all the historical fiction I loved to read as a kid.

San said...

A couple of those books I've read myself, a couple are on my to-read list.

Have you read the Highland-saga by Diana Gabaldon? (First book is "Outlander"). It's a MUST-READ.

Kay* said...

Yay for reading! Love this post since I'm a MAJOR bookworm too :) Thanks to this post I've just added about 5 more books to my list..

I have 'The Almost Moon' by Alice Sebold on my bookshelf - must read it this year...

If you liked 'three cups of tea' which i still have to read - you might want to read 'leaving microsoft to change the world' by john wood...same kinda concept.

Classy in Philadelphia said...

Yay! I loved this post...I loved Everyone Worth Knowing and all of the shopaholic books!

Grace said...

This is a good list. I'll have to add some to my goodreads (btw, adding you as a friend!)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorite books but it really is a childrens book. I don't think that an adult reading it for the first time will get as much out of it as a child. I was about 12 when I read it and I identified so much with the main character.

Have you read any of the classic? Jane Austen? Dickens? etc? I didn't read a lot of them in school so I'm just doing it now and I must say they are AMAZING books that have really withstood the test of time.

Andhari said...

You have Glass Castle and The Alchemist up there? Those two are my favorite books! Along with the fun ones like Chasing Harry Winston and Julie & Julia, of course :D

ps. I definitely read Coelho's books slowly. Right now I'm just starting The Fifth Mountain and my head twitches a little. I love how beautiful the phrases are though.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I'm working my way through the Stephanie Plum series as well, and just finished book 10! I'm already a huge Sophie Kinsella fan, and read her books as soon as new ones come out -- I highly recommend her stand alone novels if you're enjoying the Shopaholic ones (especially "Can You Keep A Secret?" and "Remember Me?" but they're all really great!).

I felt exactly the same as you about "Chasing Harry Winston". I liked both "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Everyone Worth Knowing", but "Chasing Harry Winston" didn't entertain me that much and I didn't click with the characters. On my reading blog I definitely labelled it "library it", and even then... meh!

I'm going to try to read 100 books in 2010... it's a psychotic goal, but I'm going for it. LOL.

Anonymous said...

The Other Boleyn Girl is awesome. Been reading 'Wolf Hall' lately, also Tudor, but really different style. Love it too.

I've never read anything by Nicholas Sparks - I feel like I know how everything's gonna end, but I watch the movies. And 'Dear John' is a must see - Channing Tatum makes me swoon! :D

Playful Professional said...

So I've read about half of these and might have to read some of the others. I absolutely love historical fiction and love a new author I got the chance to review that writes historical fiction - Michelle Moran. My favorite of her is called Cleopatra's Daughter and probably one of my favorite books this year.

Andrea said...

Seriously, I've been waiting for this post. We should so read a book together!

Bayjb said...

Holy cow, 23 books?? That's insane! I wish I had the time you did to read during the day. I just finally get to a point where I can't put them down.

Lexilooo said...

Greg Mortenson just came out with a new book, where Three Cups of Tea left off. He was in DC a few weeks ago and I went to hear him speak. I haven't read the book yet, but am looking forward to it. Though, I agree with you that TCT drags a bit, so I hope this one doesn't :)

Also, once you need new books, look for these three. I keep suggesting them to people, because I loved them so much. Harry Bernstein has three books- The Invisible Wall, The Dream, and The Willow. They are memoirs of his life. He's 99 years old and wrote the first one after his wife of 67 years passed away. The first is about him growing up in England during WWI, the second is his family's move to the US, and the third is his love story with his wife. They are incredible, and I constantly had tears in my eyes!

amanda said...

pat yourself on the back. this is a very impressive list!!

Auburn Kat said...

I read/listened to quite of few books in '09 and am off to a good start in '10. What would we do without books?

Ameena said...

I have read almost all of these! My favorites on your list...The Glass Castle, Shopaholic, Bitter is the New Black, The Namesake. Loved those!

I recommend anything else by Jodi Picoult, Sophie Kinsella, and Monica Ali. I could write on this topic forever!!

*~Dani~* said...

Thanks for that recap. I am definitely going to check out some of the books on your list. I just need to dedicate some time to reading!