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1. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares – Yes, I confess. I love the Traveling Pants books. I read the first one a million years ago, but this year I’ve knocked out 2 and 3 and am reading #4. It’s not what I normally read, but they’re fun.
2. Dear Exile by Hilary Loftin and Kate Montgomery – This book is a collection of letters between two friends: one in NYC and one who is teaching in Africa. (It’s nonfiction.) I wasn’t blown away by it or anything, but it was interesting, especially to see the juxtaposition of the two.
3. Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares – See #1.
4. Sonata for Miriam by Linda Olsson – I loved, loved, loved, LOVED her first book, Astrid and Veronika. I wasn’t quite as swept away by this one, but it was still excellently put together and a very striking story.
6. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue – Really imaginative read about changelings. I can’t even explain it, but it was fascinating. I just really enjoy reading something different than the norm. (Water for Elephants is one that comes to mind.)
7. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – a reread for me, but it had been a long time. One of the best, honest books on writing in the world!
9. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – By far, the best book I have read in years. It’s written from the viewpoint of Death. It’s about the Holocaust and a family’s tribulations. It is heart-wrenching and lovely and full of imagination. FANTASTIC. Please read it!
11. The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvery Karp – Happiest Baby on the Block was one of the only parenting books I read early on. I find his tips to be very useful and correct. I wasn’t quite as enamored with this one, but I do find myself following some of his suggestions a lot of times!
12. Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult – It was funny, after I finished this Picoult my best friend and I were chatting about which of hers we liked and didn’t like. It turns out, mostly the ones I like she didn’t and vice versa. Haha. I liked this one, but not as much as My Sister’s Keeper or Second Glance or The Pact.
13. Blessings by Anna Quindlen – ironically, I think this was the first book I got from Paperback Swap–in 2006. And I finally read it a few weeks ago. I adore Anna Quindlen, and this book was another gem.
14. French Milk by Lucy Knisley- my aunt gave this to me at Christmas to read. It’s a graphic novel, a cartooned journal of a young woman’s trip to Paris with her mother. Although it was a different kind of read for me, I wasn’t a big fan. There wasn’t much depth to the tale. I wasn’t there. But it was OK!
15. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – I’d heard a lot about this book, where famed fiction author Kingsolver explains how her family lived only eating local foods for a year. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be something I’d particularly want to read until I saw it on my friend Jake’s bookshelf over Easter and decided to read a few pages. I ended up stealing the book with his permission and taking it home. It took me several weeks to read the dense essays, but I really enjoyed her writings and of course, found new enthusiasm for the whole-foods lifestyle!
16. Forever in Blue by Ann Brashares – the last in the Traveling Pants series. Not my favorite, but it was a good wrap-up.
17. Back When We Were Grown-Ups by Anne Tyler – Tyler is one of my favorite authors, but she still has many books I haven’t read! She just writes rather prolifically. I try to fit in one a year or so. 🙂 I love all her books and this was no exception. Fabulous!
18. Staying Home by Darcie Sanders and Martha Bullen – I’ve tried to be more committed to reading a few nonfiction books on parenting and faith (obviously not doing as great of a job as I would like to!). This one took me FOREVER to read, because it was mostly research-based. I thought the topics covered were interesting, but there were several things I disagreed with and the material was dated. It’s not something I would recommend to other new SAHMs.
19. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon – Yes, you have permission to laugh at me. I am just slightly behind the times when it comes to this series! I did, however, adore the first book and plan to read the whole series. And I am glad to be reading them now instead of when they came out (in 1996, when this was released, I was 14). They’re fitting for this time in my life where I wonder: can I serve God where I am right now?
20. A Light in the Window by Jan Karon – Mitford book 2.
21. These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon – Mitford book 3.
22. I Will Carry You by Angie Smith – I cried. And cried. Then I sobbed. Then I cried some more. (I AM pregnant.) But I am glad I read it. Angie’s heart is so sweet.
23. On a Whim by Robin Jones Gunn – the second in her “Katie” series. Still love these characters from reading the Christy books in high school/college. Yes, they’re a little juvenile compared to what I normally read, but I can’t NOT read these. I can’t!
24. Out to Canaan by Jan Karon – Mitford book 4.
25. The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit by Jill Connor Browne – I keep reading the SPQ books because, well, the first three or so were so good and funny! Yes, crass. But laugh-out-loud hilarious. The later ones I just don’t feel as much. And yet, I read them…
26. A New Song by Jan Karon – Mitford book 5.
27. A Common Life by Jan Karon – Mitford book 6.
28. Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn – third and final in the Katie series. A gem!
29. In This Mountain by Jan Karon – Mitford book 7.
30. Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon – Mitford book 8. In my opinion, this and book 6 are cop-out gift books disguised as real installments in the series … but oh well.
31. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen – Mostly this book made me horrified to have teenagers. And it is super-duper sad without a good warning to tell you so! I love Quindlen’s way with words, but this one tore me up and I’m not sure I could recommend it to others.
32. Light from Heaven by Jan Karon – last in the Mitford series.
33-39. Harry Potter Books 1-7. Yep, in a row!! All rereads, of course, but an enjoyable endeavor.
40. 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney – an interesting read for a summer book discussion group. Mostly aimed toward teenagers, but the book speaks to talking with your daughters about hard topics AS they grow up.
41. A Stolen Tongue by Sheri Holman – Yet another book I am not even sure whether I liked. I liked it enough to keep reading, at least! I was a big fan of Holman’s The Mammoth Cheese. This is a COMPLETELY different book, set in the 1500s and from the point-of-view of a monk who sets out for Jerusalem. Interesting. Bizarre. Not my favorite book ever.
42. It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather Armstrong (dooce) – While Dooce and I are worlds apart when it comes to religious and political views, she is hilarious. I laughed my way through this book and really appreciated her candor. It’s good to know someone else hates being pregnant as much as I do! 😉
43. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – I hate it when I read a book and then regret leaving it on the shelf so long! I have heard nothing but rave reviews of this one, and they were well-deserved. A quick, fun, fascinating read that I adored.
44. Not Becoming My Mother by Ruth Reichl (audiobook) – I have loved Reichl’s other memoirs, so I was really disappointed to receive this audiobook from Paperbackswap and find that it was only ONE CD! A whole 45 minutes long. Reading the Amazon reviews, I think most people would agree with me that it was regretful Reichl published this at all. It could have been transformed into a full-length, excellent book.
45. Nora, Nora by Anne Rivers Siddons (audiobook) – I love it when there’s a great audiobook reader, so first of all I have to point out that Cristine McMurdo-Wallis did an excellent reading. I also really enjoyed this coming-of-age novel. A little To Kill a Mockingbird, a little Anne Tyler-esque, Nora, Nora is about what happens when an older cousin comes into the life of a girl on the cusp of puberty.
46. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian – After I listened to Midwives on CD, I knew Bohjalian was someone I wanted to read further! This is his newest book, which has been sitting on my bedside table all summer on loan from the library at Mr. V’s school. While I raced through the Harry Potter and Mitford books, this gem lay uncracked. Without giving too much away, I enjoyed how the author pursued the tale from four people’s points-of-view. While I guessed the ending long before it came, I still enjoyed getting there. Bohjalian is an exquisite writer with a knack for different narrative voices.
47. Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult – This is one of her first novels, and I was not thrilled with it. It’s not at all like the rest of her books. The characters are somewhat interesting, but I was confused with where she left it off and just not infatuated. Sorry!
48. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Traci Hogg – I didn’t get around to reading many baby-rearing books with Libbie … mostly by choice. Now that I have a feel for what “my” style of parenting is, I feel safer reading about others’ styles. I thought Hogg shared some good tips, but she didn’t address at all what to do if you have other children. So that was not particularly helpful.
49. Make Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman – I will preface this with, I read the version that was written in about 1980 because it was what I could get for free from Paperbackswap. So other than some of the situations being slightly dated, I LOVED his biblical teachings and methods. I hope to read the updated version and reference it back often. (And look at me reading two nonfiction books! A rare occurrence!)
50. The Passage by Justin Cronin – This is far, far away from what I normally read; but I had been in a sort of reading slump, and this 750-pager definitely got me out of it! My husband read it, and if he read the whole thing I knew it must be worth reading. An amazing glimpse into a science experiment turned wrong … Mr. V and I are eagerly awaiting the rest of the trilogy!
51. Little Bee by Chris Cleave – I think I saw a review for this in a magazine and thought it looked like a good read. I received it fairly quickly off Paperbackswap and decided to dive in since I had just finished The Passage earlier in the week. With the honors it’s been given, the good criticism, and the oh-so-mysterious back cover, I was definitely expecting more from it. I thought the writing was pretty good but it wasn’t what I was expecting … just another good story, really.
Have you read anything good lately?
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