Friday, December 31, 2010

Books Read in 2010

1. Your Money or Your Life, Joe Dominguez
2. 90 Minutes in Heaven, Don Piper
3. My So-Called Freelance Life, Michelle Goodman
4. The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman
5. Remember Me, Sophie Kinsella
6. Belly Laughs, Jenny McCarthy
7. The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
8. Free For All, Don Borchert
9. How My Breasts Saved the World, Lisa Wood Shapiro
10. Twenties Girl, Sophie Kinsella
11. I Sleep at Red Lights, Bruce Stockler
12. Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
13. Baby Laughs, Jenny McCarthy
14. Life Laughs, Jenny McCarthy
15. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
16. Accidentally on Purpose, Mary F. Pols
17. Last Light, Terri Blackstock
18. Night Light, Terri Blackstock
19. True Light, Terri Blackstock
20. Dawn's Light, Terri Blackstock
21. The Shack, William P. Young
22. 29, Adena Halpern
23. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
24. 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You, Oliver Thomas
25. Babyville, Jane Green
26. Swapping Lives, Jane Green
27. Ruth, Kelly Minter
28. Official Book Club Selection, Kathy Griffin
29. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
30. Match Point, Erynn Mangum
31. Heart of the Matter, Emily Giffin
32. So Long Insecurity, Beth Moore
33. Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman
34. The Courage to Start, John Bingham
35. Mini Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella
36. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
37. Back to Life, Kristin Billerbeck
38. Early Bird, Rodney Rothman
39. Cybill Disobedience, Cybill Shepherd
40. First Impressions, Debra White Smith
41. Central Park, Debra White Smith
42. Coming Attractions, Robin Jones Gunn
43. Twas the Night, Sandra Hill
44. A Mother for Choco, Keiko Kasza

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

9. The Courage to Start (Miscellaneous, #1)

Inspiring... now maybe I'll start running again... someday...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

80 Books in 2 Months? Let's Do This...

So... my original goal was to read 100 Books from a list. Then I expanded the goal to be reading 10 books each from 10 different categories. Then I told myself I should finish them all before the end of 2010. It just sounded cool.

While I haven't failed yet, I'm well on my way to doing so. My problem isn't that I don't read. It is that I read whatever happens to be interesting; this is rarely the things that were on my original list! Maybe I just have to do something different... it's the rebel in me.

Anyway, November is almost here and we are pretty much all sickies in this house (I haven't caught it yet, Thank you God!)... so lots of time to sit and read...

Can I do it? Can I finish the 80 books that are left on my list--in just TWO MONTHS??????

78. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs (Nonfiction, Memoir/Humor, #7)

I really liked it, although at times it was a little TOO cynical for me. I look forward to reading more of the K-man.

Monday, August 30, 2010

40. The Joy Luck Club (Historical, #7)

As a mother of a daughter, although neither of us is Chinese, I loved this book and the portrayal of frail human emotion. It was a good story--engaging and uplifting.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

38. The Shack (Fantasy, #8)

Very inspiring read! I loved the representation of the Holy Spirit and the concept of fractal (as I often feel my life is just a big ol' mess, but it's beautiful to Him/Her--God). The only part I didn't like was (of course) the part about the daughter. Make it through the first four VERY DEPRESSING and TRAUMATIC chapters, and the rest is great.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

48. The Poisonwood Bible [re-read] (Historical, #8)

This is a re-read. Yet I gleaned so much from the reading of it a second time. It has been about 10 years since I read this novel. It was about time for another reading of it.

The book tells the story of a Southern Baptist preacher missionary and his family (wife and four daughters) who head to the Belgian Congo in the late 1950s. What I love about this book is that it subtly but effectively mocks imperialism, self-righteousness, and the hypocritical Christian. The narrative alternates between five viewpoints: the four girls and their mom.

It was definitely worth the first and second readings!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dawn's Light (Fiction Series, #10)

Wow. All I can say is, I applaud the authors who write books in series. This final book in Blackstock's Restoration series truly completed the set. It was heart-wrenching, yet satisfying. It was NOT predictable as the rest of the books had been! It was so incredibly sad, it felt like real life. This, to me, is the mark of a good novelist. When I can read about these characters and feel that they are alive, I know it is a good novel. When I start to think I must keep reading, or something terrible might happen to them, I know it is a good novel.
Also, because I am a girl, a wedding at the end of a book is always pleasant for me.
Blackstock is an excellent author and I enjoyed reading this series of books by her!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

69. True Light (Fiction Series, #9)

More happenings with the Branning family, as the power is still out, and now a shooting of a friend has taken place. Another friend of the family, Mark, is suspected of shooting the boy. Although anyone can see he is being framed! But, by whom?

This third book in the Restoration series was intriguing enough for me to keep reading, but really I just wanted to get through it to see what was next for the characters in (what I knew to be) the fourth and final book in the series.

Friday, June 4, 2010

68. Night Light (Fiction Series, #8)

The second in the Restoration series, this book focuses on four children who are surviving on their own. The Branning family takes them in and sends word to their grandparents. Meanwhile, the community begins to work together during the power outage. Yet evil is still abundant, and must be fought off--with prayer!

I liked this second book in the series, although it didn't pull me in as much as the first one had.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

67. Last Light (Fiction Series, #7)

The first of Blackstock's Restoration series, this book grabbed me in seconds. It is a science fiction type account, a What If? world where technology ceases to work. Airplanes crash in mid-flight. Cars don't work. Even digital watches fail. People are forced to walk or bike where they need to go. Electricity is a thing of the past. Even running water doesn't work.
Crime begins to escalate. One family struggles to survive.
A murderer is on the loose...

Great book! And there are three more where that one came from!

Friday, May 21, 2010

3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Fantasy, #2)

With any large tome, I feel intimidated just looking at the book. Yet I feel inspired, as well. I have begun and failed to finish so many books over 400 pages. Yet I have succeeded with some as well--most were for college classes. I knew that with a new baby it might be difficult to sit and read a large book, but I wanted to start making some headway on my book list(s), so I got the audiobook from the library. I listened to this book for five weeks, mostly while breastfeeding my child! Letting my mind drift away to Clarke's magical England truly helped me get through the first difficult weeks of parenting (and no sleep). My husband and I joked that our daughter would start speaking with a British accent, since we listened to the book so much!
I found familiarity in this novel, although I had never read anything quite like it before. I began to think of Clarke as Charles Dickens meets Jane Austen, yet there was another element as well. I won't go so far as to say it was a Harry Potter-like essence, although Clarke does speak of magic as an everyday occurrence. It was more like historical fiction. Clarke spoke of real countries and a real war, just with magic thrown in.
Maybe I was sleep-deprived, but I started to believe her.
I loved this novel. I give it five stars (out of five). I loved the character development. I loved how she introduced the characters--leaving the reader in anticipation of Strange's arrival throughout the entire part one of the book, dragging out Norrell's introduction so that it suited his rather mundane existence. She had me believing in them, struggling with them, rooting for them.
When it ended, 700-some pages later, I was sad. I wanted more of that world. This is how I know when I have truly loved a novel!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How My Breasts Saved the World: Misadventures of a Nursing Mother (Miscellaneous, #4)

I needed this book. I was just days into being a new mom, and I had had no idea how hard it would be! I needed comfort, security, and reassurance that all of what I was going through is what other moms had struggled with in new parenthood as well.
After reading this book, I felt like the author was one of my new Mommy Friends. We related. We understood each other. In short, I read this at exactly the right time in my life, and I loved it.
The only downside is that after reading it, I wanted more books that were memoirs of new parenthood--not necessarily breastfeeding per se, but just the struggles involved with taking care of the new human being. I became obsessed with finding more of this kind of book! I even started writing one of my own... Anyway, I found some good ones--I Sleep at Red Lights (written by the DAD of a toddler and newborn triplets), and Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay (her chapter on being okay with switching to formula was what I needed to read at the time). Still none compared to my first Virtual Mommy Friend found in the pages of Wood Shapiro's work. I found a friend there in a time of struggle... and she was just what I needed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Devil in the White City (Historical, #9)

This book is a history lesson about the Chicago World's Fair, the architect behind the project, and a murderer not involved at all. It is Chicago at the turn of the (20th) century, and it is thrilling. I normally don't like nonfiction that is this seemingly bland. However, Larson made it read like a novel, and I finished this nearly 400 page tome in less than five days.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

95. Notes to Myself [re-read] (Miscellaneous, #8)

This is my first re-read from the list. It was interesting reading the book again after eight years. "Notes to Myself" is a very introspective look at life, as the title suggests. I found it inspirational and calming. I think the first time I read the book I was wary of the author; perhaps I thought he was too humanistic or new-age-y. (Is that a word? It should be.) Now, however, I only find him refreshing and insightful. Many of his thoughts are things I have thought about before, or it seems, I have wanted to think them but didn't know how. Thus, Prather's work is fulfilling and thought-provoking.
It is also, in some ways, self-contradictory (as Prather himself admits). Don't analyze yourself too closely, he tells us, while analyzing himself quite closely. Yet this is the way of introspection. To think too much about our lives will cause us to live them disingenuously, yet we can't be real with ourselves without examining our motives and behaviors. Quite the predicament! Just don't dwell on it too long.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
  • "It will be interesting to see what happens" is a more realistic attitude toward future consequences than worry. Excitement, dejection, and irritation also assume a knowledge of results that I cannot possess.
  • My trouble is I analyze life instead of live it.
  • Now that I know I'm no wiser than anyone else, does this wisdom make me wiser?
  • ...Happiness is a present attitude, not a future condition.
  • When I am careful about the thoughts I brood on, because thought precedes feeling, circumstances can no longer dictate my mood.
  • Maybe the fear that more was expected of me than I had to give was groundless...
  • Since it will always be now, learning to respond to now is the only thing there is to learn.
  • Honesty without care is conceit.
  • If a man takes off his sunglasses I can hear him better.
  • As I write I am in a state of learning, becoming, arriving, and not in a state of knowing and having arrived.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My So-Called Freelance Life (Miscellaneous, #7)

Author Michelle Goodman has already written a great book about getting out of the 9-to-5 cubicle office drone lifestyle (and it does not involve forming a Fight Club). Her Anti 9-to-5 Guide was an enjoyable read, but I liked her new book a lot better. Part of the reason might be that I am actually working as a freelance writer now, so more of the book is relevant for my own freelance life. She gives much valuable advice on how to get started freelancing, the importance of budgeting and getting health insurance, setting up your home (or away) office, taxes, and the like. She also does this without being boring--proving her own professionalism as a writer.
Overall, I liked this book, even though some of it doesn't apply to me. Goodman does address this issue though, stating that there are as many ways to do the freelance life as there are freelancers in the world.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

90 Minutes in Heaven (Miscellaneous, #5)

I was skeptical about reading Piper's memoir of having died, gone to Heaven, and come back to life. Can this be true? How would that happen? Maybe more importantly, why?
This is actually what Piper struggles with throughout the book. Why was he killed in a tragic car accident and whisked away to Heaven only to be brought back to Earth to endure extreme physical pain and a lifelong recovery? It is something that Piper comes back to time and time again. This gave the book a very real quality and I actually started to believe it. Yep, if I had gone to Heaven and had to come back to Earth, I'd probably be a little mad too.
The story is not only convincing but captivating, making the book a quick read and an enjoyable one (even if Piper does seem to get a bit whiny at times). There were many instances in the book where the hand of God is evident in Piper's life and the lives of those around him; the impact of praying to God is also demonstrated powerfully.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Library Thing's 1010 Category Challenge

Some of you may know of the "book community" called Library Thing. Although I am already a member over at GoodReads, I decided to join Library Thing as well, so that I could participate in the Early Reviewers program. (Get free books! Review them! Very cool...) Anyway, as 2010 began, I was feeling a little sad about my 100 Books List. I hadn't made very much progress, although I had been reading since May. So my solution was to make another Books List! (It is an obsessive-compulsive thing with me, I think.) I have incorporated all the books still left on my original 100 Books, and added a few, and instilled categories. So now I'm not only reading 100 books, I am reading 10 books in each of 10 categories in the year 2010. This is, on Library Thing, known as the 1010 Category Challenge. I am definitely up for the challenge for this new year. Bring on the books...

Inspirational Nonfiction

1. God is the Gospel
2. Get Out of That Pit
3. Jesus, the One and Only
4. The Myth of a Christian Nation
5. The Four Loves
6. Love Beyond Reason
7. How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth
8. Exclusion and Embrace
9. The Love Dare
10. 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (Like Me)

Award Winners

1. Life of Pi (Booker Prize)
2. The Executioner's Song (Pulitzer Prize)
3. Middlesex (Pulitzer Prize)
4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Pulitzer Prize)
5. The Road (Pulitzer Prize)
6. Possession (Booker Prize)
7. The Confessions of Nat Turner (Pulitzer Prize)
8. The Echo Maker (National Book Award)
9. The Stone Diaries (Pulitzer Prize)
10. March (Pulitzer Prize)


1. The Courage to Start
2. No Need for Speed
3. Fast Food Nation
4. How My Breasts Saved the World: Misadventures of a Nursing Mother
5. 90 Minutes in Heaven
6. Stumbling on Happiness
7. My So-Called Freelance Life
8. Notes to Myself
9. The Winged Seed
10. The World As I See It

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Few More Down :: Here's to More Reading in 2010!

1. God is the Gospel
2. American Gods
3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
4. Atlas Shrugged
5. Life of Pi
6. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
7. Confessions from an Honest Wife
8. Telegraph Days
9. The Courage to Start
10. Mirror Mirror
11. The Sirens of Titan
12. Gates of Fire
13. Something Happened
14. A Thousand Acres
15. Good Faith
16. Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel
17. No Need for Speed
18. Anna Karenina
19. Get Out of That Pit
20. Jesus, the one and only
21. The Bluest Eye
22. Prodigal Summer
23. The Know-It-All
24. The Witches
25. Fantastic Mr. Fox
26. The Myth of a Christian Nation
27. For Whom the Bell Tolls
28. Out of the Silent Planet
29. The Four Loves
30. The Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde
31. Unspoken
32. Unafraid
33. Finding Stefanie
34. Lies My Teacher Told Me
35. The Executioner's Song
36. Love Beyond Reason
37. Middlesex
38. The Shack
39. The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay
40. The Joy Luck Club
41. Hinds' Feet on High Places
42. Mountains of Spices
43. A Walk in the Woods
44. Fast Food Nation
45. The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing
46. The Maltese Falcon
47. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
48. The Poisonwood Bible (re-read)
49. Two Rivers
50. It's Not News, It's Fark
51. The Road
52. Persuasion (re-read)
53. The Silver Chair (re-read)
54. Lucky Man
55. Matilda
56. The Adventures of Augie March
57. Possession
58. Everything's Eventual
59. Written By Herself
60. Perelandra
61. That Hideous Strength
62. Memoirs of a Geisha
63. The Time Machine
64. Peculiar Treasures (re-read)
65. On a Whim (re-read)
66. Coming Attractions
67. Last Light
68. Night Light
69. True Light
70. Your Money or Your Life
71. The Perfect Thing
72. Moneyball
73. The Fifth Book of Peace
74. Early Bird
75. An Anthropologist on Mars
76. Exclusion & Embrace
77. A Short History of Nearly Everything
78. Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs
79. Predictably Irrational
80. Finding Battlestar Gallactica
81. Hopes and Impediments
82. The Love Dare
83. Redeeming Love
84. Sappho's Leap
85. High Fidelity
86. Pilgrim's Progress
87. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (re-read)
88. The Pillars of the Earth
89. The Confessions of Nat Turner
90. A Christmas Carol
91. Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings
92. The 158-Pound Marriage
93. The Winged Seed
94. Driving Mr. Albert
95. Notes to Myself (re-read)
96. The Emotions
97. Mel Gibson's Passion and Philosophy
98. How to Win Every Argument
99. The World As I See It
100. Twelve Steps for the Recovering Pharisee

Friday, January 1, 2010

70. Your Money or Your Life

I started reading this book purely out of curiosity. I had no intention of subscribing to the formula that is presented or doing any actual work the authors demand suggest I do. I did learn a lot from this book, although at times it was dry/repetitive, and somewhat contradictory. Dominguez and Robin, the co-authors of the book, have devised a system of tracking living expenses and income that make a regular old budget (something people struggle with enough as it is) seem like child's play. They assert that budgets don't work because they require will power and people always give up on trying to restrain themselves. Yet they go into great detail to explain how using their program must be done to the exact letter. For me, it just seemed a little too hypocritical. However, the authors' hearts are definitely in the right place, as they attempt to teach one the value of a dollar, and how that affects the quality of life. They are of the Save More, Spend Less mentality--a stunning new concept?--which I am definitely in support of as well. I just don't think I need to track back every dollar I've ever made to do so, or make a wall chart showing how much I make and where it is all going. In short, I liked the book and it inspired me to be more conscious of my spending/saving, but it was too preachy at times.