Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of/Book List for 2009

Here it is, my complete list of books read in 2009. And I have some dubious awards to hand out!

Best book of 2009, by far: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Award winning book that I personally hated: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Book most quoted by me: Arriving at Your Own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Book with the scariest, meanest main character EVER: Serena by Ron Rash
Book written by an author I personally know and LOVE: Tie between Embracing Coincidence (Carol Lynn Pearson) and
Inspiration Divine (Darwin Stephenson)
Book my book club loved and I personally hated: Three Cups of Tea
Most bizarre book of 2009 (but I loved it!): The City and The City by China Mieville
Book with the most "bodice ripping": Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Author with the most talent in terms of scope: Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow and Dreamers of the Day
  • Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
  • Here if you Need Me by Kate Braestrup
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  • Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
  • Jarrettsville by Cornelia Nixon
  • My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles
  • Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell
  • Sorrows of an American by Siri Hustvedt
  • The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
  • The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
  • Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan
  • The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
  • The City and The City by China Mieville
  • I'll Steal you Away by Niccolo Ammaniti
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Inspiration Divine by Darwin Stephenson
  • Let the Great World Spin by Colum Mccan
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
  • One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak
  • JULY
  • Fingerprints of God by Barbara Bradford Hagerty
  • The Age of Shiva by Manil Suri
  • Mentoring by Chungliang Huang
  • JUNE
  • The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield
  • In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard
  • 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting by Mimi Doe
  • Boundaries by Dr.'s Cloud/Townsend
  • Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris
  • MAY
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam
  • Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo
  • Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer
  • The English Major by Jim Harrison
  • Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell
  • The Beach by Alex Garland
  • The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama
  • Away by Amy Bloom
  • Serena by Ron Rash
  • Zero Limits by Joe Vitale
  • Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate by Brad Warner
  • The Power of Focusing by Ann Cornell
  • Arriving at Your Own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright
  • Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy by Gene Gendlin
  • The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay
  • A Year To Live by Stephen Levine
  • Consider the Butterfly by Carol Lynn Pearson
  • White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  • Etta by Gerald Kolpan
  • I'll Steal you Away by Niccolo Ammaniti

Books I've Given Up On in 2009

  • Winter Vault by Anne Michaels
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen
  • Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Reviews

Dear American Airlines: I was told this book was witty and a quick read. I found it to be the kind of complaining rant that I see enough in my actual world -- I don't need to read about it in my spare time! It begins as a complaint letter from a man who got bumped from a flight - a flight to his daughter's wedding. As he camps in the airport overnight, he begins to tell American Airlines in his complaint letter about his life and all the mistakes that he made in it. He did make a lot of mistakes in his life -- I found him completely unlikeable, and am a trifle resentful that I spent an afternoon with him!

The Lightning Thief: I am reading this series with my 8 year old son. If you have kids that age, read these!! I love them. I tell people they are a cross between Harry Potter (magical stuff) and Wimpy Kid (hilarious kid relationship stuff). They are making a movie of this soon. We are finished with The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters and are in the middle of The Titan's Curse. We both "sneak" reading the book ahead when the other one isn't looking.

My Latest Grievance: Oh, this book is kind of my latest grievance! Elinor Lipman is another supposedly very funny author. This book is about a couple who work for a private girls college. Their daughter, now a teen, has been raised on the college campus. They believe themselves to be a very egalitarian household, always asking their daughter her opinion and being very considerate of her. What this girl really needs is some boundaries!! Sheesh. If I want to see rotten kids, I'll go to my therapy office, thanks!

Jarrettsville: Recently, I went to a book discussion put on by our local paper. This book was one that the book discussion leader suggested; she said she had recently read it and loved it. I bought it on my Kindle for a recent airplane flight and just devoured it. It is based in the Civil War era -- and I'm not a huge fan of that genre. But this one has a twist...Jarrettsville is right on the Mason-Dixon line and so there is a split in the town - some boys fighting for the north and some for the south. The book starts with a young lady gunning down a man at the local saloon -- then you get the back story to explain the first chapter. It's really great. Not only that, this book is based on stories that Cornelia Nixon heard in her childhood -- apparently a true family story!

Cutting for Stone: I knew nothing about this book, but keep hearing awesome things about it. I read it in the beginning of December, so I had a hard time getting through it. There were times that I almost didn't pick it up again, but I'm so glad I did. I think I can chalk it up to the general busy-ness of my life right now. In the end, I thought this was an amazing book and one that I keep thinking about even though I finished it over a week ago. The one issue that I had was that Abraham Verghese is a medical doctor, and went into great detail about the surgeries and medical procedures happening in the book. I found the inside information about being a doctor really great, but honestly, I don't need to know every single gory detail of a surgery! I love that you get such a history and visual picture of Ethiopia and Eritrea in this book, along with a fantastic story. A definite must-read.

Dragonfly in Amber: I'm really annoyed that I finally gave in to the Outlander series. This book (the 2nd) was 760 pages and the next one is 880 -- and there are like 7 so far!! But now that I'm addicted, I gotta have the stuff. I must confess that I really do love time travel books -- and I have learned so much about Scottish history in this series. I could do with a bit less ravishing, but ... you can't have everything perfect!