Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 Books

Like last year, I am ready to post my year end review of books. I try to make 12 books my goal for each year. That equates to one book a month. I went way above my goal in 2010 and I am happy about that! If you're a reader and you don't already use Goodreads, please sign up! It is such a great site and makes tracking your reading so nice. I love going back and looking at all I've read. Something about that gives me a real sense of accomplishment.

In 2010 I read 15 books and listened to 6 books (not including children's literature at school!). Here's what I read/listened to:

January 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

I absolutely loved this book. It's a story told from two men, one is a wealthy white man, the other is a homeless black man. The tale of how their lives have been brought together is amazing and a true testament to our great God. I loved, loved, loved this book and have passed the name on to many friends. Thanks to Erin for suggesting this book to me!!

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Like all of Jodi Picoult's books, this was another long drawn out story that needs to be made into a Lifetime movie. I find her books to be entertaining on my 30 minute commute, but she drives me crazy. Her stories all follow a formula and the characters often annoy me, but the thing is...I keep going back for more. What's wrong with me? If you're a big Picoult fan, I'm sorry. She strikes a nerve with me.

February 2010

Lifeguard by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

Blah. That's all I really have to say about this book. I listened to it and it just wasn't my style. I know there are a lot of Patterson fans out there and this was the first book of his that I've read. I'd like to give him another try.

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

My friend Rachel recommended this book to me and I'm really glad she did. It wasn't an all time favorite, but I really enjoyed it. I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells back in 2008 and really loved it. This book lived up to that one. This is the story of Wells' great grandmother who died when Wells was only 8. It's told in first person and the story of her great grandmother's life is ordinary but remarkable.

March 2010

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

I saw several people write about this book on twitter last winter and it sounded like something I'd be interested in. Sure enough, I loved it. Was it life changing? No, but was it a well written tale of friendship? Definitely. I used to love the movie Beaches as a little girl and this reminded me a lot of that. If you want a good mindless book that is sweet and memorable, pick this up.

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger

This was an audio book I picked up on a whim at the library. It was just so so. Nothing special at all. It made my ride a little more enjoyable, but I was glad to see it end so I could move on to another book. If you like chick lit about girls in NYC, check it out, if not don't waste your time.

April 2010

Lucky by Alice Sebold

I've noticed on the web that this book has a WIDE variety of reviews. I, personally, loved it. I listened to it, and this was one of those audio books that made me excited to get in my car and drive to work each day at 7AM. That says a lot! I listened to The Lovely Bones by Sebold back in college on a 9 hour drive to see J and I felt the same way. When I showed up in Nashville he came out greet me and I wasn't ready to get out of the car. The big difference between this book and LB is that this one is a memoir. She has an amazing story. It is graphic, very graphic, but written so well.

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

It took me almost a month and half to get through this book. I saw a friend review it on Goodreads and I was intrigued. In the end I decided it had parts that I really enjoyed, but the story itself dragged and didn't engage me. It's about a tragedy that a couple experiences in Africa and the aftermath of that tragedy in their lives. Has great potential but it just flounders. Kind of a bummer of a book.

May 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Niffenegger is the amazing writer who wrote The Time Traveler's Wife, one of my all time favorite novels. When I heard about her newest novel, I immediately put it on my reserve list at the library. This was an audio book for me, and that may have played a part in my final opinion, but I really don't think so. I really believe that this was an odd story that wasn't even written that well. It's about a set of American twins who go to live in their dead aunt's flat in London and the secrets that she kept. It deals with a lot of super natural elements which kind of seemed far fetched and silly to me. I know, that seems funny seeing that her last novel was about time traveling, but she sold me in that book. I believed it. I didn't believe in the ghost aunt. Anyone else have these feelings?

So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

I read this for the conference I attended in Atlanta back in April. I wrote about my thoughts on the book and conference here.

June 2010

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

After finishing Firefly Lane a few months prior, I put a few of Kristin Hannah's other books on reserve at the library. This turned out to be a good choice! Winter Garden turned out to be a fantastic read as well. It took awhile to get into, and honestly, the first 100-150 pages weren't doing it for me, but as I kept going I really started to enjoy it. By the end, I was in tears. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say much. Just read the plot summary on Amazon and if you seem slightly interested, give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

I've read all of Giffin's books, and like the others, I flew through this one. I did enjoy it and didn't want to put it down, BUT I am tired of her books that deal with affairs and cheating. It was a well written story, but I didn't like that she tried to make the reader feel sympathy for the cheaters. I just didn't feel it.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

I truly loved this book. It was heart felt yet very funny. If you enjoy memoirs, read it. Kate did a great post about this book here.

August 2010

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I've had this book on my "to read" list for I don't even know how long. About two dozen people told me I HAD to read it, but since I'm cheap I waited 'til it was in at the library. That means I waited on the waiting list for EIGHT MONTHS! When I finally got my hands on it in early July, I'll admit, it took me about 100 pages to really get into it...but once I did? I could not put it down. This book was so wonderful for so many reasons. The story was great, but the message relayed in this story was more powerful than I can put into words. Just go to Goodreads and read others' reviews...if you haven't read this book yet, those reviews will make you want to read it!

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

After reading many rave reviews on these books on others' blogs (Mojito, Pink Sass, Duoly Noted) of this series, I knew I had to give it a try. My little sister let me borrow her copies of the first two books (The Hunger Games and Catching Fire). I devoured the first book in no time at all. The sort of futuristic sci-fi story line seemed like something I wouldn't be interested in, but I was quickly proved wrong. I was in love with this series! I hadn't read any sort of fictional series since Harry Potter that I felt this kind of love and appreciation for. I really enjoyed book 2, and book 3 let me down in a lot of ways. I was hoping for an epic ending to this incredible tale, but it let me down. I'd still recommend them to others if you haven't read them. The first two were just THAT good. They are the kind of books that you cannot get out of your head for weeks. Overall, I loved them.

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

This was our first book club selection over at Book Beginnings and Bookends. I could go on and on about this book, but I think my thoughts are best summed up over there!

October 2010

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

This was book #2 in our book club....unlike CeeCee Wilkes, I really disliked this book. Check out the book club blog for more specifics. I go into more detail about what I disliked in this book there.

November 2010

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

This book was recommended to me by my friend Karah and I'm so glad she told me about it. I listened to this book on a long road trip this fall, and it was one of those books that made me want to stay in my car. I didn't mind sitting in traffic because it meant more listening. That's probably not healthy. This book is about a mom who adopted her little boy, only to later find his picture on a "Have you seen this child?"'s a nail biter. Is it a little over the top at times? Sure, but it's a fun book that you won't want to put down. And it's written much better than any Jodi Picoult book.

December 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This was another book I read after seeing Mojito talk about it on her blog. It's a young adult novel, and while I did like it, it also made me really angry. It's about a sensitive subject (suicide), and while I really enjoyed the way Asher wrote this book, the story really bugged me. For those of you who have read, here's the main reason I didn't like it...the blame! Hannah put so much blame on others for her depression and her reasons for wanting to end her life. It was blame that seemed unjust to me and now those 13 people will have to live with that forever. It really bugged. But then again, as I was reminded by another friend, it was a young adult novel and I read it at 27. That may have something to do with my reaction. Not sure.

So there ya have it! That is my 2010 book list.

I have a big list starting for 2011. Nothing definite other than one book...Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry It's one of my dad's all time favorite novels, and I've wanted to read it for quite some time. If that's all I get read in the new year, I'll be happy. I'd also like to reread all 7 Harry Potter books from start to finish, but I know that will still leave me with lots of extra book time. What would you suggest?

I'm always looking for the next great book. This year, The Help and Same Kind of Different as Me were those books for me. Last year it was American Wife, The Middle Place, and The Art of Racing in the Rain. So please, please, please share your favorites...nothing is off limits (except Twilight...I gave it a try and just couldn't give in to that awful writing)!

Happy Reading in 2011!

Image sources: Same Kind of Different as Me, Keeping Faith,Lifeguard, Half Broke Horses,Firefly Lane, Chasing Harry Winston, Lucky, A Change in Altitude, Her Fearful Symmetry, Winter Garden, So Long Insecurity, Heart of the Matter, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress,The Help, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, Commencement, Look Again, 13 Reasons Why


  1. Thanks for your reviews and the giving me some new books to check out. Do you guys have any plans for starting up the book club again in the new year? I really enjoyed it and would love to try another book with you.

  2. Love the list. So many that I want to read but can't find the time, summer is when I really get to read. This summer I read THE HELP and loved it. I would suggest Sarah's Key. I read that this summer and it was very good.

  3. I had a similar reaction to Her Fearful Symmetry. I read it while on a business trip and it really freaked me out a bit with the outlandish plot twists. I finished it but found it completely unsatisfying. Commencement I enjoyed up to the last quarter - it went downhill pretty quickly.

  4. Your list looks a lot like mine this year :) I just read a book called "Breathe My Name" by R.A. Nelson and I REALLY enjoyed it. It was suspenseful and had a very interesting story. I read it in less than half a day, I definitely recommend it!

  5. I remember you doing this last year and loved it. I'm going to do it this year! I have so many books I want to read in 2011! And I still need to finish that dang Harry Potter!!

  6. This is such a neat idea I'm going to copy it! I recently read "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and it was excellent. It's pretty long and a little slow to get started, but overall it is really great.


  7. I absolutely love this post, and am now thinking about doing my own reading recap... such a great idea!
    I could write about 20 different comments about this... we have very similar taste in books!!
    1. I would read the Millenium trilogy in 2011 (Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, etc.) They're a little different and LONG, but I've really enjoyed the first 2 so far!
    2. My mom is obsessed with Lisa Scottline books, and has read them all. I think it's safe to say a lot of her books would be good reads in the new year too!
    3. There's also a new Jodi Picoult book coming this spring. I feel the same about all of her books, but keep going back for more too! I don't want to read it, but know I will.
    4. I really want to read Ape House (same author as Water for Elephants) this year too.

  8. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is an interesting read. Also, what about digging into East of Eden for a classic--it won't disappoint!

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is also one I've loved!

  9. I loved The Help too. One of my favorite books this year was My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares.

  10. no way...would you believe i just made myself a note that i need to write a 'books i read in 2010' post?
    loved your list & how you wrote it up

    merry christmas

  11. I am going to echo you & Cajun Cowgirl, East of Eden (Steinbeck), Lonesome Dove, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Safron-Foer) are all on my book list for 2011. As is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (although it's been on my list 3 years running).

    I just read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I was skeptical about the "short story" nature, because I'm not good with them (it's like an excuse to put the book down and not pick it back up), but I think it was my favorite book of 2010.

  12. I always see James Patterson's books and I finally decided to pick one up this year. I went with the Women's Murder Club series. Did you watch that show when it was out a couple of years ago? I loved it. I have been reading/listening to the books. They aren't amazing books like The Help, but I do enjoy them. Plus, I like books that are in a series.

  13. My brother is lending me Atlas Shrugged this Christmas, so it's on my 2011 list, Rachel. Perhaps we can read at same time!

  14. Rachel, what's your blog site? For some reason, I can't see it. I do also love Jonathan Livingston Seagull! A family favorite!

  15. I love all of your reviews! Thanks for posting. Have you read Water for Elephants? It was one of my favorites this year.

  16. The only book that I've read off of your list is, The Hunger Games! I loved the first one and I'm thinking that I'm getting the 2nd and 3rd for Christmas. I can't wait to read them!

  17. What a diverse list! I just finished The Hunger Games (starting Catching Fire now), because I too have heard so much about them. I think it's interesting that you didn't like Her Fearful Symmetry but you liked The Time Traveler's Wife. I HATED The Time Traveler's Wife but someone told me I might like Her Fearful Symmetry better. Maybe they're written in opposite ways?

    I would recommend Water for Elephants, Love Walked In, and the sequel Belong to Me - all fabulous!

    (Oh and I LOVE that you hate Twilight!)

  18. I just found your blog and had no idea Jeannette Wells had a 2nd book out - I really hope it's as good as The Glass Castle. I cannot wait to get it in the mail. I am with you on Jodi P - the tear jerkers with the same old story get old!

  19. I also read The Help this year and loved it. Also enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife and Water for Elephants. I'm about halfway through The Lovely Bones now and am totally enthralled. So what's on my 2011 reading list? The Middle Place, Neverwhere, and The History of Love to name a few.

  20. i have had lucky & the time travelers wife sitting on my bookshelf for a while now...i need to read them! i enjoy seeing what friends are helps me choose what to read!

    i guess i need to sign up for good reads now and set aside time for some personal reading time especially now that the semester is about to start.

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  22. I love you and your books!

    I added a bunch of these to my Paperback Swap queue. :) Thanks for the recs!

    I've read a bunch of these. I read Lucky a while back. Really dark but great.