Will I read these spiritual/feng shui/home remodeling and redecorating books? And why are they stacked together, as if spirituality and home redecorating were the same category?
Or maybe these teacher and art books? And these are together because?
What about all those novels I have stored up, waiting to be read? There are many more of these upstairs. I forgot to even go there.
The ones that are stacked on the stairs? How many of them have I read? Shall I read them or lose them? Hm…
My granddaughter, Mayaoel has learned of this book list and has decided we should have a competition to see who reads the most books in a year. She thought 50 or 60 was a little pitiful, so she challenged me. The only caveat was that our books have to have more than 100 pages. Said and done! We’ll see where this year goes…
1. Model Home by Eric Puchner: This is about a family who have left their peaceful life alongside a lake in Wisconsin to follow the father’s dream of being a developer in California. It is sort of depressing, but a pretty captivating read. I recommend it, even though it’s not very hopeful.
2. Dune Road by Jane Green. Chick lit. The protagonist is divorced from a finance banker – has learned to like not having to keep up with the other wealthy young mothers. Goes through a period of being deceived by a friend, a lover and a new-found sibling. Interesting look at someone deciding who to trust or not to trust. Pretty good, and totally readable. I recommend it, as long as you go into it knowing it isn’t terribly complicated.
Mayaoel is on book 11.
3. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson. This story is about a woman who is awakened by a ghost who leads her out of her bed to the window, where she sees a body floating in her swimming pool. It doesn’t seem like a mystery or a thriller, but it is a little bit of both of those things and more. I liked it.
4. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. This one will overlap into February. The story of Sai, a young orphan who is sent to live with her old widower uncle, a judge in India. The other main character is Biju, a young Indian man who goes to live in the Unites States. He is the son of the cook for the judge.
5. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. What great book! I couldn’t put it down. This one is about to sisters from Shanghai. It begins in 1937 and goes through to the 1950′s. It’s a well-told story and an interesting look at a period of history that I don’t hear much about. Read it!
6. Hannah’s List by Debbie MacComber. This book surprised me by its lack of depth after reading Shanghai Girls. It got my attention and I read it all, but it definitely lacked depth. I don’t especially recommend it. The plot: man’s wife dies, she leaves him a letter recommending three women for him to date. He receives the letter from her brother a year after her death. He complies, dates them all, falls for one and they live happily ever after. Really, that’s about it.
7. The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah. This was a good Hannah book. I can sit down and read any of her books cover to cover in a day, which is what I did today. This one is good, as I expected. No point in going into the plot – it doesn’t matter, really. Oh, okay. Since you ask…a woman from a large Italian family comes home after a long painful time of having and losing babies, both born miscarried and mis-adopted. Her heart heals, she meets a needy teenager and takes her in. Said teen has a baby, almost gives it up for adoption except doesn’t, but they all are going to be okay anyway. Sound trite? Maybe, but it’s so good.
Mayaoel is on book 22. Doesn’t look like I’ll catch her, does it? Oh well!
8. Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah. See Book #7. This one was about a woman who falls off her horse and hits her head, is in a coma for a month or so, during which time her husband learns that her first husband is a famous movie star. Etc. The woman learns the difference between love and obsession. Again, see Book #7.
9. Testimony by Anita Shreve. The story of a sex scandal at a private high school, from the viewpoints of all the people it impacted. Shreve is a good story-weaver.
10. Clique #14: A Tale of Two Pretties by Lisi Harrison. The last book of this pre-teen series. It’s a short read, all the girls finally begin to grow up and come around. Glad this series is done – I’m only counting it because Mayaoel will. So it adds a quick book to my list!
11. Italian for Beginners by Kristen Harmel. I don’t remember these books, but evidently I found them entertaining as I read two of them, probably one right after the other.
12. French Kissing for Beginners by Kristen Harmel. See above.
April, May, June:
My mom passed away in April. I have done a little reading, but have barely written anything anywhere. Certainly not in this book list. I wonder if I can remember some of the books I’ve read in the past couple of months:
13. Little Bee by Chris Cleve. I enjoyed this one a lot. The protagonist is from an African nation and finds herself living as an undocumented refugee in England. The book starts and ends with a horrific event. Enough said. It’s good.
14. Day Into Night by Anita Diamant. This one is about some women who are taken into custody in an Israeli Camp, right after World War II. They Stay there an inordinate period of time. It’s a really good book.
15. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Jantzen. I thought this would be a memoir in which a young woman who has left the culture of origin makes fun of her family. And she does a little, but it is much more than that. It is actually lovely. Her reflections at the end are beautiful.
16. I read something at Mom’s house, but I have no idea what it was. 6/22: I remembered. It was A Reliable Wife, which was nothing like the cover..not terrible but obviously forgettable.
17. Anam Cara by John O’Donohue. I’ve only just begun this book about Celtic belief and wisdom. The term Anam Cara means soul friend. It is so beautiful, and I can only read a very little bit at a time because I have to think about it as I go. I’ll update about this one in a while.
I don’t know what book Mayaoel is on, but I think it’s about 30. Hers are shorter than mine. Still.
18. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. this is the sequel to Shanghai Girls. Very good, and if you’ve read the first one you pretty much have to read this one. Riveting.
19. Entangled by . This book is the memoir of a love writen by the two people involved. They had been together for 20 years and were both in their sixties or more when the woman met someone else. This is that story. It’s a quick, beautifully written read. Quick mainly because it’s hard to put it down.
20. A Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens. Interesting book. This is one that almost left me disppointed, because I wanted to know more about what would happen in the end. But in the aftermath of reading it, I find myself thinking about it again and again and I think the best part of it was the uncertainty of the ending. Masterfully done.
July Mayaoel has read 37 books so far. Can I catch up with her? Yeah, I think so. Do I want to? Not necessarily. She’s asking what the winner’s prize will be.
21. Thanks for the Memories by Cecilia Ahern. I’ll let you know when I finish it.
September Lordy, I’ve finally been reading again but haven’t updated this list. I wonder if I’ll remember them all…
22. U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton. Grafton is absolutely reliable. I hadn’t read an ABC mystery for a while. This one is better that the T one, I think. I couldn’t stop reading until it was done. Sort of like a Lifetime Network movie.
23. Sex on the Moon, by Ben . This is the true story about a guy who got an internship at NASA and ended up stealing some moon rocks for his girlfriend. He got caught when he tried to sell them. It’s good but I had a hard time reading the whole thing. I kept wanting him to change his mind and not steal them!
24. Zeitoun by Dave Eggars . This is the story about a man named Zeitoun who paddled an old canoe around flooded New Orleans after Katrina, helping people out. He was arrested and jailed for several months as a result. It horrified me, actually, to discover what our government did in a city in our country in their time of immense need. Sickened me. This is the Book in Common this year for Chico State.
25. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbach. This is a great read. I couldn’t put it down! It was written by a local woman who went to high school with my daughters (but they didn’t know her.) This book as been one of those phenomenons that goes crazy with successfulness. That’s kind of hard to imagine, but it really is a good book and I highly recommend it.
26. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is the sequel, sort of to Eat Pray Love. Only this one reads more like a diatribe on love and commitment than a story like her previous book did. I’m having a hard time getting through it.
27. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. This is the story of a woman scientist who works for a drug company who travels to the jungle of South America to find out what happened to a colleague of hers who has reportedly died there, and to check on the progress of another scientist who is working on an important drug. Patchett is so good. I just know I can count on her, no matter what off the wall subject she chooses to write about. Really good!
28. Changing Habits by Debbie McComber. Sort of a chick flick book about three women who become nuns in the 1960′s and 1970′s, and all end up leaving the convent. I was fascinated by the topic, and it was a fast read. I enjoyed it.
29. Juliet by . This is a fascinating book about a modern-day woman who learns that she was born in Italy (Siena) with a different name than she has grown up with. She goes to find a secret treasure that her mother/aunt have left her. The story jumps back and forth between modern times and the times of Romeo and Juliet. Very interesting.