Another year has come to a close and I feel some sort of end of the year reflection is necessary. I almost feel like my year can be categorized by what state/country I was in at the time. Between my family of five we visited 6 countries and almost 15 different states. Wow! However to blog about our 2009 adventures seems a bit braggadocios despite most of our trips being academic.
My goal for 2009 was to read 13 books--one for each month and one more. It seems like a small number, but when your schedule already includes several literature classes it's hard to read for fun, too. The rule was if I was required to read a specific book it did not count but if I could read a book from a list or a book in a specific genre it did count.
Here are my books from the year and my thoughts on them:
1. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
I opened it expecting a novel, and that's not what I got. However, it was a nice read while on a cruise. It definitely challenged me and I need to read it again.
2. She Said Yes by Misty Bernall
A simple novel written focused on Cassie Bernall, one of the students who died in the Columbine tragedy. Unlike most biographies of the dead (especially those written by parents), this one does not paint Cassie to be unrealistically perfect. Her mother depicts the mistakes they made as a family and mistakes Cassie made herself. Definitely a touching novel.
3. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch taught American how to die. The end.
4. Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer
An inside look into Big Idea, the man and the company behind VeggieTales. It also shows flaws and shortcomings in addition to successes. Highly technical at times but very interesting. Did you know the original lyrics to "Where is my Hairbrush" was "Where is my razor" but they figured parents would not want their kids running around the house frantically searching for razors?
5. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Dan Brown is a fantastic story-teller, that is for sure. I read the book after seeing the movie, but, as always, the book is better. I also read this book in English while living in a Spanish-speaking country, so any story I could understand without trying was very welcome. Read it as fiction and it's fascinating.
6. Every Young Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge
Please don't let your daughters read this book. Highly graphic, incredibly biased, and very condemning, yet it was interesting.
7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Yes, this novel made me cry. A well-written story of a girl with leukemia and her genetically designed sister conceived to be her donor. As a writer I am prone to guess the end of novels before I get there and this one I did not successfully guess. Definitely read but have tissues handy.
8. Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh
This one I did guess the end. A highly predictable Christian novel but still enjoyable.
9. Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage
Don't waste your time. The dirt and grime covers up the story-line.
10. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Wow! A retelling of the Biblical story of Hosea and grabs the hearts of female readers. Yes, I fell in love with a fictional character.
11. Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
Interesting blend of Catholicism and Buddhism. This book challenged me a Christian, but I'm not a big fan of Kerouac because I don't think his novels have a plot and that annoys me.
12. Mistaken Identity by Newall, Colleen, and Whitney Cerak, and Don and Sue Van Ryn
Another heart-wrenching true story. Several college students are in a bad accident killing many of them. One survivor is slowly recovering and it is months before they realize she's being treated under a false name. A family who was grieving their daughter's death receives a midnight phone call announcing she is still alive while a family who has been sitting at their daughter's bedside for months watching her condition improve realize their daughter is dead and this is someone else's daughter. Oops and wow!
13. A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kinsbury
Check out the book review I wrote on this book for all of my thoughts. It's a story about how a girl with Cystic Fibrosis and a cowboy who struggles with abandonment put aside themselves and learn to love.
14. The Bible
For the first time in my life I read the entire Bible, and I did it in a year. If you don't have a copy, please go pick one up!
PS. Except for Angels and Demons, I own all of these books, so if you want to borrow one let me know.