I started 2009 with a goal of reading 13 books, one a month and one more. Since books for class don't count and I took three literature classes in 2009, that was a feasible goal. I read 14. So my goal this year was 17, and I hit 22. I think that means in 2011 I have to read 25...
1. Five Love Languages: Singles Edition by Gary Chapman
2. The Condition by Jennifer Haigh
3. June Bug by Chris Farby
My thoughts on books 4-9 and some more can be found here
4. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
A must-read if you like historical fiction and/or Latina America.
5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Historical fiction set in the Jackson, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights Era
6. The Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright
Laura, my dyslexic sister, devoured this book.
7. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Houssini
Christina, my other dyslexic sister, is eager to read this book. It's a must read if you like historical fiction and Afghanistan.
8. Invisible I by Stella Lennon
Part of The Amanda Project
9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My boss asked me to read this book. I never would have done it on my own, but I enjoyed it!
10. Unspoken Lies by Darrien Lee
I went to Barnes & Noble looking for a short book and bought this one just because it fit that description. Honestly, the only reason I kept reading this book was because I liked the exposition. I was not impressed with the dialogue, storyline or ending. The whole story revolved around the characters having affairs and getting away with it, and the ending seemed like a cop out. I don't recommend it, sorry.
11. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
I read this book as a writer and it was good. I would love to go back and read it again, this time just as a person. My roommates and I have embraced his idea of filling life with memorable moments. Our first Memorable Moment was putting birthday candles in Amy and Melia's chicken breast instead of in their cake. I do recommend this book but take your time reading it. Let everything sink in before you move on to the next chapter.
12. Fearless by Max Lucado
I didn't realize how much control fear has in my life until I read his book on how to get rid of it. I love all Max Lucado books, but this is definitely one of my favorites. If you're going to try Max for just one book, pick this one.
13. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
I was promised I would love this book. And I did. It did take me awhile to get into it, though, because I was coming off a long stretch of historical fiction books. All of my other thoughts about it are in a Writer's Notebook at school, sorry.
14. A Novel Idea
A writing book I highly recommend if you're interested in writing Christian fiction. I took notes.
15. "Unveiled," "Unashamed," and "Unshaken" part of A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers
They are three fictional short stories looked at the lives of nonfictional Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. Francine Rivers brings Bible characters to life in a way I've never experienced before. I had a hard time getting into these stories at first, but I was disappointed I couldn't finish the book (I borrowed it and had to return it). Although, if you're going to read Francine Rivers you have to read Redeeming Love.
16, 17. Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Books two and three in The Hunger Games series. When I read the first book, I criticized Collins for dragging the story out through three books rather than just ending it. Maybe it's just my dislike for sequels. I still understand why I argued that, but I'm glad she didn't ask my opinion before writing books two and three. The books are considered young adult fiction, but I've heard of a lot of adults thoroughly enjoying them. Elizabeth and Andy kept pestering me to read and finish them so we could all talk about them. Catching Fire I read in one weekend, but Mockingjay I spread out over months just because it was that time in the semester. They're not hard reads, and Mrs. Mary says her seventh graders are devouring them. Maybe a good book for a middle schooler to read with a parent.
18. Cast of Characters by Max Lucado
This is kind of like Lineage of Grace in that it takes Bible characters and focuses in on their lives. The way Max (can you call the author by his first name when you've read 15 of his books?) brings the characters to life forced me to think about them in ways that had never crossed my mind before. It's also a devotional so you can see trends between their lives then and ours today. Are they really that much different?
19. One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash
I love Ron Rash. I'm a little biased because I've met him twice but that's besides the point. I prefer Serena, but I enjoyed One Foot in Eden, too. It doesn't have the "typical Rash body count" (Rash); only a handful of (creative) deaths. Every section is written from a different character's POV and in their voice. I liked the overlap, hearing the same story told in two different points of view. If I wrote it, I would have ended it one section sooner. Actually, if I get to meet Rash again, I want to ask why he did it the way he did.
20. Grace: For Those Who Think They Don't Measure Up by Bob Lenz
Another author I've heard speak many times. Bob writes just like he talks which was a bit of a deterrent for me since I am a writer. The tangents he takes in real life work well. The same principle doesn't work as well in writing. I started reading this book years ago and just now finally finished it because I'm not his target audience. It is a great book for youth struggling with the ideas of grace and faith. Not so great for a 20-something confident in her faith.
Not a published book yet but when it does become published you can say I told you about it. One of my friends send me the novel of another friend and asked for my feedback. I enjoyed it, I learned from it, and I gave constructive criticism. I look forward to seeing it on a shelf in Barnes & Noble one day.
22. The Bible
For the second year in a row I did a "Read the Bible in a year" thing. If you've never read the Bible in a year (or ever), I recommend using this one. It's challenging but doable. For me, I wasn't very diligent about getting into the Word but this helped a lot. I did spend a lot of time behind but (unless something changes in the next two days) I'm finishing on time. I don't know if I'm going to do it again in 2011 just because after two years it's kind of assignment-like rather than a desire to seek Him. We'll see if I can dig in without the accountability...
What have you all been reading lately?
I'm ringing in 2011 with a moving bookmark in A Love With Giving (Max Lucado) and How the Garcia Girls Lost the Accents (Julia Alvarez). What else should I add to my list?