Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Little Review of 2009 Book Reading...

Many quilt bloggers are posting photos of their quilting accomplishments at this time of year.   Since I don't have much to brag about along those lines (sniff sniff), I decided to reminisce about something I have done a lot of in 2009!!!   I am an avid reader and really gave into it this year.    Reading, for me, is such escapism.   I didn't keep track of exactly how many books I completed during the year, but did keep a log of the ones I really liked on goodreads. 

These are a few of my favorites (not in any particular order):

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan chronicled various families during the Dust Bowl of the 30s.   Fascinating to read of all that we learned as a country during this trying time.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was an engrossing read of life in the 60s South and how domestic help was being treated and a plan of one woman to expose it, even though it was a very dangerous idea.

What a walk down memory lane The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan was!  During my childhood days, advertising jingles were all the rage and people all over the country entered contests with their cutesy little ditties.   In the heroine's case in this book, though, it was survival to win money and prizes to keep her family afloat due to an alcoholic husband who tended to drink up his salary!  Very heartwarming. 

A different way to think about history is always fun for me.   In The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, the author posits "what if there really were witches in Salem in the 1600s???"    Very intriguing.

Over the Rainbeau by Schwartz, Hausman and Sabath was just sheer dreaminess for me.   My secret fantasy (I can hear my husband laughing at this one!!!!) is to raise goats and make my own goat cheese.  Lofty, huh?   In this book  Lisa Schwartz recalls her journey of leaving a job as a management consultant and becoming a goat farmer and cheesemaker.  Wonderful read about the trials, tribulations and rewards.

I loved reading about Julia Child's recollections of her life in France during mid-century.   I so want to go to France so this was right up my alley!    Her descriptions of Paris and other regions and her tough ride at the Cordon Bleu were so interesting.   My Life in France which Julia co-wrote with her husband's nephew, Alex Prudhomme, was one of the two books that the movie, "Julie and Julia", was based on.   

Something kinda different, The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett, was a great reminder that life is not always what it seems to be.

While I wasn't as enthralled by Dan Brown's latest, The Lost Symbol as his DaVinci Code or Angels & Demons, I still enjoyed it very much and will anticipate the movie with good ol' Tom Hanks as the symbologist!!

Another depression-era tale (I sorta got obsessed with 'em and even re-read Grapes of Wrath) I adored this book of simpler times and making do.   Recalling her childhood in the harshness of 30s Iowa, the author brought to life what it was like growing up without modern conveniences yet still having a rich life.

The other book that the movie "Julie & Julia" was based on, Julie & Julia by Julie Powell, was just fantastic!  I was attracted to it initially because Powell was a blogger!   She had decided to make all the recipes in Child's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and then blog about them--all in one year's time.  Ups and downs, marriage problems, career problems...all  a fun peek into someone else's life.

This one, recommended to me by my sis, was so touching.   Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was a reminder of the injustices done to Japanese-Americans during World War II, with a beautiful love story woven in.

A few years ago I read Jeannette Wall's amazing story of overcoming an abusive and neglectful childhood, A Glass Castle, and still to this day haven't quite gotten it out of my mind.   When her new book, Half Broke Horses was released, I couldn't wait to get to Borders with my trusty coupon!   The book did not disappoint.  It chronicles Wall's grandmother who was way ahead of her time and was a pure example of the can-do spirit!

Just for something a little different, I read Freakonomics by Levitt & Dubner.   An entertaining view from an economist on how everything from cheating on tests to crack gangs' business dealings to the inner workings of the Ku Klux Klan are connected--incentives!    A good mind opener.

Looking for that next great book, KC Quilter.


Libby said...

What a great list . . . I think I'll make note of a few of them for the next time I head up to the library.

Nana's Quilts said...

Oh my gracious. Unfortunately, my reading can sometimes copy some of my quilting projects - I might get started but it's hard to finish. A number of years ago I adopted Nancy Pearl's philosophy that you do NOT have to finish a book that doesn't just grab you. There are too many good books out there to have to slog through one that doesn't call your name. Hmmmm.

Sharon said...

Some great reviews here, thanks. I just finished The Help, loved it! A couple on your list are on my list, good to see you enjoyed them.

sewprimitive karen said...

So can you see one another's lists on the goodreads? I got Worst Hard Time for the school library and it is fabulous. What will you read next, I wonder??

Teresa said...

I enjoyed reading through your list of good reads. My husband gave me a Sony e-Reader for Christmas and the first book I downloaded was The Lost Symbol. I am a big fan of Dan Brown and enjoyed the book. I have now started Jan Karon's Mitford series. I have always wanted to read these book, but just never could find the first one to get started. Thanks for sharing your list.

Shasta said...

That is a great list - I've read two of them - the Help and Prize Winner. Prize Winner really inspired me to do more with refunding and couponing. And your post has inspired me to do more reading. :)

MARCIE said...

Thanks for the list. I just bought The Help. Also finally read Water for Elephants which was good. And Jacqueline Winspear's books are always good.

jacquie said...

thanks! i'm going to be grabbing a few on this list!