2014 Yearbook

I wanted to wrap up the year on a fun  note. You may have seen the Facebook game floating around where you list 10 books that have stuck with you. Could just be a favorite, could be memorable in a challenging way. The aim is to identify books that have influenced you in some way. It took me about and hour to compile my list. So many books that I read linger in my memory, but to narrow done to 10 was so impossible that I had to include 2 swing votes! My top 10 (+2) are listed below and I encourage you to share yours!

1. The Glass Castle- Jeannette Walls
2. The Secret Life of Bees- Sue Monk Kidd
3. The Red Tent- Anita Diamant
4. Life After Life- Kate Atkinson
5. Charlotte’s Web- EB White
6. The Probable Future- Alice Hoffman
7. The Magician’s Nephew- CS Lewis
8. Atlas Shrugged- Ayn Rand
9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly- Jean-Dominique Bauby
10. The Time Keeper- Mitch Albom
(Swing votes: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks- Rebecca Skloot,The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult)


And now for the list of books I read this year! I made it to 37 book reviews (I admit to reading a few that I didn’t write reviews for). Here is the line up, start to finish

Book # 1- Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store, by Robin Sloan 

Book #2 Where’d You Go, Bernadette. By Maria Semple. Audio Narration by Kathleen Wilhoite.  

Book # 3- The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. 

Book #4 Defending Jacob, William Landay. 

Book #5 Deadly Heat, by Richard Castle.  

Book # 6- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce.  

Book # 7 Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding. 

Book # 8- Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks

Book # 9- Night Film, by Marisha Pessl. 

Book#10-ish The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert

Book #10- Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline.  

Book # 11 Morning Glory, by Sarah Jio

Book#12- Out To Lunch, Stacey Ballis

Book # 13- Baltimore Blues, Laura Lippman.

 Book #14- The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout

Book #15- Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

Book #16 The All Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, Fannie Flagg

Book #17 Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

Book#18 This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper

Book # 19- Serena, Ron Rash

Book #20 Twisted Sisters, Jen Lancaster

Book #21 The Dinner, Herman Koch. Translated by Sam Garrett

Book #22- What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty. 

Book# 23- The Engagements, J. Courtney Sullivan

Book #24- The Theory of Opposites, Allison Winn Scotch

Book# 25- Conspiracy of Silence, Martha Powers

Book# 26- The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Alice Hoffman

Book #27- The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

Book # 28- The Invention Of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

Book # 29, The Time of My Life, Cecelia Ahern

Book #30 The One and Only, Emily Giffin

Book #31- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, By Gabrielle Zevin 

Book #32 The Chaperone, Laura Moriarty. 

Book# 33 The Home For Wayward Ladies, Jeremy Scott Blaustein. 

Book #34 Lost Lake, Sarah Addision Allen.  

Book# 35- The Collector, Nora Roberts. 

Book # 36 A Tale For the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki. 

Book# #37 Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen.

And coming soon… Book #38, The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness. So stay tuned!


“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” ― John Keats


Practice makes Perfect…YOLO?

Some definitions:

Booketarian: a person who reads a lot of books, thrives on books, reading is a basic need.

Booket list: All the books I’d like to read before I die.

Book fog: when one is interrupted from reading causing them to give glazed look, require several repeats of a statement or become angered by a needless interruption.

Book-hurt: when a book renders you in a state of immense sadness and melancholy.

Book hangover: When you’ve finished a book and you suddenly return to the real world, but the real world feels incomplete or surreal because you’re still living in the world of the book.

Anyone who calls himself a reader will identify with the last three of those. I’m sure I felt all 3 at once while reading this book. And while I have to resort to Urban Dictionary for a made-up word to describe a condition, other languages have the perfect word already. For example Ohrwurm in German is the word for a song stuck in your head (that’s where we derived “earworm”), or in French, that funny feeling that something, someone or somewhere in the present is familiar from the past, or déjà vu

Book #15- Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

life-after-life Rating: 5- I’d read it again!

Synopsis: On a snowy February night in 1910, Sylvie Todd gives birth to her third baby; a daughter to be named Ursula, meaning little bear. They live in a small village outside of London, in their home Fox Corner. Ursula’s birth is challenged by the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and the doctor, the maid and the cook all advise Sylvie that nothing can be done. And on the first occasion, they are correct. On the second occasion of her birth, Ursula lives until a childhood accident causes darkness to fall over her again. Simply surviving childhood becomes a multi-step process, but as Sylvie tells her about knitting and handwriting, practice makes perfect. As her years progress, Ursula is faced with challenges and tragedies,  2 world wars, hunger, cold, husbands, human cruelty and caring and even Hitler as she fumbles her way through lifetimes; with an odd knowing of certain things that are about to happen, as if they’ve already happened before.

My Impressions: I so thoroughly enjoyed this book I had a hard time putting it down and definitely had a hard time starting my next book because I was still so caught up in this story. I simply loved the concept of life starting over, resetting upon death and playing out with a different set of cause-and-effect circumstances each time. Each life occurs with echos of memory from the previous lives with Ursula unsure why she recollects a person, voice, place or has a sudden feeling  that something bad will happen. There is an innocence about the character and her perspective on the world that is very intriguing. She is curious and studious but also hesitant because of her past-life intuition. Sometimes this strange intuition allows her to effect the impending circumstances, for better or worse, and sometimes she learns to make the same mistakes with grace. The characters in her family and the friends she makes throughout her lives are each unique and also experience changes from life to life.

The only criticism I have is, that because similar events happen over and over, it can be hard to recall exactly which set of circumstance lead to a point in the book; especially if you pick it back up in the middle of a chapter.

Why you should read it: This is such a unique story and so well told. I’m sure I could re-read it and find new subtleties to the story that I missed the first time. It’s historical fiction with fantasy and philosophy thrown in. Whether you believe in reincarnation, gaps in the space-time continuum, or deja vu, this is definitely a book for your “booket” list!

Book #15 in the bag!

“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.”  -Napoleon Bonaparte