Thursday, January 8, 2009

2008: The Year in Books

One of the best things to happen to me in 2008 was the Hollywood Writers' Strike. It provided the motivation for me to finally break away from the T.V. and get back to reading for pleasure (something I love, but hadn't done in a good, long while). So, with the help of Paperback Swap (which, by the way, if you haven't looked into, you really should), I compiled a reading list for the year. Here's what I ended up reading:

The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir: Now, I realize British history isn't for everyone, but Weir writes non-fiction in such a way that you would swear you're reading a novel. I was also captivated by the life of Elizabeth I -- daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she rises above incredible adversity (even imprisonment in the Tower of London) to become one of England's most-beloved queens -- all during a time when men dominated the political landscape. I found her life incredibly inspiring.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: After all of the English history I had been reading, the Kite Runner's stark language was a welcome reprieve. Touching, but painful in parts, this story of friendship is well worth the read.

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger: While I found the story somewhat bizarre (I kept feeling like I was missing some big, profound symbolism), the writing is stunning. I'm a girl who loves language, and the way Enger strings words together left me awestruck.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: I loved this one. The writing is vivid. The story is engaging, full of action and sticks with you.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: Gothic literature at its best. In much the same vein as Jane Eyre and Rebecca (two of my favorites), I was sad to see it end.

For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn: This book has the power to transform relationships. Honestly. I learned so much from this one, that I plan to re-read it at least once a year. The conversational style makes it a super-fast read.

The Shack by William P. Young: This is another one that goes in the "to be re-read" pile. There's so much to gain from this book, it's hard to get it all in one reading. It's not easy to read -- it forces you to re-live a parent's worst nightmare -- but if you've ever wondered why God lets bad things happen to good people, this is food for thought.

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Dr. Robert Sears: It's hard to find unbiased information on vaccinations, namely because most of the literature out there is either written by vaccine advocates or detractors. This book is a refreshing change of pace. Dr. Sears does a great job of walking you through the various required childhood vaccinations and outlining the pros and cons of each. It's the closest to "unbiased" that I've found and gave me the information I needed to make informed choices.

The Twilight Saga (Books 1-4) by Stephenie Meyer: Yes, it's young adult fiction. Yes, I fell in love with a fictional vampire. Yes, it's borderline hokey. But I relished every page. It's a guilty pleasure to the "nth" degree. By far, my favorite read of the year. (And -- just for the record -- despite the fact that every 12-year-old girl in my niece's class has read the books, I would NOT suggest it for anyone under the age of 16. Just my two cents.)

Uncharted by Angela Elwell Hunt: This is Christian literature -- and super thought-provoking. I finished it about a month ago, and find myself still thinking about it. It's been described as "Lost meets St. Elmo's Fire." That's a pretty accurate depiction -- with a little bit of eternity thrown in to boot.

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart: Brin recommended this one, which is set in northern England. It started out kind of slow, but the twists and turns the story takes makes it worth the effort in the end.

So, there you have it. My 2008 Reading List. Did you discover any great (or not-so-great) books last year? If so, let us know in the comments!


Tracy said...

Thanks for the awesome suggestions! I made a commitment to myself near the end of the year to start up reading again! I purchased The Shack this week. Looking forward to it.
Oh by the way...I too got hooked on the hokey (but oh so addicting) twilight series. I don't tell too many people that either but really enjoyed the first two...I am looking forward to the next two.

notSupermum said...

I've recently bought The Shack and it's on my coffee table waiting to be read.

I started off in 2008 reading quite regularly, but then somehow got out of the habit of doing it. I have so many books piled up waiting to be read, and I've resolved not to buy any new ones until I've read the others.

Christina Lee said...

Well, you know how I feel about the Twilight series (sigh) and I agree about the not under 16 thing. But I also found myself re-reading classics like Raisin In the Sun and To Kill a Mockingbird-oh and re-read Ann Tyler's The Handmaids Tale and I'm glad I did!

Anonymous said...

I just started reading again once my little one slept through the night. But in the last few months, it's been Eat Pray Love, A Thousand Splendid Suns, the first two Twilight novels (you know I'm not as big as a fan, but I'm in the middle of Eclipse right now) and both The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance. I really liked these last two, so I'm intrigued by your mini-review here of the Life of Elizabeth I. I just might pick it up! I'll seem so cultured and intelligent, as long as they don't notice the Twilight novels in my bag, too! :)

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

As a mom who had 3 kids under the age of 5 at once.. girl, I feel for you!
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Ch. 1 is online!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

I love to read and so I'm thrilled with your list! There are several that caught my eye and that I'm going to add to my must-reads. I've heard about the Paperback Swap - sounds interesting.

AudreyO said...

Great reviews. I love to read. My two favorite genres are murder mysteries and biographies. I read about one or two books per month.

heather said...

If you want to come visit my church, I can introduce you to Shaunti! She and Jeff travel a lot, but she volunteers in the children's ministry and is there ore often than not. :)