Thursday, September 22, 2011


We take reading pretty seriously in our house.

We read a lot.

We love it.

I'm happy that my girls like books so much, because I am a total book worm.  Reading is my thing.  I have discussed this love of mine in a previous post and also mentioned that I have really enjoyed a blog called 101 Books.  I would like to clarify that in that post I wrote that I had only read 2 of the 100 books on Time Magazine's list of the top 100 books since 1923.  I was wrong.  In addition to Animal Farm and Gone With the Wind, I have also read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and I'm pretty sure I once read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.  So, four of 100, and since writing that post, I have read To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye.  Six of 100.  Really?

In spite of my kind of pathetic lack of experience with the classics, I really do read a lot.  Have I mentioned this fact?  It became clear to me just how much I read when I was reading a post on 101 Books in which Robert Bruce (the blog's author) included some links to other blogs he enjoys.  I checked out a few of them, and noticed that in more than one, the blog's author had written in some way about a goal to read a certain number of books within the year.  I think one was 52.  Another might have been 60.  I decided to look back and count how many books I've read this year.  I've never really had a way to do this before, so I have never had any idea how many books I read in a year.  Now that I have a Kindle, I can just look back at what I've read on it, try to remember all the paper books I either checked out from the library or borrowed from someone, and that gives me a pretty good estimate of how many books I've read so far this year.  So far, 39.  That's just over one per week.

With all these books I've read, I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite reads of 2011 so far, in no particular order:

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue - A woman is kidnapped and held prisoner for many years.  She has a son during this time.  This book is told completely from the perspective of this five-year-old boy, who has never known anything outside his "Room."  One of my all time favorite books.

To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee - Wonderful book.  I love Atticus Finch.  I'm glad I finally read this.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave - Told from the perspectives of a Nigerian refugee and a British journalist.  Their paths had crossed one day in Nigeria.  It's a powerful story.

The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu - The life story of a woman from Ukraine, from age 16 through about six decades.  The descriptions of Ukrainian traditions, myths, etc. are rich and fascinating.

The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain - Like a fictional memoir, based on lots of factual information, of Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemmingway's first wife.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - Everyone knows this one. I'm just saying: I read it.  It's extremely good.

A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith - My mother-in-law loaned me this one.  It's historical fiction (my favorite genre) about the early settlement of the state of Florida. A very good read.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - A young adult book, it's not something I ever would have chosen, but read for a book club.  It was very entertaining, and the idea behind the plot was very unusual and creative.  Set far in the future, kids from districts of a country called "Panem" are selected to compete in the Hunger Games, where they have to fight each other and the elements to be the last survivor, literally.  And they do it on TV for the whole country to watch.  I went on to read the other two books in this trilogy.

The Passage by Justin Cronin - Another book club book I wouldn't have picked on my own, I thought I was going to hate this but really enjoyed it.  Also set in the future after a bunch of "Virals," essentially vampires, have destroyed most of civilization.  I'm hoping the sequel to this will be out soon.

Right now I'm reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follet, one of my favorite historical fiction authors.  I think this book will end up on my list of favorites from this year, though I'm only about one-third through the nearly-1000-page book.  I also have six or seven books downloaded to my Kindle, waiting to be read.  And I just found out today that you can now get Kindle books from the library.  Heaven.

Gotta go.  Page 356 is calling me.  What are your favorite books??

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