Thursday, January 6, 2011

11. Read at least 12 books a year

Courtesy of Alison Bechdel on Compulsory Reading

12. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I don't even know what to say about this book. Such sadness. Such capacity for evil in the heart of man. Yet such redemption. I love WW2 stories. I've read a ton of fiction about Nazi Germany...but not much about Japan and certainly no non-fiction. This is one of the books for our book club and I'm so glad it was chosen. One of my favorites this year.

11. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. Amazing. Wonderful. Perfect. One of the only books I'd recommend to everyone. Regardless of what kind of books you like. I went into this book knowing nothing about what it's about...which I highly recommend. If I had known the plot, it would have lessened the effect (but not the greatness) of the book. Read it!!

10. Making the Terrible Twos Terrific by John Roseman. I have a two-year-old, in the biggest sense of the word. And that is enough explanation as to why I read this book. I love Roseman's traditional approach to raising kids. I love his firm yet loving take on discipline. And even though my two-year-old is my 3rd child, she has more "two-ness" in her than my first two combined. So, Kennedy my out. Your days of going through the "terrible twos" are numbered.  

9. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Mary K. recommended this book for our book club to read. And boy am I glad she did. It's now one of my new favorite books. It's an interesting look into a young woman with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. It's funny. It's sad. It's clever. It's maddening. It's a wonderful story...and I learned some things about EOAD along the way.

8. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Here's what I've realized about myself during the quest to check this one off my list: I don't pay much attention to the authors of a book. Just the title. Ask me the author of almost any book and I can't tell you. Sure, my absolute all time favorite books I can tell you. Memory Keepers Daughter - Kim Edwards. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak. Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Hurston. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See. The only author I have read multiple works of is Jhumpa Lahiri. Not even sure if I spelled that correctly. So, I read another work by Lisa See. Shanghai Girls was wonderful. Similar to Snow Flower in the sense that it's set in the time of the Japanese invasion of China and is the story about the love (and frustrations) of two sisters. If you like Asian novels, this is a must read.

I was able to check this one off for 2010. And I figure I need to start reading like crazy now since I'll have a newborn in 3 months and will probably be too insane tired to read much then. So, my books of 2011:

7. Room by Emma Donoghue. Amazing. Best read of 2011 - and the year isn't even half over. I love books that have an interesting narrator...and this story is told by a 5 year old boy who has lived the whole of his short life in a small room. Well written, captivating, great story. Read it!!

6. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I have mixed reviews on this one. It was long. The parts about politics and religion were tedious and easily skipped over. I didn't connect much with the characters. It's a good thing Irving left several unanswered questions throughout the novel...otherwise I would have put it down. But because I wanted to know the answers, I kept reading...and I'm glad I did. The end was worth the read.

5. Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Read it for book club and I highly recommend it. 

4. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. A friend of mine recommended this book to me about 2 years ago. So, it got on my "to read" list. And finally it came up in the queue. I'd give it a 7-8 out of 10. The story is great and if you like Jane Austen/Charlotte Bronte' type novels, you'll love this one. It didn't rate higher for me because of all the detail that was given. I love detail if it's succinct. This was not.

After reading the book, I watched the movie...big mistake. Badly done. But, it did make me appreciate the book even more.

2. and 3. Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukitama - I love novels about the Chinese culture. This book was recommended to me by a dear friend, who also shares a love of Chinese culture. I could not put this book down! It was an easy read and I was eager to see what happened. It was the author's first novel...and very well written. When I finished the book, I admit I was left disappointed. I didn't care for how the book ended...until I realized there was a sequel - The Language of Threads. Which is my number 3. It picks up where Women of the Silk left off and completed the story beautifully. This one I read in 2 days (and payed for it in lack of sleep). I highly recommend these books!

1. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah - sounds intriguing, doesn't it! That's what I thought, too when I accidentally ran across the title while searching for Disney's Cinderella movie to borrow from the library. I finished this book in one day...about 4 hours of reading. It's the author's memoir actually written for teens. I didn't realize until the end of the book that she also published her memoir for adults, Falling Leaves (which became an international bestseller). I just requested this one from the library...we'll see how different it is. In any case, I would highly recommend this book. It's the story of an unwanted girl from China. She narrates her memoir as a child and it is just as well written as it is sad. And a great look into Chinese culture during the mid-1900s.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

8. Thank you Italians for Tiramisu

My sweet husband surprised me a few days ago with the ingredients to make Tiramisu. We did it together and it was very easy. Not exactly sure why I have been so intimated all these years. Although I must say, next time I'll make just the cream and skip all the rest.