Friday, December 31, 2010

#4: Read 100 Books in a year

I love to read, if you weren't already aware.  I read 80 last year so I upped the ante for 31 Things.  There's fiction, non-fiction, fluff, heavy stuff, and everything in between.  I don't like to pigeonhole myself when it comes to books!  I know it's insane that I actually read 100 books but I have to note that I did have a life this past year and that I am a speed reader.  Also, I will probably never read this many books in a year again!

Could I give you a detailed plot analysis on all of these?  Probably not but I could give you my general impressions and whether or not I'd recommend that you read it.  I've included links to the books I've already reviewed.  I'm adding Amazon affiliate links plus a blurb for the books I didn't review here but would recommend that you check out.  Enjoy!
  1. Best Friends Forever- Jennifer Weiner (1/1)
  2. No One You Know- Michelle Richmond (1/2)
  3. April and Oliver- Tess Callahan (1/3)
  4. The Lucky One- Nicholas Sparks (1/4)
  5. The Fury- LJ Smith (1/5)
  6. The Dark Reunion- LJ Smith (1/5)
  7. The Hour I First Believed- Wally Lamb (1/17)  -I'm a Wally Lamb fan and was glad to see he'd finally written another novel.  I was intrigued by this one as it takes us behind the scenes, so to speak, of the Columbine shooting.  Told from the perspective of a teacher who wasn't present that day but whose wife was trapped inside the school, the story is gripping and left me questioning whether I knew the Columbine story as well as I thought I did.
  8. Lord John and the Private Matter- Diana Gabaldon (1/23)
  9. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane- Katherine Howe (1/24)
  10. The Beautiful Ache- Leigh McLeroy (1/25)
  11. An Accomplished Woman- Jude Morgan (1/29)
  12. The Year of Living Biblically- A.J. Jacobs (1/30)
  13. Shoot the Moon- Billie Letts (1/30)
  14. Shelter Me- Juliette Fay (1/31)
  15. Three Cups of Tea- Greg Mortenson (2/5) -Mortenson's work is absolutely inspiring.  He believes strongly that literacy and education, especially for girls, in the Middle East is the key to lasting change.
  16. The Gift- Cecilia Ahern (2/7)
  17. Summer House- Nancy Thayer (2/7)
  18. Belong to Me- Marisa de los Santos (2/11) -This is the follow up to Love Walked In, a book that I loved for its humor and deft touch. The sequel did not disappoint and I loved catching up with these characters.
  19. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade- Diana Gabaldon (2/13)
  20. The Weddding Girl- Madeline Wickham (2/18)
  21. Till We Have Faces- C.S. Lewis (2/19) -A myth retold, indeed.  This sparked interesting conversation at Book Club.
  22. The Best of Times- Penny Vincenzi (2/22)
  23. When I'm Falling- Laura Moriarty (2/24)
  24. The 19th Wife- David Ebershoff (2/28) -I wasn't sure what to expect from a book about Mormonism and plural marriage.  The past and present story lines are masterfully interwoven and kept me guessing.
  25. The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins (3/3)
  26. Understanding Your Grief- Alan Wolfelt (3/4)
  27. The Swan Thieves- Elizabeth Kostova (3/6) -This is possibly one of my favorite fiction works from this year.  After inhaling The Historian, I hoped that The Swan Thieves would have a similar effect and it did.  Kostova is an author worth paying attention to. Art history, the confines of mental illness, the patient-psychiatrist relationship, and how a painting comes together...all melded together in a captivating way.  I didn't want it to end.
  28. Practical Justice- Kevin Blue (3/6)
  29. Lord John and the Hand of the Devils- Diana Gabaldon (3/8)
  30. Natural Born Charmer- Susan Elizabeth Phillips (3/11)
  31. Match Me If You Can- Susan Elizabeth Phillips (3/13)
  32. Look Again- Lisa Scottoline (3/14)
  33. Cure for the Common Life- Max Lucado (3/14)
  34. This Heart of Mine- Susan Elizabeth Phillips (3/16)
  35. Lady Killer- Lisa Scottoline (3/18)
  36. Reunion- Therese Fowler (3/20)
  37. The Shack- William P. Young (3/21)
  38. Thanks for the Memories- Cecilia Ahern (3/27)
  39. Torchlight- Lisa Tawn Bergren (3/28)
  40. Once in a Blue Moon- Eileen Goudge (3/31) -An interesting tale of sisters who grew up living extremely different lives who reunite in adulthood.  Talk about baggage.
  41. Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins (4/6) -Seriously, I just love the Hunger Games trilogy.
  42. Becca by the Book- Laura Jensen Walker (4/11)
  43. The Help- Kathryn Stockett (4/18) -I definitely fell into the camp of people that lurved this book. I was prepared not to as I typically dislike books that get a lot of hype but I was quickly drawn in by these characters.  I couldn't help but picture each woman with her distinct voice and wonder whether the Southern society would cut them apart or bring them together.  It also made me wonder how I would have really responded if I'd grown up during the Civil Rights era.
  44. Brava, Valentine- Adriana Trigiani (4/28) -While I'm no shoemaker, I found Valentine to be very relatable.  I enjoyed reading about her quest to grow in her career and find love. I'm glad that Trigiani will be following up this sequel with another Valentine book!
  45. The Husband Habit- Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (5/1)
  46. Breathing Room- Susan Elizabeth Phillips (5/2)
  47. The Gatecrasher- Madeleine Wickham (5/6)
  48. The Knowledge of the Holy- A.W. Tozer (5/8)
  49. Let Them Eat Cake- Sandra Byrd (5/9) -The French Twist trilogy is enjoyable fluff reading all the way.  Lexi is an aspiring pastry chef, trying to figure post-college life out.  I enjoyed learning more about France, baking, and the allure of a French accent.
  50. Bon Appetit- Sandra Byrd (5/10) -French Twist #2
  51. Stones Into Schools- Greg Mortenson (5/14) -The follow up to Three Cups of Tea.  Did I ever mention that I met Mortenson at a book signing?  He is such a humble, gentle soul who takes time to connect with everyone he meets.
  52. Piece de Resistance- Sandra Byrd (5/14) -French Twist #3
  53. Dreaming in French- Megan McAndrew (5/15)
  54. Big Boned- Meg Cabot (5/16)
  55. Moon Over Tokyo- Siri Mitchell (5/31) *reread
  56. The Pioneer Woman Cooks- Ree Drummond (6/5) -I love cookbooks but this was probably the first time that I sat down and read a cookbook from front to back in one day.  It made me love PW's blog and recipes even more.
  57. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner- Stephenie Meyer (6/9)
  58. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (6/11) -I resisted reading this for a long time but then a friend gave it to me for my birthday.  It still took me 5 more months to crack it open but the moment I did, I was hooked.  Correspondence during post-WWII England and Guernsey.  As characters get to know each other by letter, we get to know them too and you can't help but root for each one.
  59. Nowhere, Carolina- Tamara Leigh (6/28) -Tamara Leigh writes Christian chick lit that is actually good. Her new Southern Discomfort series has been all the more enjoyable because of my relocation.  I also appreciate how she's handled the early onset Alzheimers diagnosis of one of the characters- it's an illness not many people are familiar with.
  60. Sex God- Rob Bell (7/18)
  61. Ahab's Wife- Sena Jeter Naslund (7/25)
  62. The Kommandant's Girl- Pam Jenoff (8/1)
  63. Jane Austen Ruined My Life- Beth Pattillo (8/5) -Yay for more good Christian chick lit!  I love Jane Austen references and jaunts to England whilst characters find themselves.  Pattillo is a new fave.
  64. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart- Beth Pattillo (8/22) -See above.
  65. Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins (8/29) -The final book in the Hunger Games trilogy.  You'll need to talk to someone when you're done reading.  Why not me?
  66. Velvet Elvis- Rob Bell (9/3)
  67. It Had to be You- Susan Elizabeth Phillips (9/5)
  68. Diva NashVegas- Rachel Hauck (9/6)
  69. Singled Out- Christine Colon and Bonnie Field (9/7)
  70. Winter Garden- Kristin Hannah (9/11) -Kristin Hannah is a master at exploring the complexities of female relationships, in this case a reserved mother and her two adult daughters.  This was a departure for her as she included a lot of rich historical narrative and questions how the past can haunt us or set us free.
  71. Ain't She Sweet?- Susan Elizabeth Phillips (9/12)
  72. Elements of Style- Wendy Wasserstein (9/19)
  73. Not My Daughter- Barbara Delinsky (9/23) -What would happen if teenage girls formed a pregnancy pact and one of their mothers was the high school principal?  Very interesting topic.
  74. Of Bees and Mist- Erick Setiawan (10/2)
  75. The Wednesday Sisters- Meg Waite Clayton (10/9)
  76. The Diplomat's Wife- Pam Jenoff (10/10)
  77. Marked- P.C. and Kristin Cast (10/17)
  78. Betrayed- P.C. and Kristin Cast (10/27)
  79. Chosen- P.C. and Kristin Cast (10/30)
  80. Bittersweet- Shauna Niequist (11/2)
  81. The Patron Saint of Liars- Ann Patchett (11/7)
  82. Untamed- P.C. and Kristin Cast (11/7)
  83. Radical- David Platt (11/13) -What more can I say about this book?  My thoughts from the Read-Along: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  84. Hunted- P.C. and Kristin Cast (11/13)
  85. Outlive Your Life- Max Lucado (11/22)
  86. Tempted- P.C. and Kristin Cast (11/24)
  87. Evolving in Monkey Town- Rachel Held Evans (11/25)
  88. Bird by Bird- Anne Lamott (11/27)
  89. Just Between You and Me- Jenny B. Jones (11/29) -OK, so here's another good Christian chick lit book. I laughed out loud, I may have cried a bit, and I absolutely loved the main character. I've never read Jones before but I'm thinking I'll keep her on the radar.
  90. Burned- P.C. and Kristin Cast (12/4)
  91. Looking for Peyton Place- Barbara Delinsky (12/7)
  92. The Dressmaker- Posie Graeme-Evans (12/11)
  93. Shopaholic and Baby- Sophie Kinsella (12/12)
  94. Harvesting the Heart- Jodi Picoult (12/18)
  95. Vision in White- Nora Roberts (12/19)
  96. South of Broad- Pat Conroy (12/25) -To be fair, I figured out a major plot point about 100 pages in and I wasn't enthralled with how some of the story lines were wrapped up.  BUT I love Conroy's writing. The main character kept me interested, from his dry wit to how he is there for a hodgepodge of friends. There's enough mystery to keep things moving and the strong bonds between unlikely friends mask some of the weaker points.
  97. Blind Hope- Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher (12/27) -review to follow soon
  98. The Choice- Nicholas Sparks (12/28) 
  99. The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective- Richard Rohr (12/29) -I'm grateful to my dear friend The Gat for recommending this to me.  It's more than self-analysis. The Enneagram has a way of moving past ourselves and to the heart of the matter. What makes me tick? What are my tendencies?  I have a lot to ponder still but it appears I am a 4. Don't know what that means?  I suppose you should read it to find out.
  100. Barefoot- Elin Hildebrand (12/30)
What are your thoughts about this list?  Any other book nerds out there?  Did you read any of these books?  What are your reading recommendations for this next year?


      1. Oh my Leigh! I just can't even wrap my mind around reading 100 books in a year. I read 5 this year and that's HUGE for me!!

        I read the PW's cookbook and The Shack. Loved The messed me up. In a good way :)

        Can't wait to see you at Blissdom!

      2. Oh, Leigh - you make a "retired" English teacher look bad! I've read less than 10 of these, and not all this year. :) You are awesome. I'm reading 3 books at the same time right now, if that counts for anything. Might I suggest Room by Emma Donaghue? Heard a review on NPR and had to get it. Stayed up way too late last night reading it.

      3. Wow, 100 books is impressive! I think I'm going to have to check out the Suzanne Collins this year--seems I'm reading about these books on a lot of the blogs I've been visiting.

        Happy reading for 2011!

      4. first off that's an impressive list! I try for 52 a year and always fall short.

        a friend of mine forced me to read the hunger games. totally unlike anything i would choose for myself but i loved them all!

      5. I feel much the same way that you do about books that are hyped- I usually end up being disappointed. It's why I didn't try the Hunger Games books for a long time...and then I fell in love with them.

      6. I'm impressed. Reading is a great thing and I do really well to get a book a week in but it looks like you were reading a book a day or every couple of days. How do you do it? No full time job? No kids at home? Just read, read, read. I do have a friend who reads very quickly as well and it blows my mind how she can get through a book a day or every couple of days. Set the goal for this year? I think if you stay on the same track you will be reading 300 books a year soon - lol. Have fun and enjoy - E :)

        Elysabeth Eldering
        Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

        Where will the adventure take you next?

      7. This is crazy intense. I thought I was doing good for setting the goal to read at least 12 books this year. *pfft* you've got me beat BIG TIME!


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