Tuesday, January 3, 2012

my literary year in review...

I read 47 books in 2011.  Mainly thanks to my thoughtful husband who gave me a kindle for Christmas one year ago.  I love me some kindle.  It is amazing.  I love being able to take EVERYTHING I am reading everywhere.  I love being able to download a new book, when I'm in the mood for a certain kind of read, immediately and having access to a bazillion choices.  It is so fun.  As gratifying as reading is, you can never really quench your book thirst because there is an endless supply of more...and the kindle just makes that beautiful fact about literature all the more apparent.

One thing I have learned by using a kindle for reading is to not judge a book by it's cover...because I actually never see it's cover.  It was a humiliating occasion when I come across a book I read via my kindle and found out the cover looked like this.


THE HORROR!  I am a snob.  I'm sure this isn't news to most of you.  I would NEVER read this book!  But I did, because I liked the books description, it was free to download, fairly well reviewed and it was classified as a "Historical Fiction".  But, mostly, I read it because I never saw this awful cover.  Notice the tiny stone building in the background...it's HISTORY people!

Although I can't say I loved it... (insert shameful pause)... "A Knight's Enchantment" was actually an enjoyable read with characters I liked and a goodish story line that wrapped up nicely.  After a nerdy book like this, my snotty nature makes me seek after something gritty and intellectual and completely disturbing...which is why I read "Midnight Cowboy" by James Leo Herlihy.  It was definitely a palette cleanser.

Anyway, after 47 books (and 5 still in my current reads folder)...these are my favorite from 2011, in no particular order.

Diary of the Displaced by Glynn James.  This book was amazing.  It was fast paced and surprising and just the right amount of confusing at times.  I loved the main character, I loved the ending.  I want to see the movie...someone make one.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  This is an actual historical fiction that gives you a glimpse of the lives of Japanese Americans during World War II.  This story was BEAUTIFUL and tragic but satisfying because of the characters resilience and humanity.  I think about this book all the time.  I loved the dialogue - bare with an underlying complexity.  Don't I sound smart now?

In this Hospitable Land by Brock Lynmar, Jr..  Another historical fiction about wealthy Jews who fled into France during World War II.  This book made you think and feel without trying too hard.  Lynmar's writing is never preachy, it never pushes you toward a certain conclusion.  He just tells a story, about people who lived through extraordinary circumstances during an extraordinary time.  Lovely.

A Cruel Harvest by Paul Reid.  A love story that I loved but you cannot read this if you are one of my nieces.

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.  I admit I had to take a break from this book about halfway through.  It was a little stressful, and long and has at least 100 characters to keep straight.  Although, for me, the ending brought everything together and compelled me to read the next book in this series.  Besides, I need something to talk about with my nerdy brother and brother-in-law.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  The movie was well done and I really enjoyed it but please don't just see the movie.  This is a great read, you will laugh and cry.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  I will never forget this book!  This is a true story about a young soldier who survived World War II against all odds that will amaze and inspire you.  Side note, why do I read so many books about World War II?  The only way I can tolerate reading about the horror and atrocities of war is to be equally amazed by the relentless pursuit of life by people who have had everything taken from them.  This story makes you cheer for the human spirit and makes you feel you have the capacity to endure anything.

There they are...my favorites.  What were yours?


Josh said...

I love that you read Game of Thrones. I love those nerdy books. I can't wait to read the latest one, but I feel like I have to re-read all of the other ones first so I can remember who is who.

I need to read Unbroken. It is sitting on my nightstand.

You and amy should share titles. I make fun of her for the covers of her books too.

Lori said...

Thanks for the recommendations.

Richard said...

I kinda feel like a need a kindle now...47?? Come on!

Josh said...

Everyone needs a kindle.

The key to reading a lot is neglecting other things, like laundry, training for a marathon, studying scriptures, etc. It opens up a lot of time.

I didn'd do ANY of those other things and I read 56 books. Also, be our friend on Goodreads. Then we can judge you for how little/ how much you read.

Julie said...

I am reading The Unbroken now. I can't wait to add the others to my list.