Thursday, December 31, 2009

For Your Reading Pleasure On New Year's Eve: Books I Read This Year (Final Installment)

I hope you enjoyed parts 1 and 2. I finished my last book of 2009 a couple of days ago and I do NOT plan on doing any reading tonight--if you know what I mean. (Law and Order Criminal Intent Countdown to 2010!)

21. Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitchingby Heather Ross. Have I made anything from it? No. But I would, if sewing weren't hard. It's like anything, I suppose: I'd rather read about teaching kids, training dogs, organizing my house, or sewing than actually do any of it.

22. The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home by Jane Brockett. This book is about cooking and sewing and quilting and being old-fashioned and cozy. I was inspired by this book to make a lemon chiffon pie. It was good, but I don't really like lemon stuff. I know--not very continental.

*23. 'Tis: A Memoir by Frank McCourt. He died this year. His books are so interesting to me. I don't know what it is about Irishmen named Frank--So much more appealing than those uppity Danes!

24. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader's Circle) by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This book is charming. I liked it. Did you know the author died and her niece finished the book for her? I am intrigued by that. I like imagining which of my nieces might edit my book when I'm dead. I wonder. It's surprisingly fun to think about. Try it.

25. Teacher Man: A Memoir by Frank McCourt. This book is about his teaching career. My favorite writing assignment he gives is an apology letter from Eve.

Re: The Fall.

Sorry dudes--the apple looked good. What do I know? Snakes are like way more persuasive than you might think. Catch you on the flipside in the dark and dreary world! Oh yeah, about that--Sorry.

26. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I liked this a medium amount.

27. Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman. The holocaust is always so disturbing, but these graphic novels are very interesting.

28. Get Positively Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide to Looking and Feeling Gorgeousby Carmindy. Call me shallow if you want, but I just read a book about the holocaust.

29. The Mother in Me by Karrie Lyn Soper. Amongst many poems about breast milk is one stand-out essay called, Will it Ever Be Enough? An Overwhelmed Mom Trades Perfection for Grace, that is really worth reading. I guess I just don't feel the way other people feel about breast milk.

30. The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World by Susan Linn. I heard this woman on NPR and of course, in theory, we all love this idea about make believe and agree with it. But I have to say, the book isn't that good. Does the book suffer from the pretend conversations Susan Linn has with a puppet duck every few chapters? Perhaps. However, anecdotal observations of my own kids and the way they play disproves almost everything she says. For example, a commercial light saber is not less open-ended or creative than a pretend or a stick one. Read it for yourself and see what you think.

***31. The Parents We Mean to Be by Richard Weissbourd. This is probably the best book I read all year. It talks about how you have to be a good person to be a good parent. I think it's really true and really helpful. Here's a bit about the book from the New Yorker: "If we’re afraid to risk our kids’ ire by criticizing them, how can we expect them to resist peer pressure? Of special concern are parents who try too hard to be their kids’ friends. Weissbourd explains, 'Children have no incentive to become like us, because the message we’re giving is that they already are.'”

32. The Lace Reader: A Novel by Brunonia Barry. This is your basic split-personality tale. Whoops. Gave it away.

*33. Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson. This book basically argues the opposite of Susan Linn's book and I think it is way more persuasive. The increasing complexity of narrative structures in modern TV shows is one of my favorite topics in this book. Too good to acknowledge smart TV? Have fun playing with your stick!

34. Drood: A Novel by Dan Simmons. This book imagines Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins as buddies in 19th century England. I love the idea of this book but can not recommend it because it is about 400 pages too long.

35. Super Puppy by Jill and Daniel Pinkwater. Because I want my puppy to be super!

36. How To Raise the Perfect Dog by Cesar Millan. Because I want my puppy to be perfect!

37. Katz on Dogs: A Commonsense Guide to Training and Living with Dogs by Jon Katz. Sorry Frances. Can't walk you. Too busy--reading.

38. How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners (Revised & Updated Edition) by The Monks of New Skete. Because I want to be my dog's best friend! PS Monks are weird.

39. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond. Finally. A blogger makes good.

40. Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman. Every Chuck Klosterman fan swears they are his soul mate; I really am. Christian gave this to me for Christmas. Klosterman is awesome. And so dang cool.

Can you believe I made this into three posts? It's totally boring. But be sure to tell me if you liked any of these books--I already know you'll tell me the ones you hated (which I don't mind). I'm also looking for a reading theme for 2010, preferably one that rhymes with "ten." So send me your ideas. Happy New Year, buds!


  1. Zen rhymes with ten. ...I'm all outta ideas.

    I laughed at this so many times, and read so many parts aloud to Paul, he wanted to know apropos of nothing how many glasses of champagne I'd had. (ONLY TWO.)

  2. ahh, sad to hear you only liked the Hunger Games a medium amount, I realllllly enjoyed it and Catching Fire, the sequel. You read a lot of books this year!!

  3. I read the potato pie book too, and liked it. The letter format and voice reminded me of two books I loved as a teen - Dear Enemy and Daddy Long Legs.

    I haven't read Hunger Games yet, its on my list.

  4. I got Eating the Dinosaur for Christmas as well. And finished it yesterday (stupid get in the way book club book...)!

  5. I liked the Hunger Games a medium amount too, which is to say: 100 times more than Twilight.

  6. I've read the Frank McCourt books (was 'Tis the one where all the boarders share the towels? because I still think about that.), hunger games (I give it like a 6), and Guernsey (liked it because it was so squeaky clean and I could pass it on instead of sneaking it back to the 1/2 price bookstore wearing my dark glasses! Can't wait for next year's list!

  7. Actually, I totally dug Hunger Games, and the Monks of New Skete made me happy happy happy (14 years ago when we got our dog, but still, it was so helpful.) Liked Guernsey Literary Society a lot, too. Was planning to read Lace Reader...but maybe I won't now that you gave it away :)

  8. Thanks a lot, I am currently in the middle of The Lace Reader. I'm liking it OK, not loving it, should I even finish it now? My faves this year were Geurnsey and The Help (typical book club choices, I know!)Have you read Emma and Me? Still thinking about that one...

  9. how about 2010: READ THEM AGAIN! you can reread books you've loved.
    or there's 2010: BUSTY WOMEN AND SHIRTLESS MEN....and read only romance novels all year.
    or maybe 2010: BOOKS BY SVEN...i have no idea if any of these would be good...or even in english.

  10. I've been waiting to see how you feel about Drood :) I agree, great premise, was entirely too long... it just got weirder and less constructed as it ended. Love your reading list, I'm about to post my own on my blog! Thanks for the inspiration, can't wait to see what you read this year!

  11. Loved Guernsey and Hunger Games.

    I read so many books this year I have to look in my book journal - if I remembered to write them down - to see what I read.

    I'm impressed you can catalog them!

  12. I haven't read most of these. But I did buy "Ireland" today (they had it at Costco which I took as a cosmic sign). So I'll chime in about that one in a few days.

  13. i have been in dire need of new books to read, and now im set for this whole year thanks to you!! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I guess I'm an idiot, but I thought that Chuck and Wilkie WERE friends.

  15. They were friends. This book is fictional, however, and imagines what they did all the time and what they talked about.


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