01 January 2010

2009 Books


1. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin - (Abraham Lincoln was the best president ever. The end.)

2. The Culprit and the Cure; Why Lifestyle is the Culprit Behind America's Poor Health and how Transforming that Lifestyle Can be the Cure
by Steven G. Aldana - (Longest title ever, but it was a really interesting read and it got me exercising and working really hard to eat better every day!)

3. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech - (I think I loved this even more than when I read it about ten years ago.)


4. Atonement by Ian McEwan - (I was completely enthralled with the story. I loved the way this story was told, from different perspectives, although almost always with a third person narrator. I'd like to read more from this author.)

5. The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg - (I read this when I was about 14, and I really loved it then. This time I read it aloud with Eric, and we both enjoyed it, although I'm not sure I loved it quite as much this time.)

6. The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright - (Overall, I liked it, even though I don't tend to go for this sort of Hallmark-movie-like book.)

7. Anne's House of Dreams* by Lucy Maud Montgomery - (I enjoyed listening to this while I treadmilled and did other sundry activities, but I think I'm done with the series.)

8. Saturday by Ian McEwan - (I liked the story-telling. I was not thrilled with the story.)

9. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer - (Wow. This was an amazing story, and it was told incredibly well. I found myself constantly astonished at the difficulty of ascending Mt. Everest, but never really questioning why anybody would want to do it. Krakauer is an excellent writer, and I hope to read more from him in the future.)


10. Our Search for Happiness by M. Russell Ballard - (This was a great book, and perfect for anybody who is interested in learning more about the LDS Church.)

11. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer - (I loved this one as much as I loved Into Thin Air. Krakauer is an amazing storyteller, and I was fascinated by Chris McCandless' ill-fated adventure. I have no need to go backpacking or camping in Alaska. Maybe an Alaskan cruise some time, but that's where I draw the line.)

12. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck - (AMAZING! I can't wait to read more by her. And, pleasant perk! After I finished reading it, I mentioned it to my mom, and she said that Buck was one of her favorite authors when she was in high school.)


13. Germinal by Emile Zola - (This book turned me into even more of a socialist than I already was. I enjoy Zola's writing. He is a bit of a downer (think the French Hemingway), but I kind of like depressing books. They seem more real to me.)

14. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland* by Lewis Carroll - (I enjoyed listening to this one and thinking about its philosophical questions. I don't have answers to them, but it definitely made me think as I smiled.)

15. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - (LOVED. Can't wait for the next one. Highly recommend. Written for youth, and I found it surprisingly thought-provoking.)

16. David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory A. Prince and William Robert Wright - (Every Mormon should read this book. Especially if you think Mormon Doctrine really is doctrine.)


17. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl - (My favorite quote:

An active life serves the purpose of giving man the opportunity to realize values in creative work, while a passive life of enjoyment affords him the opportunity to obtain fulfillment in experiencing beauty, art or nature. But there is also purpose in that life which is almost barren of both creation and enjoyment and which admits of but one possibility of high moral behavior: namely, in man's attitude to his existence restricted by external forces. A creative life and a life of enjoyment are banned to him. But not only creativeness and enjoyment are meaningful. If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.
This book was amazing. Everyone should read it.)

18. How the Garica Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez - (This book started with a sort of family tree, so I liked it immediately. It was a nice read about a Dominican family of four daughters who immigrates to New York. Easily classified in the "coming of age" category. I also loved the play on the title because in the Dominican Republic their surname has an accent over the i, but in America it does not.)

19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - (Loved it in high school. Loved it even more this time.)

20. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - (Absolutely loved the writing. The story was deeply engaging. I can't wait to read more of his writing.)

21. Twenty Years at Hull House by Jane Addams - (This was an interesting book, and Jane Addams is an awesome lady. It was a bit difficult to plow through the whole thing, but it opened my eyes to some of the social movements during the end of the nineteenth century.)

22. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - (A little slow at first, but then it picked up quite a bit. I'll definitely have to read the sequel.)

23. The Chosen by Chaim Potok - (A really intriguing story that is beautifully written. I couldn't and didn't wait to read the next book. Potok's balanced portrayal of conflict is impressive.)

24. The Promise by Chaim Potok - (I didn't love it quite as much as The Chosen, but it was still an exceptional book. I was again impressed with Potok's masterful depiction of conflict.)

25. Sarah: Women of Genesis by Orson Scott Card - (I quite enjoyed this book. I was curious how Card would do outside of sci-fi, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.)

26. 'Tis by Frank McCourt - (I love McCourt's very distinct style. 'Tis is not heart-wrenching like Angela's Ashes; it's more of a coming-of-age story, and it's an excellent combination of entertaining and engaging. Entergaging?)

27. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling - (I read this in preparation of the movie. It was my third time with this book, and I must say I didn't enjoy it as much as the first two times. But it's still a very easy read and highly entertaining. And it did actually make me want to give #7 another go.)

28. A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck - (This book was great. It was clever and funny, and it was sweet without being mushy. There are very few books that accomplish all of those things so successfully. I was very impressed and cannot wait to read more by Peck.)

29. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt - (Read this one aloud with Eric. I loved it from the start, but he took a while to really appreciate the humor. I would highly recommend this, especially to kids because it is a YA book.)

30. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - (This was my second time to read this one. I can appreciate Rowling's cleverness, but this is certainly not the best book in the series.)

31. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - (Amazing. Extremely well-written and incredibly thoughtful and moving.)

32. In the Beginning by Chaim Potok - (I adore this author. I liked this book, albeit not as much as I enjoyed The Chosen and The Promise.)

33. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling - (Hands down my least favorite of the series.)

34. Rebekah: Women of Genesis by Orson Scott Card - (I didn't enjoy this one as much as its predecessor. I felt like Card got a little too wrapped up in explaining every aspect of the characters' behavior, but it was still an enjoyable read.)

35. The Omnivore's Dilemma; A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan - (Everyone should read this book. I used to roll my eyes at people who frowned upon our society's industrial food chain, but I have a much better understanding about how devastating our industrial food chain really is, not only to our health, but to the environment as well.)

36. The Sound and the Fury by Stephen Faulkner - (This book is not for everyone. The writing is genius, though.)

37. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok - (I enjoyed this book. This is the fourth Potok book I've read this year. It finally occurred to me while reading Asher Lev that Potok must have had issues with his father.)

38. Social Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith - (I read this book because I was asked to review it for a genealogy publication.)

39. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling - (This was my favorite the first time I read the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it this time too. Something about time-travel really does it for me.)

40. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee - (Loved this book. It was just so interesting. The book is about Chinese food in America and around the world, but it's really about so much more. A great look at the pervasiveness of Chinese culture, food in America and the true origins of the fortune cookie.)

41. Rachel and Leah: Women of Genesis by Orson Scott Card - (I enjoyed this one. I think Card is a great writer, although sometimes I think he tries too hard to delve into the thoughts and feelings of his characters. That makes me find them less believable. But I think a lot of readers like that aspect of his writing.)

42. Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Reed - (Great book, albeit gruesome. Ultimately, it is about survival and the will to survive. It made me think a lot about having a purpose in life, optimism and hope.)

43. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - (Highly enjoyable, although I preferred the first one. I think this one left too many strings untied.)

44. Here is Where we Meet by John Berger - (I didn't love it, but I also didn't hate it. My drawing teacher lent it to me and absolutely raved about it. I think it was a little too modern, even for me.)

45. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery - (Rather slow and pretentious at first. And at the middle. But the end picked up, and I was bummed it was over.)

46. Untitled Book by Science Teacher Mommy - (I am totally counting this since it is a full-length book. I sent my thoughts straight to STM.)

47. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder - (I hadn't read this since elementary school, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In my memory the stories took place earlier in American history.)

48. $20 Per Gallon; How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better by Christpher Steiner - (I liked it. It was interesting and thought-provoking. I am interested to see which of the changes he predicted, particularly in our energy technologies, really do come true.)

49. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - (Such a great series. My favorite part is when Jack comes back.)

50. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder - (My favorite parts are when Pa comes back.)

51. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder - (I don't think I could ever tire of this series.)

52. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling - (This is when the series really starts to get exciting! I forgot how many things were different than the movie in this one.)

*I listened to an audiobook.


Science Teacher Mommy said...

Great list. I've read several of them, but others I'm interested to.

Oh, and you made my day, by the way, by adding me to your list. ;)

Trevor said...

Thanks for posting this, Sherry! I always like seeing and hearing what people are reading and what good books are (even though I never seem to get around to reading them myself). I added "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles" to my booklist. A couple of the books you mentioned are already on it. :)

Matt said...

"It finally occurred to me while reading Asher Lev that Potok must have had issues with his father."

It was all I could do not to guffaw at this (the kiddo was sleeping right next to me, so I had to control myself). I love Potok's stuff. Is The Gift of Asher Lev on your list for this year?

Lizzy Lambson said...

You are so inspiring. I've made this goal for myself this year, to read 52 books--you're one of two people I know who made the goal last year. Amazing. I may save the Little House on the Prairie series for December if I'm in a bind :) And, I wanted to say that Angela's Ashes is the book that's had the greatest impact in my life thus far. And I agree that 'Tis wasn't as moving. But I love Frank McCourt's style. "Malachy" is my username for pretty much everything and has been since high school. Anyway, thanks for sharing this list--again, it's inspirational!

Jaclyn said...

I made it to your blog through Liz's - great goal, great list!