05 January 2010

Reading is FUNdamental: Book Roll 2010

I read a fair amount of books this year...not as many as I would have liked, but still not too shabby!

So...I thought it would be good to share thoughts, recommendations, and what nots! I wrote previously about a few of these, so linked where that was appropriate.


  • The Art of Dancing in the Rain, Garth Stein
    I thought I had written about this...but I guess not. This as a rather easy read, and one, like Marley & Me, that will manipulate you and make you shed a tear or two (well, if you're a pet person). Not the best novel, but a nice, light read for days you need that.
  • Trouble, Kate Christensen
    Sometimes, I regret that I ever started reading chick-lit, as my Amazon recommendations start filling up the minute I do. Trouble is typical fare...a story of sadness, romance, and ultimately some neat ending. Maybe a good beach read, if you can hang with it.

  • Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby
    I love Nick Hornby, and this one didn't disappoint. A slightly twisted tale of coincidence, love, and friendship...there are several things going on at once, but it is written in a way that doesn't feel confusing. Hornby often writes from a men's point of view, but he gets the female viewpoint pretty well, too. If you like GenX-style, and Hornby, you'll like this one. 
  • Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson
    Inspirational. An absolute must.

  • Frankly, My Dear, Molly Haskell
    A behind-the-scenes look at Gone with the Wind. Only read if you like GwtW, and have a lot of time on your hands (like vacation, which is what I was on!).

  • Little Children, A Novel, Tom Perrotta
    Fairly convoluted and gripping tale...was also a movie with Kate Winslet (who is supposed to be on the fug side...which is impossible). I liked the book much better than the movie, because, like many books, it had the opportunity to build the characters and their motivations, which don't make sense on the screen. Quick, rather intense read.

  • Three Dollars, Elliot Perlman
    I really love Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity. I think I liked this book, but it's rather forgettable to me. 
  • Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
    I have read several novels that recount the immigrant experience, and I find it interesting that those written by Indian authors sound so similar. Often set in the Boston area, they talk about the struggle to fit in versus that of not losing touch with their homeland. I don't think this is unique to the Indian population -- I would assume it is very common among all immigrant populations -- but to me the similarity of tone is striking. This book is no exception, and was a good reminder of how much we take for granted when we are born here.

  • The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, Allison Weir
    Only read if you are obsessed with the Tudors.

  • Naked, David Sedaris
    Not gonna lie...I tried to get into this one several times, and failed. Did not finish.
  • Open, Andre Agassi
    An absolutely fascinating look at the rise, fall, and rise again of Andre Agassi. He was such a huge figure when I was growing up; I so clearly remembered some of the events he described, it was fun to hear the back story. It's a little too self-indulgent, but still an entertaining read (and written in the exact style of my friend, so much so that I heard his voice while reading. Eerie). 
  • The Big Short, Michael Lewis
    The president of my company recommended that we all read this. All the reviews said to read this. And when I started it, I will say, it broke down the financial crisis in a way that really made sense (which was super helpful to me, who works in the industry and sometimes gets confused in the brain). But after two attempts, I still haven't made it all the way through, mainly because I keep having to re-read parts and then it is due back to the library. I do hope to accomplish this in 2011.

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larsson
    The first in the trilogy (which was published right around when the author passed away, but didn't get popular/made into a movie until after). There is a reason this series is popular; it's a total page turner. It is rather violent, so be warned.
  • Zeitoun, Dave Eggers
    Read this. Be prepared to get angry, but read it.

  • The Girl who Played with Fire, Steig Larsson
    The weakest of the trilogy, but still really enjoyed it.

  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Steig Larsson
    I read this in one night, that's how much I liked it. I think the first is the best, as it set the stage really well, but this third book really wrapped things up well.
  • Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
    I finally made it through an Austen book. Whoo-hoo! I like the movies better. 
  • Little Bee, Chris Cleave
    On the first page of the book, the author expresses his wish that we not share the secret of the book, so I won't. But I will say, this book seemed to be part of a theme I had this year of reading books that opened my eyes up to different parts of the world, and how humanity has been lost (but can be found again). 
  • Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, Rob Sheffield
    A cute book about 80s music, and various anecdotes from Sheffield's life. Another book that made me wonder if my life would look more interesting if I wrote a memoir.

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
    A true story about the woman who is central to many of the medical advances made since the 50s, and how her family never knew (and can't even afford their own health care). And, at the center, an ethical question: should people have the rights over their own cells, or would that impede process? 

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