Thursday, January 13, 2011

Things on Thursday: Books I've Read

Here's a picture of some of the books I've read in the last year.

I liked all of these to varying degrees, though I admit that When and How to Use Mental Health Resources (a textbook for Stephen Ministers) was hard slogging.

What did you read in the last 12 months that stuck with you? What are you reading now?

I'm considering becoming more active on the website Goodreads. I think it will be a fun way to help me live out my Word of the Year: Learn. Do any of you use it? Care to share your thoughts?


  1. Hi Susan,
    Happy New Year! I've been reading even though I haven't been commenting. Hope that George is getting ready to gear up his IM training. Love reading those posts and can certainly relate! I'm on Goodreads and love it. It's fun to track, see other recommendations, etc. I read a big mix of stuff - some fluff, some not. Just finished the new Cleopatra which was great.

  2. I use goodreads to keep track of what I've read, what I would like to read, and to keep up with what my friends are reading. My bookclub has also been using it to manage our reading list and meeting times. It's pretty handy and has become my first stop for looking up book information (over Amazon).

    I started a lot of books last year, but finished very few. Unusual for me, but with a toddler, my own work demands, and a strong desire to craft, I didn't want to force myself to slog through anything. One book that has stuck with me is The Help. I found that peek into the lives of upper middle class Southerners and their "help" during the civil rights movement strangely compelling.

  3. Oh, boy. I've read a lot this past year. I got a Nook Color for Christmas and downloaded and read "The Help" by Kathryn Stockton. I highly recommend it, if you haven't read it already. I'm saddened, but moved, by 1960s segregation stories. I remember coming home from middle school and tearfully telling my mom about a film we saw of Blacks being sprayed by fire hoses. That image still brings tears to my eyes.

    The other book that stuck with me this year was "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro. I didn't know what the book was about before I read it, and I'm glad I didn't. I probably would have dismissed it as something I wouldn't like. I give my paperbacks away after reading them because I work in a library, but don't want to live in one. In very rare cases, I keep them. I kept this one. It's a favorite.

    I adore memoirs. My favorite this year was "Born Round" by Frank Bruni, the former food critic for the New York Times. I also liked Michael Chabon's "Manhood for Amateurs."

    I'm now reading the Nook version of "New York: The Novel" by Edward Rutherford. I have about 8 more books waiting to be downloaded.

    Whew! Never ask a librarian what he/she is reading.

    And yes, I really don't keep books any more. I am a recovered book/magazine hoarder. I no longer have a bookcase. I have four boxes of books packed away in a closet that I couldn't let go. I'm thinking it's time to go through that box and purge some more. I now have a single shelf for books. If I want to keep a new one, an old one has to go. I can hear your gasp all the way in NYC. :)

  4. Two books I read last year really stuck with me. I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird (I know, I'm lame) and Willa Cather's Sapphira and the Slave Girl. Both really wonderful and easy reads. I have mostly been reading whatever the kids have to read for knitting books. Right now, my knitting listening is Keith Richards' Life alternating with The Odyssey read by Ian McKellan.

  5. Susan,
    I was just introduced to Goodreads this past year. I love it because I have a long list of books I now have on my "to read" list. I have not read as much as I want these past few months because of school and school (in a teacher education program, expect to have credential this fall). I love to read and am always looking for new titles. I would consider myself a book hoarder, but am doing better now that I am ok with the idea that if I donate a book to my local library there is a good chance we can visit anytime I want. I like that. I like the idea that someone else might enjoy the book as much as I do. I also like donating to convalescent homes too, and kids books to hospitals.
    Oh, and I read The Help and then gave it to my daughter who loved it too. Highly recommend it. Saw one on Oprah today or yesterday that I would like to add to my list. Can't remember the name.

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  7. Oh some titles I would recommend that I have recently read: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. In my social studies class we talked about the dust bowl tragedy of Oklahoma. I found this book an interesting, yet sad story about this time. Young adults might enjoy. It's a Newberry Medal, and Scot O'Dell award winner and it's on the ALA Children's Book list in the Notable, and Best Book category. Several other awards as well. Another I enjoyed reading with my 12 year old grandson is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Boy is this a fun book to read with kids. Please do if you haven't. Or read it for the fun of it. I also read again, and thoroughly enjoyed Charlotte's Web. This is another book I had to read for a LA class and we actually read this book in class, aloud, and it was quite enjoyable. Read with your children and grandchildren for a real treat. Then watch the movie with Dakota Fanning. Fun movie.

  8. I must ask: How did you enjoy House Rules? I have that one on my list and am anxious to read it!

  9. House Rules was good, and I would definitely recommend it. Picoult does a good job of portraying autism and the challenges faced by those with it and their families. As mysteries go, it's okay...the real strength is the characters.

  10. Definite want to read it. Thanks. I actually work with students with autism, so the subject has always been of interest to me.

  11. My son and I read through The Last Olympian Series last year and it changed his whole opinion of reading and writing! It also made the Ancient Greece studies we were doing in History at the time come to life.

    I really enjoy Alexander McCall Smith; I've read the Scotland Street novels and the Isabel Dalhousie series. Did you enjoy Bill Bryson? I read In a Sunburned Country after I left Australia and moved to Canada. Some of his descriptions are so incredibly accurate. I have been to many of the places he went to and I laughed and laughed when I read his take on them.

    Last year, at the request of a friend I labored through the first half or Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible. It was so grim and sad I might have given up had it not been recommended. Around halfway through though, I was absorbed enough in the characters to have to know what happened to them all. The blindness and prejudice really made me think but there were also some very amusing scenarios and characters.

    I try to keep track of what my family reads on a page on my blog.

  12. Susan,
    A teacher friend told me about the book "House Rules". She said she would be interested to know what I think about it, because she knows my son has autism. I can't wait to read it.
    I don't read as much as I would like, but the same teacher I just mentioned, let me borrow her copy of "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I'm getting close to finishing it, it is very good!


  13. Hi Susan,

    I've always been a big reader and I've turned into a terrible collector! I buy faster than I read which has resulted in over 1300 books in my house, only about 20% of which I've read. My goal is to stop buying, catch up on the reading and keep only what I really love. This habit means I'm always a few years behind when it comes to reading bestsellers and trendy books. This isn't helped by the fact that I am a bit OCD in the sense that I cannot bring myself to read a series of books until they've all been published and I can read them all in one go. I did this with the Harry Potter series (loved it) and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy (not sure what the fuss was all about with those books...).

    I've never heard of Goodreads but will check it out. I've been on Shelfari for a few years now and my collection is "stored" there.

    My favourite book of all time is "To Kill a Mockingbird" (my dogs names are Scout, Atticus & Jem) and I read that at least every other year.

    Last year the following were standouts for me:
    "The Dogs of Babel" Carolyn Parkhurst
    "The Terror" Dan Simmons
    "The Highest Tide" Jim Lynch
    "The Great Stink" Clare Clark
    "Waiter Rant" Steve Dublanica
    "The Devil's Teeth" Susan Casey
    Life Is Funny" E.R. Frank
    "Complications" & "Better" by Atul Gawande

    Right now I'm reading "Crazy Horse and Custer" by Stephen Ambrose and am learning a huge amount about the American Indians and life in general in 1800 America. It's pretty fascinating and I think hubby is getting tired of me relaying it all to him!


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!