Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Year of Reading

I read a lot. I remember, as a child, going to the library and checking out huge stacks of book, which I would stay up late reading. In middle school I read John Jakes' North and South (about 800 pages) for fun, and in 9th grade I picked The Count of Monte Cristo, while everyone else fought over Of Mice and Men. Being in grad school has severely diminished my "free reading" time, but I still manage to get in a fair number of books a year. I've been keeping track of the titles over on the sidebar, but its a new year, a new list. Here's the list for posterity, plus some comments on the best and worst.

  • My Sister's Keeper : As the first book I finished in 2006, I knew it would be hard to top. Everyone who reads this raves about it, and I won't disagree. In a nutshell, a girl is conceived to act as a body farm of sorts for her older sister, who suffers from cancer and all its complications. As a teenager, she decides to sue for the rights to her own body. If the premise wasn't fascinating enough, the story is told from multiple points of view, including all members of the family. And you definitely won't see the ending coming.

  • Pledged: The Secret Life of Soroities

  • The Boy Next Door

  • French Women Don't Get Fat : Eat better quality food, and eat less of it. There, now you don't have to read this.

  • Zipporah, Wife of Moses

  • A Million Little Pieces : I hated this book. Technically, it shouldn't even be on this list because I didn't finish it. If you're contemplating reading it, pick it up and read a page. If you can deal with the stream-of-consciousness style page after page after page, then you have a chance. The story (if not entirely true) is the typical drug addict-trying-to-get-sober story we've all heard before, but my main problem was that the entire book seemed self indulgent. Frey should have left this in his diary and left us out of it.

  • Freakonomics

  • The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc

  • Ella Minnow Pea : This is a cute, short book. Set on the fictional island Nollop, the novel is in letters. The residents of the island pay homage to Nollop, who wrote the sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," using every letter in the alphabet. When letters start to fall from a memorial commemorating the sentence, the residents take that as a sign that those letters should be banned. As each letter falls, communication becomes more and more difficult. At the end of the story, only L M N O and P are left - a challenge for the author, who only uses these letters to communicate. You won't be disappointed with this one, especially if you love words.

  • Memories of My Melancholy Whores

  • Every Boy's Got One

  • For Matrimonial Purposes

  • Little Earthquakes

  • The Genius Factory

  • Bel Canto : This was probably my favorite book of the year. At a party in South America at the vice president's house, all the attendees are taken hostage by a group of terrorists. The siege ends up going on for months, and the terrorists and hostages began to grow relationships. The characters are amazing, the writing a treat to read. If you take any book recommendations from me, this is the one!

  • The Thing About Jane Spring

  • Brave New World : Despite being an English major, I managed to get away with not reading a lot of the classics. I finally got around to this one, and I wasn't disappointed. I really enjoyed reading this, and without the pressure of "you have to read this for school" I think it was even better.

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