Thursday, January 15, 2009

13 Books I Plan To Read This Year

I've taken a good hard look at that sagging bookshelf I mentioned a few posts ago and have selected 13 books to be my first reads this year. Well, really, I've already read three books this year (go me!)--Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (that one was for school, but I enjoyed it immensely), The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (it's no Harry Potter, but a very quick read and enjoyable), and Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (absolutely amazing until the last 50 pages, but I thought the end left a lot to be desired). So here's what's up next on my "pleasure reading" list (in no particular order):

1. The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne
This book was recommended by our pastor over a year ago. The back reads, "In The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne invites you into a movement of the Spirit that begins in the heart and extends through our hands into a broken world. Using examples from his own unconventional life, Shane Claiborne stirs up questions about the church and the world, challegning you to live out an authentic Christian faith. This book will comfort the disturbed, disturb the comfortable, and invite believers to change the world with Christ's radical love."

2. Mommy Wars edited by Leslie Morgan Steiner
This book of essays addresses the working mom vs stay at home mommy debate. I purchased it when I was first considering quitting my job at the ZCHS PAC. I made it about halfway through the book then. Honestly, I can't remember why I quit reading it, since I liked all but one essay so well that I forced Ben to listen as I read them aloud. Now that I've had two years at home and then re-entered the workforce, I'm interested to read the whole thing again and see how my perspective has changed.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book was loaned to me by a student and has been recommended by many. It is set in 1939 Nazi Germany, and hte main character is a girl who steals books from Nazi book burnings, among other places. It may be first one I read, simply so that I can return it in a timely manner.

4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Highly recommended by my dad and stepmom. It is an autobiographical account of a family with dysfunctional parents. I don't think that's why they recommended it though. :)

5. Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
This is the fourth (and I think final) book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I am a complete sucker for good young adult lit, and I have loved the previous three books in this series, which I started reading way back in the summer of 2000? 2001? while working as a summer camp counselor. My policy is that if a new book comes into the series but it has been a long time since I've read the others, I reread the entire series before reading the final book (I even did this when the 7th Harry Potter came out). I just appreciate it more that way. So this one will actually involve re-reading the previous three as well.

6. Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist
I read this one way back in high school and remember being intensely creeped out by it. I'm hoping that I won't find it quite so scary now that I'm a mature adult. :) Feist is one of my favorite authors and I've been craving something by him, but this is his only book that is not part of a series (see #5 for explanation on that).

7. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
I am ashamed of how long this has been sitting on my bookshelf without being read. It was recommended to me years ago by my dear friend (and former youth pastor) Tracy, way before Kidd became famous when her Secret Life of Bees (which is on my extended "to read" list, but I can't find my copy of it right now--it must be in the basement) was made into a recent movie.

8. A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
Speaking of books that have been collecting dust for a while..... It's not that I haven't wanted to read both this and #7, it's more that other books (or kids, or life) have kept getting in the way. But I'm going to force myself to make time this year.

9. Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life by Terry Brooks
Brooks is another one of my favorite authors, and while it's hard for me to put aside fiction to read an autobiography, I think it will be worth it.

10. Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller
I've been somewhat avoiding this one because my dad said he didn't really like it, and we tend to have very similar tastes. But I loved Miller's Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What, so I do want to read this as well. This is billed as "a road-trip memoir about three months spent crossing the country in a Volkswagen camping van, wondering out loud if there is more to life than nine-to-five jobs, than the ruts the entire world seems to be stuck in." So at the very least, it should inspire me with fond memories of the summer camping trip that Ben and I took when we were engaged.

11. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Picoult has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Actually, I would say she is my current overall favorite. If you haven't read any of her stuff, shame on you. Get yourself to the bookstore or the library right now! My favorites have been Keeping Faith and My Sister's Keeper, but all of hers that I have read have been excellent.

12. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
While this one has not been on my shelf for nearly as long as #7 or #8, I'm still a bit ashamed about how long it has been sitting there. I have heard very polarized reports about this book--everyone that I know who has read it has either absolutely loved it or hated it. We'll see which camp I fall into.

13. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
Ben and I actually both read all four of Dan Brown's books during a one-week spam, and all of the plots kind of blend together for me because I read them all so quickly. I have since re-read The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, but not his others. Ben re-read this one last week, and the comments that he made about it sparked just enough memory in me to make me want to read it again to refresh my memory.

So there you go, 13 (really 16, if you count the other 3 mentioned in #5) books for me to read, all located and selected without leaving the comfort of my own bedroom.

Lurkers, don't forget to comment and say hello. :)


Elizabeth said...

Hi Amy,

I love seeing what other people read--please let me know what you think of each book as you finish them. I hate wasting valuable reading time on duds. :) I saw a few posts ago where you were planning on reading A Brave New World. I read it in college and really liked it too! I also just finished The Glass Castle last month and enjoyed it. It's one of those books that I keep thinking about...I think because it is nonfiction. Most of the books I read are fiction, so it is amazing to me that all of these things really happened to this woman. (I will say that I was in love with A Million Little Pieces, and that turned out to be a sham, so I hope that they have stepped up their background check on memoirs and I won't be so let down again).

Krysten said...

I, too, love Jodi Piccoult. I have Nineteen Minutes and My Sister's Keeper on my shelf right now. I actually picked up My Sister's Keeper to read it last night. My favorite of her books is "Plain Truth." Strangely, I happened to be in Lancaster, PA when I was reading the book (it's the setting of the book). It was quite good and I highly recommend it. It's a tough topic, but a very good read. The English teacher I work with is currently reading "The Pact" and I'm waiting for him to be finished with that so I can borrow it. It, too, is a tough topic, but he keeps raving about it, so my curiousity is peeked.

Not that you really need to add to your list, but have you ever read "Lovely Bones"? It's one of my favorites. Like much of what I wrote above, another tough topic, but I've reread it several times and like it more each time I read it.

Good luck on your reading journey. I hope to do better reading this year than last. I'll let you know if I discover anything great!

SlyGly said...

1) I will add my high recommendation for The Glass Castle. I adored it. I could not put it down.

2) I avoid series books if I can, for the same reason that you mentioned. But I often stumble into them accidentally.

3) Let me know what you think of The Book Thief. I've been nagged to read it by several people, but just haven't found the strong pull to comply.