I love to read. I love it so much that even with a baby, I still find time to read almost every night before bed. My tastes vary widely from serious business books to action books to chick lit. I read it all!
I finished over 50 books last year (curious about which books that I’m currently reading? The complete 2011 list is on the About Me page with 2012 coming next week). These were my favorite books of 2011:
Bossypants – Tina Fey’s book was everything I want in an autobiography by a funny person. It was downright funny, funny and made me like her even more (if that’s even possible!). I laughed out loud many times reading this book, enough to wake my sleeping husband.
Story of a Beautiful Girl – This book has a heart wrenching start as it delves into the mentally indigent in the ’60s and their horrible treatment. From there, the book follows the lives of a mute man and a woman, in love but
torn apart through circumstance, and of the daughter they were forced to give up. It is deeply moving, beautifully written and its ending does not disappoint.
Unbroken – Louis Zamperini crashed on a mission in World War II. He fought of starvation, sharks and the ocean for over 40 days before he was taken as a Prisoner of War by the Japanese. This book tells the story of his time in captivity, at sea and his life before and after the war. It is an exceptionally well-written book, reading like fiction, with an absolutely inspiring message.
State of Wonder – I love Ann Patchett’s writing (if you haven’t read “Bel Canto,” you should). This story line is particularly convoluted. It involves a researcher in the Amazon who is tracking a method to make women fertile their entire lives. What are the ethical implications of this? There’s a mystery thrown in (missing researcher) to keep the plot line moving and engaging.
A Visit from the Goon Squad – Wide ranging, spanning decades, this book could practically be a series of short stories. Though the book took full concentration to follow (read this one in large chunks, not ten pages here and ten pages there), the writing and storyline(s) were unique and inventive. I kept reading to see how the author would pull it all together and was sad when the book ended.
The Paris Wife – I don’t like Ernest Hemigway’s writing (I know, I know, millions do and I am clearly in the wrong for this opinion) so I was incredibly surprised when not only did I devour this book, I found myself getting worked up (in anger; Hemingway was not the best husband) over the fictionalized account of Hemingway’s first marriage and child. The book is well researched though the author does take some liberties in retelling the story of Hemingway’s early years of writing in Paris.
If you’ve read any great books that you think I should read (or have my book club read), let me know! I always am looking for thoughtful book suggestions.
Maria Stanley says
Yes, I read “Half Broke Hoses,” I highly recommend it…although I liked “Glass Castle” better.
I love to read…when I have time. I did just read Glass Castle and it was VERY good. I could not put it down, I finished the book in 3 days!
I loved that book – it was incredible. Did you read her other book?
Julie Takase says
AWESOME!!! Thanks for the suggestions!
Ann Stoermer says
I am an avid reader also. I find that it is usually a much better option than television.
Several of these are on my “to read” list. It is always nice to get a good review on something you plan to read (and often makes them move up on the list!).
I’ve never had a TV so it’s not even in my thought process for night activities – reading definitely is though. That and prepping for the next work day (packing a lunch, planning my to-do list, packing my gym bag etc…) and housework! =)
I’m with you, I loath Hemingway’s writing and almost every one of my lower under grad classes for English required us to read his literature. I went from disliking Hemingway to loathing him. I can stomach my fair share of sexism, bigotry, etc…But reading The Hills like White Elephants just flat out pissed me off.
I’ll definitely have to look into some of the other books listed here, they sound interesting!!
I can honestly say that I loathe him as well but I know it’s definitely something that I’m in the minority on. =) Let me know if you read any of the books – I’d love to hear what you think about them!
Maria Stanley says
I’ve read most of your choices…heartily agree with you about Hemingway but loved “the Paris Wife.” My book club read “South of Broad,” a wonderful story which captures the magic of Charleston SC- and “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” another gem-. I’ll love to hear your pics for 2012…aside from soaping, reading is my passion. (I’m the girl whose mother-in-law was from Bellingham- her father whose last name was Offerman was the first pharmacist and owned the third car in Fairhaven in the 20’s)
I read both of those! South of Broad was soooooo lovely. And what a mixed ending – so like real life. A mixed bag, ya’ know? Anything else you read and love, let me know =)
Alanna Maki says
I’m always looking for good books to read and I think that Unbroken will be going on my “need to read” list. P.S. I dislike Hemingway’s books as well….
It is SO worth it. Amazing. Kept me riveted and wanting to stay up too late to read it. Let me know what you think of it when you read it.
Juliette Doyle says
My book club recently read “1000 Gifts” by Ann VosKamp. It was a life changing book for all of us. If you want to learn how to be a person who sees the beauty in the ugly, then this is the book for you.
It looks like a meaningful book – deep. Thanks for the suggestion!
The Paris Wife is amazing! Made me feel like I was there… While reading, almost felt everything she (in the novel) felt, forming a very vivid picture of Paris – the life, the cafes, the streets- back in 1920’s. It’s fiction but is very real – I believe quite close to what they really lived then.
If you’re also a Hemingway fan like I am and loved his The Sun Also Rises, you’ll love this one too. I believe, I now have a better understanding of his life too.
I loved reading the whole book, every single page… Definetely my favorite for 2011 !
It was amazing – I agree, such a wonderful read. It gave me a LOT of insight into that entire era (which I didn’t know much about at all!).
I LOVED visit from the Goon Squad! I recently read “Blue Prints for Building Better Girls” which was written by a friend of Jennifer Egan’s. Fantastic. Connected short stories about lives of women through various ages. Funny, wry but written with empathy – the stories that we have experienced in our lives (or our friends have experienced)but rarely see them written down.
I was curious about the Paris Wife and now feel like I have to pick this one up!
Ooooh, thanks for the suggestion! I love the name of that book =)
Yes, “The Paris Wife” is a really interesting book. I would love to know what you think of it if you do end up reading it.