Monday, December 31, 2012

Things That Kept Me From Doing Laundry Or A List Of Books I Read This Year

Why hello there! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Lots of other things that require exclamation points!

It seems I haven't written since before Christmas.'s like someone forgot she has a blog. Or perhaps it's like someone was busy with shopping and wrapping and cleaning and cooking and entertaining and laundry and eating and sledding and shoveling and laying about watching bad television. It's one of those things, anyway.

But before this year ends, I thought that I might share with you one of the other things that has kept me busy: reading. I have certainly done some reading this year, my friends. In fact, I'm quite certain that my reading has caused me, on more than one occasion, to neglect certain of my duties (hello laundry, I'm looking at you!) and possibly even caused me to hide from my children.

And so, because, as I have often stated here, I am a giver and I love nothing more than gushing over my new favorite book with a fellow book lover, I am sharing with you a list (some with commentary) of the books that I have read this year.

A Game of Thrones (book1)
A Clash of Kings (book 2)
A Storm of Swords (book 3)
A Feast for Crows (book 4)
A Dance with Dragons (book 5)
All by George R.R. Martin

Yes, I read them all last January. There are so many characters in this series, that I was afraid that if I tried to come back to them after an absence, I would forget the many characters and plot lines. This series is not for everyone. It's fantasy and sometimes quite, um, earthy. I understand that these books are now a series on HBO, but we don't have HBO and quite frankly, I'm not all that interested in watching it. I don't know if book 6 is out yet, and I'm not sure I'll be able to read it when it is. See: concerns regarding characters and plot lines after an absence.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
     This is technically a young adult book, but I have to say that I enjoyed it very much and appreciate Mr. Green's writing. While I read this book back in February, it has stuck with me all year. I will be encouraging my two older children (they are 16 and 14) to read it.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
     After all the heavy books I read this month, this book was a welcome change. I laughed out loud several times by the situations the main character in this book found himself in and the dialogue as well. It was fast paced and funny and made me want to read more by this author.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
     I'm sorry to say that as many tries as I gave this book, coming back to it again and again, I just could not finish this book. As well received as it was by critics, I just couldn't fight my way through.

Plan B by Jonathan Tropper

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
    It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did, I was glad I stuck with it. I enjoyed this book--even though the subject matter (It's the story of 5 women on Masada. And we know how things ended on Masada.) was tough. Ms. Hoffman's writing is lovely.

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott
     Ms. Lamott could write laundry soap instructions and I would enjoy reading them.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed
     I found this book by turns funny and agonizing. It kept me reading and it made me want to walk the Pacific Coast Trail, much the way Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods made me want to take on the Appalachian Trail.

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
     Mr. Weiner's quest for the happiest place on earth was a joy to read and made me happy that I didn't have to travel but could enjoy his discoveries from the comfort of my own couch.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
     A fictionalized biography about Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in the court of Henry VIII of England. I'm a bit of a sucker regarding books about ol' Henry and this book didn't disappoint. It was an exceptional book and won several awards. I haven't yet read its sequel Bring up the Bodies, but it is on my list.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
     If you have not yet read this tricky, twisty, twisted thriller, I'm betting you know someone who has. Enjoyment may be the wrong word for how I felt when I read this book, but if enjoying it was wrong, I don't want to be right.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
     Steve Jobs was a strange cat. Brilliant. Egotistical. Visionary. And strange. (But golly, do I love my Mac and iphone. Yes, I worship at the altar of Apple.)

Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
     Ms. Lawson is crude. Ms. Lawson uses bad language. Ms. Lawson writes about taxidermied animals and social anxiety and working in human resources. Ms. Lawson is terribly, terribly funny.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
     It's a post-apocalyptic story about a man, his dog, and his plane. And it's very, very good. (Okay, maybe it's about a little more than I said. But still, trust me: very, very good.)

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
    I just couldn't seem to get enough of Ms. Flynn's writing.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
     This book has been out since the early '90s. Not sure how I missed it back then, but I'm glad I read it. And no, I haven't seen the movie.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
     This book caught me right away and kept me right to the end. Where I shed great big tears.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    In the Victorian era, people assigned meanings to different flowers and then communicated their feelings to each other through them. This novel follows a young woman leaving the foster care system who speaks the language of flowers better than she speaks her own feelings. I found myself frustrated with the main character and her flaws, but never frustrated with the book.  Loved this book and wish that people still communicated through flowers. I would send some to my neighbors. Heh heh heh.

Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
    Never been a fan of Mr. O' Reilly and was glad that I had this book on my Kindle, so that I didn't have to publicly show that I own a book with his name on it, but still enjoyed the book.

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
     Funny and enlightening.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
     Funny and enlightening but from a female perspective. If you've ever wanted to shake a fist at the Proverbs 31 woman, your perspective will change after you've read this book. And you will want to congratulate the women of valor in your own life. Eshet chayil!

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer
     A novel based on the life of bank robber Willie Sutton. I look forward to reading more by Mr. Moehringer.

I'm certain that I read stuff this month. I mean, stuff that wasn't recipes or Christmas lists, but it wasn't in book form. I was too busy. Well, until now. I'm getting in just under the wire here with starting to read Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.

I've just started Ms. Lamott's book and Ms. Voskamp's I've been into a little more, but have to keep putting it down to digest it and let it fully wash over me.

Okay, friends. There you have it. A rather long list of the books that have kept me from doing my laundry. Now I'm looking forward to 2013. And guess what? I'm looking for some books to read. Any suggestions?

Thanks for stopping by here at Que Sara Sara this year! May you and yours have a blessed and peaceful 2013!

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