Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson - Greg King

I've long been fascinated with British royal history.  I was up at 4:30am on April 28, 2011, parked on the couch with fresh chocolate chip scones and glued to the telly as the heir to the throne married the charming commoner.  I wrote a research paper on Princess Diana's childhood in middle school.  I wrote another one on Anne Boleyn in high school.  One of my favorite blogs is What Kate Wore.  I have an old VHS recording of a 4 hour documentary on the wives of Henry VIII that I taped off PBS and have watched more times than I care to admit.  I just finished watching through both series of David Starkey's Monarchy on Netflix. Then I watched the through the docu-drama The Queen. I read books like this one.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Daughter's Walk - Jane Kirkpatrick

This book is quite an abnormality for me.  Typically, I shy away from this genre....a genre that I can't think of a word for other than kitsch.  I suppose I should have known better than to take an interest in a book on my mother's kitchen table.  This is her kind of book; not mine.  However, the back cover intrigued me...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Books I Read in 2011

As promised, here is the list of books that I read in 2011.  I included everything with chapters.  No judging.  I tried some things out (cough, cough, Twilight) that I quickly discovered were not for me, regardless of having given them their fair chance.  I've included a few comments under some of them.

  1. The Girl Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson

    2.       One Day – David Nicholls
    Great book.  Kevin and I watched the movie the other night and it was also fantastic.  Unique concept.  Excellent execution.

    3.       Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
    Brilliant.  Book and movie.

    4.       A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
    5.       Anthem – Ayn Rand
    6.       Decision Points – George W. Bush
    7.       William and Kate: A Royal Love Story – Christopher Andersen
    Guilty pleasure read.  Wonderfully indulgent.

    8.       The Mysterious Affair – Agatha Christie
    9.       The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson
    My least favorite of the series.

    10.   The Rule of Four – Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason
    11.   Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
    12.   New Moon – Stephanie Meyer
    13.   Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea – Barbara Demick
    Absolutely fascinating look into North Korea.  I learned so much and Demick's writing style kept me engaged.  I highly recommend this one.

    14.   Cleopatra: A Life – Stacy Schiff
    Excellent biography of a timeless historical figure.  If Egyptian history interests you, this is a must read.

    15.   Wonderful Tonight – Pattie Boyd
    Pattie Boyd was married to George Harrison and Eric Clapton.  This is her memoir.

    16.   The Ark – Boyd Morrison
    17.   The Unlikely Disciple – Kevin Roose
    18.   The Kid Who Became President – Dan Gutman
    19.   Meet Molly – Valerie Tripp
    20.   Molly’s Surprise – Valerie Tripp
    21.   The Tudors – G. J. Meyer
    22.   A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS – Jennet Conant
    As a huge Julia Child fan, I knew I had to read this.  However, while interesting, I enjoyed My Life in France 100x more because that's the part of Child's life with which I better connect.

    23.   Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
    Part of my attempt to give all the books I hated in high school a second chance.  While there are good sections of this story, for the most part, I had it right in high school.

    24.   Women and Ministry – Dan Doriani
    25.   Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
    A tell-all book about the world of cooking and commercial kitchens.  For an at-home chef like me, it was guilty pleasure mixed with hobby.

    26.   Where She Went – Gayle Forman
    27.   Medium Raw – Anthony Bourdain
    28.   Across the Universe – Beth Revis
    A young adult sci-fi novel.  Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see this one on film in the next few years.

    29.   Atlas Shrugged –  Ayn Rand
    Amazing.  I've been putting off reading this for a while, but after reading Anthem again and loving it just as much the third time around, I knew I needed to venture into more of Rand's work.  This was well worth the immense endeavor.  It took me from Easter to Thanksgiving, but I did it and loved it.  The Fountainhead will be on my 2012 list.

    30.   Start Something That Matters – Blake Mycoskie
    A gift from a coworker.  This guy founded TOMS shoes.

    31.   The Novelist – Angela Hunt
    32.   Why? Because We Still Like You: An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club – Jennifer Armstrong
    More guilty pleasure.  A very fun read.

    33.   Bossypants – Tina Fey
    How can you not love Tina Fey?  I wasn't going to read this and then I picked it up on a whim before Thanksiving.  Needless to say, my break was spent laughing over Fey's delightful memoir.

    34.   Before You Get Engaged – David Gugel
    Awesome book.  Kevin and I read it together and we would highly recommend it to any Christians thinking about taking the next step as a couple.  It scores much higher on my chart than most Christian dating books by being practical and avoiding cliches.

    35.   A Stolen Life – Jaycee Lee Dugard
    36.   A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin
    37.  Love Wins - Rob Bell
    38.  The Help - Kathryn Stockett

    Well, there it is.  The 2011 list.  Hopefully 2012 will be longer!  It's my goal to make 40 for sure and 52 if I really push myself.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Clash of Kings - George R.R.Martin

I realize that this is the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but since I read the first one last year, I'm not going to include a review of it.  Suffice it to say that it was good enough that I started immediately on the second one.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir - Dick Van Dyke

This book has been on my library list for months and I finally checked it out of the holidays.  Yet, with my ever growing pile of things to read and three different families to spend time with in two different states, somehow I did not get to it until the new year.  Once I started, though, I finished it in one day.


I'm not the type of person who starts something without preparation or forethought.  I like lists and records and evaluations.  Such it is with this blog.  Last year I read just under 40 books.  That was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but having a simple list of those books didn't seem like enough.  So, while I'll post that list here, I want to go a step further with the books I read in 2012 and beyond.  If nothing else, this is an exercise in digging deeper into the literature that I'm consuming.  I miss the days of high school AP Literature and AP Language where we were forced to venture into analysis.  I love to learn and I want to continually push myself to the next level in everything I do.  Therefore, I will be posting a review of each book I read this year.  It will help me keep track not only of what I have read, but what I thought about the books and how worth my time they were. I may even do a few posts about books I read last year.  I read a very wide variety of books, so there should be something for everyone...if anyone besides Kevin actually reads this.

So, here's to the journey, whatever it holds.

"You cannot open a book without learning something." - Confucius.