In 2011, I decided I was going to aim for reading 100 books. I thought how easy would that be; it would be only 2 books a week for the most part. However, I failed. After some non reading weeks and books that were hard to tackle, I ended up with a total of 79 books. Again this year, I am setting my goal for 100 books, but this year I want one book a month to be a classic, and one book to be a debut teen author. So far I have read 2 books for the year, and one of them is my classic. But before I focus on just want I am planning on reading this year, I want to look back at the highlights of my reading from 2011.
The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
In this suspense novel, Karen is preparing for her husband, Rex, to be released from jail, and she begins to reminisce about how the two of them met. Karen recalls how as a straight laced college student she met her future husband and his sister. The two siblings are wild children who partake in drug use and drinking which occur often at one of their own parties. It is at one of these parties everyone’s future is changed. But after Rex’s release, someone from the past tries to disturb the new family balance between Karen, Rex, and their daughter, but Karen quickly takes care of the situation.
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
In this novel, the narrator is discussing his relationship with his live-in girlfriend one word at a time. In these entries, he discusses the high points, the low points,and his insecurities. He isn’t overly mushy, but he is very insightful and honest. Several times I was teary eyed over the things he said about how wonderful his girlfriend is. The two things I loved about this book are: 1) I had to look up a few of the words and 2) Levithan describes all different aspects of the relationship. It is in the honesty and raw emotion that this book is relatable to everyone.
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
This was my number one sci-fi pick of the year. Danny North is a member of a well respected magical family, but he shows no signs of magic. Because of his lack of ability, his cousins make fun of him and bully him. But Danny unknowingly has been performing magic–a type of magic that has not been seen for many generations. As he becomes aware of his rare ability, he must learn the forgotten magic with few resources. However, he does learn to control his new magic and prepares to change the lives of all the magical families in the world.
Waterfall by Lisa Bergren
In the first book of the trilogy, two sisters, Gabi and Lia, are in Italy with their mother who is doing a dig in ancient tombs. However, as the girls become bored with being in Italy and ignored by their mother, the two girls go exploring on their own. Gabi and Lia find that there are two perfect hand prints inside one of the tombs, and when they place their hands in them, they are transported back into fourteenth century Italy. These girls are then faced with finding survival in an unfamiliar time which they are able to do, but they are also faced with the decision to stay in this new place where they have made friends and possibly fallen in love, or return to their mother.
The Reading Promise: my father and the books we shared by Alice Ozma
This nonfiction book describes the promise a father and daughter make to one another to read consecutively for 100 nights in a row. However, this promise evolves into something even more than reading with one another. As they conquered the 100 nights easily and extended the timeline of their reading, they both realize the importance of spending time with one another, and the promise reaffirms for both of them the love of reading. It also discusses how this commitment made to one another when Alice was in the fourth grade ended up shaping who they each came to be.
Tough Cookies: Leadership lessons from 100 years of the Girl Scouts by Kathy Cloninger
I’ve been a life long Girl Scout, and I was excited to see this book come out for our 100 anniversary, but I was more excited that it was written for a much broader audience. Cloninger explains how leadership needs to be more divided among men and women not because one is more able than the other but because we have different leadership qualities that complement one another. She then explains how the Girl Scout organization is helping to make women able to be strong leaders which will be able to strengthen the overall leadership of the United States and many other countries. This book is great for anyone, but if you are already a part of Girl Scouts, it also helps to explain the change in programming and branding to help Girl Scouts stay relevant for another 100 years.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches is about Diana an unwilling witch. She comes from a well known witch family, but she refuses to learn how to control her powers and hopes that by doing so, she will have a normal life. However, normal is not how her life begins to play out. After gaining the attention of the vampires, the daemons, and other witches, Diana is confronted with more knowledge of the “other” world then she ever cared for. She has accidentally put herself and family in harm’s way and must take a crash course on honing her skills if she hopes to survive the war she has incited.
Other notable books of 2011 that I have yet to read:
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Paris Wife by Paula Mclain
Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
The Art of Fielding by Chard Harbach