It’s been an interesting year of life for me, and my reading time has sort of fluctuated a great deal. However, there have been a lot memorable reading moments scattered throughout the year. It’s hard to narrow down just one or two reads that really stood out from the rest but if I had to mention two books that I just really appreciated spending time with in 2009 it would be Choosing Gratitude and, (I doubt you’ll find this surprising) the third book in the Mysterious Benedict Society (click on the titles to read my reviews). I hear of people camping out in and around bookstores waiting for new releases and I have to admit I find that kind of silly. However, if I had the opportunity to camp out over The Mysterious Benedict Society, I would have. Both of these books provided their own unique experience and are ones that I would recommend to absolutely anyone without hesitation.
Personally, I’m grateful to be afforded the opportunity to read as much as I do. I’m looking forward to seeing what falls into my lap in 2010 and I look back at 2009 with fond memories.
While I’ve had a love affair with books since before I can even remember, my adult reading habits weren’t very consistent in recent years, perhaps having something to do with the craziness of the life of a mama. But 2009 brought an opportunity for me in the form of 5 Minutes for Books, and when I became a staff reviewer in January, my reading addiction was fulfilled in greater measures than ever before. While I’ve been pleased to review all sorts of books here, from picture books to young adult fiction to nonfiction selections, my own personal favorite genre remains contemporary fiction. I tend to be drawn the strongest to characters to whom I can relate, and I was awed by the realism that I found in Katherine Center’s Everyone is Beautiful. Oh yes, I laughed and I cried, and then I laughed some more. Though a completely different reading experience, Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry has also stuck with me this year, as a book that I had been very much anticipating and one that drew me in from page one. (My gushing reviews are linked here.) Most of all, I’m just happy to be immersing myself in the worlds I find between the book covers, whether they be completely familiar or beyond my own imagination. May 2010 bring us all more books that bring us joy, make us think and prompt us to ask people, “Have you read this yet?”
2009 saw me challenge myself to read some genres I hadn’t delved into before. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (reviewed here AND here) was not only delightful, it piqued my interest in the WWII era. I’ve read several other fiction and non-fiction books about this time in our world’s history, and learned much in the process. I also entered the world of gothic fiction with The Thirteenth Tale (reviewed here). Both genres were foreign to me, and I’d never even considered reading something in them. I’m so glad I did!
My life is undergoing some major changes in 2010. I’m not yet sure how much my reading will be affected, but I’ll still pop in at 5 Minutes for Books on occasion to share the good reads I find.
As I clicked through the archives in preparation for writing this end of year retrospective, I was surprised by how many really good books I read this past year, some of which were my own reviews in addition to a couple of titles I read (and loved) because of my colleagues’ reviews, most notably The Help reviewed by Jennifer and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society reviewed by Melissa. Stand outs from my own pile of fiction reviews would definitely include The Book Thief, So Brave, Young and Handsome and the thriller The Knight. I thoroughly enjoyed the classics Rebecca and The Count of Monte Cristo and look forward to reading more classic literature in 2010 as part of our new and improved Classics Bookclub! In the non fiction department memoir is fast becoming a new favorite genre mainly due to titles like Finding An Unseen God and Clara’s War that stayed with me long after the last page was turned. As I look back on a year of great reads, I am glad to be a part of this site and for the opportunity to read and discuss books I love with friends who love books.
I have to echo the thoughts of the other contributors here. What a great year in books. I have to say that looking back over the year, what stands out most in my mind the excellent children’s lit that I read. But the books I would mention from that category are listed on our 5 Star Reads list. I wanted to highlight some memorable books that didn’t quite make that list in this post — but please, click over and review the 5 Star Reads, specifically the ones in the 9 – 12 and tween categories.
Reading new authors and tackling new subjects is always a pleasant reading challenge. In spite of thinking that I wouldn’t like her novels, I truly enjoyed the audiobook of Home by Marilynne Robinson. A few non-fiction books have really stuck with me months after reading them: Outcasts United, Free-Range Kids, and You’d Be So Pretty If. I’m looking forward to more delightful discoveries in 2010.
Although 2009 was wonderful for me in many ways, it was also a difficult year because I was sick for a good portion of it. On so many nights, I was just too tired to read, and if I am too tired to read, something is wrong with me! When I look back, I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to read more, but I still read some wonderful books; and as always, I am so thankful to be able to share my love of reading with all of you!
I prefer fiction, but when I review my 2009 reading list, nonfiction titles stand above the rest. Those of you who know me understand that I am a Disney fanatic. Carrie’s review of How To Be Like Walt piqued my interest, and I found this book about Walt Disney to be both fascinating and inspiring. Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter is a book that I reviewed, and it is one that I highly recommend to any Christian parent. I will be returning to this book many times in the coming years! My most recent nonfiction read, Nurture Shock, is another memorable read from 2009. I have changed some of my parenting ways because of this book, and I encourage any one who interacts with children to read it!
Of all the fiction books I read this year, Rooftops of Tehran stands out to me more than any other. Jennifer recommended this book, and I was glad that I read it, even it some parts were outside my normal comfort zone. The story was beautiful, and I appreciated that I learned more about an unfamiliar culture. If you haven’t read it, I hope you will add it to your list for 2010!
I am so excited to start this new year. I feel like my old self, and I can’t wait to dig into some new stories. I look forward to reading the reviews from the contributors here and the comments from of all you. I know that 2010 is going to be a great year for books!
What are the books from 2009 that you still remember? Have you been convinced to add any of these to your list for 2010?