10. Love in the Driest Season by Neeley Tucker. This book broke my heart – It’s a memoir of a couple trying to adopt a baby girl in AIDS ravished Zimbabwe in the late 90s. The reports on the conditions of the orphanages there as well as the cultural beliefs that prevent many children from being adopted was hard to read – especially as someone who really has a heart for adoption.
9. Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers. Of course the book was wonderful – it’s Francine Rivers! This is her first new book in years – I was so excited to get it! This is the first in a two part series as well – and I’m certainly glad that I’ll get to see the continuation of this story line. If you enjoy it when books cover vast amounts of time and when they have characters who are very human in all their flaws and weaknesses – you’ll enjoy this. I also enjoyed the immigrant aspect of this book – the main character went from Switzerland to France to England to Canada to America – she lived quite the life!
8. The Dead Don’t Dance by Charles Martin: Martin is a recent discovery of mine. I love his books – his characters are meaningful and his southern settings are beautiful. A bit of a tear-jerker. My favorite scene (which I later leanred was the first scene that the author saw and knew he’d write this book) had the main character standing in a ditch full of icy water yelling at God about where He is at. Despite the fact that I’ve never stood in a ditch full of icy water – I could so relate. And I think being able to relate to a character is what makes books amazing.
7. After You by Julie Buxbaum: This book was a good read. The characters were likeable in all their flaws. Nothing too amazing to classify it as a must-read - but a good book for some pleasure reading.
6. mennonite in a black dress by Rhoda Janzen: I picked this up at a consignment store. I’ve attended a few weeks at a Mennonite church in the Chicago area – and the church I visited seems nothing like the Mennonite church described by the author – but I’m sure it’s normal to have such a wide range of beliefs and practices – and the fact that the church I visited was urban I’m sure had a lot to do with the differences. It wasn’t the best memoir I’ve ever read –but it had some interesting parts
5. Perfect Match by Jodi Piccoult: A coworker gave me this one to borrow. It’s probably not one that I would’ve picked up on my own as it deals with a District Attorney who suddenly has the tables turned on her when her child becomes the victim - and the book was difficult/unpleasant to read at parts. I like Piccoult’s writing though – and she did a good job of exploring the fuzzy distinction between “right” and “wrong” that we often see in our lives.
4. Through Painted Desserts by Donald Miller: This one I read off and on for the past few months. I started it as I was riding through a painted-dessert like landscape myself – looking out from the lounge car of an Amtrak train on my way to Arizona for my brother’s wedding last fall. I first read Miller a few years ago (Blue Like Jazz) and already knew that I loved his no-nonsense, realistic approach to faith and God in our world. I love that he doesn’t sugarcoat religion and just writes about it as part of his life – flaws and all.
3. The Red Tent by Anita Diammant: This is the story of Dinah – the Biblical Jacob’s only daughter. The author took the Biblical story and made some inferences and then told a fictional story. It was a very interesting read and gave a good perspective on what life could have been like for some of the Biblical characters we think we know so well.
2. My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Piccoult: I was waiting for this one on bookmooch.com but managed to get it for a deal when the bookstore at the local mall was going out of business. I had seen the movie first but had been told the book was still worth it – that was good advice. Without spoiling the book for anyone – I enjoyed the extra characters and the fact that the ending was still a surprise.
1. Love The One You're With by Emily Griffin: I picked this one up off the bargain table at Books-a-Million while visiting my parents for Christmas. I wanted something light and fluffy as an entertaining read. It's pretty typical chick-lit. This time the successful city dwelling woman ran into an old ex and the book details her range of emotions and thoughts as she deals with her reaction to that ex and her commitment to her husband and marriage. The book ended correctly as far as I'm concerned and it did it's job well of being something light and fluffy to read.