Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Reading List

Apologies if you're seeing this on a feed reader - - - just moving stuff around . . .  :)

Books to finish in 2011:

Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon - - there will be a whole entry on this one 
The Rest of God by March Buchananan
Travelling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott (mere pages from the end!)

October-December (I stopped keeping track!)

19. Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter by Lisa Paton: Southern Girl moves with her family to Vermont to open a B&B. The snow buries her, her husband leaves her, and she eventually figures life out.  A fluff read but a good one :)

18. The Girls by Lori Lansens. This is about conjoined twins - it was REALLY interesting. Great characters and she did a good job of layering the story and leaving some mystery and such in it. 

17. It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather Armstrong. I actually picked this up for a friend who like's the author's blog and then read it first (sorry, Anna! haha)  It was ok.. a good book for new mothers who needs some company in the midst of misery I'm sure. Her writing style is nice and often funny.

16. Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.  This was a heartbreaking novel for me. It's about women and friendship I guess. It's set in China about a century ago - when women's feet were bound and their value was questionable.  I really felt connected to the characters as I was reading this.

15. Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy by Lindsay Moran: As someone who always had "spy" listed in her dream job category - this was kind of disheartening. Being a spy doesn't involve constantly being mysterious and super smart and MacGyvering your way out of tight spots? Sad!  I still read it to the very last page though because, hello, this woman was a SPY!


14. Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers.  The second part of the saga that was begun in March with Her Mother's Hope. I've always loved when I get to get the "big picture" on a family and watch the story travel for generations - this story line  begins in the first book with Marta as a young child and the second book ends with the birth of Marta's great-great grandchild. So - you get to see a lot. The characters are great and real and life has an authentic feel instead of it being some made up fictional world where people operate as if they had a writer. Go read everything by Rivers :)


13. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Really interesting. A book on correlation and not causation for the most part of course - but really interesting and it makes you think about how we as humans tend to operate.

May, June, and July

. . .crickets . . .   I read a little...just didn't finish any books this month. It was pretty outside :)


12. A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin This reminds me of Janette Oke/Lori Wick a bit. In the “cheesy Christian but a good fluff read” category. It’s set during WWII – which is a time period I love to read about.  The female protagonist of the story has the whole “she doesn’t know she’s beautiful” thing going on – which set of an internal rant in my mind about how the world expects women to be both humbly unaware of their charm and beauty  in a world where “beauty matters” AND for women to act confidently in the belief that they are beautiful . 
11. Wrapped In Rain by Charles Martin Haven’t found a book of his yet that I don’t love. If you have a fond connection to The South – I bet you’ll love his descriptions of that beautiful part of the country as well.
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 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.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Thanks for reading my sporadically updated blog and leaving your comments. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The First Snow

Chicago had its first snow of the season this past weekend. We had flurries earlier in the week and during the night on Friday a couple inches floated down. We have more snow predicted for the coming week - so I guess for the next few months it's slushy sidewalks and salty roads. Yay?  We'll just enjoy the novelty while it's still pretty and white and fun ;)

I had a Christmas Brunch at church that morning but when I got back I had fun participating in my favorite "purposeful exercise" activity - snow shoveling! - and building a snowman with my Californian housemate.  I was deprived of all of these fun winter activities growing up in the South - so I enjoy it now. Most people are more than happy to let me take over the snow shoveling task.

I was sick during the flurry part of the week earlier - but did enjoy my annual tradition of watching Little Women on the day of the first snow. It's such a great snow day movie.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Long Cardigans

A short fatshion post:  long cardigans

They are cozy and warm. It's like wearing a blanket - in a good way. (They are much more fashionable than snuggies!) For people who do well well with layers - they are fabulous! I love layers.

I think this purple/teal combo would work better with pants other than jeans - make some cords?  I'll have to keep my eye out for a good deal.

In this picture wearing a ruffled purple tank from Lane Bryant, teal cardigan from Avenue, Lane Bryant jeans, Boots from Avenue.