The Books I Enjoyed in 2012

I love to read and I normally read books suggested by others.  For some reason picking  out a book all by my lonesome is a tad intimidating for me. If I start a book I finish it even if I am not loving it. My sister thinks this is crazy because in her opinion she feels she is wasting her time if she is not loving the book. I understand that – I just have to finish the book. Weird!  I love being part of a book club as you are exposed to new books.  Plus I love to sit and chat about the books I read.  The conversation is even better over a good dinner,  a glass of wine and good girlfriends!

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

I started off the year reading the ever popular Hunger Games. It was a New York times bestseller and no sooner did I finish reading it than the movie came out.  I am sure you all know the story ……………..Katniss Everdeen is the main character  who lives in a dirt poor coal mining town in the post- apocalyptic  nation of Panem, where the countries of North America once existed. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, exercises political control over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death.

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Half Broke Horses

by Jeannette Walls

This book is written by the same author that wrote Glass Castles – which I loved and would highly suggest anyone to read it. So, I was pretty sure I would like Half Broke Horses as well – and I did. The main character is  Lily Casey Smith, this novel’s feisty Texas protagonist, a frontier teacher, a rancher, a rodeo rider, a poker player, and bootlegger. She is one tough cookie as she survives droughts, tornados, floods, poverty, and whatever else fate can throw against her. Based on author Jeannette Walls’s grandmother, Lily is a plausible character because she has a voice that synchronizes with her history.

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One Thousand White Women

by Jim Fergus

This is a wonderful  story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial “Brides for Indians” program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man’s world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

 

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The House I Loved

by Tatiana de Rosnay

This was one of book clubs selection and I read this book during our remodel and totally understood the main character, Rose Bazelet, love for her home as she  is determined to fight against the destruction of her family home until the very end; as others flee, she stakes her claim in the basement of the old house on rue Childebert, ignoring the sounds of change that come closer and closer each day. Attempting to overcome the loneliness of her daily life, she begins to write letters to Armand, her beloved late husband. And as she delves into the ritual of remembering, Rose is forced to come to terms with a secret that has been buried deep in her heart for thirty years.  A poignant story of one woman’s indelible strength, and an ode to Paris, where houses harbor the joys and sorrows of their inhabitants, and secrets endure in the very walls.

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The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady

by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

Another book club selection………..I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book.  I literally judged the book by the cover. It is based on true events in the early 1950’s. Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.  It is a entertaining book in a very dysfunctional way.

 

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Lets Pretend This Never Happened

by Jenny Lawson

If you want to entertain yourself with some dysfunctional humor then you need to read this book.

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments-the ones we want to pretend never happened-are the very same moments that make us the people we are today.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.

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Jenny has a very entertaining blog………thebloggess.com

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Fifty Shades

by E.L. James

Of course I read Fifty Shades…………didn’t everyone this last summer?  I even read all 3 of them even though they were the most poorly written books ever. That is part of my life I will never get back.  I guess that makes me a smut!! I won’t bore you with the books description as I am pretty sure you have heard all the details unless you live under a rock somewhere.

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Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn

This is one of those books that you start reading and don’t want to put it down because you want to see how it ends.

After Nick and Amy both lose their jobs in New York City they head to all places ….. North Carthage, Missouri! It is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

 

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette

by Maria Semple

Loved this book!!

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

 

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Language of Flowers

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This is another book I did not want to put down because I worried so much about the main character, Victoria whose childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

When Victoria is  eighteen she is emancipated from the system, and has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

 

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State of Wonder

by Ann Patchett

I thought this book was good – but would not say it was a favorite of mine.

As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness. Stirring and luminous, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss beneath the rain forest’s jeweled canopy.

 

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The Man in the Rockerfeller Suit

by Mark Seal

We also read this book for book club and I did enjoy reading this book.  It was quite interesting as it is a true story! The whole time you are reading this book you are shocked of how one person can lead a totally “made up” life!!

The story of Clark Rockefeller is a stranger-than-fiction twist on the classic American success story of the self-made man-because Clark Rockefeller was totally made up. The career con man who convincingly passed himself off as Rockefeller was born in a small village in Germany. At seventeen, obsessed with getting to America, he flew into the country on dubious student visa documents and his journey of deception began.

Over the next thirty years, boldly assuming a series of false identities, he moved up the social ladder through exclusive enclaves on both coasts-culminating in a stunning twelve-year marriage to a rising star businesswoman with a Harvard MBA who believed she’d wed a Rockefeller.

The imposter charmed his way into exclusive clubs and financial institutions-working on Wall Street, showing off an extraordinary art collection-until his marriage ended and he was arrested for kidnapping his daughter, which exposed his past of astounding deceptions as well as a connection to the bizarre disappearance of a California couple in the mid-1980s.

 

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Fall of Giants 

by Ken Follett

I really like any book by Ken Follett. But a word of warning is that the book has many characters so you must pay attention but it is well worth the read.    The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.

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Winter of the World

by Ken Follett

I am not quite finished with this book yet – almost tho!!

 This book picks up right where the first book Fall of Giants left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.
I hope you like to read as much as I do. What were you favorite books of 2012? I would love to know!! Remember, I normally read books that have been suggested by others.
I just found this photo on Pinterest – a book nook with doors. Hmmmmmm, wonder if you could lock it on the inside?? It’s a shame I don’t have a place for it in my home.
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Thanks for stopping by my little blog.
Until next time…………………..
Deb

 

It Seems Appropriate

I love to read. I always have a book and another one lined up when I finish my current one. I even finish books I am not that crazy about although many tell me life is too short to read a bad book. But, over that last month with a big remodel going on, reading has taken last place – not only reading but many other things as well !!

Our book club meets tomorrow night and I had not even started this month’s selection……. THE HOUSE I LOVED by Tatiana de Rosnay. She also wrote Sarah’s Key – which is a wonderful movie to watch. We have serious rules in our book club – please be on time and only come if you have read the book. Otherwise we will see you next month. We seriously want to talk about the book and nothing else. I really love talking about books with others especially with a nice glass of chardonnay.

When I finally started reading it on Friday eve I could not put it down. I don’t want to tell you everything – because I want you to read it. But it is about Paris, France in 1860. A widower named Rose writes to her deceased husband while Paris is undergoing “modernization” and the home that has been in their family for three generations is to be destroyed in the process. She writes to her love of her life, her husband Armand with passion about their home that  they so loved together. Armand was born in the home as was his father and grandfather before him.

As I was reading this book I could understand her love for her home especially now that we are in the process of remodeling ours. I have lived in “houses” and I have lived in “homes”. To me, when I can call a place a “home” I feel comfortable, cozy and able to nest in. But I have had houses that never seemed like a home even though we were a family living there.

 

Have you read any good books lately.  I would love to hear what you thought of them.

Debra