Sunday, May 17, 2009

Last Night at the Lobster: Stewart O'Nan

This weekend I finished reading Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan. This book has been on the to be read list for awhile, so I finally requested it from the library.

I thought it was a book about the last night at a local restaurant. So in my head it was going to be this great story about everyone going to this local establishment one last time. Well the "local" restaurant was actually a Red Lobster, and I couldn't adapt to the change in the story. In my head, my version, was so much better.

That being said I don't really think I gave this book a fair shot. It was written well and has a lot of critical acclaim. It follows Manny the manager of a Red Lobster on its last open day, which happens to occur on the same day as a blizzard. The restaurant chain has decided this restaurant isn't profitable enough and is moving the manager and five of his employees to an Olive Garden. O'Nan captured the characters and restaurant life perfectly. The story follows Manny from opening up to closing the doors for the last time.

I can't say I'd recommend this book, but if someone read it without the preconceived notions I had, perhaps it would be more enjoyable.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Homemade Life: Molly Wizenberg

Another way that Peaknit and I are in sync is we both just finished A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, and we both loved it. See her post here!

Wizeberg is the writer of Orangette, a blog I will admit I was not familiar with. My college roommate Trish let me borrow the book and it was the perfect book to discover right now.

After a few books that I didn't enjoy (The Secret History, and Thanks for the Memories) A Homemade Life was perfect!

The book is a series of short stories about Wizenberg, her family, and her life, each story is capped off with a recipe. As anyone who knows me knows that I am the pickiest eater ever. Yet this book had me craving things I've never even dreamed of eating. Wizenberg's attitude was never overly pretentious, rather she's someone who genuinely enjoys food and the memories associated with it.

Her memories of food and meals had me thinking about my own food memories. Some of my favorite times with people are those when we get together cook and eat together. Growing up we always ate family dinners and even as a college student we had our own version of "family" dinners.

Wizeberg captured it perfectly when she said, "That's why this book is called A Homemade Life. Because, in a sense, that's what we're building - you, me, all of us who like to stir and whisk - in the kitchen and at the table. In the simple acts of cooking and eating, we are creating and continuing the stories that are our lives."

To put it simply...get this it...and pass it along to those who have shared your table.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Elizabeth Berg :: Home Safe


oh, elizabeth berg, you have done it again.

I read this book in a day. I love Berg, her stories tell tales of real people. The characters often have endearing quirks and insecurities. And Helen is no exception. She is the mother of an adult child and a recent widow. She is struggling in her first year as a widow. Helen was lucky to have been married to a soul mate for 30+ years and then finds herself alone and somewhat helpless - helpless, if not a little by choice. She and her husband shared fairly traditional roles and his was to take care for her. So she finds herself learning how be alone, which is so much fun to peek in on.

Her relationship with her daughter is also excruciatingly funny to watch. Helen wants to take care of her daughter but her 27-year-old independant girl will have none of it. In one chapter, Helen tries to buy a sweater for her but knows how her daughter will hate that, so wears it herself - convinced that Tessa (her daughter) will compliment her on it and then she can give it to her. I love this convoluted thinking. It's charming and adorable. Berg shares many of Helen's funny thoughts - what she says and then what she'd like to say. It lends such a fun, human quality to Helen.

Berg typically creates good friendships for her characters - enviable relationships in the strangest of circumstances - somehow I find that comforting. That in the current world we live, there is opportunity for friendship anywhere, you just have to look abd be open. Note to the author :: perhaps you should consider a novel where blog-friendships evolve - because there is an example in my life where I have found surprising comraderie *wink, wink* (yes, I am talking to you).

I am a Berg fan since forever - this one did not disappoint. Thank you!

P.S. the icing on the cake is that the author is coming to my local Barnes and Noble next week! So, while I tried to be sensible and rent a book from the library, clearly I will have to buy it so she can sign it! Oh well - the best intentions!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

One True Thing :: Anna Quindlan


Of course, I finished this book before I realized it seemed familiar - it was made into a movie with Maryle Streep and Renee Zellweger, a movie I wanted to see. Anyways, I enjoyed the book.

The theme seems to bring the focus on a mother's unconditional love for me. A successful daughter is called home by the remote father to care for her mother who is dying of cancer. Ellen, the upwardly mobile 24-year-old, has always been like her father - going places, while her mother was a good mom - but at home, not a stereotype appreciated by Ellen. So to leave her life behind to stay home with mom is a chore. The chore turns into the best thing that has ever happened. Ellen realizes some areas of her life that need work, and forges an enviable relationship with her dying mother. A mother who she finally really sees clearly, perhaps for the first time. Ellen ultimately forgives (mom more than dad) both of her parents for their shortcomings and accepts their human-ness, my favorite quote::

Our parents are never people to us, never...
As a mother, this has become reality for me as my own occasionally defiant daughter doesn't see me as a person, as a human with the right to make mistakes. I didn't give my parents credit for being regular people either, until I was a mom - back in the day they were my parents, period. Two people who just don't understand. Remember that Fresh Prince song?

So the story ends, with a trial and a twist - you'll have to check it out to learn more. I recommend it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Revenge of the Spellmans - Lisa Lutz

As a child I was addicted to mysteries. I swear I read every Nancy Drew book out there, and as a result of that I need something really good to entertain me as an adult. I enjoy the Stephanie Plum books as audio books, but I don't read or listen to much else.

Then I met the Spellman family, created by Lisa Lutz, and introduced to readers in The Spellman Files , this family who goes through all the drama and family squabbles that other families experience, but add in the family PI business and you get a great story.

The third book in the series Revenge of the Spellmans was no exception. I was glad to see what all the characters were up to since the second book ended. Izzy Spellman has decided to take a break from the family business and she works as a bartender, and is participating in court ordered therapy. But everything around her is changing and she's trying to figure out her place in it all. But she can't avoid her true calling and before long she's involved in another investigation. However that's not all, her sister Rae is up to her old tricks and something is a bit off with her brother, and then there's the small matter of Izzy is being blackmailed, so there's a lot going on, but it's all told in a highly entertaining and captivating fashion.

If you enjoy a good entertaining story I would recommend checking out all of Lisa Lutz's novels.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Matrimony :: Joshua Henkin


Gosh, it's been awhile - I swear I have been reading. I have read quite a bit actually but have been feeling kind of apathetic and uninspired lately, sheesh. And then I read Matrimony.

Okay, it's not exactly like I read Matrimony and suddenly became inspired but really, I wanted to share this book. I liked it. It was simple - about likable people. About relationships - turbulence, typical daily struggles.

You have Julian, likable and from old money. Carter - from no money and jealous of people with money yet somehow a friend of Julian's. Mia, bright, fun and patient. Pilar, beautiful but she doesn't add a ton to the book. Anyways - we follow these 4 from freshman year through their lives - Julian is the focus. We follow how his friendship with Carter and his relationship with Mia evolve. It was a quick read - but not cute in a "chick lit" sort of way. And the cover kind of sucks you in - those are some great shoes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Marathon Post: The Book Thief, Knit Two, Shelter Me & Coraline's been awhile, so this is going to be a marathon post. Since I last wrote I've read three books and listened to one.

The first book was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Peaknit gave a great description a few posts ago, but I had my own interesting description. I thought the book was excellent, but after I finished reading it I felt like I was kicked in the stomach. It's not surprising that a book narrated by Death during World War II is going to sting a bit, but this one certainly packed a punch. However, it is certainly one of the best books I've read in awhile.

After finishing The Book Thief, I needed to read something that was as different as possible, and so I selected Knit Two by Kate Jacobs. It certainly wasn't anything like The Book Thief!! I was actually bored by this book, I did finish it, but I didn't connect with the characters and I found myself not really caring what happened to them. I don't want to ruin either book, so I'll basically say the story continues a few years after The Friday Night Knit Club ended. My feelngs about this book weren't a big surprise to me since I didn't love the first book either. If you really enjoyed the first book perhaps don't take my review too seriously.

This past Friday I just finished Shleter Me by Juliette Fay. I stayed up pretty late Thursday hoping to finish, but just couldn't keep my eyes open. The novel tells the story of a woman who recently and unexpectedly lost her husband. We follow Janie as she stumbles through grief and becomes a single parent, we meet her family and experience everything Janie does, post Robby. Fay seemed to capture all the emotions one might go through after such a horrific loss. However, mingled with grief is great joy and humor. I enjoyed her depiction of Janie's children. I would certainly recommend this book.

The final book I've recently finished is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. For my job I sometimes have to travel, and a few upcoming trips had me stop by the library to pick up some audio books. Based on Amy Singer's recommendation from an earlier blog post I decided to give Coraline a try. I can't say I was as captivated as everyone else was, but I certainly enjoyed the story and it was perfect for my trip. I do think I want to see the movie, and I'll be interested to see how the story translates. The only thing was I did picture the characters in the book to look just like the characters in the movie, which made for an interesting listen!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale :: Diane Setterfield


"Do you know the feeling when you start a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the prvious book with ideas about themes - characters even - caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you?" (pg 289)

This was the most pointed line from this entire book for me. This quote touched me, as if the author was speaking directly to me for not leaving my last book behind long enough to allow myself to fully appreciate hers.

You see, I had just read The Book Thief - I was carried away by the story, fell in love with the characters - I don't think I mourned the closing of that book an adequate amount of time before jumping into The Thirteenth Tale. So that said, I don't think I appreciated the book entirely. First, I do not typically read mysteries, I don't often like them - so I was a little distracted by the new genre - subsequently, I was very on the fence through the whole book.

I did not like many of the characters - time and again I am a broken record. If I love the characters I devour their story - if I don't love them, I don't. This is not unlike how I behave in real life...I think I am a loyal friend but if someone is unpleasant I simply steer away or hurry through our required contact. For example, in my job - unfortunately, I do not like some of my clients' personalities - as result I may not spend as much time with them as I do with those who seem serious about wanting to make changes. I should actually try to challenge myself in this regard - because more than once I have judged a book by it's cover only to realize I was too rash. And like many of my clients, some of characters in this book were the way they were at no fault of their own. The book is riddled with mental illness (as far as I can tell) and neglect. So had I taken my time with this book, I may have enjoyed it more. To the book's credit, I feel I need to be entirely diplomatic - I will neither encourage or discourage that you should read it - but if you do, please let me know what you think - it might be worth another peek, at another time when I am not still mulling over a previous tale. I do thank the author for helping me to realize that I might be doing that, more often than not. It might be time to slow down and appreciate...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Time of My Life - Allison Winn Scotch & 3 Willows - Ann Brashares

It's been awhile so this post will inclue reviews of two books I finished recently.

The first is Time of My Life by Allision Winn Scotch

This book is for anyone who wonders, "what if...." What if I took a different path, would my life be better? Jillian the main character in this novel found herself wondering these same things and the one morning she wakes up seven years in the past. She has the chance to do everything all over again, with the advantage of knowing what went "wrong." It was interesting to watch Jillian grapple with this new life, while also comparing it to the life she left behind. I enjoyed the book, but at times I was sick of constanly being in Jillian's head, and sometimes I had trouble seeing where she was coming from. I do give credit to Scotch who did have her character struggle with issues that many women and working mothers are constantly facing, she could have created a much fluffier version of the same story, but I think the novel is better for her having written the story as it stands.

The second book I read was 3 Willows by Ann Brashares. The line under the title stated "the sisterhood grows." I do enjoy reading Young Adult literature sometimes, and I had enjoyed listening to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series in the audio book format. However, I could not get into this book, I think I'm just too old. I read it in about two nights, but I didn't care about the characters and just didn't find them as entertianing as the traveling pants girls. This is probably a great book for the younger set, but if you enjoyed The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as an adult I'm not sure you'd like this book.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Book Thief :: Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

First of all, I'm bursting to tell you I loved this book. It takes place in Germany during World War II, and the narrator is Death. Okay, I know, Death? Death is a character in the book in that he retrieves souls (I imagine that I give him the male voice because the author is a man). The timing is significant because, as you know, there were a lot of souls up for grabs during this time period. He tells the story about Leisel. She is an abandoned foster child, who comes to live with a German family who hide a Jew. He gives the readers a glimpse into their relationships and the way they show love for one another without saying the words in a very trying time.

Anyways, Leisel, is a young girl positively starving for words. She is the book theif. The writing style leads you to imagine her actually eating the words, swallowing them up. As though the words alone sustain her. The book really made me feel things entirely, the rawness, the yearning, the constant sadness hanging in the air.

I am a word lover. This book is filled with describing terms that take you there. I dog-eared some pages, I'm typically reluctant to do this, books are kind of a religon to me - but it was that or the high-lighter was coming out.

"the minutes soaked by..."

"the sky is blue today there is a long cloud stretched out like a rope. At the end of it, the sun is like a yellow hole..."

"the cherries of blood had grown into plums."

"a lemon candle stood below the branches."

The words were so satisfying. I felt like a bit of a theif myself, stealing these delicious words for my own.

I stayed up way past bedtime last night because I could not bear to not know how Leisel's adventure would end. I finished her story today. I don't want to say too much, I would love to hear what others think about the peculiar chapter "set-ups" and the dry humor of Death.

I soaked up every palpable detail, and I hope you do too.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster - Kaye Gibbons

I finished this book about a week ago, and well, this post just didn't want to be written because I felt so "meh" about the book I wasn't sure how to write about it. I found an review that summed up exactly how I felt. Check it out here. In fact in the review the author is quoted as saying the book is "contrived."

I first was introduced to Ellen Foster, the prequel to this book, back in high school. I really enjoyed the character's voice and was captivated by the book. The sequel The Life all Around Me sometimes camptured that great voice but overall I was unimpressed.

Sorry guys, but I can't recommend this one.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Earlier this week I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

This was one of the more enjoyable books I'd read in a long time.
Early in the book one of the characters writes:
"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true."
I love this sentiment and was happy that this book found me.

Even if this book had been awful I probably would have enjoyed it because it contains a few of my weaknesses - novels in epistolary form, and a book about readers who love books. As it was I found the story captivating and really fell for the characters, and wished it had been just a bit longer!

The book is about a literary society that forms in an unlikely way on the Guernsey islands during World War II when the Germans occupied the islands. After the war, an islander connects with a Londoner, an author, over a book and a pen pal type relationship is formed. The novel is set up with letters among various people and my poor description isn't quite capturing it, but I would certainly recommend this one.

The novel has two authors, and it was originally created by Mary Ann Shaffer, when her health began to fail her niece took part in the writing. I was sad to read online that Mary Ann Shaffer did not live to see her book published. I did find an interesting interview with Annie Barrows if you are interesting in reading more.

Peaknit is reading this as well so I'd be interested to hear her thoughts.

I'll close with another quote from the book that captures one element of reading:
"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle :: David Wroblewski


I finished reading this today. When I closed the book I laid back on my bed and just thought of Edgar Sawtelle. Edgar, the 14-year-old main character in the story - a unique, tragic hero. Lost in thought I flipped the book over to look at the back cover - strangely realizing I hadn't even noticed before. Here is what I read:

"I flat-out love The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I closed this book with the regret readers feel only after experiencing the best stories: It's over, you think and I won't read another one this good for a long, long time"....Stephen King

Woa, I felt like looking over my shoulder - did Stephen King siphon that right off of my brain? It is exactly how I was feeling. Terrible remorse that my adventure with Edgar was over. I will miss my young friend. More than once I felt like ruffling Edgar's hair or giving him the honest maternal squeeze he needed to get through his next obstacle.

Another goodie for me - the scenes in this book. This author does a tremendous job of helping me conjure visual images through his rich words. My senses were truly tickled throughout this book. I may need to go back and review some portions of the book to really tie everything together - it was expertly woven in my lay-man's opinion.

The story starts with a couple. A young couple who run a dog kennel - not an ordinary kennel - these people eat, sleep and breathe canine. They train the dogs so thoroughly that it leaves the reader wondering if the dogs are thinking. And some chapters are indeed told from a dog's perspective - she is Almondine (isn't that a charming name for a loyal friend?). The couple desperately wants a child. Finally they are blessed with Edgar - healthy and normal in every way except that he cannot speak. The story follows his relationship with Almondine, his gifts with the dogs - and tragedy. I don't want to hint at anything further - but my heart broke for Edgar. Yet he impressed me with his strength, patience and intelligence. I would be proud to have a son like Edgar.

Lastly, I must admit I have been looking at my own dog with new eyes as I have been reading. I think the strong bonds in the book have made my hand drop off the side of the couch more than once to let Rugby know hey pal, you're pretty special to me. Sounds corny, but really - he has gotten more way treats and conversation - thanks to Edgar.

**Oprah is having a webcast featuring the author Monday night. You have to go to her site to RSVP - this book might be worth the extra efforts. promise.

**ETA: I just listened to Oprah's live webcast with the author of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski - listening absolutely added to the richness of this moving book for me. It made even deeper sense of things for me. Just an FYI, the webcast will be available on tomorrow and the podcast on ITunes.:)

You're Not You: Michelle Wildgen

I'll admit it, I totally judge a book by its cover. That's not to say I won't read a book that sounded good if I don't like the cover, but if I like the cover I'm more likely to dive right in. My most recent read was no exception to this rule; I loved the rich colors and interesting angle that the cover art illustrated

Peaknit recently mailed me You're Not You by Michelle Wildgen, along with her hearty recommendation. After a few recent lackluster reads I was excited to begin this novel, and it did not disappoint.

The novel follows Bec, a college student, as she starts a summer job caring for Kate a woman with ALS. One word that kept popping into my head as I read this book was intimacy, as Bec helps Kate with all of her daily tasks from showering to applying her makeup and even speaking for her during public outings. However, Wildgen often turns that notion on its head and shows that despite how close a caregiver can be there is no way for them to know everything about the person they care for. Wildgen took a story that could have been overly sentimental and wrote it in such a way that I felt I was in the room with the characters. I was totally emerged and engaged in the story and went to bed a bit earlier a few nights just to read for a bit longer.

I think a mark of a good story is if you find yourself thinking of the characters after you finish the book, and I did continue to think of both Bec and Kate. While it’s impossible to know, I do wish you did get a glimpse what happened after the story ended. Bec had such a life changing experience working with Kate that I wanted to know who she was a year later or even two years later. Who did she become?

Another quirk about me, which I discovered when I read The Geography of Love by Glenda Burgess last year, is that if I read a book with a serious ill person I want to get through it as quickly as possible so the person in the book doesn’t suffer. I found myself starting to do this with You’re Not You and I forced myself, as much as possible to slow down and take in all the details and it was well worth the effort! I would certainly recommend this book.

Paula left a comment on Peaknit’s last post asking if I ever listen to audio books. I definitely read a lot less now that I’m constantly knitting. However, I do make time to read every night before I go to sleep and during the summer I read a lot more at the beach. However I haven’t had much luck knitting and reading at the same time. I will sometimes listen to audio books while driving, but my taste in audio books is different from my taste in paper books.

As a total side note I just saw on Amazon that You're Not You is only $5!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Revolutionary Road :: Richard Yates


I wrapped up Revolutionary Road this morning. It's a little numbing. I enjoyed the book but the subject could hit close to home for any middle class American who lets occasional doubt slip in. The story follows a "regular joe" 1950's couple going through the motions of enjoying suburbia when in truth they are deeply unsatisfied with the bland, sameness of it all. The constant thread is "how did I get here?" In my opinion, it's kind of like wondering when you will begin to feel like a grown-up and realizing, this is it. Wow. anti-climactic kind of.

The book read like Death of a Salesman to me - lots of delusion, lots of internal "pep-talks" - but overall I enjoyed the book. Beware, it is not a feel good book - so if you are tired of your job or your relationships, save this one. I confess, I wasn't going to bed early to get to this book. I might have even dreaded the depressing tone of it a bit - but I was curious - I wanted to know where the story was headed, what was going to come of them.

Frank and April Wheeler, the main characters really try to make a worthy go of having a family and owning the house with the picket fence - but they are so inately distracted by their self-important. I kind of wanted to pull them off the page and shake their shoulders a bit. The ending was potent for me - a bit surprising, but perhaps the only "good" (if not entirely selfish) answer to this mess. You would expect nothing less of these two. I was left wondering what happens next. Their children will be in therapy, at least.

I admit - I imagined Frank and April to be Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio - it was too easy with the film right around the corner. I can't wait to see it - I will have to see it at the Sundance where I can have a drink in the theater. I can pretend I am one of the Wheeler's friends, coming in for a cocktail, nodding like a bobble head about the wonder of it all.

Read it, or maybe you have, let me know what you think.

Paula by Isabel Allende

It took awhile to get to book #2 of 2009; I had a few false starts while working through that book sale pile. I felt like Goldilocks, the first was a novel written so poorly I can't believe it was actually published, and the second book I tried but I just couldn’t get into, so book three was Paula by Isabel Allende.

I originally picked up this book because I knew I’d read works by Allende, and enjoyed them, so I didn’t have a clue what it was about until I opened the first pages. The previous Allende works I’d read (Zorro, Daughter of Fortune, and Portrait in Sepia) were rich deep stories typically following one character through their life, or grand stories of families. This book was no exception, however it was a memoir rather then a novel.

Allende writes this book to her gravely ill daughter Paula as she lays in a coma first in Spain and then in California. Reading the book felt like you were reading over Allende’s shoulder as she wrote to her daughter. The book has two parts equally interwoven. One aspect is her biography, stretching back to her parents and grandparents up until her most recent marriage. The other side of the story is Paula, her untimely illness, and how it is impacting Allende and her family.

I can never imagine suffering through the death of a child, and Allende seemed to capture this despair and grief very well, often making this side of the story difficult and slow to get through. The familial history was often times just as gut wrenching, but like her other books I was swept along to see what happened to her and her family.

After finishing this book I looked up what Allende had most recently written, and in 2008 she continued her writing to Paula in a new memoir The Sum of Our Days. This will certainly be a book added to my “list” of books I want to read.

Next up a book recommended and sent by Peaknit herself.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Hour I First Believed

wally lamb

I'm sad to report that I am utterly disappointed in Wally Lamb's latest book. Lamb is a favorite - I loved She's Come Undone and almost identified with the glass half-empty Dominick Birdsey in This Much I Know Is True. This book is described well in this review - "densely populated" and "bogged down with details". I have never been so sticken over a book. I think I looked too forward to it. But really, I think I have to suggest that you pass this one by dear readers. I feel almost irrational with disappointment - like Wally Lamb couldn't have written this book. Could he?

As a curious side note - I think we learned Dominick is now a wealthy casino owner. He's moving on up from the poor sap he was in his own book. The main character Caelum ran into Dominick at the psychologist's office lobby. I knew Dr. Patel was familiar, Lamb used this character in his last book as well.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Should Have Gone Out

A couple of times a year my local library has a used book sale. Books are usually under two dollars, and often times only cost a dollar. For the past few years I've gone and bought books during each sale. Proceeds of the sale go back to the library. In December I decided to pull all the books out of my shelves and bring them next to my bedside table (where the to be read pile lives). To my surprise the pile was probably three feet tall. One of my goals is to work through this pile this year.

With that in mind I just finished Girls' Night In edited by Lauren Henderson, Chris Manby and Sarah Mlynowski. Original sales of this book are supposed to benefit War Child.

My overall rating of this book is "meh." I will admit I have a bit of a weakness for "chic lit," and so I knew what I was getting into. However, story after story of this got a little old after awhile. There were certainly a few stories I enjoyed, but I think it was just too much after awhile.

I hate to begin a year of reading with a lackluster book, but I think it was perfect for the holiday season. I didn't have to really commit to a long story, I could just read a quick story before bed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christine reads

Well believe it or not “blogless Christine” is actually blogging. Peaknit and I thought it might be fun to co-blog our year of reading. In addition to a love (or um, obsession) with yarn, we also share a love for a good story.

While I don’t always get a book a week done there’s nothing I enjoy more then getting totally sucked into a story. My philosophy of reading is to read what you enjoy and so this list is mostly made up of contemporary fiction with a dash of nonfiction thrown in every once in awhile.

Looking over my 2008 list, it was obviously a year with some fluff, whether it was the Twilight series or a few books from the Gossip Girl series. With two one week beach vacations I really was able to plow through a ton which allowed me to read more then I did 2007 (55 books). I copied Peaknit by bolding the books I’d recommend, and like her I’m rather judicious in my recommendations. It's too bad I didn't have 8 recommendations, my mosaic would have looked much better!

1. Life on the Refrigerator Door : Alice Kuipers
2. Paint it Black : Janet Fitch
3. Basic Black : Cathie Black
4. Other People’s Love Letters : Bill Shapiro
5. Songs Without Words : Ann Packer
6. Her Last Death : Susanna Sonnenberg
7. Lost and Found : Jacqueline Sheehan
8. Gossip Girl #1: Cecily Von Ziegesar
9. Before I Die : Jenny Downham
10. The Other Boleyn Girl : Philippa Gregory
11. Freddy and Fredericka : Mark Helprin
12. You Know You Love Me : Cecily Von Ziegesar
13. All I Want Is Everything : Cecily Von Ziegesar
14. Curse of the Spellmans : Lisa Lutz
15. Gatsby’s Girl : Caroline Preston
16. Because I’m Worth It : Cecily Von Ziegesar
17. I Like It Like That : Cecily von Ziegesar
18. The Cure for Modern Life : Lisa Tucker
19. Belong to Me : Marisa de los Santos
20. The Geography of Bliss : Eric Weiner

21. Change of Heart – Jodi Picoult
22. The Constant Princess – Philippa Gregory
23. The Secret Between Us : Barbara Delinsky
24. I was Told There’d Be Cake : Sloane Crosley
25. Certain Girls : Jennifer Weiner
26. The Divorce Party : Laura Dave
27. Twilight : Stephanie Meyer
28. Fieldwork : Mischa Berlinski
29. Everyone Else’s Girl : Megan Crane
30. New Moon : Stephanie Meyer
31. Eclipse : Stephanie Meyer
32. Bookends : Jane Green
33. Queen of Babble In The Big City : Meg Cabot
34. One Good Turn : Kate Atkinson
35. A Thousand Splendid Suns : Khalid Hosseini
36. Free Food for Millionaires : Min Jin Lee
37. Suddenly : Barbara Delinsky
38. Comfort Food : Kate Jacob
39. Whistling in the Dark : Kesley Kagen
40. The Opposite of Love : Julie Buxbaum
41. Rachel’s Holiday : Marian Keyes
42. Breaking Dawn : Stephanie Meyer
43. Beginner’s Greek : James Collins
44. Earthly Pleasures : Karen Neches
45. The Department of Lost and Found : Allison Winn Scotch
46. The Host : Stephanie Meyer
47. Where is the Mango Princess? : Cathy Crimmins
48. If You Lived There : Dana Sachs
49. A Good Distance : Sarah Willis
50. Antonio’s Wife : Jacqueline Dejohn
51. The Dud Avocado : Elaine Dundy
52. The Geography of Love : Glenda Burges
53. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything : Janelle Brown
54. Here If You Need me : Kate Brasetrup
55. This Charming man : Marian Keyes
56. Three Cups of Tea : Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
57. The Whole World Over : Julia Glass
58. Sing them Home : Stephanie Kallos
59. The Thirteenth Tale : Diane Setterfield
60. Second Thyme Around : Katie Fforde
61. Queen of Babble Gets Hitched : Meg Cabot
62. Salem Falls : Jodi Picoult
63. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict : Laurie Viera Rigler

And we’re off on our way to reading through 2009. Are there any books that are on your must read list for the New Year?
….phew I survived my first post….