Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chari's 2012 List of Books

2012 Book List

(yes.  I do realize 2013 is almost at an end......don't laugh.)
via Librivox
This was a first novel for Heyer.  My girls love reading her novels.......a way to keep Jane Austen coming, I hear.  I went looking on Librivox for her books and this was the only one.  This is the first time I have read (listened) to her work.  It was great fun and I highly recommend it to any one who loves Austen and similar styles. It was quite an insightful novel for a young girl who was also an inexperienced writer.
That picture above is awesome.  :)

via Librivox
Miss Matty and Peter.jpg
I love Cranford,  the movie.....the kids got it for me for Christmas a couple of years ago.  I knew the movie was not just based on Gaskell's novel called Cranford, but on some of her other novels as well, so I thought listening to it would be fun.  Turns out the movie makers did an excellent job of bringing Cranford to life.  The book is wonderful and the movie is wonderful.  We laugh so much when we watch forewarned though....lots of people die in the movie.  And yet still, it is so amusing.
by Conan Doyle
via Librivox
Cover (Hound of Baskervilles, 1902).jpg
In my attempt to use my iPhone to catch up on some Classic literature I have missed over the years, I added The Hounds to my listening list.  I am not sure, but this may have been my first real taste of Conan Doyle, other than bits and pieces over the years.  Great fun to listen to.  A little creepy.

by Kim Edwards
I like to throw some modern stuff into my reading path now and then.  If something is very popular, I usually check it out a few years later.......well, sometimes.  I am SO not reading modern vampire books.  No interest, thank you very much.  Too much good stuff to read instead.  Anyway........this story was enjoyable enough.  I think the author did a fine job of bringing the characters to life.  Heartbreaking story.  I actually just got around to watching the movie recently......and it was enjoyable enough....and only veered slightly from the book.  Oh, yeah.  That was part of the original motivation to read this book, and sometimes others:  I want to see the movie......but since books are usually better, I won't see the movie till I have read the book.  I am just that way.  Are you?

 by Susan Wittig Albert
The Tale of Holly How (The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter)
This is part of The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. I read the first in the series last year.  One of my co-workers is sure my kids would love it.  They do not have time for reading books like this right I felt obligated to read at least two of them.  They are totally sweet enough for a light read.  Beatix Potter is the main character.  She gets involved in mysteries in the Lake District....and of course, it is up to her to solve the mystery.  Did I mention the animals can talk to each other in this book..........and, they help to solve mysteries, too.  :)  Sweet, mild read.

by John F. Carson

This is the one book that my husband has kept in his box of memories.  I wanted to pre-read it before I gave it to my boys to read.  A sweet basketball story.......of some ruffians who end up being coached by a famous college coach who went missing after something bad had happened in his life.  Of course, it has the happy ending stuff........the boys find that working hard to become good at basketball pays off in other areas of their lives.....and the basketball coach learn to forgive himself and go back to his family.  Sweet boy-read.

The Hunger Games

Catching Fire


I read this series because so many of my friends in the past year who love lotsa books that I love were talking these books up.  And then, my then 14 year old son had started reading the first one because his older sister gave it to him, hoping to engage him in more reading.  He could not put it down........and then with the last two books, borrowed from the library, he and I fought over who got to read first and when. It isn't that I thought it was a great story that I could not put them down, but I just wanted to know what was going to happen next.  The foreshadowing made me crazy sometimes in its obviousness......though my older daughter, the lit major, reminded me that the books were written for teens......still, I have read other teen books that were enjoyable, but not so obvious. I would not give them to any child under 14.....and preferably, to none of my kids till they were adults.  I really would prefer my kids not be exposed to this kind of brutality in books till they are more emotionally mature.  Just my own take. As for the left out so many important nuances......but mostly I wish no one who had not read the books would get to watch the movie.....because then it is just kids killing kids for the entertainment of the state.  And that makes me a little bit sick.  The scariest part about the whole book: 
how much our world seems like it is heading to into that one.  Frightening.

Update: Apparently I forgot that I felt this way about who should get to read it.  I am letting my new 12 year old read it. I am pretty sure he can handle it.......just wanted to come clean.  :)


Another "first" book for an author.  I loved this book!  I just loved the character development.....I loved walking the English countryside with the characters......this book was like comfort food.  So glad I took the time to read this classic. I highly recommend.

by Jamie Ford
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet cover.jpg
In spite of the fact that the author messed up a few historical facts (such as a character in an online support group in the 1970's....what???)........this book was worth the read.  Yet another first book for an author, it was a very interesting look of the Japanese internment time period, yet from a Chinese American boy's perspective.  Takes place mostly in Seattle.  Here is what I said about it in this post last spring:  "When I mentioned to one of the doctors that I work with that I was reading Hotel, she said: It was good. But predictable. I talked her the other day and told her that while it may have been a bit predictable, I found the book was an excellent opportunity to get in close to the emotions of that time… get inside of the camp in an intimate way. The book is totally worth a read…..and an excellent first novel. If you enjoy Jazz and its history…..there is a nice component to the story with Jazz as an important character."
by Mary Fabyan Windeatt
I read this book aloud to my little boys.......They had missed it the first time around because they were babies or not born yet and I did want to make sure that they knew the Fatima children and their story intimately.  It was just right for that.

by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society
I know so many people who have loved this story. That is why we even decided to read it. I read it aloud to the boys.  We have got about half way through.......and still are not sold.  We have not read it for over six months now.  Not sure if we will ever go back to see.  And there are at least 3-4 more books after this one!  Anyone want to convince us that it is worth it to go finish??

 by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Cover of the 1983 edition
Another book read last spring.....see the reason why in this post.  This was a wonderful book.......written by a woman who had been a child/teen in the Japanese internment camp which I have driven by numerous times.  I read it aloud to my youngest two boys.  The author came to speak at our library (see link earlier in this paragraph) and it was a nice experience for the boys to read a book and then to have a chance to hear an author speak. Excellent addition to a WWII study. Also good for a California study.


Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia 
by Mark Salzman
Lost In Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia

My daughter had this book for required reading in a college class.  She really enjoyed it and thought I would, too.  It was okay.  Apparently the reviewers like it. It took place during my lifetime, so that part is always be honest, while I write this, I just cannot remember how I really felt about it.....except that it was "just okay."  Not a waste of time to read if you need something to read, but cannot take anything heavy.  Here is what amazon says in the book description: "From the author of Iron & Silk comes a charming and frequently uproarious account of an American adolescence in the age of Bruce Lee, Ozzy Osborne, and Kung Fu. As Salzman recalls coming of age with one foot in Connecticut and the other in China (he wanted to become a wandering Zen monk), he tells the story of a teenager trying to attain enlightenment before he's learned to drive."

I loved reading Loretta's story from her persective in her hillbilly accent.  But it was a typical 1970's type book.....not well-written.  I love the movie with Sissy Spacek......ever since I saw it in the theaters when I was 18 years old.....or was I 17?  That is why I read it.....

via Librivox

I just have to say:  I LOOOOOOVE listening to PG Wodehouse on my iPhone while I work or walk.  He is so absolutely hilarious.  Have not yet met a Wodehouse book I have not enjoyed (including another one I am listening to now.)  And, he is constantly surprising me with the directions he chooses to take with his characters. Highly recommend Wodehouse as the writer of the most ridiculous storylines.  Just.cannot.go.wrong.

The Millionaire Baby
 by Anna Catherine Green
 via Librivox

Written in 1905, this was just for listening to something different while I worked and walked.  It was worth a listen.  I enjoyed the writing style. And every time I thought I had the mystery figured went in a different direction.

The Staying Organized Survival Guide
 by Chloe Wilson ebook

It has now been about a year since I read this.......just looking for basic inspiration because I have the timed-decluttering thing down to a science.  It was a free download.  I cannot recommend it because it was a bit boring and somewhat poorly written, in an educated sense.......kind of grated on my grammar-Nazi temperament. A free ebook.....

Tess of the D'urbervilles
by Thomas Hardy via Librivox

This was my first time reading this Classic.  I have always avoided the movies till I had read the book.  I know some people find this book somewhat depressing.....but I found it incredibly fascinating.........because of how insightful Hardy (who is terribly depressing in most of his works) is to the female mind.....and of how he can label so well the injustices against women in his day.  I am sure that those who read his novel at the time it was originally published were quite scandalized by his words. Please, if you are trying to become more well-read and have missed this book.....please don't miss it anymore.  Oh, and the Librivox reader was enjoyable enough. It is one of the few times it was just the one reader......Like a professional recording.
It is number 23 on the BBC's 200 British novels to read.


84, Charing Cross Road
by Helene Hanff

First I saw the movie. 
A movie about a lady in America who purchases books from a British man via mail???? Sure.  Sounds like a great plot.  :)  Seriously, I enjoyed the movie.  Especially because Anthony Hopkins is one of the stars and I like most of his movies. So, I thought since most books are better than the movie.......I should give this book-based story a try.  In the final analysis....the movie is better.  But mostly because the book is just a bunch of after the other. I enjoyed reading the letters so as to get the background for the story.....but really, the movie has more detail  :) 
Quick and short little read. got it off the Free Books shelf at the library......


The Hobbit
JRR Tolkien

Still reading through this........I wanted to make sure Malachy had heard this story before we saw the movie, so it was out read-aloud last fall. We only read the first part, so we had the movie covered.  We had sufficiently read the book enough to be very upset with the movie.  Ah, well.  But, really.  Must they have made up parts???  Changed motives???  We will be picking up where we left off any day now.......says the distracted homeschooling mother of one. Of course, extremely and very recommended for all to read......preferably before the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.


The Clicking of Cuthbert
by PG Wodehouse via Librivox

LOVE, love, love Wodehouse via audio.  Excellent company for the walker.  This actually turned out to be a collection of somewhat related golf stories.  Now, I do not think I would normally care for golf stories in general.......but anything by Wodehouse is made quite palatable.
So fun and silly, but tastefully.


Although I cannot quite remember the details........I vaguely recall thinking some of her ideas were useful.....but I also vaguely recall lots of biblical thoughts.  Or, maybe that was the book below......Not sure I ever finished it. Another free ebook.... The reviews are good.....of the 14.....but I recall not well-written, a little too conversational for my tastes.....and I like the conversational style.


The Princess and the Goblin
 by George MacDonald
via Librivox

This was my first time to read this story.  My children read it.......but I never did.  I just fell in love with was perfect for listening while working in the garden.  I hope that I can get to his other books as well.  Actually......I am thinking this is my first full GMacD book.  If you still have littles, this would make an excellent read-aloud.   I just never did it because we were reading so many other books....... does have scary goblins.  Of course.

The Librarian
 by Eric Hobbs ebook

The premise was good.  (From Amazon:  "Wesley Bates thinks his life pretty much sucks. He's landed at the bottom of his school's popularity ladder, and bully Randy Stanford seems to be waiting around every corner.

The troubled teen thinks he's found a way to escape his real-world problems when he stumbles upon strange doorways in Astoria's local library that seem to lead into the extraordinary worlds from all his favorite books. Oz, Neverland, Wonderland -- they're all a reality with Wesley's new discovery. Wesley teams with best friend Taylor Williams to embark on a great adventure, both ready to leave the drama of middle school behind.

But the two kids quickly find themselves embroiled in a centuries-old battle for the library and the magic hiding within. Now, fighting alongside the eccentric old man who's vowed to protect the building's power, the pair must help ward off an attack by a shadowy group with a strange tie to Wesley's nemesis, forcing Wesley to face the fears he's been dodging... and one of the most terrifying bullies of all time!")

That is why I bothered with this free middle-school book.  But it was not high enough quality for me to continue to read the other books in the series or to recommend it.  I wish it were.  It had such potential.  I was quite disappointed. 

Not George Washington
 by PG Wodehouse via Librivox

From Wikipedia:
Not George Washington is a semi-autobiographical novel written in collaboration with Herbert Westbrook. It was first published in the United Kingdom on 18 October 1907
Much of the book is a lightly fictionalized account of Wodehouse's early career as a writer and journalist in London. For example, from 1904 to 1909 Wodehouse edited the "By the Way" column for the now-defunct The Globe newspaper, while the book's main character, James Orlebar Cloyster, writes the "On Your Way" column for the Orb newspaper. The tale is told from several viewpoints.

Another fun and silly and totally entertaining Wodehouse novel. 
Have not yet met a Wodehouse story I did not enjoy.
Perfect for enjoying while walking for exercise.
yes.  I am redundant and repetitive about Wodehouse.

Our Mutual Friend
 by Charles Dickens


Started........but only a quarter through it. I am reading it on my iPhone.......and I keep forgetting to read it.....distracted by other things like my email and Facebook.....I hope to finish it in 2014.......because I want to see the movie! There is a bit of a "mystery" in the beginning......I kind of feel like his foreshadowing was a little too I think I might know what will happen.  I hopes Charles surprises me. :) I am motivated to finish it!

Building a Blog For Readers
by Nick Thacker

I was reading this in the Kindle app on my about a third.....will probably finish someday.  Not sure if it was helpful enough......but I didn't dislike it. It was free. The reviews are good.  Only 19....maybe relatives?  ;)

40 Days to Healthful Living
by Danna Demetre

Also free. Maybe just repeat what I wrote for the above book?  Maybe I read half.  Except.......I cannot remember if this was the one that so much "god-stuff" in it that it was suffocating......or if this was that other one that was okay.  May look at it again.

Two Kisses For Maddy: a Memoir of Loss and Love
 by Matthew Logelin

I spontaneously grabbed this off the shelf of "new books" at our local library. It is the memoir of a man who lost his wife to a pulmonary embolism the day after she gave birth to their premature daughter.  It is definitely a heartbreaker.  The book begins with how Matt and Liz met, their courtship, the pregnancy......and then covers the first year of baby Maddy's life, as Matt grieves for his wife. The writing is fair to good.  I got mildly annoyed by his use of the "f" doesn't bother me, but it just seemed overdone and unnecessary.  It was too frequent. I appreciated his sharing of his gut feelings and reactions.....helps others to understand what a dad might be going through or thinking about in this situation.  This has happened a couple of times with patients from our hospital.  Both cases occurred at the patients' homes, when the moms were term. This is a hard reminder that when a mom says that she does not feel good......we must pay attention. If you like modern memoirs......this is worth a quick read.....if you don't mind a tragic situation or foul language.


White Banners
 by Lloyd C. Douglas

I found this book fascinating in the character development.  The characters are so real.  The story is strange, odd......but interesting.  There are some good examples about how to "turn the other cheek".....but it almost becomes a pacifist agenda.  Basically, a woman stops by a door to peddle some apple peelers and ends up offering to stay and help the distracted and overwhelmed young wife/mother.......and she helps the husband to be a better man.  The children grow up with her, loving her. The woman has her own secret life.  Written by that famous author of The Robe, I found this on the FREE shelf outside our local library. A good read.

I have a whole post that I want to write about this book.  It was wonderful.  But it might not be wonderful for every person, depending on their tastes and reading preferences.  It is a memoir.  It is mostly a history of the "last almshouse in America" and its occupants. That place is Laguna Honda, a hospital in San I drive by every single time I am in San Fran.  I loved it because it was a familiar place......because there were so many Catholic elements in it.......because she is the type of doctor that is like the type of nurse I am.  I actually photocopied a few of the pages, just to have a few of my favorite paragraphs from the validate how I like to apply my nursing care.  I really recommend it to my friend who is a Catholic doctor.  He says: why do you recommend it to me?  It is written by a doctor who sincerely likes to help people.......who shares her three-part Catholic pilgrimage with us......who takes a Doctor of the Church, Saint Hildegard of Bingen as her role model, doing her doctorate on this good saint......and then applies the medical philosophies of this saint in her care for patients.  It's just all good.  And Victoria Sweet is a very good storyteller.  She tells the story of the hospital, the patients and herself.  It is not a Catholic book, but there are many Catholic elements. It called to me from the New Book Arrivals shelf at the local library.  I am so very glad.  It had been awhile since I had a book call my name like that. More later......someday.

A Little Way of Homeschooling
by Suzie Andres

 I started this book......and blogged about that start (sadly, I still feel the same.....), but have yet to finish it.  I want to use it as a morning meditation read.....and I have not taken the time for that.  Maybe after the new year, I can try again.  I am afraid it might make me feel too sad for missing my homeschooling days.....there is really only one left at home. 
And we know that is not going the way I would like. 
I really need to change that.  I must.


That's it.

I am sure that a couple of books have fallen off of the happens. 

Next year's list is going to be oh, so very short. 
Maybe I can finish that post within a few months of the year......
Reading blessings to all of us!
                                   Yours truly,


  1. What a lovely list of books!

    I remember seeing the 84 Charing Cross Rd movie when it first came out. I had read the book the year before and loved it. I thought the movie did an excellent job and I loved the interior shots. I especially loved Ann Bancroft's New York apartment. It look so much like my aunt's apartment when she lived in New York. Anyway, I especially remember the movie because I went with a couple of girlfriends and one of them had just broken up with her boyfriend and she sobbed the whole movie through. It was truly annoying but I felt sorry for her. Happy ending though, they reunited a couple of years later and wound up getting married. But geez did she cry through the whole darn movie!

    1. It is a great movie. Funny about your friend!

  2. Chari
    Loved reading through your list:) and our library even had a couple which I've reserved. I notice you like mysteries, hoping you'll like these, set after the war. Let me know what you think.

    1. Thank you for the recommendation, Erin! I know you love mysteries.....I have seen your account on Goodreads ;) and even though I have some on the list.......I do not read many mysteries. Not usually my preference. I will read just about all genres........if I do read any of these on your blog post, which would you suggest first?

      Which of the titles on my list did you reserve at the library?

      Thanks for stopping by!


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