Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chari's 2013 Book List

Maybe I will just accept that I will always be late in getting my yearly book lists posted.....

2013 Book List

       So, this was a bit of a rough year for me, with regards to reading.  This may well be the least amount of books I have read or heard in a year.......EVER in my entire life.  And I did not even finish everything on this list.....yet. I am only including those books because they are so long.....they will be on both 2013 and 2014......poor me.  Got a full-time job........and everything else added up to little ability to focus.  To read a whole book, that is.  I am still reading lots.  It just happens to be online articles, mostly.

      I am doing things to resolve this problem, or at least to improve the quantity, while keeping my preferred quality.  I listen to books while walking.  I have been taking a tub instead of a shower......and taking a book with me.......getting a bit more reading done in this way......and I think I need to let go of reading heavy books or classics for awhile.  I think I might make a focus on getting more classics read through my walks (listening) and spend time reading books more recently written (think lighter fare).  I am hoping this will help.

      Did I say I think this was probably the shortest list EVER in my life?  Yeah.  That bad.

 Here we go..........

Elaine Brown

     I chose this book to read because my dear cousin-in-law Deborah came for a visit......and she brought it along.  It looked like it would be worth the effort. It is the story of three sisters, and their of which, their father, is a college professor whose expertise lies in Shakespeare.  In fact, all three of the daughters are named for Shakespeare characters. It basically follows a time in their lives when the three sisters come home at the same time, as adults........just as their mom begins treatment for breast cancer.  It was not a great book, just okay.  It was enjoyable enough because of the Shakespeare references and the fact that it was three sisters, as I am the oldest of three sisters......but otherwise, spend your time reading better books. Though, it is good enough for a quickie fluff book for the tub time.

Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
       Sooooo........I loved reading this book.  I loved learning about the brain science behind habits.  I read in the Amazon reviews that some people were disappointed that the author did not then provide advice on how to improve your habits, but really, I think understanding the science is helpful enough to get started.  Besides, I am not sure it was even the author's intention to tell you specifically how to improve your life by changing your habits, but I think there is plenty of indirect help available in the book.  All of that being said, it was all the science of the brain in the book that was the best part. I found it all so fascinating.  It provided plenty of conversational points for Willa and I.  There is a part that gets less fascinating when the author focuses on businesses and peoples' habits, but it was still quite interesting, to me. So, if you want a good non-fiction to read, I do highly recommend this book. 


      My motivation for reading this book for the second time in my life.......was to pre-read it before I saw the movie.  I am so glad that I did.  I read many of the classics as a teen......and I always wonder what my adult-self will think of them.  I have re-read many of them......even though I do not prefer the re-reading of books in general.  Anyway.......I actually did not find my reaction to the story had changed much over the years.  It was pretty much as I remembered it all these years.  It is a well-written story.  I disagree with those that say the main point of the story is about how a life of opulence brings unhappiness and often ruin.  I really think the crux of the story is really just about the mental health of Gatsby.  That other stuff about opulence is just a slight side story, in my opinion. It is fine story-telling, unhappy conclusion.  It shows that dumb decisions that you make early in life can really ruin your overall life happiness. As for viewing the movie after reading the book......I found that they did a better-than-expected rendition of the book.  Of course I did not like the subtle changes from the story......but overall, it was a good enough movie.

George MacDonald
via Librivox
I found this on Librivox.  It is only the second George MacDonald work I have heard, the Princess and the Goblin being the first.  I very much enjoyed this story.....though it went in way more directions than I ever could have imagined.  Mary Marston is a wonderful and noble character.  I very much enjoyed that.  Highly recommend for reading or listening.

by Jane Austen via Librivox

 Not sure how many times I have read or listened to P&P, but it was time again!  All I am going to say is that it is great fun to read/hear very single time.  If YOU have not yet read this book.....please get on it!  (I am well aware that not every book that is pleasing to most is pleasing to all.....I get that.  You would then be off the hook.....if you tried the first 100 pages and it just did not do it for you.  :) )
I believe that Willa just re-read it again.  I posted about a Jane Austen Book Club happening this year. Should be fun to follow from the perspectives of mothering!
P&P is the first book up in the Club.

via Librivox

 Again, just looking for something stimulating to listen to while I walked for exercise, and at the same time to enrich my life with classic literature.  This was the first Sayers work for me.  It was great fun to follow the mystery.  I will probably look for more to listen to.......though I may not be as interested in sitting down and reading a hard copy, at this time.
via Librivox 

 I say it cannot go wrong with Wodehouse.  This novel was just as fun as all the others I have read or listened to......excellent company for exercise.  Highly recommend.


Nicholas Sparks
So......every once in awhile I read a Nicholas Sparks novel......not even sure why.  He is not a very good writer, in general.  Just fair, in my not so humble opinion. His stories rarely have the happy ending that we all like.......that is so very annoying! brain has not been up to the higher quality literature that I usually prefer. So, when I was at the library, looking for a DVD to watch, I saw this movie on the shelf.  When I realized it was Sparks, I decided to read the book first, then watch the movie. I still have not watched the movie, but it looks like they take some of the details out of the movie.  Anyway......the story was okay, the writing okay, no happy ending.  But, it was decent enough for a quick bath read. Only worth a read if it is the only thing you have on hand.  Even his other books are better than this one.....


Vanessa Diffenbaugh
I first saw this novel in the hands of one of my patient's visitors.  She was telling my patient why she should read it.  I was intrigued.....and many months later I ordered it from the library.  It was definitely enjoyable.  It follows the story of a young woman who was raised in the California foster care system.....both her childhood story and her present young adulthood story, each story weaving back and forth: first the present, then the past, and back to the present again....and so on.  The transitions between the past and the present work well. Your heart will break and you will cheer her on...and then it will break again.....and you will be mad at her for some of her decisions.  But in the was a read worth having.  I definitely enjoyed it. This was a debut novel from a woman who has raised foster kids......I think she does a fine job of recognizing the emotions that a real-life young adult might be going through. Oh!  And I almost forgot......the story also focuses on what the meanings of flowers are....and that is just fun, too!  It adds a nice dimension.
Below, you find the books that I read 30-50% or more of in 2013......I am still working on them now......some of these books are tomes (think Dickens), and the reason behind some of my inability to finish much this year.......
Deborah Tannen

 Worth a read........about adult daughters and their moms. 
Probably a good time to read this would be when your girls are to identify those less than positive communication habits we can fall into......
and also help to improve your communication skills with your own mom.
Charles Dickens
In my desire to read more Dickens so I could be more well-read, I somehow found myself reading/listening to two of the really long ones at one time. What was I thinking?
David Copperfield
by Charles Dickens
via first time through.  Excited, though!
First edition dust jacket cover 1930
 Reading aloud to Malachy.  Yeah, its my first time through.

Speaks for itself.  A read aloud to my youngest.
My umpteenth time through it....

John Kralik
A good & quick read for a new year.
Autumnal Blessings,

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