The Life of Bon: Let's talk about books, baby!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Let's talk about books, baby!

Every year my goal is to read 50 books.  I don't think I've ever hit that- the closest I ever got was in the low 40s.  This year I read 26.  One day I will hit the 50, one day!  

Here's the books I read in 2014- what I liked, what I hated, and what you definitely need to put on your to-read list for the coming year!

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Nurture Shock by PO Bronson and Ashley Merryman (nonfiction)
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (nonfiction)
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (nonfiction)
Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman (nonfiction)
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
And Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Things they Carried by Tim O'Brien (nonfiction)
Babywise by Gary Ezzo (nonfiction)
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth (nonfiction)
My Story by Elizabeth Smart (nonfiction)
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (nonfiction)
You Before Me by Jojo Moyes
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan (nonfiction)
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Breaking Night by Liz Murray (nonfiction)
MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche (nonfiction)
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

Favorite Books of 2014:  
Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  The story of a fifth grader with a horrible facial deformity who goes to public school for the first time and endures the bullying, but also the kindness, of his peers.  This one kind of snuck up on me- I wanted to not like it but it wouldn't let me- just an incredible story about kindness and acceptance.

Z: The Story of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler.  I don't feel like this book was incredibly well written, but I loved the insights into F. Scott Fitzgerald's marriage.  He was consumed (dare I say plagued?) by the desire to be a "great artist."  He was never satisfied with his work and never happy which ultimately brought about the destruction of himself, his work, and his family.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand.  This was an accidental read- it was on my sister's book shelf while I was visiting her in Germany so I picked it up and carried it around Europe with me.  I was shocked by how much I enjoyed reading about horses which is a huge compliment to Hillenbrand's writing.  (Laura Hillenbrand is also the author of Unbroken.)  Her attention to detail in her story telling is unsurpassed.  I didn't love this movie, but the book absolutely drew me in.

Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman.  I read only a few "parenting books" this year- this one was by far my favorite.  It was mixed with real stories from Druckerman's life and explores why French parents seem so much more relaxed and in control than American parents.  The general idea is to give children as much freedom as possible within very set parameters.  Parents should always be the ones in control.  

My Story by Elizabeth Smart.  The full story of Elizabeth's nine months in kidnapping with Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee.  The book was admittedly pretty poorly written, but it was incredible to read everything she went through and how she survived.  I ended the book feeling uplifted and inspired by Elizabeth's ability to overcome and forgive.

Biggest disappointments:
Eleanor and Park (unlikable protagonist, nothing happens)
Night Circus (too many holes)
The Light Between Oceans (too slow)

Books I reread and didn't love as much the second time:
Jane Eyre

Books I reread and loved more:
Catcher in the Rye (May just be my favorite book of all time)
Their Eyes were Watching God (I caught so much more the second time around.)
The Things they Carried (I read this every year with my juniors- it never gets old.)
In Cold Blood (Much like Hillenbrand, Capote's attention to detail is really what makes the book so fascinating.)

Books I quit on:
MWF seeking BFF
City of Bones
In Praise of Stay at Home Moms

Book I hated that I knew I would hate:
Divergent  (I blame blog book club readers for making me read this one- I definitely never would have picked it up if it weren't voted on as a book for the year.)

Books that made me think the most:
Nurture Shock. (Praising children for how "smart" they are is actually harmful to their overall growth, instead they should be praised for their effort and work ethic.  Also, catching kids in lies and punishing them doesn't make them stop lying- it just makes them become better liars.)
Their Eyes were Watching God
Bringing up Bebe

Books I really enjoyed that I didn't expect to:
You Before Me

Books I'm excited to read in 2015:  
Yes, Please
My Accidental Jihad
Interpreter of Maladies (reread)
Waiting for Birdy
Cutting for Stone
All the Light We Cannot See
I am not a Serial Killer
Happier at Home


Add your thoughts!  What books did you love and hate this year?  What do I have to read in 2015?
(Also for those of you wondering about book club, we will vote for 2015's picks next week.  January's book is Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  It starts slow, but read it!  It's worth it!)

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