Ever since I can remember, I have loved reading books. I must have been born that way. My Mom loved reading books until an automobile accident impaired her short term memory and she could no longer enjoy this past time….a tragic result of an already traumatic event. (Now she finds audio books are easier to digest than the written word.) My older sister is also an avid reader. But my younger sister and brother are not pleasure-readers, as far as I can remember.
My first real memories about reading for pleasure happened when I was in elementary school. (I went to Beacon Heights Elementary school in Hyattsville, MD, by the way.) One memory is of my teacher telling my mother that on more than one occasion she found me hiding a book inside my desk and reading it during class. (I can’t remember which teacher or how old I was at the time, but I do remember it was almost always during math time. Big surprise that math is not my strongest subject.) 🙂
The second memory I have of reading in elementary school was discovering the “Historical Fiction” section in the school library. I LOVED reading those books! I still love reading novels set in past eras or based on history. (I also love period movies and TV shows and am an avid Downton Abbey fan!)
One of the biggest regrets of my life is not keeping a list of all of the books I have ever read. I really, really wish I had! There should be a comprehensive list of books out there that one could use to check off all of the titles they have read.
Last year I noticed on my Facebook page an option to list all of the movies, TV shows, music & books that you like. I don’t know how I never noticed that before! So I started keeping track of the books that I was reading in my Facebook “Books” section. Here’s a review of the books that I read in 2013:
World Without End by Ken Follett
I read the first book “Pillars of the Earth” in 2012 so was looking forward to reading this sequel. Although the characters in the first book were generations removed from those in the second I was quickly swept up in the story and characters. I love a good, long absorbing read!
Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley
This novel was written as a sequel to Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. It was entertaining, but was obviously not written by Margaret Mitchell. But as one who likes to imagine what other peoples’ lives are like, kudos to Ms. Ripley for taking the time to put her imaginings down in writing!
The Dakota Series by Debbie Macomber
When I find a book full of characters that I really enjoy I hate it when the book ends. That is why I love to read series so much! Usually I don’t get to read the books in a series one after the other because we have to wait for the next one to be released. But my sister gave me this series and I read the books one after the other! Loved them!
The Lives of the Mayfair Witches Series (Book 1 & 2) by Ann Rice
These are the first two books in the three book series. (I read the third book this month, so it will fall into “Books I read in 2014”.) I accidentally found myself reading my first Anne Rice book (“Interview with a Vampire”) about a decade ago after the movie (starring Tom Cruise & Brad Pitt) was released. I hadn’t seen the movie, but I found the book at a yard sale for twenty-five cents so bought it. I wanted to see what all of the buzz was about. Well! I actually shocked myself when I started reading it and found I couldn’t put it down! I was embarrassed that I was reading a book about vampires (that was before they were popular and romantic) so I put a book cover on it so no one would be able to see what I was reading. I was drawn into the story by Anne Rice’s dark and descriptive narrative. After reading that book, every time I found one of her books at a yard sale, I bought it. (I get almost ALL of my reading material at yard sales…rarely paying more than $1 for a book. I scored big time at a yard sale last summer in that the owner had just about every title ever written by Anne Rice, and I bought her whole collection.) Expect to see more Anne Rice titles in my “Books I read in 2014” post next year!
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Because I like to read the book before seeing the movie I snatched this book up at a yard sale a few weeks before the television series aired last summer. Someone asked me what I thought about it and I replied “Well, it IS Stephen King, after all”….meaning it was creepy and suspenseful and surprising. The TV series took the grossest (is that a word?) aspects out of the book and changed the plot, but that is to be expected. While the book is far more creepier than the TV series, I liked it better. I hope the TV series airs again this summer and completes the story!
The Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani
Another series given to me by my sister and read the books one after the other…..Loved it! Would definitely recommend……
Irish Girls About Town by Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes & Cathy Kelly
I picked this book up at a yard sale because Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read every single one of her books! This book was really three stories, each written by one of these Irish women authors. It was a fun way to discover new authors and I enjoyed reading each story.
Kisses from Katie by Katie J. Davis
If I had to choose one book from all of the ones that I read last year to recommend, this one would be it! Maybe it is because I have had the experience of going to the Congo in Africa in 2008 on a mission trip with a group from my church and lost my heart over & over again to some of the orphans that we worked with. This story about a teenaged girl who forsakes her privileged & comfortable life in the United States to dedicate her life to the poor & orphaned children in Uganda tugged at my heart and convicted my soul.
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
I bought this hard-back book for my daughter’s birthday and when she was done reading it she loaned it to me, because we are both fans of Maeve Binchy’s work. I was dismayed to learn that she passed away in the summer of 2012 just after finishing this book so there will be no more new titles from this talented and treasured author. I like how Ms. Binchy’s characters sometimes make appearances in several of her novels….you feel like you are visiting with an old friend each time that happens. This was a wonderful read!
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I checked the eBook version of this book out of the library when a friend told me she heard about it & wanted to read it. I’ve never read any books by Gillian Flynn before so this was my first. I felt detached the whole time I was reading it….I never really connected to the characters. I know they are making a movie of this story starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Maybe this will be the time I actually like the movie more than the book.
Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding
I bought the eBook version of this book when it was released so my daughter & I could read it together. I read it in a couple of weeks, but she is still reading it! (She doesn’t have as much time to read as I do since I am retired and she is trying to get her Personal Chef Business off the ground.) I enjoyed the story, even though I was not happy at the beginning to hear what had happened in Bridget Jones’ life since the the “Edge of Reason”. (Not going to spoil it for anyone who has not read this latest installment in the Bridget Jones story.)
Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury
This was a novel about abortion; a hard but realistic view of how a decision to abort the unexpected pregnancy in these teens’ lives was like a pebble thrown in the water and how the ripples of that decision affected the rest of their lives. Karen Kingsbury is a talented and compassionate author. I love her books!
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
This was the second YA (Young Adult) fiction series that I found myself enjoying. (The first was the Twilight Series. Surprise!) Just like I enjoy reading historical novels, I found I liked this imaginative series of what a future society might be like and the heroism of the young characters. (I enjoyed the first two movies, too…can’t wait for the third!)
The Thanksgiving Prayer by Debbie Macomber
I usually love Debbie Macomber’s books but this one was too much like a Harlequin story for my taste. Will she, won’t she? Does he, doesn’t he? In the end, they did.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
This is a fictional story about a high school shooting resulting in 10 dead victims. The shooter was bullied all of his life and finally couldn’t take it any more. I found it interesting because Jodi Picoult explored how the crime affected the parents of the young man who was the shooter as well as how it affected the surviving students and their families. Tragically, it was while I was reading this book that a real-life school shooting occurred right here in my town at Arapahoe High School .
Going forward in 2014 I think I will review each book as I finish reading it. (That way it won’t take me hours to compose my “Books I Read in 2014” post as this one did!)
What was your favorite read last year?