Friday, December 30, 2011

End of Year Book Report

This year I participated in an A to Z challenge, reading one book by an author from each letter of the alphabet.

I ended up reading 52 books! That's an average of one per week, and two for each letter of the alphabet. However, my list is not that neatly organized. I read six books written by C- authors, four by T- authors, and two of many of the letters, with only one in a few letters. I am going to list the best from each letter of the alphabet. Here goes:

Applegate, Katherine - Home of the Brave (children's book but I loved it far more than the other A book for adults that I read)
Bailey, Elisabeth Tova - The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. A very short, quick read that captivated me. You can read this one in a day.
Carter, Mary - My Sister's Voice. A deaf woman discovers she has a twin who is hearing.
DeWolf, Thomas - Inheriting the Trade. Fascinating book about the history and current ramifications of the slave trade.
Eggers, Dave - Zeitoun. - I love love this book! I read it in 2010 also, but read it again in 2011 when I asked my book club to read it.
Fitch, Sheree - The Gravesavers. Nothing special, but interesting.. and far better than the other F book I read which was a waste of paper.
Garvin, Ann Wertz - On Maggie's Watch. Interesting story in a small town. Some aspects were disappointing but overall a decent read.
Haien, Jeannette - The All of It. Short and fascinating story of a man who gives a partial death bed confession and leaves his wife to finish the rest of the story - the all of it.
Ilibagiza, Immaculee - Left to Tell; Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. Fascinating and moving story of the author and her family and their ordeal during the genocide in Rwanda.
Jin, Ha - Waiting. Changing culture in China, the lives of a few people (esp women) who are stuck between the old and new.
Kristof and WuDunn - Half the Sky. Excellent book about the lives of women around the globe. Everyone should read this book (adults and mature teens only, please. It's a hard and gorey read at times.)
Lamott, Anne - Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. I love Anne Lamott. She's open, free, and honest.
Murray, Liz - Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homelessness to Harvard. I love memoirs, and this one was fascinating. Similar to The Glass Castle in some ways.
Naslund, Sena Jeter - Ahab's Wife. Entertaining. Long.
Ollestad, Norman - Crazy For the Storm. Not the best of the year, but an interesting memoir.
Patchett, Ann - State of Wonder. Loved it! Fabulous writing, very subtle transformations of characters that bring them to completely changed own attitudes changed while reading this book. Awesome.
Quick, Matthew - The Silver Linings Playbook. A good story about a couple of misfits who find eachother and find comfort and meaning and I think there is some drama to it... I can't really remember the details.
Rosenblatt, Roger - Making Toast. Not great, but better than the other R book I read.
Skloot, Rebecca - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. A well researched and well told story of something I knew nothing about. Who knew science and medicine would interest me so much?! Great story.
Thompson, Jean - The Year We Left Home. Family relationships over a number of years. True to life family angst and love.
Umrigar, Thrity - The Space Between Us. Loved this book! Questions of power and friendship and "class" in India.
Verghese, Abraham - Cutting For Stone. Great story. Interesting plot, location, characters. Many people feel this is a fabulous book, but I was a tad disappointed. Good enough for 4 stars out of 5.
White, Susan R. - A Soft Place to Land. Started out good and went downhill. I would not recommend spending time on it, but it was the only W book I read.
Xiajing, Gao - Soul Mountain. I must confess I did not finish this book, but I gave it a good try. Read about 120 of over 500 pages, and just grew tired of it and couldn't push myself to complete it. Since I read 52 books I gave myself permission not to push through and complete this one.
Young, Louisa - My Dear I Wanted to Tell You. Book about relationships during the Civil War. Surprised me in being quite different from what I expected, but it was a worthwhile read.
Zuckoff, Mitchell - Lost in Shangri-La. True story of a plane crash that happened near the end of WWII. The lives of the survivors, what they went through, and the unknown and primitive workd they found themselves in. I quite liked learning this interesting story.

Best 5 of the Year not in order. These 5 all won First Place in my opinion:
Bailey, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
Patchett, State of Wonder
Umrigar, The Space Between Us
Kristoff and WuDunn, Half the Sky
and one that's not on the above list: Parkin - Baking Cakes in Kigali (loved it).

This completes my second year of an A-Z challenge. Last year I did titles, this year authors. I plan not to participate in the A-Z challenge again at least for a while. It was fun to find books I would not have otherwise found, but in the next couple of years I am challenging myself to read the books that are piled up at home in my shelves, under tables, by my bedside, and waiting patiently in my e-Reader. That should keep me quite busy for a good, long time.


Sarah said...

Last year, after reading about it on your blog, I also did the A-Z title challenge. I ended up not doing any challenge this year but I have finished 60 books with one that could be finished tomorrow if I try! Probably half my books are from specific series so it would be harder to find A-Z authors. I do hope to find some kind of reading challenge next year as most of my books come from the library. Happy New Year!

JeannetteLS said...

I'm not doing the challenge, but I cut and pasted your five firsts onto my own list of books to read. Umrigar's book was already there.

Happy new year... I hope it IS one for you!

Joanne said...

Such an interesting list. I enjoyed reading it over and made a couple of suggested "notes to self". I completed a reading challenge myself this year but it was not as organized as yours. I am thinking Canadian authors might be a good challenge for next year but the alphabet one is interesting too. Joanne