My Convertible Life

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday's 5: What I Read in 2010

I love books. I love to read them, hold them, own them, display them, wander around in stacks of them.

And yet somehow, I almost never read anymore. Part of the problem is that my life is full of family, friends, home, work and occasional sleep (and I suppose that's really more of a blessing than a problem, right?).

The other part of the problem is that when I finally take the time to read now, I binge. I ignore my children, my husband, everything as I cram my way through the book.

So, I'm sad to say these are the only titles that got crossed off my reading list in 2010:
  1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: Best book I read all year (not that it's much of a list). Even woke up early on a Sunday so that I could finish it. Read it now before the movie comes out and changes everything. Seriously, go read it now.
  2. The Wolf Tree by John Claude Bemis: Second in a trilogy by my college friend -- book 3 is scheduled for August. It's written for middle grades readers, but it's really, really good -- think Harry Potter meets American folklore. Start with The Nine-Pound Hammer first, then read this one.
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling: Yes, another young adult book. But it was such fun to read over Christmas break. Book 6 is now taunting me from the book case, but I don't have the time for another binge.
  4. The Associate by John Grisham: I didn't actually read this Grisham novel, I listened to it. But with this book plugged into my ears, I managed to distract myself enough to run a 5K. So I think it counts. Even though the ending was lame.
  5. Nuture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman: Technically I haven't finished this book yet. It's still sitting beside my bed. But I was really intrigued by the chapters I did read -- especially the one about gifted students avoiding challenges because they fear failure. Will keep plugging away at this new perspective on child-rearing.
How about you -- what's the best book you read in 2010? Or what is still sitting on your list that you hope to read in 2011?

Image from, because I bought the British versions when I was living in the UK. 


  1. While my goal was to read 50 books, I managed to read 28 books- not counting any children's literature. My favorites include two sets of trilogies. One was the Girl with Dragon Tattoo series. I wasn't going to finish the series after our book club read Book 1. But some club readers encouraged me to do so and I'm glad I did. The other trilogy is a young adult series, The Hunger Games. It kept me riveted to my seat. Very thought provoking.

  2. Like you, my reading list is MUCH shorter these days. And for many of the same reasons. Don't think I could even remember all of what I've read this year, but two that stick out in my mind were "Where Men Win Glory" by Jon Krakauer...LOVE everything by Krakauer (Under the Banner of Heaven is also great). This is the Pat Tilman story, and it most definitely made me think about why journalists didn't ask better questions and get past the press releases. The other was "Miami Babylon", which is a history of Miami Beach...from the very beginning, through the anti-semites, to the Jews, to the Cubans, to the drug runners, to the club crowd, to the condo kings. Maybe more of local interest, but I enjoyed it.

    I may have also dabbled in more than my fair share of "Elmo Plays Soccer" and "If I Were a Puppy."

  3. Last year's favorites...Little Bee, The Help, Half-Broke Horses, and Half the Sky.

  4. My mom's group formed The Gratuitious Book Club - no depressing books allowed! We just read Rachel's Holiday by Marion Keyes. I liked it - from what I hear the author's earlier books (like this one) are her better ones. If you like slightly offbeat, funny books like I do, you could try Sideways or anything by Richard Russo.

  5. I'm horribly limited due to really dry grad school reading, but I recently had the great good fortune to discover MFK Fisher, who is apparently a very famous food and travel writer I had never yet heard of. Her only book I've read so far is The Gastronomical Me and it was absolutely fantastic. I'll be reading everything she ever wrote once I'm done with my degree this May!

  6. I loved Water For Elephants! A friend nagged me endlessly for months and months until I gave in (I'm not a circus fan), and i'm so glad I did. Simply wonderful.

    The whole list of what I read last year is in my blog (looks like I read about 28 or so books, much better than I thought!), but some of my faves are:

    This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper (funny family stuff)
    The 13th Tale, Diane Setterfield (secrets, ghosts, mystery...great!)
    Room, Emma Donoghue (just WOW)
    Kindness of Strangers, Katrina Kittle (sensitive topic takes you by storm with its complexity)
    Little Bee, Chris Cleave (two voices & you aren't sure who to trust)
    The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender (a book a story unlike any other)

  7. I read 13 books last year. The first time in double digits since 2006. The five I liked the best were:
    -The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, her dystopian companion novel to Oryx & Crake.
    -Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, a quick, utterly engrossing way to refresh/learn my Gettysburg knowledge prior to visiting there.
    -The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Just an amazing story approached from the perspective of history, race relations, science, journalism, and biomedical ethics. Hands down the best book I read in the year.
    -Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Interesting memoir of a year of eating locally, with proper amounts of environmental education and recipes thrown in. Among many other things, this book made me want to learn how to bake bread.
    -Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I know it is cheating, but if pushed, I'd pick the second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire (just don't try reading it without the first!). Engrossing tale about corporate and governmental corruption and the importance of investigative journalism.


But enough about me, let's talk about you. What do you think about me?