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Books I Read in 2007

December 30, 2007

It’s that time again. Time for me to post my booklist from the past year. This year I posted a few comments to go along with the titles. (I omitted the plethora of pregnancy books I read.)

Fiction

North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell****
Saw the movie then read the book. Really enjoyed both. See my post here for my thoughts on both.
The Secret Life of Bees
– Sue Monk Kidd***
Enjoyed this book, but it got a bit dull in the middle. Don’t think it quite lived up to the huppla over it.
Gilead – Marilynne Robinson****
This book was gentle and thoughtful. Difficult to get into, but worth the effort. It was more like reading a journal than a novel. The prose was as beautiful as poetry.
Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson**
This novel made me feel messy and a little mad. The author really brings you into the “madness” of her characters, and I didn’t really like the way it made me feel. That’s probably what she meant to do, and was effective at doing it. It was a slow descent, and kind of crept up on you.
The Man Who Was Thursday – G. K. Chesterton**
Enjoyed reading this as part of a book discussion. Got much more out of it then I would have if I’d read it on my own.
Swan – Frances Mayes***
I picked this up because I loved Under the Tuscan Sun so much. Kept me reading, but not as good as her memoir.
Bleak House – Charles Dickens***
Despite my love for 19th-century fiction, this was the first time I completed a Dickens novel. After seeing the excellent and spellbinding BBC mini-series, I decided to read the book. Although seeing the mini-series helped me keep the multitude of Dickens characters straight, the drawback was that I already knew the plot, so I wasn’t as compelled find out what happens next. I had to put it down a couple times to give myself a breather, but just finished it this week. I ultimately enjoyed it, but am glad to move on to other books.

Non-Fiction

Treasuring God in Our Traditions–Noel Piper****
Enjoyed this thoughtful approach to tradition-making. A great read for anyone one who wants to make traditions spiritually significant and meaningful. I already posted my thoughts on this book here.
Treasures of Encouragement: Women Helping Women in the Church
–Sharon W. Betters***
This book was excellent. I enjoyed the topic of women encouraging women. I especially was grateful for the spiritual and practical suggestions to help me grow in this area. I also used it as a devotional, of sorts, because at the end of each chapter was scripture and questions to consider. Highly recommended.
Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce – Elizabeth Marquardt**
Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously – Julie Powell**
I loved the concept of this memoir: woman unsatisfied with her personal life goes on a quest to cook through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking while blogging about it. There were some pretty funny episodes. It did become tiring about halfway through, plus the amount of crass language was annoying to have to wade through. I think I like the concept better than the book.
The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer****
This classic had me underlining almost every page. Very insightful and powerful. This was the second read for me. I always love Tozer.
Under the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes***
Beautifully written. I savored the language in this memoir. It was a joy to listen to. I didn’t actually read this book, but listened to it on CD during my marathon nursing days. I found it a bit slow to start. The book begins by dwelling a lot on buying and renovating a Tuscan villa before we really get to know the author, but if you stick with it, it’s perfectly delicious. Slowly, I felt like I was residing with Frances Mayes as she explored Italian culture, food, and got to know the people. One of my favorite memoirs for sure.
My Heart in His Hands: Ann Judson of Burma – Sharon James***
An excellent biography about Ann Judson, who left her family to become a missionary in Burma with her husband. If you ever feel like you face hardship, read this book, because it’ll make you think twice. Ann’s spiritual strength and determination kept her husband alive during imprisonment. An amazing story of a short but powerful life.
Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage – Madeline L’Engle****
A beautiful testament to a marriage.
Elizabeth Prentiss: ‘More Love to Thee’ – Sharon James****
A great biography of the writer of Stepping Heavenward.
Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe– Nancy Goldstone***
A fascinating history of four sisters who ruled Europe during the Thirteenth Century. I love reading about the impact and contributions of women throughout history, so I found this book intriguing.
Midwest Modern – Amy Butler***
Everyday Pasta – Giada De Laurentiis**
Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, with Pie – Patty Pinner***
Here’s to another year of excellent reading!

Key:
*Didn’t like
**Good
***Very Good
****Excellent

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2007 4:41 pm

    We have similar tastes in books! I really liked Garlic and Sapphires that you recommended last year. I’m going to check out some of your non-fictions.

    I have loved all the Chesterton fiction I’ve read. Have you read The Man Who Knew Too Much? Or the Father Brown mysteries? Those are GREAT. Also, in that same vein are the Dorothy Sayers mysteries and the Woodhouse books.

    I also enjoyed Noel Piper and the Elizabeth Prentiss book as well.

    I have to say, though, I had to take Julie and Julia back after chapter 2. While I LOVED the concept as well, the language and some of her sex-talk was too much for me. I was intrigued, like I am by the People magazines at the checkout, but had to decide that I couldn’t take it.

  2. December 30, 2007 5:33 pm

    I’ve not read anything else by Chesterton. I’ll have to check into the mysteries you’ve mentioned! It’s been a while since I read a good English mystery.

  3. zoanna permalink
    December 30, 2007 8:12 pm

    Questions, because I am awed by your sheer volume (no pun intended) of reading.
    1) Are you a speed reader?
    2) Do you every book cover to cover?
    3) How many of these did you read after having the boys?
    4) Do you keep several books going at once, based on mood,or do you finish one before going to the next?
    One of my goals (though it didn’t make my top 18) is to read more books in their entirety. I have read many books halfway through or jsut far enough to be inspired or bored or motivated to act. Why is that?
    Kudoes to you, my fellow bibilophile! I love your succint reviews here.

  4. December 30, 2007 11:01 pm

    Zoanna,

    1.) No, I’m not technically a speed reader. I do read very fast, but never learned any speed reading techniques or anything.

    2.) Yes, I read every book completely (unless I decide to not read it at all after starting it). If I don’t finish it though, I wouldn’t add it to my booklist.

    3.) In the fiction section, I read from “The Man Who Was Thursday” on after having the boys. In the non-fiction section I read from “The Pursuit of God” on after having the boys. In the beginning I was nursing longer and more often and was able to read more. Now I can’t read much at all because they’re done in about 15 min. and are very distracted by turning pages, etc. I read mostly at night before going to bed. About an hour. Also, as I mentioned, I listen to books on CD sometimes too. I love this, because you can be working in the kitchen or something and listening to a story at the same time.

    4.) Yes, I read multiple books at once. Always have. I just am not always in the mood for the same book every time I sit down and read. I usually like to have a fiction, non-fiction, and spiritual book going all at once. It just works for me. For instance, until I finished “Bleak House” I was reading it, plus “A Mother’s Heart” and “Saved From What?” all at once.

    I don’t know why some other people are more prone to read parts of books and not finish them. Josh is more like that. I don’t mean to say he never finishes books, but he is more likely to start a book and not finish it, or read the chapters he’s more interested in, but not the whole thing.

    By the way, I own some of these books, so if any of you local gals are interested in reading some of these titles, feel free to ask if you want to borrow!

  5. zoanna permalink
    December 31, 2007 11:35 am

    Ack! I left a long comment and I think it vanished because I didn’t fill in all the required fields. Anyway, I think for me the not finishing of a book is because , as soon as feel I’ve read my fill of it/ gotten the meat off the bones, I’ll close it. John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life did that for me. Inspired me in my 39th/40th year to get out there and really pray and pursue God about my deep longing to be a missionary and not just sit back and talk about it/dream about/pine about it. But I didn’t need the second half (at least I didn’t think so) for it to have a full effect on me. Many authors tend to do that–be unnecessarily wordy at times (I’m in the same boat) because of our love of the language.

  6. January 2, 2008 6:40 pm

    I loved Treasures of Encouragement.

    And thanks for your comments on people who only skim books. I am a read every page kind of person, but my daughter always skips around! I want her to love reading and to want to read good books. Plus I tend to think that you have to read it all the way through or you miss stuff and I hate to miss out on things. She’s only 8 so I figured it was just her age. But I’ll have to give some thought on how to train her if her personality is more prone to just be that way. If your husband has any thoughts I would love to hear it!

  7. briana permalink
    January 4, 2008 2:31 pm

    I have to say I am encouraged, too, that there are others out there that don’t finish books. I don’t read quickly and b/c I take them out from the library, they are usually due by the time I’m 1/2 way through (and, sadly this is with the renewal, too). 🙂 I’m just a slow reader AND have little time to actually read. I am trying to read before bedtime…even 15 minutes, but admittedly am not always in the mood, like you, for the book I have out from the library. Sometimes, I read my mags, my bible or a devotional book and sometimes I just want to see what QVC is selling. 🙂 My resolution this year is not to get tripped up by how many books someone else is reading and I am not, but just to do what I can, when I can. If I get through my current book, “Founding Mothers” before the 23rd (when it’s due), it’ll be a miracle. “A page at a time” is what I keep telling myself. 🙂

  8. Rinnie permalink
    January 8, 2008 3:27 pm

    Thanks for your list – I’m always love to get recommendations of books to read – I’ve just checked a couple out from the library to read.

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