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What I read in 2009

December 28, 2009

As you can see at a glance at the fiction category, my reading wasn’t wide-ranging this year. I was determined to finish the P. D. James Adam Dalgliesh mystery series and didn’t move on until I’d done just that. In between murder and mayhem I returned to one of my favorite series, the “Anne” books for small town romance and intrigue. I hadn’t read them since I was a teenager and was interested to know if I’d love them the same way I did then. My personal rating system is:

* Mediocre
** Good
*** Very Good
**** Excellent
So, without further ado, here’s what I read in 2009:


Wives and Daughters – Elizabeth Gaskell****
Most of you know my penchant for Victorian novels and Gaskell is my new favorite author. I enjoyed how realistic the interactions of this “blended” family were, even for Victorian fiction, which can sometimes be sappy sweet. Check out my review here.

Home – Marilynne Robinson***
Robinson is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. If you check out Amazon’s reader reviews, people either hated or loved it. Home is the companion to Pulitzer prize-winning Gilead. Robinson has a distinct style (now being called “cosmic realism“) and you don’t read her for plot, but character. I didn’t care for Home as much as Gilead, but it still brought tears to my eyes as I read the last sentence. Beautiful one-of-the-kind writing.

Devices and Desires – P. D. James***
A Certain Justice – P. D. James****
Death in Holy Orders – P. D. James****
The Private Patient – P. D. James****
Murder Room
– P. D. James***

I will not write a review of each of the above P. D. James titles, but I will say that for not being someone who considers herself a crime novel reader, I loved these books. James creates memorable and complex characters and crimes. Her detective, Adam Dalgliesh, is a fascinating guy with a sad past who is successful and confident at work but more uncertain in his private life. I love James’ writing style and she is truly a wordsmith, especially in the genre of crime novels.

The Blue Castle – L. M. Montgomery***
Check out my earlier review here.

Anne’s House of Dreams – L. M. Montgomery***
Anne of Ingleside
– L. M. Montgomery****
Rainbow Valley – L. M. Montgomery**
Rilla of Ingleside
– L. M. Montgomery***
I absolutely enjoyed reading these old favorites. I read them with a different mindset, this time, however. That of a mother versus a teenager. I think my favorite was Anne of Ingleside. I loved reading about Anne as a mother and the hilarious escapades of her children.


The Red Feather – Tom Elliff***
Read my review here.

When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy – John Piper****
Piper never fails to encourage, convict, and challenge. Not only deep theologically, it also contains many practical applications.

Jesus on Trial – James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken***
I read this around Easter and it was not only was interesting on a historical level but also is thought-provoking on a personal level.

The Orchid Thief – Susan Orlean**
This was an interesting book, but a little dry and slow in parts. I did enjoy how the book incorporated history, science, and legal issues. I certainly had no clue how dramatic the orchid’s history was!

Trust – Lydia Brownback***
A great devotional that’s small and easy to read but doesn’t skimp on content.

A Walk with Jane Austen – Lori Smith**
Read my review here.

Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World – Edited by C. J. Mahaney**
Mahaney’s introduction to this book was excellent and worth the price. However, the rest of the book is rather disjointed and drags. Pretty much agreed with Tim Challis’ review on Amazon.

Brokenness: The Heart God Revives – Nancy Leigh DeMoss***
A great book/devotional on humility.

Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps – Leigh McLeroy****
And you already know what I thought about this one.

Lord, Give Me a Heart for You – Kay Arthur ***
Lord, Where Are You When Bad Things Happen
– Kay Arthur ***
Lies Women Believe
– Nancy Leigh DeMoss***
These three titles were all Bible studies I did over the past year and were great both in content and in creating deep discussion.

I know that next year I definitely hope to read a wider range of fiction, and in the non-fiction category I hope to read more biographies, as that really didn’t happen this year.

So, what memorable books–fiction or non-fiction–did you read this past year?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2009 2:53 pm

    *sigh* so many books, so little time! I want to do a round-up post like this soon on my own blog–inspired by you last December, I started keeping track this year of all the books I’ve read (though I haven’t been rating them as I go, which was probably foolish). I’ve already got a list going of what I want to read next year, hoping to be more balanced in my selections…but it’s already too long to be very realistic!

  2. December 29, 2009 5:32 pm

    Wow, thanks for all the great recommendations. I am always looking for the next great read for my book club. Let’s see…favorites this year…Kathleen Norris’s “Amazing Grace” and Martha Beck’s “Expecting Adam.” I know I read others…but I can’t remember them for the life of me!

    • December 30, 2009 9:41 am

      I’ve been meaning to read Norris’ “Amazing Grace” for a while, but haven’t yet gotten to it.

  3. December 29, 2009 8:12 pm

    Impressive list, as always, Danielle. I always enjoy seeing what inspires other. We are “kindred spirit” on the Anne series. I am back in Anne’s House of Dreams right now.

    Favorite non-Anne fiction this year was the Picoult novel Change of Heart.

    I’m ready to put in an Amazon order but am betwixt about what to own vs. check out of library. Which are your top 3 non-fiction to own? (I check fiction out of library or request as gifts.) We already have Worldliness and When I Don’t Desire God. (The former is a reason for the latter, eh?)

    • December 30, 2009 9:45 am

      Goodness, top 3 non-fiction to own! In all genres or just one?

  4. December 30, 2009 11:41 am

    oh, just from your non-fiction section in your post here.

    • December 30, 2009 1:09 pm

      Oh. “Treasured,” “Trust,” and since you’re into gardening/flowers I bet you’d like “The Orchid Thief.”

  5. December 30, 2009 5:14 pm

    I know I should leave a comment about the books, but I haven’t gotten past the photo. It’s so fresh! I love it!

  6. Bethany permalink
    January 4, 2010 10:42 pm

    Oh thanks for all the recommendations. I love reading what others have read and their thoughts….it makes picking the next book less daunting.

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