Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Top Reads for 2009

I read 57 books for fun this year (two of which I have not yet reviewed here), down from the 67 I read in 2008. That's quite a drop, but I will try not to be too hard on myself. =D

Here's a list of my top reads of the year:

Book that made me the most thoughtful: Seeking Peace by Mary Pipher

Book that touched my heart: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

Most spiritually encouraging: Home Tonight by Henri Nouwen

Most fun reading experience: The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn

Most practical and grounding: Miss Manners of Painfully Proper Weddings by Judith Martin

Happy new year! I hope that 2010 brings you much joy, good health, and plenty of excellent books to read!

PS: If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to hear which books were your favorites in 2009.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Spiced by Dalia Jurgensen

The full title of this book is - Spiced: A pastry chef's true stories of trials by fire, after-hours exploits, and what really goes on in the kitchen.

This is a memoir of the author's experience making a career change from an office job into the culinary world. She goes to culinary school and rises through the ranks of several prestigious restaurants as a pastry chef.

This was a fun, easy read, but it seemed like there was something missing. Culinary school seemed way easier than I'm thinking it is, unless the author was extremely capable and talented as a beginner. She chronicles some challenges, mostly being surrounded by a lot of males in the restaurant industry. But still, her whole journey seemed pretty easy so that makes me wonder if there's stuff that's missing. Overall though, it was an enjoyable read.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

" when you know what's gonna happen next. Not exactly what, because probably nobody gets that. But normal is being able to count on certain things." --Addie

This book is a young adult book about Addie, a junior higher who lives with her mom in a trailer. Addie's half-sisters live with her step-dad (who is no longer married to Addie's mom). Addie's mom is gone for days at a time and Addie has to take care of herself.

This story is about resilience and family. It's sweet and heartfelt - I enjoyed it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Book List for a Friend

I received this comment from my friend, David. I grew up with David. He has an amazing memory for song lyrics. I remember us as young kids in his backyard going down the slide while he sang "Surfin' USA" by the Beach Boys.

This is what he wrote:
Hey E!

Three years ago, I gave up soda for a year.
Two years ago, I gave up ice cream for a year.
Last year, I gave up chocolate and chips for a year.
This coming year, I decided to give up giving up stuff and add something.

I have decided to read one book a month for 2010 (I don't read unless absolutely necessary like for a class or something...and even then I don't read the whole thing.) Out of the books you've read, which do you think I'd like?


Yay! I love it when people decide to read more. And now he can drink soda AND eat ice cream, chocolate, and chips while reading.

My response:

Hi David,

Here are my recommendations. I kept a couple of things in mind while choosing the books - since you're not a big fan of reading, I chose books that are pretty easy, accessible, and fun. Also, to keep you on track for one book per month, I chose books that aren't that long. Click on each title for my review and a description of the book. Let me know how it goes.

My Favorite Young Adult/Kid Books:
-Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
-Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent
-Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Books About Food:
-The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Finn
-Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (this one is a bit longer)
-How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill

-The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
-The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

-Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Seeking Peace by Mary Pipher

I've mentioned this before on this blog: When a book I read is either really good or really bad, I use very few words and just tell you that directly.

When a book is bad, it's not worth my time to describe it all to you. It's enough to tell you to: Don't read this book.

When a book is really good, sometimes there are no words to even describe how good it really is, you just need to find out for yourself. So I write: Read this book.

This is a READ THIS BOOK post.

This book will most likely make it onto my Top Ten Good Reads of 2009.

A quote:

"...adults who have never suffered are shallow and well, insufferable.
Because they haven't experienced much pain, they haven't felt motivated to truly explore themselves and their relationships to the world." --Mary Pipher

Three books by Richard Paul Evans

Some days it's nice to curl up with a blanket (or cat) and read a book all the way through. Let me show you what happened.

I picked this one up from the library and boom! I was hooked. I read the whole book in a 24-hour period.

It's not literature. It's just easy reading.

I went to the library and picked up some more by the same author.

Boom, I read through this one.

I read this one, too.

But then I got to this one. I read 1/4 of it and closed it. I placed it in my "To return to Library" bag.
I had had enough. Enough of the predictable characters and predictable storyline. Enough of Richard Paul Evans' books.
But for the time that it lasted, it was fun.