Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top Reads of 2010

I read 69 books this year, up from 57 in 2009. It must be because I finished school in June. There's a lot more time to read when you're not in grad school. Actually, there's a lot more time for everything else when you're not in grad school.

Here are my top reads for 2010:

Best Overall:
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
This book made me weep, and made my heart hurt a little because it was so true.

Food for Thought:
Two is Enough - A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice by Laura S. Scott
A perspective that is not really talked about and maybe not even that socially accepted.

Best Sunday Afternoon Read:
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Only start this if you have an entire afternoon free, because you won't want to put it down.

Best for the Ethnic Identity Journey:
Lucky Girl by Mei-Ling Hopgood
Thoughtful and well-written.

Best for Rest:
Sabbath - Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller, may you find plenty of it in 2011.

Thanks for reading with me this year! I'm curious to know what your favorite books were this year...please leave a comment and let me know. I'm always looking for another good book to read.

Mommywood by Tori Spelling

The third Tori Spelling book I’ve read in the last month or so.

This one is about her life as a mom raising children in Los Angeles, Hollywood-style. She writes about wanting her kids to have a normal life even though they are living in a very un-normal place. She’s pretty honest about her struggles and questions…and sometimes a bit too honest about the intimate aspects of her life (please edit out those details next time, Tori! Thanks!).

Believe me, I did not think that 2010 would be the year that I read three books by Tori Spelling. What made these books so interesting to me? They were easy to read, and entertaining. She’s a good storyteller (or should I write sTORI teller?) and can laugh at herself. But more than that, Spelling actually seems to be pretty aware of her emotional life and I can appreciate that.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This is a murder mystery that had me engrossed. I carried it around in my purse hoping to have a spare moment to read it. I even brought it to church, but there was no time to read.

I am on the waiting lists at the library for the final two books.

Warning: this book contains adult themes. So all you kids out there, get permission from a grown-up before you read it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu

This is about a family and their immigrant experience in the US. It's the story of the parents, and also the son.

This book came highly recommended, but I found myself skimming paragraphs. There seemed to be too many words and details. I didn't really like any of the characters, and didn't feel like I got to know them well at all. Overall, just a hum-drum so-so read.

sTORI Telling by Tori Spelling

Yes, this is the second Tori Spelling book I've read in within a month. And yes, I am still a bit embarrassed to tell you all that I read it. But curiously enough, I'm not as embarrassed as last time.

In this book, Tori talks about her life growing up, her first marriage, and how she met her second husband.

She writes about how her parents lavished her with gifts (like snow in LA for Christmas), but that what she truly enjoyed was the Sunday afternoons that her dad and her spent picking up the dog poop in their backyard. I guess she just wanted quality time with her dad.

The story of how she met her second husband is not so respectable (they were both married at the time and left their spouses), so that was kinda bleh.

I am warning you, my faithful readers, that there is still one more Tori Spelling book I have yet to read.'s sitting on my nightstand right now.

City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

This was inspired by the author's missionary parents. It takes place in China during the early-mid 1900s. It's told from the perspective of a couple, each taking turns to narrate their life.

I had read a book by this author called The Distant Land of My Father which was why this book caught my eye. I liked this book, mostly because it involved China and early missionaries. It was a pretty thoughtful book, especially as the characters try to make sense of what happens to them and the grief they experience. Overall, I came to the same conclusion as I did with the previous book by the same author: a pretty good read, but not one that I would re-read or buy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Coming Soon: My Top 5 Reads of 2010

I say "reads" instead of "books" because I think that reading is an experience. I can read a book that received rave reviews, but my experience reading it can be so-so. Maybe it doesn't engage me or it's not alive for me.

In the next week or so, I'll post my list of Top 5 Reads of 2010.

This post is to give you a heads-up because I would like to hear about your Top Reads. So start thinking about which books you've read this year, which ones touched you the most, and what you would recommend to others.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ape House by Sara Gruen

This is by the author of
Water for Elephants
which I really liked. It was a rich, satisfying read.

I was excited to see a new book by the same author and was hoping for the same.

It's about bonobos who understand English and communicate in American Sign Language. They're stolen and a reporter is on the story.

This was an okay book. I read it in a couple of days, and I liked the bonobos. But there was something missing. Water for Elephants was very rich, both in story and in the writing. There was something thin about this, almost skeletal. It needed more meat.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Book I Did Not Finish: The Passage by Justin Cronin

This book held my attention for 275 pages (out of 700 or so), and then it became weird. I tried to pick it up again because I had already read so much of it, but it was too boring.

I used to finish books because I felt like I should finish them since I had started them. Now, if I find that I'm not picking up the book, or I feel that "should" feeling, I know it's time to stop.

I figure that I'm not in school anymore and I don't need to read anything that I don't want to. And reading for fun really isn't fun anymore if it's not fun. =D