Sunday, January 07, 2007

... My 2006 Reading List

At the end of every year you start to see "best of" lists. Well, I managed to read 32 books over the course of the past 12 months and I would like to share some of my favorites with you.

Worth Re-Reading

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The story of a missionary family living in the Congo during the 1960's- as told from each of the four daughters point of view. I started this book while I was on heavy pain medication, so it was a rough beginning but I'm glad I stuck it through. The unique story telling style and eye opening perspective on Africa were both big pluses'. I finished the last chapters while I had company over. So rude, but I couldn't put it down. It had me hooked.

  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • I was told that everyone should read this book at some point in their lifetime. I'm so glad I did. Ayn Rand was a female philosopher before her time. In this book she uses corporate America, it's executives, and their lives as a platform to discuss her political, social, economic, and philosophical beliefs. Very powerful novel. It's a long read that takes you longer as you stop to ponder the morals she sets forth. Oooh, while writing this post I found out that they are making a movie of this book-- to be released on 2008.

  • A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
  • I chose to discuss this book in one of the bookclubs I belong to. See some additional thoughts in my previous post.

  • Dave Barry Slept Here by Dave Barry
  • Funny, funny stuff. I used to read this outloud to Christen when I lived with her family. If you are even the most minor history buff, or just enjoy sardonic humor, you will love this book. I would helplessly laugh out loud in public when reading it.

  • Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald Sider
  • I wanted to do a separate post on this book, and still may as it was one of the top books I read this year. I even gave a dozen or so out as Christmas gifts. It was not an easy read. In fact, I had to put it down a number of times as it was challenging my perspective so much. Totally paradigm changing. I believe my reading of it was timely as it reinforced issues God was bringing to light in my life. Please read it.

  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Everyone must read this or watch the movie. It's just plain silly. I hope to read the second book in the trilogy this year.

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  • Here it is folks, I love Harry Potter. Forget the hubbub you've heard. This series of books is a must read. I only allow myself to read one a year so I don't breeze through the series too quickly. Everytime I finish a book, I find myself missing the characters.

  • Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
  • A favorite. I also blogged about this one. Still love her.

  • The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
  • One of the better books I've read in a while. There isn't so much a plot as there is a feel. And, really, that is kind of what the book is about. Life doesn't have a plot does it? Read more about it in one of my previous posts by clicking here

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • I'm looking forward to rereading this one again in '07. It's technically a childrens book but it's a very intriguing story. Lots to think about and discuss. It touches on the value of life and a sort of constructed utopia.

  • Peace Like A River by Leif Enger
  • My second time reading it and it's still a book I'd highly recommend. You'll fall in love with the characters and remember them years later as if they were friends.

  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • Definitely one of my favorite books. You can read more of my thoughts here

    The Others

  • Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
  • My English friends recommended this to me. It's a fun mystery novel beginning and ending over 700 years apart. I usually like a little more meat to my books but it was an enjoyable read.

  • Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
  • A light Christmas read about a charming town.

  • Godric by Frederick Buechner
  • At first glance the poetical writing style looks difficult but Godric the saint is worth getting to know through Buecheners book.

  • Leap of Faith by Queen Noor
  • This is my second time ready the Queen's autobiography. She led a fascinating life and though I remain unsure of what exactly my stance is on the issues in the middle east, I feel her perspective as the former Queen of Jordan is important to hear.

  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • A classic.

  • The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
  • A strange sort of allegory. Good vs. Evil but with a rooster, a rat, a lizard, and a cow.

  • Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity by Lauren Winner
  • I'm a Lauren Winner fan. I love her candid honesty in her autobiography "Girl Meets God". She brings it again in Real Sex, definitely not a repeat of other books you may have read on the topic.

  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  • Everyone should read this book at some point in their lives. It will enlighten you and alter your perspective regarding the human sole.

  • The Living by Annie Dillard
  • In a word- depressing. Despite the title, pretty much everyone dies. And there are no lack of characters either. It covers an early settlement in Seattle, from when people first moved West through the goldrush and beyond. I've no doubt it accurate but man was it depressing.

  • Instruments in the Redeemers Hand by Paul Tripp
  • This book taught me not to "lob grenades of truth" at people but to love them instead. I'm trying to apply that more regularly.

  • Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
  • Warning: she rails a bit on President Bush and she has some pretty strong opinions on other topics. But, what do you expect from the title really. I enjoyed hearing what a non-conservative Christian has to say about some social issues.

  • Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham
  • A great book for anyone, but especially those in management or hiring roles. Reading this and taking the accompanying test helped me to understand my strengths and how to use them in a working environment. Sounds kind of bunkish but I'm in earnest.

  • In Love and War by Jim and Sybil Stockdale
  • Though not mentioned in the book, Jim Stockdale was Ross Perot's running mate. Little factoid for you. But this book was written by both Jim and his wife, Sybil. They alternate chapters describing their individual lives as they met, married, his military career, the Vietnam war, and primarily his years as a POW. It details what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin (he was there), what it was like to be a POW, and how he and Sybil send secret encoded messages to each other. A touching story.

  • Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayer
  • A British, who done it, mystery novel. Very light and enjoyable reading.

  • Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  • A fictional story of forgiveness and healing set in South Africa.

  • Memories of a Gameranger by Harry Wolhuter
  • This man was infamous in South Africa. He lived quite the adventurous life. Would be a fun read for a boy who likes animals.

  • Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton
  • I don't remember alot about this book but as I look back through it, I see that I sure did underline alot. Maybe I need to reread.

  • Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen
  • Confusing and bizarre play. I didn't like it at all.

  • The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
  • A priest in exile in Mexico for remaining a priest.

  • Orient Express by Graham Greene
  • A few lives intertwine on a train ride.


    Ashleigh said...

    Wow, Michelle! You read so much!

    I started "The Poisenwood Bible" but had such a hard time getting into it. And since I was pretty busy and it was so long, I didn't stick with it. Maybe I'll have to pick it up again in the future. Everyone in the book club seemed to like it.

    Michelle said...

    You should pick it up again, Ashleigh. It turns into a great story.

    I try to make reading a priority. My goal each year is 50- just because it's a nice round number. I was pleased with what I accomplished this year though. Especially since five or six of the books were well over 500 pages long.

    Anyhow, sometimes I wonder why I didn't choose a different career path. Something to do with literature or something. How do those people who write book reviews get their jobs anyhow? I mean, I can write a blurb on the back of a book. :-)

    Anonymous said...

    50 books in a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could only dream about that. HEE HEE. You are amazing.

    I really liked the Poisonwood Bible. Good read. And of course Peace Like A River was excellent.

    I picked up Power of One to read and plan on reading it hopefully next month. Just finished our BC book Till We Have Faces and started reading Complications which is facisnating.

    For me...too many books not enough time. That and I keep falling asleep thanks to a little peanut sucking all my energy.

    Keep us posted on your favs.

    Anonymous said...

    Hey how is Water For Elephants? That is one I want to read.

    Michelle said...

    I am REALLY enjoying it Bethany. Water for Elephants that is. It's just a plain good story. Very enjoyable and entertaining. I only have a few chapters left. :-)

    Re: the 50 books thing. I totally realize that the season of life I'm in makes it possible... and one day I will likely be happy to read 2 books a year. haha. It also helps that Jeff is just as into reading as I am. Much of our time is spent on the couch next to each other- or coffee table across from each other- devouring a book.

    jc oden said...

    I noticed you were a big Lauren Winner fan and I wanted you to see where she is coming out with a retelling of the book of Matthew. It is with a Bible project called The Voice and you can download the 1st chapter @

    Danielle said...

    Love the varied books on your booklist. I'll check some of those out.

    Anonymous said...

    I read "The Giver" this week -- great book! Thanks for the recommendation! I'd read another of Lois Lowry's Newbery Award books, "Number the Stars," when I was in college (for a Children's Literature class). It was a great book, but I enjoyed "The Giver" more. There were parts of it that echoed "A Wrinkle in Time" -- that whole idea of "sameness." Keep reading those great books so we know what to read next!!!