Saturday, December 31, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks Wrap-Up

This is the second year I've participated in a the 52 books in a year reading challenge. Here's my wrap-up for the year. For more visit Robin at 52 Books in 52 Weeks. She's doing a writing challenge this year too. Oy vey. I might have to add that to my life. Seriously, just not sure where.

Did you reach the goal of 52 books or did you manage to beat your own personal best?
It was kind of touch and go this fall when I realized I was about 10 books behind. Too many house re-building projects going on and school started again with regularity. I did, however, decide to add in our read-alouds (the Wrinkle in Time series and the Little House series). I figure hours and hours of reading out-loud ought to count for something. As a result I made it with a few more than 52 books read for a total of 57.
What book are you ending the year with? I finished Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. In fact, the last 3 books of the year were by Lamott: Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions and Plan B. Each is a collection of essays gathered around a theme (writing, parenting, faith) with lots of Lamott's signature reverence, irreverence, 12 step survival and LOL humor thrown in. I tried a couple of her non-fiction books. Not my cuppa. Too many gay, recovering potty mouths involved.

Did you discover a new author or genre? Did you love them or hate them?
Fantasy is not really my thang I thought but didnt' realize that L'Engle was considered a fantasy writer. (duh). As a result discovered a new to me author,  Le Guin. She has a militant writing style- not fluffy, not fun, but oh so brilliant. I actually missed the characters and missed the book (The Left Hand of Darkness) when I was done.
Also Allen Addison- total brain candy but loved it. New genre: mystical realism. Baboom, baby. I will delve slowly into this genre, however, because it looks like a lot of fantasy world of nevahland escapism and that is really, truly, not my thang.
Lamott- edgy, liberal and crude but a brilliant and funny writer.

Did you challenge yourself to read more non fiction if prefer fiction or more fiction if you prefer non fiction? My goal was to do a even amount of non and fiction but I definitely erred on the side of fiction.

Did you read from a list or wing it? I start with a list from and add and subtract as I go. Lots of titles from the Hive's weekly 52 in a Year participants and others from the stacks at the library.

The 3 Witches- scenes from our Homeschool production of Macbeth.
How many classics did you read? What did you think of the writing style or author? MacBeth by Shakespeare, in prep for Feeche's performance as Macbeth this summer.  Love the language.
Can I count the Little House series? If so, I love the colloquialisms, the descriptions of what life was like. It's especially interesting to me as we live so close to the De Smet homestead.

Name one book that you thought you'd never read and was pleasantly surprised you like it. Probably Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness. A difficult thought exercise and brilliantly executed.

What are your top ten favorite books?
A God Who is There by Schaeffer - discover the spirit of this present age and speak to it out of your living faith.
The Book Thief by Zuzak. Metaphor as narrator. Brilliant. Touching, disturbing, moving.
The Help -Loved the book. Loved the movie. Powerfully rendered apologetic for the prejudices that bind and define us. Brilliant portrayal of how love can free us.
Bird by Bird by Lamott- I want to write like her when I grow up. Puhleeze?!
Garden Spells/ The Sugar Queen (all of 'em) by Addison Allen. O.k. I want to write like this when I grow up. I loved the magical elements- metaphor, serendipity? She writes like how I think life really works. What we need is there when we need it cause the deep magic is at work despite the fact that we live in shallowville.
The Necklace by Jarvis. Loved this book about community and allowing participating in it to transform you. A great metaphor for the Christian faith.
Grooming the Next Generation for Success by Johnson. A beautiful parenting book about how we can powerfully bless our children.
Son of Hamas by Yousef. The Christian faith is transformational and this book is a touching example of that. Not to mention the fact that Yousef does a stellar job of honoring his father, despite the deep rift between them.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Chua. I did not agree with a lot of this mother's tactics, but I enjoyed the intentionality with which she parented.
They Thought For Themselves by Roth. Moving testimonies of modern-day Jews who follow Yeshua. Beautiful and powerful.

What are your ten least favorite books?
Handmaid and the Carpenter - the author is not up front about the basis for the premise of the story,  deceiving the reader. Not only did I not appreciate Joseph (of Joe and Mary fame) slandered but I did not appreciate the bait and switch at the end of the story. Blech.
 In the Land of Believers - what to say. This chick plays with fire (or deep magic, or both) all for the sake of a story.
She Looks Just Like You - claiming to be something just cause you want it doesn't make it real. Seriously. The Velveteen Rabbit is not true.
Wisdom Hunter- not believable.
Zipporah- again, seriously? Too many scenes that don't fit with what I know about history. 2 too many sexually explicit scenes that don't make sense. Blech.
Escape- The author does not write with insight about herself but portrays herself as an innocent victim. I do think she was victimized but it's time to play grown-up now.  She continually portrays herself as the only rationally sane person in the southeastern part of Utah. O.k. this part might actually be true. Sad, sad portrayal of polygamous cult-life.
Half the Church - do women feel so marginalized in the church, really? This book felt like lots of belly-aching and whining with no actual solution.

Did you start any books that you just simply couldn't finish? I started several other books that I skimmed and several I took back to the library.

What did you think of the mini challenges and did you join in or complete any? I did my own mini-challenge on Memoirs. I read 16 of them, if you don't count the Little House books.
I read authors and that turned in to a mini-challenge of sorts- got into L'Engle again this year, Addison, Lamott, re-visited Potok and Gladwell, along with Gladwell, Lewis  and Lawhead.

Did your family join in on the fun? No. But they all read voraciously. And they had the serious fun of my talking about all of the books I was reading. Lucky them.

How many books have you added to your wish list since the beginning of the year? hmmm. A bunch.

What was your favorite thing about the challenge? Just keeping myself reading in a pro-active way. I remember much more about the story when I write blog reviews but I kept running out of time to do so this year.

Here's my list for the year:

Addison Allen, Garden Spells
Addison Allen, Peach Keeper
Addison Allen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Addison Allen, The Sugar Queen
Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Arthur, Wisdom Hunter
Berg, The Handmaid and the Carpenter
Burnett, This Time Together
Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Coulter, Godless
Downing, Silesian Station
Ephron, I Remember Nothing
Flinchbaugh, Daughter of China
Gladwell, What the Dog Saw
Gonzales, A Biography of Madeline L'Engle
Green, Bloodroot
Haigh, Faith
Halter, Zipporah, Wife of Moses
Hanley, Seize the Story
James, Half the Church
Janzen, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
Jarvis, The Necklace
Jessop, Escape
Johnson, Grooming the Next Generation for Success
Johnson, UnPlanned
Klempnauer Miller, She Looks Just Like You
Kuffel, Passing for Thin
L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet
L'Engle, A Wind in the Door
L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
L'Engle, The Last Unicorns
L;Engle, A Circle of Quiet
Lamott, Bird by Bird
Lamott, Operating Instructions
Lamott, Plan B, Further Thoughts on the Faith
Lawhead, SkinMap
Lewis, C.S.; A Grief Observed
Peretti, Piercing the Darkness
Platt; Radical
Potok, Old Men at Midnight
Potok, Zebra & Other Stories
Roth; They Thought for Themselves
Schaeffer, The God Who Is There
Shakespeare, Macbeth
Stockett, The Help
Walls, The Glass Castle
Welch, In the Land of Believers
Wilder, By the Shores of Silver Lake
Wilder, Farmer Boy
Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods
Wilder, Little House on the Prairie
Wilder, Little Town on the Prairie
Wilder, On the Banks of Plum Creek
Wilder, The First Four Years
Wilder, The First Four Years
Wilder, The Long Winter
Wilder, These Happy Golden Years
Yousef, Son of Hamas
Zusak, The Book Thief


Robin McCormack said...

You did wonderful considering everything you had going on . Great list of books. I just added Garden Spells to my TBR Pile. I see you read Peretti's book Piercing the Darkness. I've read all his. What did you think?

Karen said...

Thanks for the list. I read and loved Garden Spells after you reviewed it last year. Now I need to compare your top ten list with what my library has for Kindle.

Keep up the good reading.