Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011 Book Review

Last year, I made a list of at least 10 books I wanted to read. My official goal was 20. The good news: I kept a diligent list by the telephone, and to my surprise, tallied up 27 new books read by the year's end.

27! That's more than 1 every 2 weeks. With my crazy life and schedule, that made me pretty happy.

The bad news: of the 15 I wanted to read, I only tackled 6. So maybe I got a little distracted. Or I'm a book-flavor-of-the-month sort of girl. (That sounds like a really gross ice cream, doesn't it?).

Anyways, here are the winners from 2011:


One of the funniest books I've read in a long time! Do you enjoy common sense delivered in a hysterical fashion? Parents, read this and join the movement!

Proof that humans ARE INDEED meant to run! A super-fascinating account of a little-known side of Mexico. Ever give up on running? Don't despair -- read this book!


Want to sound intelligent at your next party? This book has spurred so many conversations with a wide array of people and turned me into a huge Malcolm Gladwell fan.

And the top 2 winners in the "current events" category:

"Unplanned" by Abby Johnson totally rocked my world. I woke up wondering what was in the next chapter, and even after I finished the final page, I could think of little else for days. The prolife/prochoice debate affects us all -- please, check this book out from the library and prepare to rethink.


This would be a great read in honor of the 2-year Haiti earthquake anniversary. Astonishing story of survival and faith.

The gold and silver in the "Chick Lit" category goes to....



I dig cowboys (which is why I married Nick, she says dryly). I dig reheads. I dig the country, farm food & laughing. All reasons why you should read "From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" by Ree Drummond, a true how-we-met story which will leave you in stitches and drooling.



Okay, I admit it -- if a book (or any item, really) has anything to do with Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennett or Fitzwilliam Darcy, I'm in. So I couldn't help but snatch this fluffy gem up while at the coast. It's sigh- and swoon-worthy.



These 2 books are very similiar, but I recommend reading both. I was privileged to interview Kevin Malarkey, the co-author of "The boy who came back from heaven." I can definitely say these are both normal families who went through something extraordinary. And inspiring!

While I filled my need for Precious Ramtoswe (I read 4 more in the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" this year), I discovered another Alexander McCall Smith gem. I totally fell in love with Isabel Dalhousie, the main character of "The Sunday Philosophy Club," series. Scotland, someday I am coming for you!

The BEST books of the year, however, both changed my life. Months later, certain lines will pop into my head; certain stories will stop me in my tracks, certain chapters left me in tears. If you read any 2 books this year, PLEASE let them be the following.


I've long been a fan of Register Guard columnist Bob Welch, and this book proved me right. "American Nightingale" is about the first American nurse killed at Normandy and moved me so much that I wrote to one of the book's main characters, Sallylou Bonzer. She is 92 and living in Eugene. I was so happy when she wrote back. It's true; she is one of the Greatest Generation.



I am so excited for this movie to come out! I don't want to ruin the plot, but if you want to know exactly how much a human body and soul can take without losing it, read Unbroken! By far one of the best books I've read in my entire life. This TRUE book has it all: action, suspense, UNBELIEVABLE plot twists, romance, inspiration....Louie Zamperini is now my hero.

What's your favorite book you read last year?