Saturday, January 1, 2011

To 10 Books of 2010

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Here are my top 10 favorite books that I read in 2010, for the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. These are in no particular order. I think my very favorite book of the year was A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg. This book contains essays about food and family, and each essay comes with a recipe. The writing was fabulous, and I'm a bit obsessed with food and recipes, so I really enjoyed this book! And doesn't it have a gorgeous cover?

1. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home, Rhoda Janzen
2. A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg
3. My Life in France, Julia Child, with Alex Prud'homme
4. Iodine, Haven Kimmel
5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, May Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
6. The Fortieth Day, Poems by Kazim Ali
7. Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet, Christian Wiman
8. Still Life with Oysters and Lemon, Mark Doty
9.  Leaping Poetry, Robert Bly
10. Possession, A.S. Byatt

2011 Book Challenge

The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the TaleFor 2010 I joined a book challenge to read 100 books for the year, and only made it to 36. It was one of my lowest years ever for number of books read, due to major life changes and a return to the workplace. My daughter, however, read more than 100 books for this challenge. This year I'm going to sign up for a challenge that looks more doable. Home Girl's Book Blog is having a Support Your Local Library challenge. I can decide to read 12, 25, 15 or 100 books from my local library during 2011. I think I should pick 12, what do you think? I can always read more than that if I'm able, and then I'll feel really good about myself! I'll be keeping a list of the library books I've read in this post, below.

1. The Last Time I Saw You, Elizabeth Berg. A typical Elizabeth Berg book -- light reading, but relatively well-written and with a story that carries you along. This one follows several characters who are about to attend their last high school reunion.
2. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender. This book is about a girl who can taste people's emotions in the food that they make. A fascinating, unusual book that flirts at the edges of science fiction in the form of the main character's brother, who also has some "special" powers.
3. Addition, Toni Jordan. Another surprising and unusual book, like nothing I've ever read before. I look for that in books! This follows a chapter in the life of a woman who suffers from OCD. Her particular form of OCD leads her to count everything that she does. Her life has become very narrow and lonely because of her disorder, but she encounters some unlikely turns of event.
4. 703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life, Nancy Makin. This memoir is so poorly written, that I wouldn't have finished it except that the story kept me going along. It's an interesting story, I just wish it had been written better. Also, watch out for long preachy passages musing on what she's learned about her experiences.
5. Room, Emma Donoghue.
6. Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls, Leonard Sax
7. The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, Ree Drummond
8. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Reader in Every Child, Donalyn Miller
9. I Am Hutterite: The fascinating true story of a young woman's journey to reclaim her heritage, Mary-Ann Kirkby
10. Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant, Daniel Tammett
11. The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale, Susan Maushart
12. Lost and Found, Geneen Roth
13. Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, Gabrielle Hamilton
14. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua
15. Growing Up Amish, Ira Wagler
16. State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
17. The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides
18. The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson
19. The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach