Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2009 ~ A Year In Books

My bloggy friend Rachael at Scientific Nature of the Whammy posted a book re-cap of 2008. Now besides my Mr. Bear,


books were my first true love. I have decided to kind of copy Rachael & my good friend Leala, at The Bookwhore's Guide to Books and keep a running commentary of my books read this year.

Let me know if you find any books you love this year!


The Liars Club & Cherry by Mary Karr

These memoirs cover the time from Karr's earliest memories through her teen years. Living in a Gulf town in Texas with a mentally unstable mother, and an increasingly distant father left her with a very unique childhood. The Liars Club takes us until she's about 12 years old. I found it much better than Cherry, simply because a lot more happened. Cherry is about her teen years which were filled with drug use to try and escape her circumstances. Mary Karr is worth spending some time with.


To Be Mona, Kelly Easton (YA)

To be Mona is a slim book about high school teens trying to find themselves in their senior year. Sage, wants to be Mona, the "popular" girl. But as so often happens, she often finds that getting what you want isn't what it's cracked up to be. Sage has an unstable mother who ends up being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It's a relief for Sage to find an answer to her mothers mood swings. The book offers great references for people with bipolar & those who love them. The book does a good job of bringing up the subject of a mentally unstable parent, while still focusing on all the trouble high school can bring.


A Field Guide to the British: The Anglo Files, Sarah Lyall

I was really excited about this book. Lyall is an American expat married to a Brit. She touches on all of the British cliches. Bad teeth, bad news reporting, their painful modesty & the oddity of the Royals. When I say she touches on these things I was wrong, she give a million examples of each. I actually quit reading this book. I almost never quit a book once I'm past a certain point, but this just got too boring. It's 260 pages. It would be a great, fun read at about 130!


Triple Shot Betty's In Love, Jody Gerhman (YA)

The follow up to Triple Shot Betty's really steers away from the things that turned me off of the last book a little bit. This time Gerhman stays away from the teenage drinking and focuses on the love lives of the teen girls. A fun follow up.


Learning Joy from Dogs Without Collars, Lauralee Summer

This short blurb about this book would be "homeless to Harvard." Lauralee's upbringing offered her few choices, but she made her way to the hallowed halls of Harvard. It's a great story, but something about Summer just didn't make me really get emotionally invested in the story. Still worth reading.


Assisted Loving: Tales of Double Dating With My Dad, Bob Morris

This is a story about Morris trying to understand why his recently widowed father needs to jump back in the dating pool so quickly after his wifes death. I didn't end up liking Bob Morris too much, he comes across as quite self absorbed, although he admits as much in the book. Something that bothered me is that he often describes how handsome his 80-something father is, yet put a very unflattering photo of him on the cover. I think Morris still has some passive aggressive issues to work out!

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Bringing Home the Birkin, Michael Tonello

A fun book about Tonello's move to Barcelona & suddenly finding himself jobless. He starts a lucrative business finding the elusive Birkin bags & reselling them online. Not a bad read, but gets a little old by the end. Bonus cute points for the book design, the paper part is small & comes off leaving the book looking like an orange croc Birkin bag.


Dirty Laundry, Daniel Ehrenhaft (YA)

A cute mystery about a teen celebrity going undercover at a "last chance" boarding school. The characters were fun & I didn't know what was going to happen next. Worth reading.


Spud-The Madness Continues, John van de Ruit (YA)

This is one of my YA books. I read Spud a few weeks ago. This was a grand follow up. Truly just an extension of the first book. A nice change from the YA chick-lit type books, more of a dude-lit.

Best Friends Martha Moody Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket

Best Friends & The Office of Desire, by Martha Moody

I'm not sure what to say about these 2 books. Best friends was her first book & the one I read first. Now let me say that I give a book about 50-100 pages before I quite reading it, if I don't like it. Too many books & too little time for books that don't hold my interest. I didn't stop reading either of these books. They were just different. Odd twists thrown in at odd places. They were interesing, but for me, were lacking a certain type of sparkle & they really could have used a little humor. I'd say they were just "okay".


Spud, John Van De Ruit (YA)

This YA book is different than most I have read. It's written by a South African and is set in a South African boys school in 1990, the year Nelson Mendela was released from prison. I personally have a soft spot for books about boarding schools & this one did not dissapoint. Spud refers to the main character. He's given this nickname because at 13 puberty hasn't hit him yet. As the mother of 2 teen boys, it was really an interesing perspective. Spud likes girls, falls for a couple girls, but his body hasn't caught up yet. Good book.


Apart From The Crowd, by Anna McPartlin

This was a great book. Set in Ireland it's the tale of 4 lifelong friend & what happens to them with a handsome American moves into their small town. I really thought this book had it all. It was funny, but had plenty of real touches of sadness. McPartlin has 2 previously written books & I'm headed over to my library's website now to put them on hold.


Love The One You're With, by Emily Giffin

I have read her books in the past & enjoyed them. I really enjoyed this one, too. It wasn't too predictable, which is good. The only complaint I would have is that after take approx. 320 pages to get to the crux of the story, it's neatly wrapped up in a bow in merely 20. It did, however, keep me guessing as to which path our heroine would end up taking. I would recommend it.

Now as a person who reads voraciously, I often read young adult (YA) books. Maybe part of it is because I think that I could be a successful YA writer someday. The other part is probably my immaturity, but does that really matter?


Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, by Jody Gehrman (YA)

Geena, a high school junior desperately wants her cousin Hero & her BFF Amber to get along over summer break. Predictably the path is rocky, but not in a way you would assume.

Triple Shot Betty is set in the wine country of Sonoma, so that might explain why these teenagers are often given alcohol by the 'responsible' adults in this book, but it just seems like a bad literary choice on the part of Gehrman to make this seem o.k. The kids in this book drink often, and drink often with their parents. Only on one occasion does this have any negative effect to our lead characters. I really think this was an detriment to the book.

The girl power ending was a little trite for me, but it was a fun read overall. I would not recommend it to the tween audience it was intended for, given casual approach given to high school drinking.


Joy said...

I read both Mary Karrs quite a few years ago and loved them both. She's just a great writer with so much to draw from. I've also read everything by Emily Giffin, who I enjoy so much. And again, I read both those Martha Moodys. I recall liking The Office of Desire more than Best Friends, which as I recall kind of wore me out by the end.

Tracy said...

I love to read and haven't read any of these so it was great to get your take on them.