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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013

This is a list of all (or most) of the books I read in 2013, in no particular order.

1. Tell Your Time, by Amy Lynn Andrews. This is an excellent, short, philosophical, and practical book on time management.
2. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua. I read this book because of the controversy surrounding it. I came away from it thinking there is some value to the greater discipline displayed in Chinese parenting, but also value to the greater grace displayed in Western parenting.
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. I read this so I could watch the movie. I liked the book and thought it was well-written, but I'm not sure I could enjoy watching the cruelty of children to children in a movie.
4. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. This was disappointing and I will neither be watching the movies nor reading the other books in the series.
5. Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, by Nonie Darwish. Terrifying indeed! This is an eye-opening book and I highly recommend it.
6. City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau.
7. People of Sparks, by Jeanne DuPrau.
8. Prophet of Yonwood, by Jeanne DuPrau.
9. Diamond of Darkhold, by Jeanne DuPrau. Numbers 6-10 are a series. The first was the best, the second okay, the third disappointing, and the fourth okay. A movie was made based on the first, but it was not worth watching.
10. Car Trouble, by Jeanne DuPrau. This was not nearly as good as City of Ember.
11. Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung. I found this book disappointing as well. I would take Tell Your Time and Death by Living (by N.D. Wilson, mentioned below) over Crazy Busy.
12. Give Them Grace, by Jessica Thompson and Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. This is one of the two best parenting books I have ever read, the other being Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp. I can't recommend it highly enough.
13. The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde. This book was a disappointment. I'm not sure if that's because it was written for young adults and as a result steered clear of the sort of writing I find so enchanting in the Thursday Next series, or if Fforde simply did not write it as well as he's written his other books.
14. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. So far the only book by Gladwell that I have been glad I read was Outliers.
15. The Light of Eidon, by Karen Hancock.
16. The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock.
17. Shadow over Kiriath, by Karen Hancock.
18. Return of the Guardian-King, by Karen Hancock. Numbers 15-18 are a series called Legends of the Guardian-King. I thoroughly enjoyed all four books and highly recommend them to readers of fantasy.
19. The Little Red Guard, by Wenguang Huang. This is a first-person, true account of growing up in Communist China. It is not as harrowing to read as Escape from Camp 14 (mentioned below), but it is a powerful indictment of tyrannical government.
20. Seekers of the Lost Boy, by Taryn Hayes. Pretty well-written, but with a more explicitly evangelistic message than I tend to like in fiction.
21. The Last Thing I Remember, by Andrew Klavan.
22. The Long Way Home, by Andrew Klavan.
23. The Truth of the Matter, by Andrew Klavan.
24. The Final Hour, by Andrew Klavan. Numbers 21-24 are a series called The Homelanders. The books were very well-written, exciting, thrilling, a bit like a Young Adult literary version of the t.v. show 24. These books would make especially good reading for young adults who like excitement but want to steer clear of sexuality, foul language, and purposeless violence.
25. In the Company of Others, by Jan Karon. I am not a big fan of Karon. I did enjoy this book more than the only other book I read by her, Home to Holly Springs (I think). Some of the situations seemed to be a little too neatly resolved, but the characters and their stories were interesting, and the writing was good.
26. What to Expect When No One's Expecting, by Jonathan V. Last. This is a must read book about demographic changes occurring all around us.
27. Have a New Husband by Friday, by Dr. Kevin Leman. Despite the title, the book is really more about how to be a better wife. Not the best book I've read on the subject, nor the worst.
28. Beauty, by Robin McKinley. This is a reimagining of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. It was well-written, but a bit too much like a romance for my comfort. I liked reading it, but know I myself well enough to know I'm not safe reading lots of romance.
29. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. This was a bit too unrelentingly grey and apocalyptic for my tastes, but really skillfully-written. My husband thinks highly of this book, which is why I read it, but it is not my cup of tea. If my reading is going to make me scared and sad, I'd rather it be nonfiction. For my fictional choices, I prefer to be made happy.
30. Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me, by Karen Swallow Prior. I love reading about reading, but this is not my favorite book for that. I do like the idea of 'reading promiscuously' which she adopts from John Milton and promotes early in Booked, but this is not the book about reading which I would recommend.
31. Dreamers of the Day, by Mary Doria Russell. This novel shed some light for me on a little known period of history (little known to me), but definitely had some oddities.
32. Murder Being Once Done, by Ruth Rendell. Definitely not at the top of my favorite murder mystery authors, but I'm quite willing to try another by Rendell.
33. The Duck Commander Family, by Willie and Korie Robertson. This was a quick read with fun insights in to the Robertson family.
34. Happy, Happy, Happy, by Phil Robertson. I preferred this to number 33. I was pleased that this book unabashedly presents the claims of the gospel: repent and believe. It certainly increased my respect  for Phil Robertson.
35. Jane Austen: A Life Revealed, by Catherine Reef. This book is a biography meant for a young adult audience. I learned some things about Jane Austen, but was not pleased with the book overall. I would not recommend it, but would prefer to find a superior book about the same subject.
36. e.e. cummings: A Poet's Life, by Catherine Reef. This book was on a par with Reef's book about Jane Austen, that is, interesting but not excellent, but the subject of the book does not interest me enough to warrant searching out a superior biography of him.
37. Lit! by Tony Reinke. I do highly recommend this book, to all readers! It is just about the best book about reading I have ever read.
38. Only Milo, by Barry Smith. Horrible book! Avoid like the plague! I only finished it because I kept expecting that something would be revealed toward the end which would put all the immoral capers earlier in the book in a brand new light. No such a thing was revealed. Disgusting.
39. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, by Alexander McCall Smith. What can I say? I really enjoy reading the books in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
40. The Kalahari Typing School for Men, by Alexander McCall Smith. Ditto number 39. This book is an early book in the series and the writing does not seem as polished as the later books, but the characters, story, and wisdom are every bit as easy, comfortable, and enjoyable.
41. Merlin's Blade, by Robert Treskillard. This was a fun and exciting read. Not one of my favorite books, but well-done. My 13yodd really liked it.
42. One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. She uses language creatively, which sometimes results in startling and revealing juxtapositions, and sometimes results in making me think I need to be wary of her theology.
43. Who Gets the Drumstick?, by Helen Beardsley. This book provided the basis for the two movies called Yours, Mine, and Ours. I've only seen the first movie, which had Lucille Ball portraying Helen Beardsley, and it was enjoyable. It is a true story of a widow with eight children and a widower with ten children who marry each other (the widow and the widower, that is). They go on to have two more children together. The book clearly has the edge over the movies in that the book shows a deep love of family, children, and God.
44. Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. This was excellently well-written, historical fiction set in WWII, involving female pilots in the RAF. I would recommend it, with the caution that it might deal in inappropriate ways with mature themes (this caution on account of the fact that it's a YA novel).
45. Maman's Homesick Pie, by Donia Bijan. This book tells the true story of a Persian family who comes to America during the revolution in the late 1970s. It was sweet and included many exotic recipes.
46. Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen, by Emily Brightwell. So-so. I would neither search out another mystery by Emily Brightwell, not turn up my nose at it if I happened upon one.
47. Twenty-Five Books that Shaped America, by Thomas C. Foster. I had a hard time trusting this book about books I haven't read, because early in the book I had a sharp disagreement with the author about a book I had read. I best like Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor.
48. Marriage and Caste in America, by Kay S. Hymowitz.  Hymowitz's other book, Manning Up, is a more enlightening and important book to read, but this book was also enlightening and important. Many of the statistics for single-parent families are heart-breaking to read. What I found most fascinating was the similarity in the description in this book of communities in America with lots of sexual promiscuity, and the description of Islamic marriages involving polygamy which I read about the same time in Nonie Darwish's book.
49. The Blood of Lambs, by Kamal Saleem. This was a gruesome and horrifying and thrilling read, purporting to be a true story, but great controversy surrounds the author.
50. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, by Gary D. Schmidt. A literary tour-de-force, but one which sits uncomfortably with my Christian convictions. The Christians in the book are the bad people, and the good people in the book are the ones who throw off their Christian faith in favor of Darwinian evolution.
51. Back on Murder, by J. Mark Bertrand. This is a fabulous crime noir detective novel. If you like gritty crime novels, this is the book for you. I am looking forward to reading more books by Bertrand.
52. Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili Slaw Dogs, by Mary Jane Hathaway. This was fun and quick, and one of those romances which I ought not to read too many of. Mostly I was impressed to learn that the author home schools her six young children. Maybe, inspired by her example, I can at least return to blogging while I home school my six young children.
53. Jesus on Every Page, by David Murray. This ranks as one of the most important books I read in 2013. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
54. Love Your Husband, Love Yourself, by Jennifer Flanders. This is one of the best books about marriage I have ever read. The author is firm but gentle. I would not be as dogmatic about certain decisions as the author is (e.g., regarding birth control), but overall I would recommend it. While Jennifer Flanders spends a lot of time (the first eleven chapters) discussing the importance of married sex, she is never salacious or prurient. I would like my own daughters to read this book, and would allow them to do so even while they are still young.
55. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. I took a lesson away from the book which I'm sure Fitzgerald didn't intend: this world is vain and fleeting (he probably did mean that), and the next world is where we must center our hopes (the lesson he probably didn't intend).
56. Death by Living, by N.D. Wilson. This is just about the best book on time management I have ever read. One of the better books I read in 2013. It was a bit surreal to read such a book written by a man I knew in college. And I must say, it is odd to have reached a stage in my life when I am reading nonfiction books by people who are younger than I (this goes for Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung, too).
57. Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers. I love Sayers's mysteries!
58. Misery Loves Company, by Rene Gutteridge. This was a page-turning, suspenseful thriller. I enjoyed it overall, but found a couple parts implausible *SPOILER ALERT* (would a cop really allow his girlfriend to maintain something of a sympathetic relationship with her abductor? would he really not have investigated the suspicious death of his partner a bit more at the time?). I would read other books by Rene Gutteridge, and recommend this one to readers of thrillers.
59. Offworld, by Robin Parrish. This was a page-turning, suspenseful sci-fi book. I enjoyed it, but found a couple parts implausible (the abandoned cars on the roadway only seemed to impede the heroes of the book at certain times). I would recommend it to readers of sci-fi, and myself read other books by Parrish.
60. Good, Clean Murder, by Traci Tyne Hilton. Blah. I shan't read another by her. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good.
61. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. This was one of the best books of 2013. I never felt so understood in my life as I felt when reading that book! I highly recommend it to anyone who is an introvert or who loves an introvert.

There you go. I thought I had read more, but those are the titles I have a record of reading.

4 comments:

  1. I finally read the Great Gatsby recently too, and I enjoyed it more than I expected.
    Thanks for posting your list, I will go through it and look for things to add to my list.

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    1. Eva, what else have you been reading recently?

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  2. I need to read that introvert book. I've been hearing about it for such a long time.

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    1. Sherry, are you the blogger at Semicolon blog? Semicolon is the blog that gave me the idea of blogging about books. Quiet is a wonderful book.

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