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Thursday, February 2, 2012

50 Books in 2012 - January Recap

I have always loved to read. When I was younger, I loved the Boxcar Children books, the Babysitter's Club series and especially, the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. Any vacation would provide me the opportunity to read through several books during the week, and I gladly spent hours with my nose stuck in a book. My sister and I perfected the skill of trolling for walleyes while reading books on the Ord River in Ontario, Canada.

I love books.

When I was making my 2012 goals, I wanted to set a few personal ones, in addition to the business goals I set for myself. One of my personal goals for this year is to read 50 books. It doesn't matter the type of book: business, mystery, romance, self-help... whatever the genre, these will be books that I get to read for fun, for me.

In January, I read these 5 books:

October Fest by Jess Lourey

*This book is the 6th book in the Murder by Month series by Jess Lourey. I stumbled upon this series at my library when I read all the books written by two authors in the same aisle, and needed to find new material to read. I am so glad I found this series. The books are set in rural Minnesota, and are full of Minnesota humor.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I am a little late to the game in reading this book. I actually saw the movie earlier this year and loved it. Typically, I read the books first, but I loved the movie so much, I wanted to give the book a try. This is the one book/movie set that I think are equally good. The book is amazingly written and I was captivated the whole time. Plus, having seen the movie before, I had a better visual of the characters than if I was making them up in my mind. It's hard for me to believe those things in the book happened in the early 1960's. My parents were kids then; it wasn't that long ago!

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

I'm a long time fan of Nicholas Sparks books, and of his movies too. I got this book from my mother-in-law, after she had bought and read it. I loved this book. It was raw, real, and because it dealt with high school sweethearts, it tugged at my heartstrings especially much. The book ended in the typical Laura-with-a-soggy kleenex fashion, like most of his books do. A definite must read.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

This book has been out for a long time now, and I don't know why I just got around to reading it now. I was a little skeptical of whether I could get into it or not, because I have a hard time with fantasy, sci fi, non-realistic stuff. I thought this book was going to be more like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, but I had clearly never read the blurb for the book. I LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down. The circus has never been more intriguing to me and I was fascinated by everything in the book. I haven't seen the movie yet, but it is now on our Netflix queue.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

This book is from 2002 and I know there's a movie out now too. I haven't seen it yet, and am not sure if I will. I heard mixed reviews about it. This book was heart-wrenching. The opening sentence for this book just hooks you and pulls you right in. I couldn't put it down and read voraciously for 2 days straight. As I read the last several chapters, I felt a sad longing in my heart, for Susie because of the crime that took place. For her family, to have to learn to carry on without her, learning to let go. I dreamt about the book all night last night, and honestly, didn't sleep very well. Only the most well written and moving books do that to me.
I've got a stack of books waiting for me to read them, so I'll be continuing with these recaps as I move through my 50 [or more] books in 2012. Do you have any great books you've just read? I'd love some recommendations!


  1. The Lovely Bones is on the top of my favorite book list. I just loved it. The movie, however, was horrible. I stopped watching it about halfway through. Better to keep the vision of the book for this one! :)

  2. I absolutely loved The Lovely Bones. The movie... it's ok. It's a Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) movie so her heaven is a lot of CGI. Stanley Tucci is great in it. He plays such a creepy guy. The vision you made from the book will most likely be different than the movie.

  3. That is an ambitious goal but good for you! I try for 24 books in a year, two a month is about what I can manage. Some of my faves from last year (which I need to post on my blog) were the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (young adult classification but I really enjoyed); Moloka'i by Alan Brennert (leprosy colony in Hawaii); Bossypants by Tina Fey (if you like her, the book is great); Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (my fave from last year, true story about a WWII airman and POW camps in Japan, learned SOOO much I didn't know about that time); and Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman (a fascinating look at royal mistresses through the ages!)

    Enjoy your reading!

  4. I agree - the Lovely Bones was a book that will stick with me for ages. It really rattled me to the core, actually. I'll see if I get around to watching the movie. It might be one I keep in my mind.

    Thank you for the book recommendations, Lorrene! I wrote every one down on my list of books for 2012 - I am looking forward to reading them!

    If you have any other books you think I might like, I'm always taking more recommendations!! xx!

  5. Books are the best : ) Water for Elephants was my favorite book since college. I just loved it : )

  6. I highly recommend anything by Jodi Picoult. LOVE her!! You MUST read One Day. This is by far the greatest book I have ever read. I can't remember who wrote it but it you haven't read it yet, do it! There is a movie but the book is SOOOOO much better.

  7. My sister LOVES Jodi Picoult! I'll have to check her collection and see if she has One Day in it. It's on my to-read list, thank you for the recommendation!! xx!

    and Becky - yes - Water for Elephants was an A+++ in my mind! xx!

  8. Erin had a similar goal for 2011 and has lots of good recommendations. My all time favorite is The Power of One about a young boxer in South Africa - sounds non-interesting but great and FULL of wisdom. I also really like Mary Doria Russel's books. Just read Dreamers of the Day about a teacher who goes to India and in her travels meets Lawerence of Arabia and Winston Churchill - historical fiction full of interesting facts. Happy Reading!

  9. Thank you so much for all of these books!! The public library is going to see A LOT of me this year! :) xx!

  10. PS I agree with Lorrene - thought the hunger games series was a great read and learned a lot reading Unbroken.

  11. Revoting for The Hunger Games :) I just made my book club read it. Yes, it's a young adult book, but there are so many underlying themes! Another really great young adult book is The Book Thief (I teach, so I am constantly trying to find books to hook in my kiddos!). Also, Jodi Piccolt is great. Personally, my favorite was 19 Minutes and My Sister's Keeper (unless you see the movie, the movie totally wrecks it!). Emily Giffin is a fun author too. She has a good series (I think it starts with Something Blue, but not positive). I am definitely going to check out those books that take place in Minnesota! They sound great!

  12. What a great topic, Laura, and I'm taking all the other book recommendations for my list "to read" this year. I always love hearing about good books from other book lovers.


  13. You guys are so great!

    Lorrene - I agree! I love hearing book recommendations from people who have read them and are willing to share their thoughts. It's a way better method than picking books based on pretty covers, like I sometimes do. :)


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