Monday, December 31, 2007

Book Review 2007

My goal for 2007 was to read 50 books. I didn't quite make 50, but I think that 34 is a pretty decent effort. Following is the list of books I've read rated from one star to four stars and a little blip about each.

  1. Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card (reread) **** Loved this book the first time I read it and it didn't suffer at all from a second reading.
  2. Xenocide by Orson Scott Card **** I read Ender's Game for the first time nearly a decade ago, but could never really get into the sequels. Somehow, they hit me right when I picked them up this year. I especially liked this one.
  3. Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card *** And I like this sequel also, as a continuation of the story. But, judging it on its own merits it wasn't quite as good as the first two.
  4. Mitten Strings For God by Katrina Kenison (reread) **** Like a cherished friend, this is a book I will forever love and probably read at least once a year.
  5. Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher **** This was a frighteningly good read. Very well written and well presented, it echoed my experience as an adolescent girl years ago and motivated me to find ways to help my daughter weather the storms of adolescence. One of my top 3, most influential books read this year.
  6. Mystery of the Haunted Pool by Phyllis Whitney (reread) * I read this as a child and picked it up again for fun. It was fun, light, fluffy but nothing groundbreaking.
  7. The Mommy Myth by Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels **** I would rate this as another of the top 3 most influential books I've read this year. Amazing and biting commentary on the ridiculous standards we hold ourselves to as women and mothers.
  8. Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle *** As always, I love Madeleine L'Engle's books. This was no exception. A fun trip back to the beginning of time with Meg's twin brothers.
  9. Emma by Jane Austen ** I like the story of Emma. I like Jane Austen, but I almost clawed my eyes out trying to read this book. Too lengthy. Too many details. I kept thinking "T-t-t-t-t-today, Jane!"
  10. Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle *** Fascinating trip to the antarctic with a believable and likeable heroine.
  11. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracie Hogg ** I've read this in chunks before. I keep re-reading it thinking I will find it more useful the next time I read it. Nope. Just doesn't sing for me. Not my style. (And her information on breastfeeding is a bit inaccurate.) Not to throw the baby out with the book, though. It is a quality book that some parents might find helpful. I would sooner recommend "Happiest Baby On the Block."
  12. An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'Engle *** Of all the L'Engle books for young readers I picked up this year, this was the standout favorite. It was a delight to follow Polly through time.
  13. Family --The Ties That Bind and Gag by Erma Bombeck ** I've read bits and pieces of Erma's stuff since high school. She's always made me laugh. But I found this book to be a bit disappointing. Clever title though, eh?
  14. A Live Coal in the Sea by Madeleine L'Engle *** This should really be an ALMOST 4 star book. I was moved by her intertwining, multi-generational stories. And the message, that there is no sorrow or sin that is bigger than God's grace to heal, was wonderfully woven through the book. Not at all pushy.
  15. Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card (in progress) **** So far. I have never quite finished this book because every time I pick it up, I think of things I want to write about and end up writing instead of reading. If that's not a good review of a book on writing, I don't know what is.
  16. Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher **** Excellent! Has also inspired me to do some good writing this year. The same voice and presence I loved in Reviving Ophelia.
  17. Wicked by Gregory Macguire *** (Contains some questionable material.) Fascinating story. An interesting look at the other side of the story. I hear the play is even better.
  18. Mentoring : The Tao of Giving and Receiving Wisdom by Chungliang A. Huang and Jerry Lynch (reread) **** Brilliant, brilliant book. This is probably the third of my top 3. I have learned so much about new ways of relating to others from this book. I am now on my third reading of it and it still continues to inspire and change me.
  19. He Did Deliver Me From Bondage by Colleen C. Harrison (in progress) **** So far, so good. I am only about halfway through this book as I try to work through the exercises and make the changes it invites me to make.
  20. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (reread) **** As good the second time as the first.
  21. The One Minute Millionaire: The Enlightened Way to Wealth by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen *** Very interesting. It inspired me to be more creative with our finances and to commit to living the way we want to live.
  22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling **** (Wow, Wow and Wow!) I thought this was a fitting end to the HP series. I am a true Potter fan, and though this book wasn't perfect, I finished it feeling highly satisfied.
  23. I Believe in Water, Twelve Brushes With Religion Edited by Marilyn Singer **** Another WOW book. Twelve short stories exploring many world religions. Taught me a great deal. Incredibly fascinating. Probably #4 on my list.
  24. The Mermaids Singing by Lisa Carey ** Good read. Interesting characters, story and plot. A little too obsessed with sex.
  25. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer **** I have to make a disclaimer here. I picked up "Twilight," the first in this series, when I was in Ghost Ranch, NM last November. I had NO idea what the book was about. I just thought the cover was pretty. I read the first few chapters there and fell in love. Then, I came home to find out that it was HUGE. I reserved it at my library and was like, 213th on the waiting list. Whoa! I love this series. I loved this book, though not as much as the first or the third.
  26. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer **** Yep. Loved this one, too. If you'd ever told me I would be in love with a vampire AND a werewolf, I would have never believed you. But I am. Stephenie KILLED me with the ending to this book. Can't wait for #4. Guess I'm just part of the crowd.
  27. Learning to Swim by Ann Turner *** Beautiful, touching, gritty, powerful poetry. A good read.
  28. Women I Have Known and Been by Carol Lynn Pearson **** (WOW!) I loved this book of poetry more than any other I've read in years. Genius. I found myself in this pages over and over again.
  29. Appetites by Geneen Roth **** Okay, I have to retract my earlier statements. One of my other top three has to be bumped down one. This book was soothing, beautiful, comforting and such a learning experience. I think it was my #1 book for the year. So, so wonderful.
  30. Schooled by Gordon Korman ** Fun read about a teenager who has grown up in a commune alone with his grandmother being suddenly dropped into a modern middle school experience. Much of what happens is highly predictable. But, because of the main character's guileless, genuine and generous personality everyone in the story ends up better off after the experience.
  31. First Meetings In Ender's Universe by Orson Scott Card **** For those of us who can't seem to get enough of Card's Enderverse, this book hits the spot in a big way.
  32. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card *** It's Card, so it's good. The moral and ethical dilemmas woven throughout are superb. The theoretical science is highly intriguing. The glimpse into a possible past is enlightening. Very worth reading. The only reason I didn't give it four stars is that I felt it took too long to get to the climax and action of the story. I don't know how I would have done it differently, but it just felt a bit lop-sided.
  33. Circle of Light In a Smelter Town, New and Collected Poems by Elaine Ipson **** Tender, bright, articulate poetry. I enjoyed this book immensely. And it certainly didn't hurt that Elaine grew up in my hometown and gave me a tiny glimpse at what it was like years before I was born. It shed a lot of light on how relationships and personalities and ways-of-being have developed in my home town. A lot of "Aha!" moments. And it would have been thoroughly enjoyable even if I didn't grow up near Vine street like Elaine.
  34. Rachel and Leah by Orson Scott Card *** Good read. Compelling, interesting. But I didn't love it. Perhaps because it's only the first half of the story, but I think it was also because the main female characters didn't seem nearly as authentic as I would have liked.
So, that's my list for 2007. My goal for 2008 is to read 25 or more books. Much less ambitious because this year, instead of spending most of my time nursing a baby I'll b chasing a busy toddler.

What about you? What books did you read thid year? If you want to make a list on your blog, let me know and I'll link to it here. Otherwise, just list your favorites for the year in my comments.

Any ideas of what I should add to my list for next year?


Emily said...

awesome list, heather! you gave me several good ideas for my new year's reading. :)

i don't think i could mention any you haven't already read...i'll work on it though.

Kris said...

I will have to make a list. I am starting eclipse right now. Very fun series. And I agree, I am in love with a vampire and a werewolf. :)

Jeane said...

My whole blog is about the books I read. I just finished Pastwatch and felt the same way you did- that it ended too quickly.