What's the best book you've read this year? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I am not an avid reader but I'm definitely a summer reader. I never get much pleasure reading done through the year so when summer arrives I want to kick back and read some good books. So, what are the best books you've read this year?


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#2 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 02:56 PM
 
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Not sure if youth literature appeals to you, but we have thoroughly enjoyed reading the "Guardians" series by William Joyce with our son. I would certainly enjoy them as an adult read, as well.
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#3 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion. Do you mean the Guardians of Childhood books

 

That might be good for my son. smile.gif But for me, I'd like something more adult level. 


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#4 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 04:09 PM
 
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Yes. They are beautifully written, and perfect for quick whimsical reads. smile.gif

Unfortunately, I have trouble fitting in reading just for myself. I hope to get some cool suggestions from this thread, too. smile.gif
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#5 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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#6 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 08:10 PM
 
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I read Behind The Beautiful Forevers, and it was really good.

I don't necessarily read books when they're that new though. The other books I've read this year that I've loved are Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Life of Pi (which I finally read!), and Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson. Oh wait, and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.
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#7 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been wanting to watch The Life of Pi so maybe I should read the book first then watch the movie. I think books are almost always better than the movies they make of them.  


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#8 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 08:42 PM
 
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Oh, and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton came out late in 2012. I love all of her books, including that one.

Re Life of Pi, I agree with you and wanted to read it before seeing it, but someone did tell me she liked the movie better than the book. The book is a bit slow in a couple of places, but I loved it anyway.
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#9 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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NURTURE SHOCK (non- fiction).  Also on CD.  Parents benefit from this interesting book-big time.
 

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#10 of 69 Old 06-18-2013, 09:55 PM
 
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I loved the fault in our stars.
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#11 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Nurture Shock sounds really good. Thanks Alexsandra!

 

The Fault in our Stars does sound like a good read. 3576 positive reviews on Amazon too!


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#12 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 02:04 PM
 
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I liked The Fault in Our Stars but 16 y.o. DD did not. She's read a little too much John Green lately though. I think she reached a natural limit and his style started to grate a little. We all agree here that Paper Towns was his best book. 

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#13 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 02:15 PM
 
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My favorite book this year has been "The Life of Pi". It was the first thing that came to mind before I even opened the thread, and it seems I'm not alone. smile.gif I hadn't heard of it until I saw the movie, but I read it as soon as I could.

Life of Pi isn't just a survival story - it explores the essence of human nature through a circumstance so extreme, most of us will never have to face this part of ourselves during our lifetime. I found it very moving and its the type of story I will re-read and re-watch again and again.

The movie is truly a good adaptation of the book. Unlike many movies, it doesn't take many liberties with the story. The book and movie complement each other well.


(Edited for spelling/grammar)
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#14 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 03:59 PM
 
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I read a lot of novels recently (while hanging out in various hospital waiting rooms - don't ask!) and these were some of the best:

 

Odd & Intense ->

 

Heidi Julavits The Vanishers

Ellen Ullmann    By Blood

 

In many ways, both these books were about the many ways in which we seek to construct an identity for ourselves and 

how, for all we may think of these constructs as somehow stable, they're actually subject to many shifts.  If you're interested 

in the notion of 'privacy' and how that may or may not conflict with the right to information, these are reads for you.

 

Sweet &  Thoughtful ->

 

Lauren Groff   Arcadia

 

I live in Northern California, a place where many people have had first hand experience of growing up on a commune.  Groff's novel follow

Bit, a boy who is raised on Woodstock type commune in Upstate NY.  I've been fascinated by the concept of Utopia for a long time - 

this novel asks the reader to examine that idea. Can it be done or do we end up giving up the good in search of the perfect?

Should we even attempt the kind of togetherness a commune demands?   If you've ever been lonely in a crowd, you'll understand this book.

 

Poetic & Moving (though not seasonally appropriate)

 

Anne Michaels   The Winter Vault

 

Like Arcadia, this book has a lot to do with how place can shape identity.  However, this one also examines the consequences of man's 

endless drive to modify his environment. How do these modifications - buildings, bridges, dams - effect us?  Do they bring us together or

isolate us even more?  Michaels is an amazingly gifted writer (she's a poet, too).  I found myself underlining many amazing sentences here.

 

Sentimental favorite ->

 

Edith Wharton's short novel Summer, a beautiful - if sad - girl's coming of age story.  Wharton pulls no punches when telling the story of Charity's

passionate but failed romance.  I saw the movie made years ago starring Diane Lane and reread the book every so often.  Short & very bittersweet.

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#15 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice mausimom! Thanks so much! And welcome to the Mothering Community. smile.gif

 

Off to check these out. thumb.gif


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#16 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 04:22 PM
 
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I love Paulo Coelho. My favorites of his are The Witch of Portabello and The Alchemist
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#17 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 06:53 PM
 
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The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon - my favorite series

 

I just finished Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver - very happily surprised by how good it was.


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#18 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 07:26 PM
 
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Two of my favorite novels: 

 

1) Middlesex - by Jeffrey Eugenides

 

This is the 1st person narrative of a hermaphrodite. A beautiful story - be warned that this is a page turner! - Can't wait for a movie to be made out of it and hope it will be as good as the book. 

 

Quote:
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license...records my first name simply as Cal."

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.
 
Middlesex is the winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

 

 

2) The Giver - by Louis Lowry 

 

This is more of a sad, dystopian novel. I read it on my Kindle in December 2011, while I was on a backpacking trip in Patagonia, trying to stay warm in my tent, in a place where the sun is up until almost midnight. A surreal environment to read and finish such a surreal book. Apparently it is considered a children's novel. You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giver  - but you may not want to, as it also contains plot spoilers. 

 

Quote:
In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.
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#19 of 69 Old 06-19-2013, 08:02 PM
 
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Best nonfiction book so far this year: Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks.  Or maybe Why Does the World Exist? by Jim Holt.

 

Best fiction so far this year: The Professor's House by Willa Cather

 

Best book read last year: Middlemarch by George Eliot

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#20 of 69 Old 06-20-2013, 12:36 AM
 
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I read Gone Girl, but I didn't like it. I don't know what the best book that I've read this year is, I feel like I keep looking for great novels.  Oh, I enjoyed The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I'm currently reading Possession by A.S. Byatt  

I loved Prodigal Summer just because it was so evocative of summer. 

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#21 of 69 Old 06-20-2013, 07:19 AM
 
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Out of books I've read recently, I favor The Twelve Tribes of Hattie the most. I love historical fiction, and I really appreciate the focus on motherhood.


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#22 of 69 Old 06-20-2013, 12:59 PM
 
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Game of Thrones - love the high fantasy, drama and painful reality of the era it portrays

Outlander series - great love story, adventure

Peaceful Parent, Happy Child - the best parenting book i have read so far

Chick Days - quick fun read/manual on raising chickens

Gone Girl - fast read, dark psychological thriller
 


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#23 of 69 Old 06-20-2013, 01:34 PM
 
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#24 of 69 Old 06-20-2013, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like Gone Girl is a favorite for a few. Thanks for all the great book suggestions! 

 

How about nonfiction? I especially like self improvement and motivation stuff but a good true story would be great too. smile.gif


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#25 of 69 Old 06-20-2013, 09:57 PM
 
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Keep it coming ladies! I want MOAR! I'm also looking for some reading as sadly, The Song of Fire and Ice series is boring me to tears, not page turners like the first few eventually became. Anyone who has been following the show "Game of Thrones", must know by now...

Warning -- Spoiler! (Click to show)

that they killed off characters (UM ALL THE STARKS almost) I really liked and introduced more characters which was confusing and annoying in the books. I personally think the show is better than the books, and HELLO have you seen some of the sexy men in that show? Oh me oh my!

 

But this is coming from a closet Twilight Saga fan (and Harry Potter too) so you might not trust my judgement. bag.gif

 

What about Anne Rice? If you are into a great summer read (though a bit twisted) the Lives of the Mayfair Witches are fantastic. Her vamp series is good as well. I also really loved the Hunger Games series though the main character annoyed me at times and it's written for young adults.

 

I started Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper" and liked it, but it wasn't exciting enough for me. I guess I'm a tween when it comes to books *sigh*

 

Everyone recommended "Graceling" from Kristin Cashore since I liked Twilight/Hunger Games. It's YA as well.

 

I also started reading "50 Shades of Grey" from E. L. James and promptly DELORTED it from my Kindle. I read a few chapters and felt like I needed a good washing afterwards. It wasn't GOOD erotica either, I like Anne Rice in that genre, she's classy about it and it's sexy not shocking. It was also poorly written and Twilight fan fiction that the James' chick managed to get away with publishing. Can you tell I'm a hater? 

 

A book I heard a review from on KCRW (a pretty well known local station here in California), sounded *really* good. Here's the description from Amazon:

 

The Interestings: A Novel

"The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge."


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#26 of 69 Old 06-21-2013, 01:39 AM
 
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Nuture Shock IS shocking.  For example doctors debunked 15,000 studies in one swoop.  Assumptions we make are way off, say, about increasing a child's confidence by telling them they are smart.  Or, research results on the effects of sleep on IQ levels, ADD and ADHD.  The authors also describe studies on why Sesame Street increases bad behavior.  And much more, of course.  I loved it because as a Continuum Concept Consultant, Jean Liedloff had told me all this, but there was not the hard science behind some of it like there is now.  Most folks do not want to follow what Ms. Liedloff promoted; we do NOT want to take responsibility for the behavior of our children!  Biggest excuses are, "My child is "high needs" or "sensitive" or "has colic."  Our son was labeled ALL THESE in spades for months before I took Jean's advice, which permanently eliminated all negative symptoms in ONE day!  But alas, I digress.  Nuture Shock does not cover the parent INFANT influence.  However, we do set some habits of parenting then, by stating words such as "good girl" or "bad girl."

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#27 of 69 Old 06-21-2013, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I LOVED the movie My Sister's Keeper but I don't usually read a book after I've watched the movie. Ruins it for me somehow. upsidedown.gif

 

Thanks for the 50 Shades of Grey info. I heard the same from a friend and avoided that series. 

 

I am interested in the Hunger Games though. I saw the movie and really enjoyed it. I don;t usually read a book if I;ve watched its movie but since it's a series and I liked it so much maybe it's worth it?

 

Real Simple magazine had a list of all time best books to read (or something like that). in their May (I think) issue. I'll see if I can find it and post the list. 


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#28 of 69 Old 06-21-2013, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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It was the June issue of Real Simple - "50 Books That Will Change Your Life".  Here it is:

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/great-books-00100000101474/index.html


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#29 of 69 Old 06-21-2013, 06:31 PM
 
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I read "The Woman in White" and "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins this year and loved them.

 

Regarding non-fiction, I've thoroughly enjoyed several Bill Bryson's. Currently I'm reading "Made in America", about how America's shaped the English language - it's fascinating with lots of digressions on matters he just happens to find interesting, which I love. He wrote a good one on Shakespeare, too.


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#30 of 69 Old 06-21-2013, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I read Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" and really enjoyed it. He also has a "A Short History of Nearly Everything" that I have on my list as a possible. Have you read that one?


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