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<p>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?</p>
 

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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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<p>Thanks for the suggestion. Do you mean the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FThe-Guardians-Nightmare-Bunnymund-Toothiana%2Fdp%2F1442474254%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1371589990%26sr%3D8-1%26keywords%3Dthe%2Bguardians%2Bof%2Bchildhood" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Guardians of Childhood books</a>? </p>
<p> </p>
<p>That might be good for my son. <img alt="smile.gif" id="user_yui_3_10_0_1_1371589253426_1171" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="font-size:13px;line-height:1.231;"> But for me, I'd like something more adult level. </p>
 

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Yes. They are beautifully written, and perfect for quick whimsical reads. <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
Unfortunately, I have trouble fitting in reading just for myself. I hope to get some cool suggestions from this thread, too. <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter #5
<p>I'm looking at Amazon's Best Books of 2012. Anyone read anyone of these?</p>
<p> </p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0307594033" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The End of Your Life Book Club</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0062065246%2F" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The Round House</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0316219363" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The Yellow Birds</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F030758836X" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Gone Girl</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F1400067553" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F1455502758%2F" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Mortality</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0525478817" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The Fault in Our Stars</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0307592731" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F1400069289" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business</a></p>
 

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I read Behind The Beautiful Forevers, and it was really good.<br><br>
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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<p>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.  </p>
 

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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.<br><br>
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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<p>Nurture Shock sounds really good. Thanks Alexsandra!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The Fault in our Stars does sound like a good read. 3576 positive reviews on Amazon too!</p>
 

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<p>I liked <em>The Fault in Our Stars</em> 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 <em>Paper Towns</em> was his best book. </p>
 

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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. <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"> I hadn't heard of it until I saw the movie, but I read it as soon as I could.<br><br>
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.<br><br>
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.<br><br><br>
(Edited for spelling/grammar)
 

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<p>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:</p>
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<p>Odd & Intense -></p>
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<p>Heidi Julavits <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Vanishers</span></p>
<p>Ellen Ullmann   <span style="text-decoration:underline;"> By Blood</span></p>
<p> </p>
<p>In many ways, both these books were about the many ways in which we seek to construct an identity for ourselves and </p>
<p>how, for all we may think of these constructs as somehow stable, they're actually subject to many shifts.  If you're interested </p>
<p>in the notion of 'privacy' and how that may or may not conflict with the right to information, these are reads for you.</p>
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<p>Sweet &  Thoughtful -></p>
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<p>Lauren Groff   <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Arcadia</span></p>
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<p>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</p>
<p>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 - </p>
<p>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?</p>
<p>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.</p>
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<p>Poetic & Moving (though not seasonally appropriate)</p>
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<p>Anne Michaels   <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Winter Vault</span></p>
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<p>Like <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Arcadia</span>, this book has a lot to do with how place can shape identity.  However, this one also examines the consequences of man's </p>
<p>endless drive to modify his environment. How do these modifications - buildings, bridges, dams - effect us?  Do they bring us together or</p>
<p>isolate us even more?  Michaels is an amazingly gifted writer (she's a poet, too).  I found myself underlining many amazing sentences here.</p>
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<p>Sentimental favorite -></p>
<p> </p>
<p>Edith Wharton's short novel <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Summer</span>, a beautiful - if sad - girl's coming of age story.  Wharton pulls no punches when telling the story of Charity's</p>
<p>passionate but failed romance.  I saw the movie made years ago starring Diane Lane and reread the book every so often.  Short & very bittersweet.</p>
 

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<p>Nice mausimom! Thanks so much! And welcome to the Mothering Community. <img alt="smile.gif" id="user_yui_3_10_0_1_1371680140741_2654" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="font-size:13px;line-height:1.231;"></p>
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<p>Off to check these out. <img alt="thumb.gif" id="user_yui_3_10_0_1_1371680140741_3190" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="font-size:13px;line-height:1.231;"></p>
 

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<p>The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon - my favorite series</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I just finished Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver - very happily surprised by how good it was.</p>
 

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<p>Two of my favorite novels: </p>
<p> </p>
<p>1) <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FMiddlesex-Novel-Oprahs-Book-Club%2Fdp%2F0312427735%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1371690866%26sr%3D1-1%26keywords%3Dmiddlesex" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Middlesex</a> - by Jeffrey Eugenides</p>
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<p>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. </p>
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<div><i>"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."</i><br><br>
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, <i>Middlesex </i>is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.</div>
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<div><i>Middlesex </i>is the winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.</div>
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<p>2) <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FThe-Giver-Readers-Circle-Laurel-Leaf%2Fdp%2F0440237688" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The Giver</a> - by Louis Lowry </p>
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<p>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: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giver" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giver</a>  - but you may not want to, as it also contains plot spoilers. </p>
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<div><span style="font-family:verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:small;line-height:normal;">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 </span><i style="font-family:verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:small;line-height:normal;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fexec%2Fobidos%2FISBN%3D0899664237%2F%24%257B0%257D" style="color:rgb(0,51,153);" target="_blank">Brave New World</a></i><span style="font-family:verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:small;line-height:normal;">, in this 1994 </span><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fexec%2Fobidos%2Fsubst%2Flists%2Fawards%2Fnewbery.html%2F%24%257B0%257D" style="color:rgb(0,51,153);font-family:verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:small;line-height:normal;" target="_blank">Newbery Medal</a><span style="font-family:verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:small;line-height:normal;"> 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.</span></div>
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<p>Best nonfiction book so far this year: <em>Hallucinations</em> by Oliver Sacks.  Or maybe <em>Why Does the World Exist?</em> by Jim Holt.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Best fiction so far this year: <em>The Professor's House</em> by Willa Cather</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Best book read last year: <em>Middlemarch</em> by George Eliot</p>
 

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<p>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  <br><br>
I loved Prodigal Summer just because it was so evocative of summer. </p>
 
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