Monday, January 03, 2011

2010 Book Round-Up

When Tyler and I were in the car together for 10 million hours a few weeks ago, we discussed a lot of things, including, but not limited to, our favorite memories/accomplishments of the last year. I thought back and couldn't really come up with anything. "What the heck did I do last year?"

I was pregnancy sick for the first 3 months, then in labor for the next 3 months, then I went back to school and had an infant for the next 6 months. So... the answer is, I didn't do a whole lot besides vomit, sleep, breastfeed, and write papers. I did manage to read a bit, and so I present my 2nd Annual Book Round-Up.

Noah’s Compass, Anne Tyler (Book Club). I want the 10 or so hours of my life back that it took to read this book.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R. King. Recommended by Kylie. The funny thing is, I don't know Kylie; she's a friend of my friend Myriah. But, I think we'd be friends in real life if we ever lived by each other. We don't, so I blog stalk her, and read the books she likes on Goodreads. This book is fun and interesting and stressful, but not too stressful. A good book to read during my mom job.

When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead. Recommended by Miss Nemesis. I liked this book a lot, and I can't wait until Lillian is a little older, then I can read it to her and talk about time travel and the theory of relativity.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen. Recommended by Big Mama. Big Mama really loved this book and I thought it was boring and lame. This was just a small example of why Big Mama and I have gone our separate ways this last year.

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout. I read this for my old people book club, and I'm not quite sure why it won the Pulitzer.

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman. Recommended by Adrianne and Shannon. If you asked me out of the blue if I liked fantasy novels, I would say no way. Ever. I'm firmly against fairies and dragons and men with long hair and too many consonants in their name (with the notable exception of Ioan Gruffudd). But, I liked this book a lot.

The Help, Kathryn Stockett. I resisted this book for a long time because I thought it would be like one of those email forwards from your grandma with the kittens wearing sweaters. Not that either of my grandmas send me those kinds of forwards, but the type of grandmas who would seemed like the type that liked this book. It wasn't that type of book. It was a sort of To Kill a Mockingbird sort of book, but only about 75% as good.

True Confections, Katharine Weber. Goodreads recommendation. Just OK.

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell. Like Bridget said, "it's like Pride & Prejudice, but with a social conscience." I liked it, but I thought it suffered from the soap-opera-like quality that serial stories get, as if they start making up random plot shifts and enter long dialogues on things like 19th century union problems in Northern England just to make the story last longer. I liked the movie much, much more.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. I read this last year, and then again this year for book club. Still good the second time around.

La’s Orchestra Saves the World, Alexander McCall Smith. This was a quick read that I read literally in one sitting while I was being held hostage at the hospital as the doctors were trying to decide whether or not to stop my "labor" (I was only 5 month's pregnant). They didn't stop it, and I went right on being in "labor" for the next 4 months.

The Eight, Katherine Neville. Again for book club. I'll never forgive this book for the scene at the end when the male protagonist has a major head wound and instead of taking care of that, he instead chooses to be intimate with the female protagonist on the deck of their boat. Then she's got his blood all over her and it was gross. Head wounds bleed a lot, he could have died. Plus they were on a boat, didn't all that salt spray sting?

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, Alan Bradley. Another Flavia deLuce mystery. I don't think I liked it as much as the first, but it was a good time, nonetheless.

The Underneath, Kathi Appelt. I read this book more towards the beginning of the year, and I've mostly forgotten what it was about. I think it has a dog and a cat in it. Two cats? Oh yeah, and their owner is really mean...? I think I liked it at the time but felt it was a little slow.

Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn. Recommended by Miranda. Another quick read.


The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs. I laugh every time I think of the most polite stoning in the world.

Diaper-Free Before 3: The Healthier Way to Toilet Train and Help Your Child Out of Diapers Sooner, Jill M. Lekovic, M.D. I don't know if this book helped or not because it seemed like it pretty much advocated doing the same things that I did with Lillian (who, as you may recall, was not fully out of diapers until she was 3.5), and Nora was diaper-free before 2. I think it's because I have all tile and I was more willing to just let her go.

The Kindness of Strangers, Don George (Editor). Vivian sent me this book in a chain-mail-type book exchange. It took me a long time to read because I lost it (it was behind the couch). It's a collection of short stories about the kindness of strangers to people who are traveling. It reaffirmed my faith in humanity a little bit.

How to Sew a Button, Erin Bried. Or, "how to do things that you should have listened to you mom when she said, 'one day, you're going to want to know how to do this.'"

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, Julie Powell. Skip the book, the movie is much better. The real Julie has a potty mouth and tells her friends to cheat on their husbands.

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Mary Roach. A long time ago, I was in high school and working part time at the ice cream shop. I spent this income mostly on food and books. (Ah, to be so young and carefree again!) I was browsing Borders and I came across a book that caught my eye. It was called Stiff and it was about cadavers. I bought it and loved it. I've read pretty much everything by Mary Roach ever since. I've actually read this one before, but I've been looking for this fact about wood sprites that I read once and have been trying to relocate for quite some time. It wasn't in this book.

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Recommended by Amy. I was really surprised that I liked this book so much, especially because I pretty much thought A Midwife's Tale was the most boring book I've ever read in my life.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Mary Roach. I like Mary Roach, OK?

Eureka Man: The Life and Legacy of Archimedes, Alan W. Hirshfeld. Archimedes was one smart man.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void*, Mary Roach. This one isn't quite finished. We got it as an audio book to listen to on our trip. Until right this second, I thought they had Mary Roach herself reading it, and I was going to say that her voice got kind of annoying after a while, so I could only listen to it for so long. But, I looked on YouTube for a video of her talking to prove my point, but she actually has a very normal voice, so I'm not sure why they chose the voice talent that they did. Interesting, but not my favorite book of hers.

NPR Books

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee. Before I switched to nursing, I studied psychology at UCSB. I decided to swtich because the kinds of things I wanted to do required a lot of schooling. I picked nursing because it combines some of my favorite aspects of psychology (science, physiology, biology) with interpersonal interactions and it (theoretically) only took 3 years to finish. Eight years of school later, I may as well have just stuck with psychology. Then I'd be doing fascinating work like Randy O. Frost and have super interesting stories to tell at parties.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot. I was thinking of this book the whole time they were drawing up the cord blood after I had Ethan. They didn't ask if they could have it and they never told me what they were planning on doing with it. The thing is, they don't need to: if you go to the hospital to have something removed be it tumor, limb, or placenta, they have to ask your permission to take it out, but after it leaves your body, it NO LONGER BELONGS TO YOU. They could be using my cord blood to make two-headed babies for all I know.

The Lonely Polygamist, Brady Udall. Recommended by Slate Magazine. This was such a beast of a book, I'm very surprised that I liked it so much.

Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist’s Journey Into Seeing in Three Dimensions, Susan R. Barry. Another psychology book. Susan R. Barry was born with a lazy eye which was fixed cosmetically with surgery, but because her eyes weren't exactly lined up, she only saw in 2 dimensions. This book is about how she taught herself how to see in 3D.


Sunset Western Garden Book. I even took a whole class on gardening, and I still killed my garden.

Professional Nursing: Challenges & Concepts, Chitty & Black

Health Promotion in Nursing, Maville & Huerta

Evidence-Based Practice for Nurses, Nola Schmidt

Technical Communication, Mike Markel. This was the first class I took that Tyler actually helped me a lot. Turns out, I wasn't very good at writing technical documents.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. I feel like I read this thing front to back, and yet I still made APA errors on my term paper.


Amanda said...

I apologize for the crazy font problems.

Anne said...

You read a lot.

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