Book’s I’ve Read

Although I’ve always loved to read, I’ve never kept track of what I was reading and how much I was reading until this year.  I was inspired by a friend’s bucket list.  One of her goals was to read 50 books in a year, and at the end of the year when providing an update on her bucket list, this one was checked off.  She had kept the list and shared it.  Reading a certain number of books isn’t necessarily on my bucket list but I did want to see how hard it would be to read 50 books in a year.  Just the act of keeping track, along with a wonderful new bookstore opening in my town, has really renewed my appetite for books.   As I go, I will add notes to anything that I think it noteworthy.  There will be plenty of books that are just pure mind candy.  But there are also books on topics that I am wrestling with, and some books that I wouldn’t have read in years past.


  1. Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  2. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
  3. Mocking jay – Suzanne Collins
  4. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister – Gregory McGuire
  5. The Year of Living Biblically – A. J. Jacobs Love Wins – Rob Bell (started in 2011) – I have been meaning to spend more time processing this one.  It resonates, but feels too “easy”.  I don’t know if that is because I am conditioned to believe that it shouldn’t be true, or if it really matches what I believe and I’m worried that I am wrong.  (Does that even make sense??)
  6.  The Unlikely Disciple – Kevin Roose (2/3/12): This is an amazing book written by a very young man.  This not only made me become VERY interested in reading more memoir type books, but it also challenged my thinking about stereotypes and the way that we pigeonhole people according to their differences from us.  By doing so, we make it nearly impossible to see what we have in common.  I was absolutely inspired by the fact that this book was written by a guy who was still in college at the time and because he was willing to open his mind and share his experience, he taught me something.
  7.  Traveling Mercies, Some Thoughts on Faith – Ann Lamott (2/5/12)
  8. Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain (2/6/12): I love Anthony Bourdain already, and I have a fascination with professional chefs.  I love to watch competition style cooking shows and my husband and I are huge fans of Anthony Bourdain’s shows on the travel channel.  So it was fun to read his book.  It is described as a look at the underbelly of the restaurant business, and that it is.  I came away from this book with an intense new respect for professional chefs and the restaurant business in general.
  9. The 9th Judgment – James Patterson (2/8/12)
  10. The Same Sex Controversy – James White & Jeffrey Niell (2/19/12): I decided to read this book and #12 because the issue of same-sex marriage seems to have renewed the controversy about homosexuality, in the church and otherwise.  The things that I was hearing from Christians had made me so uncomfortable that I felt that I needed to understand it more.  This exploration was inspired by the journey taken by Kevin Roose in The Unlikely Disciple and I figured if he could open his mind, so could I.  In order to better understand my own feelings on the topic, I decided that I needed to be educated on the two opposing positions.  So I went to Amazon and picked two books that seemed to represent the two sides.  I read this one first because I thought it would be the hardest for me to read (I was right).  The conclusions that I have drawn from this exercise are still percolating and might be shared at some point…or maybe not.
  11. The Inner Circle – Brad Meltzer (2/22/12): This was my “palate cleanser” between these two books.
  12. What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality – Daniel Helminiak (2/25/12): see notes on #10
  13. Julie and Julia – Julie Powell (2/29/12): This has become the year of the memoir for me.  There are many in this list and there will be more to come.  I’ve never read much of this genre before and I have found that I love it.  I love having a story come to life through someone’s real experiences.  I read this book for much the same reason as I read Anthony Bourdain’s book.  I have a fascination with cooking and had seen the movie and liked it.  This book was SO much more fun than the movie.  It was irreverent and sexy and real.  A great read.
  14. The Beach House – James Patterson (3/3/12)
  15. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver ( 3/9/12) – This is an award-winning book that was very good (and literary) but not easy to get through.
  16. Divine Justice – David Baldacci (3/14/12)
  17. Wicked – Gregory Maguire (3/24/12)
  18. Cleaving – Julie Powell (3/29/12) – This is the second book by the author of #13.  It was an interesting view into a cooking related field – a butcher shop, but the author was a little harder to like this time around.
  19. Sail – James Patterson (3/30/12)
  20. Ishmael – Daniel Quinn (3/31/12) – This is a GREAT book.  It is quick to read, but not quick to forget.  It really challenges the whole way we view and use the world.
  21. Cross – James Patterson (3/31/12)
  22. Simple Genius – David Baldacci (4/3/12)
  23. Running With Scissors – Augusten Burroughs (4/14/12)
  24. Heaven is for Real – Todd Burpo (4/15/12) – Not so sure about this one.  I love the idea of this, but the heaven and Jesus presented seemed WAY too Anglo for me to buy into it as more than just a story.  I know that it has really strengthened some people’s faith, and anything that accomplishes that is a good thing, but I don’t really believe that God really fits that neatly into the White American Evangelical Christian mold as this book presents.
  25. Callgirl: Confessions of an Ivy League Lady of Pleasure – Jeannette Angell (4/19/12) – I read this one out of pure intrigue.  It is certainly a different viewpoint than the human trafficking side of prostitution that I am becoming more and more familiar with.  In this case, a very educated woman decided to become a mid-level ($200 per hour) callgirl to make ends meet.  This memoir chronicles this experience.  It is absolutely an interesting and engaging read.  I worry that it puts too much of a shine on an industry that can be and is  damaging to the true victims of the sex trade.
  26. Swimsuit – James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (4/22/12) – I may be getting too faint of heart for some of his books!
  27. Daddy’s Girl – Lisa Scottoline (5/15/12) Snooooze.
  28. The Tenth Circle – Jodi Picoult (5/20/12)  – I’ve read almost every one of Jodi Picoult’s books.  Maybe I’m just getting tired of the tragedy of all of them, but this one was a little tiresome.
  29. The Nasty Bits – Anthony Bourdain (5/30/12)
  30. Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese (6/10/12) – A fascinating first person novel about life in Ethiopia.  Political, health, culture, relationships all interwoven into a beautiful life story.  I even got attached to the bit players.
  31. The Common Lawyer – Mark Gimenez (6/16/12)
  32. Dirty Blonde –  Lisa Scottoline (6/20/12)
  33. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks  – Rebecca Skloot (6/24/12) – The nonfiction account of a woman who died in the 50’s but whose cancer cells became the basis for   almost all major medical breakthrough since.  This is the scientific account of what happened with her cells interwoven into the story of her family.
  34. Private – James Patterson (7/5/12)
  35. Tales from the Bed – Jenifer Estess (7/6/12) – A memoir of a 35-year-old woman who is diagnosed with ALS.  This follows her incredible bond with her two sisters as they fight the medical establishment to work on a cure for ALS, creating Project ALS an organization designed to bring scientists together to collaborate on medical breakthroughs.
  36. Honeymoon – James Patterson (7/7/12)
  37. The Suspect – John Lescroart (7/9/12)
  38. Toys – James Patterson (7/11/12)
  39. True Blue – David Baldacci (7/13/12)
  40. Wish You Well – David Baldacci (7/14/12) – This is my second time reading this.  A beautiful story of the simplicity and difficulty of the life in the deep Virginia mountains.  It is a sweet story about survival and family with a delightful young protagonist.
  41. The Art of Social War – Jodi Wing (7/20/12)
  42. Picture Perfect  – Jodi Piccoult (8/17/12)
  43. Half the Sky – Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn – This is a book about the oppression of women around the world, and a look at the things that really make a difference.
  44. Run for Your Life – James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (8/31/12)
  45. Please Excuse My Daughter – Julie Klam (9/6/12)
  46. A Million Little Pieces – James Frey (9/9/12) – I was halfway through this book before I realized it was the controversial memoir that duped Oprah.  I decided not to read about the allegations until I finished.  I’m glad I waited.  The book is absolutely riveting.  When I finished reading it and then looked up what parts were lies, I still thought it was riveting.  And although the embellished parts made for a bit more drama, I didn’t think they changed THAT much.  So I still give this book two very big thumbs up.  Call it a memoir, call it fiction…I don’t care.  I just call it a good book that chronicles addiction and recovery in a very raw way.  I’m looking forward to reading the follow-up book by Frey.
  47. Quickie – James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (9/12/12)
  48. The Whole Truth – David Baldacci (9/16/12)
  49. Unbearable Lightness – Portia de Rossi (9/21/12) – This really is a fascinating memoir, not just because I have always been a fan, but because of the pain that she hid from the world when she was most in the spotlight during the Ally McBeal days.  This book focuses on her eating disorder and acceptance of herself as a gay woman.  It sheds an ugly light on the body ideals that Hollywood (and we) put on women.
  50. Where is Church? One Man’s Quest – Paul Leonard (9/22/12) – This book is written by one of the former CEO’s of Habitat and he gave this book to Mark.  In this memoir, he explores his background as a Presbyterian minister and on to his career in the external “church”, where he built a career in the quest to solve housing problems for low-income families.  He explores the definition of the church and how it relates to both what happens inside the walls of traditional church and the definition that Jesus gave (wherever two are gathered together in My name).
  51. The Year of Biblical Womanhood  – Rachel Held Evans (11/4/12)
  52. Digging to America – Anne Tyler (11/14/12)
  53. Prep – Curtis Sittenfeld (11/23/12) – I would describe this as a coming of age novel, the story of a young Midwestern girl who convinces her parents to let her go to a boarding school in the east.  This novel follows her four years there.
  54. The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War – Michael Shaara (11/26/12)  This is a historical novel about the Battle of Gettysburg told from the point of view of the officers on both sides.  It pulled me in like a good suspense novel, all the more powerful because the events actually occurred.  This is a Pulitzer Prize winning book for a reason!
  55. Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate – Justin Lee (12/3/12)
  56. Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times – Jennifer Worth (12/9/12)
  57. The Winner – David Baldacci (12/23/12)
  58. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World – Henri J.M. Nouwen (12/28/12)
  59. Growing Up Amish: A Memoir – Ira Wagler (12/29/12)
  60. Outside the Lines – Amy Hatvany (12/31/12)
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