My goal last year was to read three books a month, 36 books in a year. (I have the same goal for 2013 because I realize it's really all I can do.) If I only read young adult books and children's books, I could read 100 books a year. I love reading historical non-fiction and fiction, though, so my favorite books are always the longest ones. Here are the Ten Best and the Five Worst Books I Read in 2012:
1. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Changed the way I think, permanently. Time is not mine, so I can't be upset if someone is "taking" it. When someone asks me for help now, my answer is always going to be "yes." I imagine the Savior asking me and it makes me much more willing.
2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Forgiveness brings happiness and fulfillment. Holding a grudge will destroy me.
3. The Trees by Conrad Richter
Every word in this book felt true.
4. Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
I came away from this story admiring James Garfield and thinking about my own "destiny."
5. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
So well-written and thorough. I'm smarter for having read this book.
6. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
I felt like a fly-on-the-wall in another time and place. I loved being immersed in the Welsh culture and the beautiful way Llewellyn wrote.
7. The Parenting Breakthrough by Merrilee Boyack
Now when Bridget does anything to help around the house and the way she's done it makes no sense to me, I stop and think about whether or not I've "trained" her to do the task. I remember how long it takes me to learn something and my patience is restored.
8. The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
A cookbook! I know. But really, it's more like a text book and it taught me how to prepare vegetables to make them taste like what they are.
9. Over the Edge of the World by Laurence Bergreen
Again, I'm smarter for having read this book. What is my fascination with books about the sea?
10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This was one of those books that when I'd finished, I didn't know what to do with myself. Do I read another book? Do I start this one over again? Truly classic.
1. Testimony by Anita Shreve
I got more than 50% through this book and I've been kicking myself every day since for wasting so much time on it. Awful subject matter. Made me lose faith in humanity. Every character was THE WORST.
2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
This was disappointing mostly because it had so much potential. Squandered!
3. The White Forest by Adam McOmber
Maybe it's the genre - I should have known I wouldn't like something that was categorized as "Victorian Gothic Romance." Bleh.
4. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
What was to like here? I got pretty far and didn't enjoy it for one sentence. Do I not like mysteries anymore? This was supposed to be one of the best.
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I hesitate to put this one in here, but I did give it only two stars. As I said in my review, my younger self would have been INTO this book. But now I'm a mother and a reader and this story just didn't do it for me. Sorry!