I asked what people would like to read about and of course “BOOKS!” were mentioned, because my friends are awesome. Last year Josh challenged me to read 100 books. I don’t know if he was joking but I took him up on that challenge. It was all going well until I hit a reading rut in August/September and suddenly I was 10 books behind! I rallied and ended up reading 101 books. Here are some of my favorites that I read (or reread) last year.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Okay, I’m not really sure if I’m recommending this book. I really can’t decide. gRegor and I decided to read this together because it was on both of our to-read lists. It took me a couple weeks to plow through (it took gRegor a little bit longer ;)). Anyway, bear with me. Have you seen the movie Simon Birch? That movie is loosely based on this book. I’ve yet to rewatch it since reading this book (we had it on VHS tape back in the day!). This book is VERY long, it was probably the longest book I read last year (it sure felt like the longest book I’ve EVER read, but I think a couple Harry Potter books are longer). The journey that Owen and his friends take is a long one, full of many twists and turns. It’s quite a spiritual journey, for more than one character. But never has any book come together at the end like this one did. It really kinda blew me away and made me a tad jealous that I would basically never be able to come up with something quite as epic. I didn’t love or hate it, part of the time I was just trying to get through it. But I also think some people really enjoy the more detailed/lots of stories in one big epic novel. If you love that, this one is for you. If you’re trying to read a ton of books this year, then wait.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The main character Starr, a 16 year old, African American girl who lives in 2 different worlds, her prep school world (basically an all white school) and her home life which at times can be scary (drive by shootings, drug dealers, etc). The story follows the ups and downs of both of her worlds. You see her transform into to a bold, brave girl who faces the racial tensions in each of her worlds head on. Everyone should read this book. I think often times we don’t know how to relate to other people because we haven’t walked in their shoes. This book is a great way to walk in Starr’s shoes, rasee how racism is alive and scary. Quick, easy, educational read. It is now a major motion picture.
I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about this book before, it’s probably one of my favorite books of all time. While “Divine Mercy” is generally a Catholic topic, don’t let that scare you off. I’ve read this book twice and both times felt like the first time. It truly helps me be a better mother, a better spouse, a better person. Mercy isn’t always easy to give, but it’s certainly something God is always waiting to give us. This book helps you find ways to live out your calling with more grace, purpose and mercy (for yourself and others). I may just go ahead and read it again this year. I put these together because they’re 2 peas in a pod. Saint John Paul II really brought the message of Divine Mercy to fruition for the church and he canonized Saint Faustina (who received and shared the message of Divine Mercy). In this book you’ll read about who JPII was. He was more than just the Pope. You don’t need to be Catholic to enjoy this one (besides he was so greatly loved by people of walks of life). His life was truly inspiring and he was brilliant! I credit JPII on my path to forgiveness.
The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah
When people ask me what was my favorite book last year or what book they should read next? This book is always the first one to come to mind (funny because a couple years ago, Hannah’s book The Nightingale was my #1!). I LOVED this book. Why do I love reading? Because I’m usually half lost in some story half the day. When I’m not reading a book it’s like half my brain isn’t in use. And every so often a book really digs in deep, like this one. Anyway, this book was just so rich in detail that I was totally absorbed. It is set in Alaska and it made me want to go there and experience it for myself (although Alaskan winters? Not so much). I didn’t know much about Alaska but oh my gosh! It sounds incredible and kinda scary. After I finished this book I added a bunch of Alaska shows to my list on Netflix (none of which I have watched yet because the whole reading 101 books last year ruled my free time). Anyway, the book follows a young girl and her unstable parents as they pick up and move to Alaska. Her father is abusive and her mother basically enables him. I will reread this book one day. (I also reread The Nightingale last year, go read that one too. WWII, historical fiction).
Birding Is My Favorite Video Game By Rosemary Mosco
If you know me (or drive with me) you know I’m a bit of bird nerd (I blame Josh). I’ve constantly got my eyes on the lookout for birds (not crows and the like but hawks, Eagles, Bluebirds, anything you don’t see every day). Last year we even had an Eagle at our house, it was awesome. Anyway, my friend Cam got this book for me (thanks!). It is comic book like and very clever. I laughed out loud at times and even learned a thing or two. It was a fun, quick and educational read. Get outside, read and find a new to you bird.
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
Another favorite from last year was the next book in The Cormoran Strike series. While I didn’t LOVE the first in this series I have loved the rest. They are mysteries by heart and will at least call to mind that mystery from Harry Potter when you just couldn’t figure out who the bad guy was. But the characters (Cormoran and Robin) will be what keep you coming back for more). Cormoran is a detective, Robin has joined his practice and they’re also working through lots of personal problems and trying to sort out what in the world they/each other are feeling. It will also leave you wanting fish and chips (from a legit pub). I don’t know what else to say without spoiling it. Go start the first book!
If you’re not on Goodreads and you love (or even just like) books you should join! Do you have any recommendations for me? Good luck on your 2019 reading goals (I just finished my 2nd book of the year yesterday!).