Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Books, Books, Books . . .

"A room without books 
is like a body without a soul." 

Last year I read a variety of books I want to share with you:

Candide by Voltaire... these books are showing up in somewhat of an alphabetical order but I read this one after Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie because Catherine had had a running correspondence with Voltaire over the years so thought I should read something of his.  If you have any German or Russian ancestry you will find the book on Catherine particularly captivating and if you are planning a trip to St. Petersburg this book is a must for pre-trip research.

The Hunger Games Trilogy is listed here as one book, including The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  I am not a huge fan of easy reading movie material but these caught my imagination and I could not quit until I had read all three.  Loved, loved, loved the books.

Over the years I have read a number of books by Adam Nicolson so absolutely enjoyed his book on the writing of the King James version of the Bible.  The book, God's Secretaries, is full of delightful information about these men and the grand task they took upon themselves to give us one of the most enjoyable and long lasting versions of Scripture.

Help, Thanks, Wow...The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott came at the end of the year as a Christmas gift from my daughter.  Anne Lamott takes a rather irreverent view of God and yet you know she is totally devoted to Him.  Does that make sense?  She leads you into a surprising trip into prayer and will make a believer out of you if you are not careful!

Jacqueline Kennedy: Conversations with JFKennedy was the most disappointing book I picked up and read this year.  The introduction written by Caroline Kennedy is the part of the book most worthy of your time.  I have been a great fan of Jacqueline because of her mothering, her style and her bravery shown in times of stress.  After I read the book, which is written from actual tapes, I felt that she lacked a depth of personhood, that it had been very much self-absorbed pretence.  Caroline's intro is beautifully written but I was saddened to find that her mother was not the woman I had thought her to be.

Sometime over the summer I watched the movie, The Jane Austen Fan Club, so of course I had to set out to read some books by Ms. Austen.  I read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and yet again, the books are far better than any movie made of them.  Highly recommended to you all.

Looking back I see that I actually read quite a bit of fiction this year.  Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda was fact I am doing a page in my art journal with the colours of India because of this book.  The Darlings: A Novel by Cristina Alger was interesting because of the stock market information in it and the portrayal of a family caught in the craziness of the crash in 2008.

And I did a re-read that I had wanted to do for some time.  Thorn Birds was a mini-series many years ago that my daughter and I loved to watch together.  Sherilee was in 10th grade so just beginning to understand the heat developed over the years between the priest and the ashes-of-rose girl.  Hot stuff!!

The last three books of the year were non-fiction and to be recommended to you as valuable reads.  The Power of Less by Leo Babauta is great for anyone trying to do with less in your life on many different levels.  What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love by Carole Radziwell was another re-read, an honest look at the process of watching a spouse die.  Worth your time.

And finally, a very important book in my year was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  This is the story of a young man who went through great tragedy in WWII but who survived and turned his life around.  At first I could not get into this book but since my sister, Roberta, had given it to me I felt honour bound to read it.  What a thrilling book.  The best ending ever!!!

Oops!  There are more than 13 books here even though I grouped The Hunger Games books but I offer you these titles with joy and delight.  I would love to hear if any of you have read them and if you have any other recommendations for my list for 2013.

To read other lists of Thirteen on Thursday click here to enjoy.


  1. Nice list. :-)

    I read Hunger Games and enjoyed the trilogy. I also enjoyed the movie of the first book, but have no idea how they're going to do the third book (or why they'd want to...).

    I remember the Thorn Birds mini-series. Maybe I should say I remember Rachel Ward. I think she brought the heat you're talking about. ;-)

    I haven't read The Power of Less, but I read Leo's blog:

    1. Of course you would remember Rachel Ward...but also remember 'it takes two to tango!!'

      Yes, I read Mr. ZenHabits too and enjoy his input.

  2. I'm an Anne LaMott fan. I'll look for Help, Thanks, Wow. :)

    1. You will enjoy, promise! Beautiful to read other people's thoughts about God, especially when they believe too.