Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Summer Reading List 2011

I’m always looking for suggestions, so chime in! I’m not big on hardcore mysteries.  No science fiction.  I like realistic fiction and charming little stories.  Historical fiction is good too. 

1. Water for Elephants- Sara Gruen - Excellent read.  I wish I had slowed down a bit while reading, I probably missed a lot of little things.  One of the best books I have read in a long time. 

2. The Tenth Circle- Jodi Picoult - My first Jodi Picoult novel! 400+ pages, couldn’t put it down.  Took me a day to read it at the beach.  Interesting story idea, kind of throws you for a little loop.  I was a bit disappointed in the ending.

3. Angela’s Ashes- Frank McCourt- Just re-reading.  Trying to read as many memoirs as I have in my house so I can start to write my own.

4. The Rescue- Nicholas Sparks- Oh, le sigh.  I love Nicholas Sparks.  After I read The Rescue I picked up my own notebook and penned some fiction pieces. 

5. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone- I wanted to read each book in the series, a week beforeI went to see the final movie.  Didn’t happen, as I only got through 1-4.  Not that I haven’t read them all a million times before.

6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- See above.

7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- See above.

8. The Year We Disappeared- Cylin Busby and John Busby- Just a book that way lying around in my cabana.  Picked it up because I was in a bad mood and didn’t want anyone to talk to me.  Another memoir... interesting story, but not the way I’ll be writing my own memoir.

9. The Last Time I saw Paris- Lynn Sheene- Plucked this one off the shelf at the library today, under new releases.  What a fantastic story! I wanted a bit more character development, but still couldn’t put it down.  Finished it in less than four hours. If your library has a copy, pick it up! Has a bit of historical fiction too that I loved!

10. Vanishing Act- Jodi Picoult- LOVED this story.  There were points in which my heart was being tugged in all the wrong directions, I hated the situations, what the characters were being forced to go through.  That's what I consider to be good literature, when a book makes you feel exactly the way you don't want to feel.  The end was such a heart wrenching plot twist that I didn't see coming.  I can't wait to read more of Jodi Picoult's books!

11. Heart of the Matter- Emily Giffin- Another story that almost made me feel uncomfortable at points.  I was so torn about the characters.  I felt bad for them at the same time I felt angry towards them.  (Slight spoiler follows) A woman has an affair with a married man- this is bad.  Said woman is raising her 6 year old son alone, desperate for company.  The 6 year old is horribly burnt in an accident.  The renowned pediatric burn surgeon who takes the case is a hero- he fixes this little boy so that he can lead a normal life.  Except he's also the married man.  I think I felt the most emotion towards the three young children in the novel.  Easy read, if you need something to tote along to the beach or on a train.

12. The Princess Bride- William Goldman- My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.... YES that Princess Bride.  Loving it as much as the movie, though the movie was easier to understand. 

13. Nobody’s Fool- Richard Russo- One of the few books I read in high school and enjoyed.  Sort of a depressing, tragic story.  Started reading it when I was in a horrible mood but haven’t picked it up since.

14. ‘Tis- Frank McCourt- Got through 17 pages at the beach before the kids wanted to go to the pool.  Of McCourt’s three memoirs, the only one I have read and re-read was Angela’s Ashes.  I haven’ t read ‘Tis in such a long time that I don’t even remember what happens.

15. 13, rue Therese- Elena Mauli Shapiro- I don't normally give up on books.  But I'm giving up on this one.  The story plot is about 3 pages long, and then it is just an endless barrage of "clues" that are supposed to intrigue you and make you want to keep going.  I have a decent handle on the French language, even though I don't remember a lot of it from High School I can still deduce meaning- but this is ridiculous.  If I wanted to translate a novel I certainly wouldn't do it this way.  This one is going back to the library. 

16. The Wedding- Nicholas Sparks- This is NOT your typical Nick Sparks romance.  I always expect that certain kind of story when I pick up one of his books, and it isn't the experience I got this time.  First of all, the protagonists are way older than his normal set of characters- at least in their early 60s.  I'm used to the 20 and 30somethings who fall in love and live happily ever after.  This love story (because it is a love story, regardless of the type) picks up at what is seemingly the end of a relationship.  Guest appearance from Noah (yes, THAT Noah, from the Notebook).  A sleepy read, I didn't really enjoy it.

17. Nineteen Minutes- Jodi Picoult- I shouldn't have picked this book up last night- I couldn't sleep, so I figured I would read.  I read about 50 pages and had a horrible nightmare, that's the kind of fear that this book is evoking in me.  I will finish it, because I need to know what happens to the characters, but I won't be reading at night.  *I finished it.  What a twist at the end- it took me a minute to figure out what was going on, but once it did it was like a sock in the gut. What an incredibly emotional story told by Picoult- this one was very well written, and worth a go if you can handle the emotionality of a school shooting.

18. House Rules- Jodi Picoult- I gave this one to my mom to read first, and she sucks at keeping plots a secret.  I knew what I was getting into before I read it, which made this book a little sluggish to get through.  Protagonist is an 18 year old male with Asperger's.  One of my cousins has Asperger's, so I tried to connect my experiences with him to the character in the book, but I didn't find very many similarities.  I'm wondering if my cousin is considered extremely high functioning- the character in the book was considered high functioning, but compared to my cousin, the kid in the book had some serious aspects of Asperger's.  It was almost like Picoult attributed ever Asperger's symptom to Jacob that she could, which made the book a little unrealistic for me.  Good to read nonetheless, but not one of my favorite Picoult books.

19. Hear My Sorrow- Deborah Hopkinson- This is one of the Dear America series titles.  I wrote a 100+ page paper on the Dear America Series for my Children's Literature class last semester, and this was the only book I couldn't get my hands on.  I own every other title in the series (yay ebay).  I liked this book, though I knew I would, for a few reasons.  First, it takes place in New York City, where I live.  I knew the neighborhoods and streets and places that were referenced in the book.  Secondly, I am fascinated with immigration and the effects it had on NYC.  I'm always looking to learn more about the immigrant experience, especially from the Italian/Irish/Czech experience, since those are the nationalities of my ancestors. I don't really know a lot about my family's immigration experiences, so these books are a good way for me to get my feet wet. 

20. The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare- Arliss Ryan What a fascinating read so far- and I'm only in 15 pages.  Told from the perspective of Anne Hathaway (no, not the actress), Will Shakespeare's wife, this novel debates the Shakespeare Authorship Question- whether or not Mr. Shakespeare actually wrote all those plays... I'll let you guess how this novel plays out.  If you are interested in the life and works of Shakespeare, definitely pick this one up!

21. Sing You Home- Jodi Picoult

22. Juno's Daughters- Lise Saffran

23. Sold- Patricia McCormick

24. The Five People You Meet in Heaven- Mitch Albom

25. Eat, Pray, Love- Elizabeth Gilbert

*As of 8/22, I'm still on a wait list for The Help. I'm #57 out of 143 for the large print book, and 488/583 for the regular print.  The Hunger Games is in transit to my library, and I'm waiting for Are You My Guru by Wendy Shanker, which was recommended by a lovely young lady in my Vasculitis Support Group. I also placed a hold for a book that was recommended by the Brooklyn Public Library, called Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Jacobson.

bold = completed
bold and italics = currently reading
type face = sitting in the pile waiting to be read/re-read


  1. Hey, this is Wit from the vasculitis forums (not that you necessarily would remember me from there either, lol!)
    I don't know if you've read them but The Help by Kathryn Stockett was really good and The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor are two that I have read recently and enjoyed. They are both historical fictions about race relations. The Help is a bit more along the lines of women's lit.

  2. Hi Wit!! I have The Help on wait list at my library.. the branch I have doesn't have as big of a selection I would prefer, so I have to wait for it to be delivered from another branch. I've been dying to read The Help since I saw the summary on the NYTimes Bestseller list!! Plus I know I will want to see the movie so I obviously have to read the book first :)

    I'm going to check now and see if I can add The Marrowbone Marble Company to my account at my library- hopefully they have it! Thanks for the suggestions... keep 'em coming!!