Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book reviews 2012

I looked back over the blog posts I've written this past year about books that moved me enough to write about them. It's a good way to look back at some of the events that made a difference in my life during the past year, and I found six books that I hope you might think about reading. There were many more that I enjoyed, but my blog posts make it easier to recall these, so here you go.

Back in June I was engrossed in reading The Invisible Bridge,  a story about a young Jewish man who is caught up in the horrors of World War II and beyond. The more than 600-page-long book took me into another place and time, and the author Julie Orringer created a world I couldn't leave behind. I highly recommend it. My sister Norma Jean also recommended that I read The Warmth of Other Suns, another tome, this one on the subject of the migration of blacks from the Deep South to other parts of the United States during the twentieth century. Isabel Wilkerson follows the lives of three people from their original homes to where they ended up. I loved this book. All three of the individuals were real people. A truly wonderful story.

I also read a book I enjoyed on introversion, which was recommended by a blogging friend: Quiet: The Power of Introverts. As a pronounced extrovert, I have always been curious about the inner lives of introverts, and this book confirmed a belief I have long held that introverts have many advantages over us extroverts. It was very educational. Then I read Jonah Lehrer's book on How We Decide, which I enjoyed very much (although the author has now become rather controversial, since he apparently seemed to plagiarize much of his work). However, the book was really engrossing and well written.

The last two books I recommend are Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a very honest and revealing book written by Cheryl Strayed about how she decided to try to clean up her life by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail solo, when she had never backpacked a day in her life. It became an Oprah Book this year. And finally, I read The Life of Pi after seeing the movie. Since I saw the movie first, I had several aspects of the story clarified for me when I read the book. I think I actually enjoyed the book much more than the movie, although the movie was really good. I can understand how people must have wondered how the book could possibly be captured on film. But it was.

I will also do one of these reviews for my favorite movies of the year, but for now, this is already plenty long enough!
:-)

18 comments:

  1. A year in review is always a good idea as December comes to a close. A few of these books intrigue me but the one I'm very anxious to read is The Life of Pi. I've not seen the movie. I tend to prefer to read books before seeing the film. I made a point of that last year with The Help and I've still not see the movie.

    Thanks for these tips.. I shall look for the first two as well as Pi.

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  2. I'm on the library list for Quiet. I read The Life of Pi when it was first published. I read Wild a couple of months ago.

    Now I'm working on a pile of magazines.

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  3. life of pi was a great book....have yet to see the movie...i have a gift card coming though and i think wild might make the list for that one...smiles...

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  4. I have a library hold on one of these books and there are two others that sound interesting. I always seem to get caught on some of the long stories.
    This is a good post for the year end.

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  5. Well, I have read two of these, and will make a note of the others. I got a Kindle for Christmas and will be ready to select electronic books as soon as I finish the "real" book I'm now reading. And the magazine pile has grown again too.

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  6. More books for my list! Thanks for the reviews.

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  7. You are so well read! I have read non of your books..and they all sound good:)

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  8. It is interesting to take a look back at the books we have read. I see a couple of books on your list that I'm adding to my wishlist.

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  9. Thank you. I will consider these, and probably add them to my list. You are the third blogging friend to recommend 'Quiet...' so I seem meant to read it. I am an introvert - and have always thought that extroverts have the advantages. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence I suppose.

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  10. From Lost to Found sounds like a great read.

    Boy, you're awake early today. I was surprised to see you leave a comment at this hour. Of course, no matter what time of day you stop by, I enjoy your visit.

    Happy New Year DJan!!

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  11. Life of Pi and Wild are on my Kindle, but I have yet to read them...chose them because you mentioned them once. Always enjoy your reviews, DJan. I'm an introvert...need to read Quiet:The Power of Introverts!

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  12. I'm currently reading, "A Clash Of Kings" And, "Turn Here Sweet Corn" is next. Happy New Year DJan!

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  14. The invisible Bridge, Wild and Pi are going to be added to my reading list with all these lovely gift Indago cards I rcvd for Christmas. I do recall reading about all the books on your Posts DJan and am glad you refreshed my memory. I have been away through Christmas n New Years and missed reading my friends Posts. Gotta get caught up, eh. Thanks a bunch.

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  15. I'm adding these to my list and I look forward to your moview review

    big New Year hugs from me and Hope!!

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  16. I liked reading your list of books. I try to keep a list of books I read but sometimes I forget to write them down. What would we do without books? I cannot go to bed without reading even if I am exhausted. Well, here we are in 2013 – with so many opportunities ahead of us. I wish you and your loved ones a year full of happiness, good health and great fun!

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  17. Have the "Wild" book on my list of 20+ books. I could spend my life reading if I didn't have to work!

    Also, you're interesting me in "Life of Pi" which I just did not want to read when it came out 10-11 yrs ago.

    I'm finishing "Winter's Tale" by Mark Helprin and it's a wonderful fantasy. I'd never heard of it and happened to pick it up in a bookstore while on vaca in Gloucester, MA this past Labor Day wknd.

    Also just bought "Catherine the Great" by Robert Massie and it's a page turner from the get-go. He's a superb historian/biographer.

    Happy New Year dear Jan~!

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  18. I have taken note of your favorites. I was one of the people who am baffled as to how they have put Life of Pi on the screen. I loved the book...but everything shifts at the end...or does it? ;)

    Can hardly wait for your favorite movies of 2012! :)

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