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Reading 2010

23 December 2010 2,031 views 17 Comments

Inspired by the nearing of the end of this year,  recent months of voracious reading, and posts on books by Austin Kleon and Tolly Moseley, I thought some of you would appreciate recommendations of the books that I truly enjoyed this year. Here they are, in alphabetical order — for fairness’ sake.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

farm city

eng-the-guernsey-literary-and-potato-peel-pie-society

the-help

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

johnadams book

Medium Raw

rise of theodore roosevelt

sarahs key

the_year_of_magical_thinking.large

I read these particular books for various reasons that included because they were assigned by my food lovers book club (Medium Raw and Farm City), my mother recommended and lent them to me (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietySarah’s Key, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Cutting for Stone), friends gave/lent them to me (The Year of Magical Thinking, The Help), Adam’s grandmother recommended (John Adams), and I bought myself (The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt).

There is a range of topics here but some common threads I see is that of food, loss, presidential history, and fiction based on actual events (not to be confused with historical fiction). What have you read lately that you enjoyed? I’m always taking recommendations, and book loans!

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  • Laura

    I am on p. 509 of Cutting for Stone and it just went from good to OMG!

  • Jamizakem

    I am so glad Cutting for Stone and The Help made your list. Two of the best books I have read in ages. Two others books I read this year that I loved:
    - Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
    - No Angel by Penny Vincenzi

  • Jamizakem

    I am so glad Cutting for Stone and The Help made your list. Two of the best books I have read in ages. Two others books I read this year that I loved:
    - Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
    - No Angel by Penny Vincenzi

  • linda

    i loved the help…read wench by dolen perkins -valdez (& enjoyed that as well…same genre)
    corner of bitter & sweet was griping & then read the piano teacher by janice y.k. lee
    sarah's & then read the zookeeper's wife: a war story by diane ackerman

    enjoy the w/e…seeing your parents/jeff on sunday!

  • Paula Holzband

    The listing of books you've read this year is interesting Jodi. I'm going to look into some of them. I'm currently reading “Breaking Night” by Liz Murray; “a memoir of forgiveness, survival, and my journey from homeless to Harvard.” Lenny and I went to hear her speak a few months ago at our Temple speaker series. It was something to hear her talk about what she went through and how she survived. Moving and inspiring.

  • jodibart

    I definitely skimmed some sections of that book — particularly the in-depth surgical descriptions. But, I couldn't put the darn thing down!

  • jodibart

    Ooh, thank you for the recommendations! I'm definitely adding No Angel to the reading list!

  • jodibart

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for the recommendations! I've read and enjoyed The Zookeeper's Wife. Both The Piano Teacher and Wench sound great and I will add those to my list!

    I heard that because of the snow, you didn't end up getting to see the family this Sunday. Hopefully they will be able to visit soon so you can see them — who knows, maybe with me as well!

  • jodibart

    Paula – Breaking Night sounds amazing! Thank you very much for the recommendation.

  • Tolly Moseley

    Oh Jodi! I have “The Year of Magical Thinking” on my to-read list. There are so many creative non-fiction writers these days, and many are funny/sharp, but I suspect I need Joan Didion to show me how it's done.

    Also! I read “Kitchen Confidential” for the first time this year. How did you like “Medium Raw?”

    And a billion people have recommended both “The Help” and “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” to me. I know the premise of the first; what of the second? This is also the first time I've realized it was written by two authors. Fascinating.

    I also read “Alice I Have Been” this year, which was a little dishy, but quite beautifully written after all. It's loose historical fiction, based on the REAL Alice in Wonderland's relationship with Lewis Carroll.

    I am currently reading “Special Topics in Calamity Physics,” which is brilliant, a debut, 500+ pages, optioned for a movie, included on the 2006 New York Times Top Ten Books of the Year list, and was WRITTEN BY A 27-YEAR OLD.

    !!

    I'm trying desperately not to let my feelings of inadequacy interfere with my enjoyment.

  • jodibart

    Tolly – I would recommend all of the books listed above. The Year of Magical Thinking was amazing and I read that in two nights. Also, if you liked Kitchen Confidential I definitely recommend Medium Raw which is basically the sequel to that. It's Anthony Bourdain 10 years later and he talks a lot about things he said in that book and what he agrees with now and what he would change.

    I have read Special Topics in Calamity Physics and that is a great book. I will have to Add Alice I Have Been to my list! I don't love “historical fiction” but do love books that are based on true events that are in fact, fiction. Somehow, they seem like two different things!

    Not that either of us need more books to add to our wish list but the Statesman ran a “Best Books of 2010″ article this weekend and there are a handful of those that I've put on mine: http://www.statesman.com/life/

  • mom

    I just love all of your suggestions, Jodila and the ones that others have been commenting on. I am now reading Jonathan Frantzen's book “Freedom”. He is a great writer and I am enjoying the characters and how he develops them along with their relationships to each other…but a 600 book is way too long. Way to go Oprah! Did you read that Oprah is going to suggest “Great Expectations?” I read this in high school and always wanted to read it again…this may be the time.

  • jodibart

    Save “Freedom” for me, mom. That one is on my list too! Also, I have “Sarah's Key” and will give that back to you in Feb when I see you next. I don't keep up with Oprah's recommendations but loved Great Expectations. Talk about a long book that does drag on a bit. Don't think I'm going to rush back to read that again.

    I use the Visual Bookshelf app on Facebook to organize lists of the books I have read and those I want to read. I have 35 books in my “want to read” list. Oye!

  • Sp Jenkins

    Great list Jodi.
    I loved the Year of Magical Thinking. In fact we are going to see the play in Ottawa next month.
    You might want to add The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger. Our book club loved it.
    Cheers!
    Sheila J.

  • jodibart

    Because I have way too much time on my hands at work this week, I have made a list of the top ten books I will attempt to read in 2011. It will be interesting to go back and compare with what I actually read at the end of the year!

    The Shibumi Strategy by Matthew May
    Secret Historian by Justin Spring
    The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
    Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
    The Irregular’s by Roald Dahl
    About Alice by Calvin Trillin
    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
    Breaking Night by Liz Murray
    Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward

  • jodibart

    Because I have way too much time on my hands at work this week, I have made a list of the top ten books I will attempt to read in 2011. It will be interesting to go back and compare with what I actually read at the end of the year!

    The Shibumi Strategy by Matthew May
    Secret Historian by Justin Spring
    The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
    Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
    The Irregular’s by Roald Dahl
    About Alice by Calvin Trillin
    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
    Breaking Night by Liz Murray
    Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward

  • jodibart

    Because I have way too much time on my hands at work this week, I have made a list of the top ten books I will attempt to read in 2011. It will be interesting to go back and compare with what I actually read at the end of the year!

    The Shibumi Strategy by Matthew May
    Secret Historian by Justin Spring
    The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
    Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
    The Irregular’s by Roald Dahl
    About Alice by Calvin Trillin
    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
    Breaking Night by Liz Murray
    Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward