Booking Through Thursday asked, a week ago, what our favorite books from 2008 were.
I figured this would be easy ... since I have this little book into which I write down the title and author of every book I read. I'm not sure why I do it, but I remember starting it for a reason..... I fetched up my notebook and discovered that though I clearly marked the start of 2007, I failed to define the break between 2007 and 2008. (I did remember for 2009). So, I don't know which books qualify.
I spent a few months in which I put little ratings by the books -- a star, a check, a plus sign...and for a few a minus sign. Some got notes like "1/2" which indicated that I found them too awful to finish. That should also have helped. But I wasn't consistent. And I seem to have fallen off the habit. So that wasn't much help... but still..
I've randomized among the starred books, and decided (with no real justifying reason) to list the following from my 2008 reading:
An Irish Country Doctor (Irish Country Books) by Patrick Taylor. I followed up with An Irish Country Christmas (Irish Country Books) just this month. These are delightful easy reads. One of the genre that introduces you to a small community which you soon find that you'd love to at least visit. By the end of each book, I wonder whether I wouldn't be happier living in a place like Ballybucklebo in Ireland. (I'd certainly enjoy listening to people talk!) I find, as I read, that I "hear" it with a slight Irish brogue.
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier ... which manages to blend the Princess who kissed the Frog with vampires and make it work. (I love re-tellings of fairy tales).
The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold. I've never met a Bujold book I didn't like. She writes science fiction (fairly hard science fiction at that) and fantasy with equal grace.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck Ph.D.
Mindset is actually back on the shelf to read again. It's one of the few non-fiction books that I read, but it's really quite interesting. It talks about how our mindset as we face challenges can dramatically affect our success -- and even whether we keep trying.
You'll notice an absence of Stephanie Meyer on that list. It's not because I've not read them. I read all four of the Twilight books, and The Host: A Novel. I even enjoyed them .. but evidently not well enough to star them in the wee note book. Admittedly, part of my decision to read all four Twilight books was because I like to preview a the books that my daughters read when the come off the "teen" shelves. Why? Because the Books in the Teen Library don't come with guides to clue you in.
Manga is found in the Teen Library section. But Manga has ratings. It has little things on the back that let you know whether they're age-appropriate for your child. For example, I discourage C (er, Kitty -- I did say I'd use those new nick names, didn't I?) from reading ones marked "Older Teen" or "16+". I flat out forbid those albeled for adults. She doesn't need to be reading porn yet, even if it is "only a comic strip."
The rest of the books in the Teen Library are unrated. There is little guidance as to why they made it to the Teen shelves. Sometimes, it's because the vocabulary is higher than one would expect a fifth grader to comprehend. Sometimes, it's because it tackles issues that fifth graders aren't ready for. But... the issues that you are reasonable for a 17 year old to read about aren't necessarily appropriate for a 12-13 year old to read about. Sixth graders don't really need to read about the intense story of a girl who lost her virginity to rufie-assisted date rape that leads to AIDS, which is now killing her, do they? Nor do they need to be reading steamy hot pornography. At least not without their mothers (or fathers, I suppose) knowing its coming so that the appropriate conversations can be had.
So... I read lots of teen literature. My girls like vampires. So do I, for that matter, but I also know that there are an awful lot of vampire books out there with soft porn lurking in the middle. I want to talk to them about porn, what's good about it, and why people like it (as well as what can be bad about it), before they encounter it. This means that I read their vampire books first. Which gets me to things like Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1). I hope that the series continues in its pattern of not getting to the porn stuff, but then I recall certain series I've read which went from Novel with a mildly suggestive scene, through novel with very suggestive scenes, to novel with several steamy but not quite explicit scenes, to sequence of soft porn scenes barely held together by a novel sort of. I suppose this means I'll have to read the next one they bring home... sigh.
I also try to read books that my husband is reading. We're both avaricious readers, and I do like to share some things with him. He's a big fan of books in which someone dies horribly and we either follow the killer or follow the detective along until the end. I like many of these. (Jeffrey Deaver springs to mind) But not all. So... he brings 'em in, and I try to keep up with him, and the girls. He tends to find an author, and pull in everything that person wrote, and read them back to back. His most recent discovery is John Connelly, but I can't seem to really get into them -- they're too.... harsh? for me. On the other hand, he also enjoys Michael Connelly, whose The Brass Verdict I just finished. (And now, we're finally into a discussion of what I've read THIS year).
And if trying to keep up with a tween and a teen and a husband's reading weren't enough... I read blogs, and my blog buddies read books, and recommend them -- and I go fetch them from the library. Which is how I found Alice Hoffman.(and a BIG THANK YOU goes out for that!) I just read Practical Magic followed (with a pause for Brass Verdict) by The Probable Future. I'd seen the movie Practical Magic, but I think I like the book better. I'm ready to take a page from the GolfPro (DH) and read through her list. (She's written a lot, so I'll won't run out any time soon).
In between their books, I still read ones I find on my own. This month, that's meant trying to follow up with more Neal Stephenson. I read all but the last chapter of Zodiac. By then, I just didn't care any more. There was too much gratuitous sniffing of nitrous oxide and not enough getting to the conclusion.
I'm counting that as me all caught up. Maybe I'll even remember to Book Through Thursdays with you, and keep myself up to date. Some weeks, I'll be able to report a number of finished books. Other weeks... er... I won't . But I'm hoping that on those weeks, the Booking Through Thursday geniuses will have a topic for me to address.