Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Year in Books

My favorite new(ish) author:

Sarah Jio
I got a bit caught up in southern-based stories, and Jio brought me overseas to a mysterious beach bungalow on Bora Bora during World War II in The Bungalow. Then I went to solve a murder mystery at a London Manor in The Last Camellia. Next I was off to an island in Washington state sifting through a velvet diary to uncover secrets of the past in the Violets of March. And lastly, to Seattle where a modern-day reporter uncovers a long ago kidnapping, while identical Blackberry Winter storms, decades apart, help unravel a mystery. Her books are full of mysteries and secrets, links to the past, and incredible settings.

The book that stuck with me the most:

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
This book reaches deep into your soul and tests your morality. You are left wondering what is right and what is wrong, and where that line can be drawn. If ever a book has made me cry for its beauty and its sadness, this is it.
Genre I've been enjoying:

Historical Fiction, often with a mix or link to a current day story

Favorite "summer" book:

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
I love a good summer escape! Add in the retro vibes of a classic beach town in Rhode Island and I was sold. New England, beach, love, broken hearts and broken friendships, and a real hurricane. It's enough drama to last the whole summer through.

Favorite "fresh start" book:
On Folly Beach [Book]

On Folly Beach by Karen White
Emmy has lost her soldier husband  to the war in Iraq and is now a young war widow. She moves to quiet Folly Beach on the South Carolina shore.  Folly Beach is the perfect setting: its quiet beauty and mysterious pier are paired nicely with its quirky residents, most knowingly bottle-tree making Lulu. Here she takes over a book store and begins to find mysterious letters, sandwiched in the pages of classic stories, tucked away in the corner, and begins unraveling a mystery that spans decades. This story connects the heartbreak of war and loss with the sense of hope and renewal in the human spirit, and the drive of curiosity that will uncover unexpected events...

Frighteningly gripping book:
Gone Girl: A Novel [Book]

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I couldn't decide who I hated the most in this one. I couldn't decide who to blame. Or where on earth the last week of my life went once I picked it up. With every chapter the story twists and turns, testing your loyalty to its cast of damaged characters. I was enthralled and (somewhat) disgusted, but oh boy, I can't wait to see the movie.

Favorite Series:
Tradd Street
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
Beautiful old houses, haunting historic Charleston setting....what could be better?
My Favorite Book for Children:

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems
This is not exactly new to me this year. It was given to me when I left my first teaching job to move across the U.S.A., from the country to the city...(sentimental much?)
Country Frog is waiting for his friend. City Dog comes along. "You'll do" he says. And for each season of the year, these unlikely friends will hop and run through the beautiful, heartfelt pages. Simple, poetic prose. They are the sweetest of friends.


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    1. I like the sound of On Folly Beach, as I'm always intrigued by ever-deepening mysteries unfolding in quiet surroundings. How much nonfiction do you read, out of curiosity? I feel like I read way more nofiction than fiction although when I went back and looked at my reading list of 2014 I realized that close to half the books I read were actually ficiton. It doesn't feel like that, though - it feels like I often fill my head with too many facts, and not enough stories! (Part of the reason I read that much fiction at all was because I was trying to foster some screenwriting ideas - I feel much more inspired after reading a novel.) I'm going to try to read more fiction in 2014...

    2. Well I have two nonfiction on my list of is the Johnny Cash one (you got me), the other is called Hemingway's Boat and it about a period of his life. I'm surprised half of yours are fiction! It seems like you have endless amounts of nonfiction to read!

    3. Oops, I meant my reading list of 2013, not 2014. I do have a lot of nonfiction to read, but so far I'm on my third work of fiction of the year (the novel Revolutionary Road, after the novel The Reader & the play J.B., both pretty short).