The 50 Book Challenge of 2011 is coming to a close and I'm happy to say I nailed it! Before I get to the list of books I read, I'd like to tell you what I've learned this year.
1) I need to focus more on books of my choosing
2) I need to read more challenging books
3) As much as people say audiobooks count as reading, I don't think I agree
4) YA books are largely awful
5) Stepping outside your comfort zone will often bring large rewards (Well, hello, general good idea. Nice to meet you)
6) I think it takes 2 books to decide whether or not you hate something (Turns out I don't hate Charlaine Harris and I for sure hate Jennifer Weiner)
That being said, may I present you with Madeline's Books of 2011
1) Flawless- Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell
2) Adoration of Jenna Fox- Mary Peterson
3) We Bought A Zoo- Benjamin Mee
4) Once a King Always a King- Reymundo Sanchez
5) The Choice- Suzanne Woods Fisher
6) Look Again- Lisa Scottoline
7) The Girls From Ames- Jeffrey Zaslow
8) The Naked Truth- Danielle Staub
9) Elsewhere- Gabrielle Zevin
10) 1st To Die- James Patterson
11) The Bedwetter- Sarah Silverman
12) Dead Beautiful- Yvonne Woon
13) The Princess Bride- William Goldman
14) Cesar's Way- Cesar Milan
15) Stork- Wndy Delsol
16) The Girls- Lori Lansens
17) The Lost City of Z- David Grann
18) Midwives- Chris Bohjalian
19) Oogy- Larry Levin
20) Henry's Demons- Patrick and Henry Colburn
21) One For The Money- Janet Evanovich
22) Dirty Little Secrets- CJ Omololu
23) Little Bee- Chris Cleave
24) We All Fall Down- Nic Scheff
25) Stolen- Lucy Christopher
26) One Day- David Nicholls
27) Two For The Dough- Janet Evanovich
28) Night Road- Kristin Hannah
29) Sweet Valley Confidential- Francine Pascal
30) Paying For It- Chester Brown
31) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks- Rebecca Skloot
32) Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest- Steig Larsson
33) Never Knowing- Chevy Stevens
34) Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin- Frank Bailey
35) Before I Go To Sleep- S.J. Watson
36) Stories I Only Tell My Friends- Rob Lowe
37) The 19th Wife- David Ebersoff
38) The Night Season- Chelsea Cain
39) The Kingdom of Childhood- Rebecca Coleman
40) Bloodroot- Amy Greene
41) Amaryllis In Blueberry- Christine Meldrum
42) The Help- Kathryn Stockett
43) All The Flowers In Shanghai- Duncan Jepson
44) Horns- Joe Hill
45) Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand
46) Dead In Dallas- Charlaine Harris
47) The Buddha in the Attic- Julie Otsuka
48) These Things Hidden- Heather Gudenkauf
49) Sorry- Zoran Drvenkar
50) Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children- Ransom Riggs
51) Lone Wolf- Jodi Picoult
52) The Family Fang- Kevin Wilson
53) My Boyfriend Wrote A Book About Me- Hillary Winston
54) The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
55) Then Came You- Jennifer Weiner
56) You Better Not Cry- Augusten Burroughs
17 Nonfiction titles
10 YA titles
6 different series
1 book I want to punch myself for reading (I'm talking to you, Danielle Staub)
15 books read for work
6 Books recently made or about to become movies
Most Overhyped: The Help by Kathyrn Stockett
Biggest Surprise: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Top Books (in no particular order)
1) Little Bee by Chris Cleave
2) The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
3) Flawless by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell
4) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
I refuse to list a 5th choice. I've read and reread my list about 10 times trying to figure out what would be a worthy 5th choice and I've come to the conclusion that there isn't one. If I wanted to put together a list of "Books I Really Enjoyed", then I would have a decent sized list but I have decided to only include books that I feel are both really well written and had characters/stories that stuck with me. I'm sorry if the fact that I didn't include The Hunger Games or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks makes some of you feel that I'm crazy. Those books would be on the list of "Books I Really Enjoyed".
Feel free to ask me how I liked any of the books on this list and I'll give my honest opinion. I've got big plans to largely avoid YA books in the coming year (with the exception of Catching Fire and Mockingjay) and get started on my 10 classics (Gone With The Wind is waiting on the shelf!).
Let me know if you finished your 50 books and what your favorites were!
I've officially completed my 2011 challenge to read 50 books. I'm actually in the middle of 54 right now and hoping that I can actually pull off 55 for the year. It's gonna be a squeeze but I have the 24-28th off so I'm feeling good about it.
With that being said, I started thinking about what my reading challenge would be for 2012. I thought about bumping the number up a little bit and then thought, maybe it should be quality over quantity? I'm not going to try to do something crazy like read the Bible or The Odyssey or anything ridiculous like that. What I am going to do is challenge myself to not only read 50 books but to make 10 of them classics. I've never been much of a classics reader. I'm not the girl who's read all the Jane's. I'm also not the Oprah fan that followed her into Faulknerland. Though I did buy the Oprah themed 3 box set thinking I would be all over it. Then I realized I didn't know what the eff he was saying. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov are too of my top five books so I'm not totally out of my element.
All of this made me realize that I might not be the only person who needs a reading challenge for the upcoming year. Or even just a good idea for reading over the holidays. To help you out, I've compiled a number of lists for you! Enjoy!
I just found this book in the donation pile at the library. The title alone made me laugh but the blurb on the back made it amazing.
"Xaviera Hollander has clocked innumerable hours in the world's oldest--and most forbidden-- profession. She's survived busts and shakedowns, jealous spouses and crooked clients-- just to make some men very happy. But she loves her job. She's....The Happy Hooker"
$5 can buy you lunch at Taco Bell, it can put just enough gas in your car to get you to work, it can buy you and a date a cup o'joe at Dunkin Donuts (so sorry your date ended so soon after realizing you took her to Dunkin Donuts)...it's pretty much the best bill.
Turns out, it's also the perfect amount of money to pay someone to do basically anything you could possibly imagine. Need an outgoing voicemail message that sounds like Woody the Woodpecker? No problem. Want to get personalized love notes from a fake girlfriend for a week? Sure thing. Need someone to write a sonnet for class for you? Can do.
Fiverr.com is a marketplace where people offer up all of the ridiculous (legal, I'm assuming) things they are willing to do for $5. It's amazing. I found one with a guy willing to paint a message/logo of your choice on his beergut and send you a picture. Another person offered to send you a picture of their cat holding a sign saying "Merry Christmas". Someone else is offering to send 3 anonymous letters with a postmark of Sacramento to whoever you want! That's awesome!
I am seriously trying to come up with random things to do for $5. Here's what I've come up with so far:
-I will send you a video of Midge making her gremlin sounds
-I will send you a card with a very inspiring message
-I will put your picture on my blog
So that's about all I've got....
But at least it's better than this chick..
This was super cute until they added the crotch rocket...
I found this on a card design website...it wasn't a joke...If this is the sort of design you'd love, let me know and I'll get you the name of the website...otherwise, I'm not even going to mention it as I feel bad for calling them out when this whole Love, Weddings, and Crotch Rocket invitation probably wasn't the artists idea...