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A Year in Reading, So Far
by carrie   July 27, 2006

My goal this year was to read one book a month: 12 books this year. That is lame, I know. I used to read closer to 20. I'm not a fast reader, but I love to read and try to find time to do so every day. But I also like hiking, cooking, knitting, editing, blogging, gardening, skiing -- you get the idea. If my only reading time ends up being right before bed, forget about it -- I am only good for a paragraph or two. That being said, I am ahead of schedule this year. Here's what I've read:

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
While I found his earlier work, Man in Full, to be completely engaging, Charlotte seemed to be a bit lacking. She did grow on me over the course of the reading and I ended up enjoying the ride, but I doubt any of the characters will stick with me like those in MiF. Though the book was touted as being quite "raunchy" and "scandalous," I was disappointed to find that this wasn't really the case. Maybe I'm just desensitized. Sure, there's crappy college frat-guy language & behavior, women are treated as objects ("c&m dumpster" being the most favorite) but it wasn't nearly as juicy as I had hoped.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
I was goaded into reading this by a friend of mine. I have nothing against Mr. Sedaris, I just wasn't "in the mood" for a memoir book filled with witty little essays about someone else's life. Well, she lent me the book and I eventually picked it up and loved it. Perhaps it says something for low-expectations? I don't know. Charming stories about everything from childhood to living the world in a crazy drug-addled artist community, with such humanity in each tale and I will be reading more. It was a quick read, too.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Although disappointed with The Nanny Diaries, I decided to give this similar tale of "the other half" in Manhattan a go. I didn't love it -- I mostly wanted to take a nap after reading it! It was stressful and made me angry that people treat other people in such an abominable way. It's amazing to me to see how much people will sacrifice to be in certain industries -- it was clear when I lived in LA, and it seems to be alive and well in the fashion and publishing world in New York too. This book was okay. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. How's that for a review?

The Fiery Cross by Diana Galbadon
The 5th book in the Outlander series, The Fiery Cross is part fantasy, part historical fiction, and part, yes, romance. I love these books. Time travelers and adventure and romance -- bring it on! This book started very slowly for me, and I took a while to get into it, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. If you like epic stories, I suggest this series. The "romance" portion of the series (ie: sex) drops considerably after the first couple books.

Epic - The Story God is Telling & the Role that is Yours to Play by John Eldredge
Yes, I read some "spiritual" literature this year. This book is small, very easy to read and I enjoyed it. I read it while biking at the gym and found that it gave me proper time to really contemplate what was being said to me. I liked that. I also enjoyed the movie metaphors (I'm a particular fan of the LOTR series) that the author uses throughout.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I often find myself on this never-ending quest to find my heart's treasure, so this was a good one. An easy to follow story with poignant moments that really do get you thinking about your life, finding happiness and being brave enough to really go for what you want. It also gives you pause to consider that what you have perhaps *is* what you want after all. I shall probably read this again in a year or so to refresh myself.

The Lady & the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
I received this book from my book club because I didn't send my response back in time. That happens semi-frequently -- if the books look interesting or are already on my reading list, I will most likely keep them, thus playing into their hand! Argh. Anyway, this is a unique story about a nobleman who orders a tapestry made for his great hall, and all the people that the tapestry affects. I enjoyed this book, found it easy to read and interesting. Each chapter is first-person from a different character (I think each character repeats a few times). Quick read, got me thinking that I would like to weave tapestries! Strange, I know...

That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx
Another book club selection which appealed to me and I didn't send back. This book is set in the Texas panhandle, and takes its time telling the story of the land and the people who have inhabited it (the white people, that is). It's meandering and slow and some might find it boring, but I found it just right. I enjoyed going along for the ride and soaking up the culture, tradition and history of the panhandle and the hard-luck people who often settled there. I also enjoyed seeing the main character's transformation and falling in love with something he didn't think possible. This book also made me want to live in a small town. I get that a lot when I see/read about them romanticized in books & movies.

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