Saturday, January 1, 2011

Books I read in 2010

I didn't read very many books this past year, but am trying not to be too hard on myself about it. After all, I discovered a bunch of blogs, and therefore, did read stuff, even if it's not the kind of reading material I can post on Good Reads.

Speaking of Good Reads, I thought I'd make a list of all the books I read in 2010, since it has kept track of that for me all year. I won't comment on all of them, but will add a few words about some that I didn't blog about when I read them initially.


_Goldengrove_ by Francine Prose (2008)

_The Devil's Arithmetic_ by Jane Yolen (YA, 1988)
This Holocaust story bears a striking resemblance to a book that was published six years later, in 1994. Han Nolan's _If I Should Die Before I Wake_, like _The Devil's Arithmetic_, is also about a girl who travels back in time and experiences life in a concentration camp. I think I like Nolan's book best, but am biased, because I'm the biggest Nolan fan on Earth. If there's anyone out there who has read both, which do you prefer and why? I'm curious.

_Push_ by Sapphire (1996)

_Schooled_ by Gordon Korman (YA, 2007)
I loved this book so much, and don't know why I didn't blog about it at length when I read it ten months ago. It reminded me a lot of _Stargirl_ by Jerry Spinelli. It's about a teenager (Cap Anderson) who has lived on an "alternate farm commune" all his life. And when his grandmother (who is his legal guardian) is injured, he is forced into foster care and attends a regular high school for the first time.

Culture shock ensues. He has no concept of money. And when he is elected class president, he's put in charge of organizing a school dance. The principal, in an attempt to teach him how to be financially responsible, gives him a checkbook. Cap realizes that checks make people happy. And in a completely altruistic attempt at making his classmates happy, he writes large dollar amounts on a bunch of checks and gives them away.

That incident (among others) really struck me, and made me realize that although we may think we hold certain values/beliefs, the society in which we live really limits the extent to which we practice that. Cap Anderson, having come from a totally different lifestyle, lived by what he believed better than anyone else. It was really sweet (and also really sad to see how he suffered for it).

_Number the Stars_ by Lois Lowry (YA, 1989)

_My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike_ by Joyce Carol Oates (2008)

_A Face in Every Window_ by Han Nolan (YA, 1999)
I loved this book because it affirmed my belief that it's okay to have an alternate definition of family; you're not just limited to blood relatives. An uptight teenager named JP finds himself living in a house full of social outcasts when his mother wins the house in a contest and invites a bunch of lonely strangers to move in. I don't think I've ever read a book with such a colorful and affecting cast of characters. And I loved watching JP learn to accept and love all of them.

I am so glad Han Nolan writes for young adults. She is using her talent to make the world a better place.
I can't say it enough: If you haven't read her books yet, get with the program already. (There. I've just made your New Years resolution for you.)

_Household Saints_ by Francine Prose (1981)

_The Robber Bride_ by Margaret Atwood (1993)

_Voyage in the Dark_ by Jean Rhys (1934)

_Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons: The Story of Phillis Wheatley_ by Ann Rinaldi (YA, 1996)

_Keep Smiling Through_ by Ann Rinaldi (YA, 1996)

_Crazy_ by Han Nolan (YA, 2010)

_The Letter Writer_ by Ann Rinaldi (YA, 2008)


_Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation_ by Leora Tenenbaum (2000)

_To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism_ edited by Rebecca Walker (1995)

_Slouching Towards Bethlehem_ essays by Joan Didion (1968)

_Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History_ by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (2007)
A lot of people have criticized this book for covering too much ground in too few pages. It did read a lot like a survey course in history. But I loved it. There were a lot of resources in the back of the book for more in-depth information on the topics covered. And because I am a nerd, I sure as hell poked around on the Internet/in the library learning things after I finished reading this. So I'll count it as a win.

_Zami: A New Spelling of My Name_ by Audre Lorde (1983)
I loved this book for so many reasons and can't possibly list them all here. What's funny is that this is a good example of how books teach me things I don't expect to learn when I first start reading them. Take, for instance, the definition of "biomythography." That's this book's genre. At first, I thought that was something Lorde made up (I had even expected an explanation similar to the one about the symmetry of her name). But no. When I Googled the word, I found a list of other "biomythographies" instead of a definition.

_When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple_ edited by Sandra Martz (1991)

_Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists_ edited by Courtney Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan (2010)

_Cunt: A Declaration of Independence_ by Inga Muscio (1998, 2002)

_Rose: Love in Violent Times_ by Inga Muscio (2010)
I actually wrote a lengthy post about this, but Blogger decided it wanted a midnight snack and ate it. I'm still too upset to redo it. But I'm sure I'll get over it eventually, and when I do, the post will go up. Suffice it to say for now that I liked this book a lot. I was drawn to it because it was published very recently (in it, Muscio quotes former BP CEO Tony Hayward saying he'd like his life back). Goes nicely with my recent need for new and relevant information, yes? I've been a blog-reading fiend all year.


_The Best American Poetry, 2009_ edited by David Wagoner (2009)

_Book of Longing_ by Leonard Cohen (2006)

_Beautiful Rust_ by Ken Meisel (2009)

_Beauty Breaks In_ by Mary Ann Samyn (2009)

_Mother Love_ by Rita Dove (1996)

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