Last year on my birthday I posted my book list. I had several people tell me they liked it, so I decided to again celebrate my birthday with my 'year in book reviews'. The goal is very simple for me--read one book per year of age between birthdays. I plan to continue this for basically forever. I may not always smash the goal (like I did this year--9 extra books, woot!), but at least it will keep me focused on reading, especially when I am tempted or distracted by an overuse of social media or online shopping (who, me?!?). So, here is what I read in my 37th year, in chronological order.....not including the books I read for Bible study, of course. I'll place an * by my Top 10. Happy Reading, friends!
1. Wild In The Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding The Broken Way Home by Amber Haines--beautiful, gut wrenching, honest memoir. I want to be Amber's friend.
2. Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin--Love my fellow Kansas-Citian, Gretchen. Great practical tips and entertaining read. I relate a lot to the author--we are similar in personality. This book began my obsession with her podcast (Happier). Good stuff.
*3. Love Does by Bob Goff--For heaven's sake, read this book!! What a remarkable human being. Inspiring read. Don't miss it.
4. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty--decent read, not at all my favorite of hers.
5. Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple--Fun read. Liked it.
6. Parenting Your Powerful Child by Kevin Leman--I gathered some good snippets of info from this one, particularly the idea of "psychologically stepping over your child" when they try to engage you in a battle.
*7. The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello--Gripping, creepy psychological thriller. Great book.
8. The One That Got Away by Simon Wood--Don't read this unless you want to stay up all night being afraid. That is all. I should have skipped it.
9. Coming Clean by Seth Haines--This is written by Amber Haines' (see item number 1 above). It's his story of alcoholism and recovery.
10. Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez--loved this one!
*11. You by Caroline Kepnes--This is the standout psychological thriller for me, written in the voice of the bad buy. You can't help rooting for him at times. It's being made into a movie, I think. Don't read it if you don't like creepy. You've been warned.
12. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling--I was late to the party for this one, and I was disappointed. Didn't think it deserved all the hype.
*13. Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain--Loved this novel, read it over a weekend.
14. Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica--Meh, not awesome
*15. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande--Everyone should read this book. Everyone. And then, have a long discussion with your families/parents/children about your wishes.
16. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart--Entertaining read with a twist I didn't see coming.
17. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff--I waited and waited for this to come out so I could read it. It didn't quite live up to my expectations, but it was a really in depth, honest look at a relationship between a husband and wife.
18. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter--Read this for book club. Holy sexual graphicness, Batman. This book was almost more than I could take in terms of violence. It was so well written in terms of story, but so, so disturbing.
*19. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See--Beautiful novel. Read it if you enjoy Amy Tan or Lisa See's other book Snow Flower and The Secret Fan.
20. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See--Sequel to Shanghai Girls.
21. Find A Way by Diana Nyad--Wow, what a story. Memoir recounting the author's attempts at swimming from Cuba to Florida.
22. Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes--Long awaited sequel to You. Not nearly as good, IMHO.
23. Inside The O'Brien's by Lisa Genova--This was a good one, just as you'd expect from this author.
*24. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim--Beautiful novel. Read it.
25. The Case for Easter by Lee Strobel--As with all Lee Strobel books, this was interesting, informative, and answered a lot of faith-related questions. I intentionally read this during Lent.
26. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi--Intensely sad, yet inspiring memoir written by a physician during his battle with brain cancer. Finished by his wife just after his death.
27. A Necessary Act by Tony Wirt--This was particularly fun to read as it was written by a Rochester man and fellow RAC boot camper.
28. Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World by Kristen Welch--Lots of good nuggets in this one. Ask me about 'rice and beans night'....but don't ask my kids!
29. Everything That Remains by The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus)--I am a big fan of The Minimalists. Love their philosphy, love their podcast, assume I will love their documentary when I finally see it. If you don't know about them, start with their blog.
30. Tracks: One Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson--I guess this is already a movie. Interesting story and I obviously respect her crazy trek, but I've read many more well-written memoirs.
31. After You by JoJo Moyes--Sequel to Me Before You. Better than most sequels. Gotta read it if you read the first one!
32. Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein--Since I'm raising girls, I thought I should read this in preparation for the years to come. It scared me. That is all.
33. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney--Didn't live up to all the "must read" hype.
34. What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan--Decent suspense novel, but I've read better. Heard some movie hype about this one.
35. Eight Hundred Grapes: A Novel by Laura Dave--I enjoyed this easy-read. Made me want to drink a lot of wine.
36. The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian--His newest; a really good read. Hated the ending. But Midwives is still my favorite.
*37. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom--read it. Read it. Read it. OK?
38. Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom--stand alone sequel to Kitchen House. Gotta read it if you read the first one!
39. When I'm Gone: A Novel by Emily Bleeker--Kind of sad, I saw "the twist" coming.
40. The Vacationers by Emma Straub--Late to the party on this one; should have skipped it. Meh.
*41. The One-In-A-Million-Boy by Monica Wood--This will forever be one of my favorite books!! Don't miss it!
42. The Girls by Emma Cline--Highly anticipated new release. I didn't love it.
43. Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty--Another highly anticipated new release. I was disappointed. Not even close to her best, which in my opinion are What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies.
44. The Passenger by Lisa Lutz--Fast paced, fun thriller. A good one.
*45. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist--I pre-ordered this ASAP and read it as soon as it was released. Such a great book, written for those of us who are "busy bees". Love Shauna Niequist. We are friends in my dreams.
46. The Course of Love by Alain deBotton--I've never read a book quite like this. I only read it because my favorite book blogger (Modern Mrs Darcy) begged her readers to do so. It is such an honest, ordinary story of love over time. Kind of slow, but that's sort of the point. Left me with one line that rings really true..."love is a skill, not an enthusiasm".
Here's to 38 in 38...starting now!