Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
This book is a classic summer chick lit book that's about to be a big Hollywood film starring hot Channing Tatum in the spring of 2010. It's the story of a soldier who falls in love with a girl while he's home on leave visiting his father. The girl helps him come to grips with his father's Asperger's and he helps her find happiness and peace when her own world turns upside down. It's not a happy book, and it's fairly predictable, but it was a quick read and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.
The Shack by William P. Young
The Shack was a huge bestseller last year that was being heralded everywhere I looked. So I had to read it. Perhaps it's just me, but I didn't get it. I felt like it was two different books. While I was captured by the events of the camping tragedy in the first half, I just could never make sense of the shack adventures in the second half of the book. This author has a true gift for vivid descriptions, but the book just wasn't inspirational at all to me like it seems to have been for other people. I just didn't get it.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Brian had I had heard about this teen vampire movie and rented it from Netflix just to see what all the hullabaloo was about... and we LOVED it! We are total Twilight series fans now! So, we actually read the movie before we read the book this time around. The movie follows the book quite closely, and while the writing style is young reader, the love story between Bella and Edward and the vampire action scenes are great. Go see the movie (I actually liked the movie more than the book)!
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Since I generally prefer reading the book before seeing the movie, I read New Moon before it came out in the movie theaters this winter. I really liked both, but as with Twilight, I probably preferred the movie a bit more. I thought that this book started off slow in the beginning, but the action in the later half more than made up for it. I really liked the love triangle between Bella, Jacob the werewolf, and Edward the vampire. Again, go see the movie if you haven't!
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
This was my first Jodi Picoult book, and I have to say, I think she is one of the most talented authors I've ever read. Her style is refreshing, her stories make you think and want to discuss with others, and she's known for her twists. While this book is an extremely difficult story to read since it's about a teen with cancer, a sister vying for medical emancipation, and their family that's trying so desperately to hold it together, it is powerful. It's a great book, and we thought the movie was done well too (but the book's better!).
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
This was one of the most difficult books I've ever read in my life. First off, it's long and the first half of the book took me forever to get through. Then, just as I was about to put it down for good, the pace picked up fast. Then, I almost had to put it down in the second half because it was so extremely gruesome. It was about Rome during Nero's time and the persecution of the Christians. The deaths, described in detail, make you sick to your stomach. Yet, at the same time, the power of the story is indelibly written on your heart. I can't say I'd recommend it, but I know I'll never forget it.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
This is a Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories that have a flavor of "India" in each one of them. I don't often read short stories, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed them. The stories are difficult and sad at times, but some of them are touching too. And they are realistic. I liked a few of the stories quite a bit more than the others... they just spoke to me in a way that the others didn't. They are quick reads and perfect for a book club.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is a gifted author and audio book reader. I listened to this on audio book and was transported to the shadow "other world" of London Below. It's a dark tale with pretty sinister bad guys, but you really like the good guys and find yourself immersed in their quests and their adventure. Brian really loves this author and you'll recognize his style if you read another of his famous books (or saw the movie) Coraline.
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
What can I say, aside from the fact that Dan Brown is a gifted author. He writes gripping thrillers that keep you on your toes and teach you something fascinating that you didn't already know. I "read" this book via audio tape on my drives to/from work and it was hard to stop my iPod when I arrived. This is another tale with Robert Langdon that is set in Washington, D.C. and focuses on noetic science (fascinating) and the Masons. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A strange title at first glance, but after you read a bit, it makes perfect sense. Reading this book was a little like indulging in a guilty pleasure. The book is literally a series of letters between the characters and they are written with such craft. It's a story about the Guernsey Islands (off Great Britain) following WWII, and it develops the characters well and makes you feel as though you learned something about the place, the time, and the people too.
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The current Broadway hit Wicked is actually based upon a book by Gregory Maguire. It's the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, also known in the book as "Elphaba" or "Elphie". It's the story of how she grew up and came to be a "witch" and why appearances aren't always what they seem. This book has a lot of emotion, a lot of unique ideas and overall is a good read. I haven't seen the musical yet, but I can't wait to now!
Did you read any of the books I read? If so, what were your thoughts on them. And do any of you have suggestions on what I should put on my reading list for 2010?!