Reading

2011 in Review

Every blogger and their dog (or cat) are looking back at 2011 and making their “top ten” lists. My post is a little late (the holidays + GRE + applying to grad school ate up last week), but here it is!

First, I thank God for His blessings, His protection, and His mercy this past year. 2011 was a little rough in places, I can’t say I’m too sad to see it gone, but He was always there, and I praise Him for that. Looking back, it’s easy to think of the things that made this past year hard, but I’m challenged instead to find the joys:

  • Found out I’m going to be an aunt!
  • Got to host and hang out with author James A. Owen at our library
  • Attended the Ragged Edge writer’s “conference” in Nashville with Ted Dekker and co.
  • Construction began on the new (long-awaited) library
  • Despite student loans kicking in, God continues to provide for me
  • Got to teach the creative writing class at the local high school

Lots of things also began to change in 2011, some good, some I’m not so sure about, but I look forward to see what God has in store in 2012.

Ok, now for my top books and movies! Some of them may have been released before 2011, but they were new to me this year. My favorites are in bold.

Top Ten Reads 

  • The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy
  • Forbidden by Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Star Wars the Old Republic: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker
  • House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo (2008)
  • The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson (2010)
  • Looking for the King by David C. Downing (2010)
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (1942)

Ok, it was really really hard to pick a favorite, especially out of the 2011 books. All of them were amazing, but I didn’t have any of them gut me as much as Patrick Ness’ book, though Forbidden was a super close second. Goal for 2012, though, is definitely to read more!

Top Ten Films

  • Jane Eyre
  • The Conspirator
  • Captain America
  • The Help
  • Super 8
  • There Be Dragons
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  • The King’s Speech (2010)
  • Little Big Soldier (2010)
  • Tangled (2010)

Hard to pick a favorite from among these, too… Tangled has become my new 2nd favorite Disney movie (after Beauty and the Beast), and all of the summer movies were great. But nobody talked about the Conspirator much, and being the history buff that I am, I had to pick that one. As much as I’ve read about and immersed myself in studying the American Civil War, viewing that movie was the first time I actually understood just how it must have felt to have been at war with your very neighbors. It was such a singular point in our history, and though we hear “brother against brother” thrown around a lot in history class, it’s another thing entirely to feel that, and I think The Conspirator delivered that feeling.

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Read-A-Thon Summary

Well, it was a great attempt! I made it to 2am before the thunderstorm and a headache sent me to sleep. Not terribly disappointed, I did have to drive to church Sunday morning and teach the little ones, so I think I did the responsible thing.

So, let’s see… I read a total of 19 hours and finished 3 novels. Not bad!

Completed novels:

  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
  • Looking for the King by David C. Downing

Will come back to:

  • Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson. I’m LOVING this book!
  • The Bride Collector (audio) by Ted Dekker. When I have the time, I may listen to this one off-and-on. Loved it so much the first time, anyway!

Wish I had gotten to:

  • The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo, a special ARC I and the other “blue monkeys” at the Ragged Edge were blessed with! As soon as I finish Healer’s Apprentice, I’m picking this one up!

Attempts:

  • Wildwing by Emily Whitman
  • Hush by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Cherokee Rose by Al Lacy

Can’t wait for April! Hopefully I can make it the whole night next time… if it was a Friday/Saturday it would be a lot more doable. Work on Saturdays, plus church Sunday morning is a bit hard to manage. But I’ll certainly be doing this again!!

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Re-Reading (Part 3)

As much as I wanted to take some beloved favorites to re-read for this read-a-thon, I had too many novels waiting to be read to do so. I’m still tempted to pick up The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, since I’ve been trying to revisit Narnia lately, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (I think I’ll do that entire set for the April read-a-thon, now that I think about it.)

Some of my other favorite re-reads would be The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley, and one that I’ve read a thousand times, The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle. Don’t ask me why, but I read my little paperback copy so many times back in secondary school that the thing just fell apart. Continuing with the YA/nostalgia theme, I think I’d also pick up The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi.

Other novels I love to re-read: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and, of course, anything by Ted Dekker. Well now, wait, I’m lying. I did “re-read” The Bride Collector this morning, but since I’d never heard the audiobook version, it felt new. Anyhow.

Finished my third book, but it was one I’d set down halfway through it a long time ago… Looking for the King: An Inklings Novel by David C. Downing. It was an Indiana Jones-ish mystery, complete with relic-hunting Nazis and Arthurian legend, even a fedora, but no bullwhips and more Oxford professors. A lot of the writing felt very… scholarly and expository. It definitely wasn’t so emotional as my first read today. But getting to “listen in” on an Inklings meeting with some of my favorite authors come to life on the page was a treat. And I was an English major, so I sort of like the stuffy, intellectual sort of writing sometimes.

Getting a little sleepy. Smeagol has already crashed. I’ve gotten myself some more tea, and I’m looking at a Christian-Historical-Romance for a lighter read, Cherokee Rose by Al Lacy. (Pretty much most of the books I’m reading today were ones I hadn’t planned on. *Shrug*)

Good luck to everyone else!

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