Thursday, April 14, 2011

Books of 2011 - March

Here, much over-due, is my list of books completed last month:

48 Days To The Work You Love1. 48 Days to the Work You Love. Non-fiction by Dan Miller. This book (a library copy) has obviously been well read and well loved. In other words, the binding was broken and it smelled heavily of cigarette smoke. (All together now: yuck! Maybe that job search might go better if you cut down your pack of day habit?[/snark]) I'm not sure I completely grasped the distinction between the words "job", "vocation", and "calling", but I think I got the point anyway. I did appreciate his effort to fight the common Christian habit of casting every decision in an over spiritualized way. (As in: not making a decision because we're waiting on God to tell us EXACTLY what to do. See: Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung for more on this.) I hear Dave Ramsey recommend this book all the time. I'm not sure it's the panacea he seems to think it is, but I really enjoyed Miller's "you can do this" attitude.

The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age2. The Great Silence. Non-fiction by Juliet Nicolson. Fascinating! Very well written and highly recommended to history buffs or Anglophiles or both. (Me! Me!)

Dancing on the Ceiling: Stanley Donen and his Movies3. Dancing on the Ceiling: Stanley Donen and His Movies. Non-fiction by Stephen Silverman. Biography of the director. If you love movies (particularly musicals) you might find this book interesting. I didn't like the tone of the book (very dismissive of Gene Kelly, for one) but I can't deny that Donen helped create some of my favorite movies.

Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter4. 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter. Non-fiction by Vicki Courtney. I read a lot of books about parenting and I especially enjoy daughter specific books, even if they simply confirm we are on the right track. (Parenting is hard - we need all the encouragement we can get!) The most important reminder in this book is that these necessary conversations are not "once and done". We have to have these conversations over and over again. (In other words, we don't have "THE TALK" about s*x. We have lots of talks in many situations and permutations.)

Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead5. Self-Promotion for Introverts. Non-fiction by Nancy Ancowitz. I could have done without the injection of politics (fawning over former President Clinton, for one) but there were some helpful hints. I'm a self-professed Introverted-Introvert and I need lots of ideas and encouragement for breaking out of that. I didn't do all the exercises in this book, but I did find some useful things to think about.

Room: A Novel6. Room: A Novel. Fiction by Emma Donoghue. This is probably the most talked about novel I've seen round the 'nets in the past few months.It's easy to see why: it grabs you from the beginning. I actually stayed up all night to finish it. (Which, by the way, was a ridiculous choice. I'm a mother of 4 children. What was I thinking?!) I don't exactly know how to discuss this book without giving spoilers so I will generalize here: 1. I didn't like the narrator (Jack). Yes, I know he's a child and we're supposed to love him. But I didn't. 2. I found the concept compelling but I found the author didn't adequately deal with the consequences of her construct. If you've read the book and would like to talk about it, we could continue this via email. In the end I do not, exactly, recommend this book however...there is something about it that you just don't forget.

Sealing Their Fate: The Twenty-two Days That Decided World War II7. Sealing Their Fate: 22 Days That Decided World War II. Non-fiction by David Downing. Read as research. Based on the premise that 22 days in late 1941 decided the war. Fascinating stuff! Well written day by day accounts of what was going on around the world for those days. Highly recommended for those interested in the Second World War.

Maisie Dobbs (Book 1)8. Maisie Dobbs. Fiction by Jacqueline Winspear. This is the first book in a series. I'm not sure how I've missed these books before, as they have all the elements of time and place that would grab me (England, Post First World War). This book has sloppy POV and time shifts, which were regrettable and entirely avoidable. (For example: you cannot shift from your main character to what the guy on the corner is thinking on the same page.) I'll probably pick up the next book in the series just to see if these type errors improve.

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory9. Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis. Non-fiction by Ben Macintyre. This is a really great story (see: The Man Who Never Was, for the movie version) and Macintyre is one of my new favorite authors. The truth behind the movie is just as compelling as the cinematic version.

Courage and Craft: Writing Your Life into Story10. Courage and Craft: Writing Your Life Into Story. Non-fiction by Barbara Abercrombie. I regret that I had to rush through this (some other library patron had a hold on it) as it is the type of book to be lingered over and put into practice. I do want to write some pieces for publication and this book helped me start framing some ideas toward that end.

Dark Road to Darjeeling (Lady Julia Grey)11. Dark Road to Darjeeling. Fiction by Deanna Raybourn. Series mystery. Are these the best written books ever? No. But the characters are interesting and, despite figuring out Brisbane's disguise rather too early in the book, I didn't solve the real mystery before the end. (Which is praise for a mystery novel, right?) Warning: this book series presents what our day calls an alternative lifestyle in a positive light despite being set in the late 1880s.

Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career12. Creative Girl. Non-fiction by Katharine Sise. Yes, another book of the work, business, and "what do you want to be when you grow up" type. What can I say? I'm trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I would definitely recommended this book for you Etsy, crafty blogger types.

The Englishman's Daughter: A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War I13. The Englishman's Daughter: A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War I. Non-fiction by Ben Macintyre. I told you Ben Macintyre is one of my new favorite authors. (See #9 above). This book is well written and hard to put down. During the early days of the First World War some British soldiers were trapped in France as the battle lines moved. Once the trenches were set, they had to live in occupied France and the village sheltered them and treated them as their own. Until someone in the village betrayed them... Like I said, this book is hard to put down. Macintyre attempts to solve the mystery and I think his conclusions are sound, despite the many years dividing the events and his writing.

Totals for March:
Fiction: 2
Non-fiction: 11

And, lest this list discourage you, let me confess that today is April 14 and I have finished only 1 book so far in April and it was a little mystery novel. {Sigh.}

Also, it will probably not surprise you to hear that I have another Ben Macintyre book in my stack. And a biography about William Pitt that feels like I'm slogging through sand up to my knees.

So, what did you read in March? I'd love to add to my stack, which has dwindled down to a mere 8 books.

This post contains Amazon Associate links. Any action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own and I encourage you to check your library or Paperback Swap first - these books are worth it!

1 comment:

Amy said...

I finally did what I have thought of doing for months... searched through your "Books I Read" posts and found one from our library. I am currently reading "Papa's Wife" by Thyra Bjorn.
Thanks for the suggestions! ;)

Post a Comment

I promise to be candid and you can be too. Blogging is best when it's a conversation. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and respond. I enjoy hearing what you have to say.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.