Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reading list, 2008

I read about 45 books in 2008. I've listed them below but I'll write about a few of my favorites

Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner

Touching. Beautifully written. This is a journey of discovery that takes place in Japan during the late 1960s. The author did an excellent job with the English dialogue of the native Japanese speakers. There is a romance, a little bit about Vietnam but more about World War II and a lot about mother-daughter relationships. In some ways it reminds me of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, I think more because of the use of language than the subject matter however both books have are journey's of discovery and mother-daughter relationships

From your lips
I came to understand
The language of plum wine

Rashi's Daughters: Book I Joheved by Maggie Anton

This is book one of a trilogy about the three daughters of Rabbi Saolomon ben Isaac, also known as Rashi. 

Rashi's Daughters takes places in Troyes France during the 11th Century.   Joheved is the eldest of Rashi's three children.  In addition to running a yeshiva, Rashi and his family have a winemaking business which provides and interesting backdrop for the book.

Despite the widely held view that women should not learn Talmud, Rashi begins secretly teaching Talmud to his daughters.  For me, the books is about life in medieval France and women's education.  The characters were memoriable and the time period was well-researched. 

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake is the story of a first generation Indian-American and how he relates to his heritage and family. The Ganguli family emgrated from Calcutta to Massechuesettes where their son Gogol is born.  The story is about how Gogol's parents adjust to America and now Gogol and his sister feel about being American and making trips to see their extended family in Calcutta.

The book is beautifully written and it is certainly one of the best books that I read this year.

Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards

This book begins when Susan responds to a call to help the local SPCA rehabilitate an abused horse.  This horse, Lay Me Down, joins Susan's other two horses.  This bittersweet book is a memoir of the journey of Susan's self-discovery.  Susan and Lay Me Down are soul mates and they both open up a lot.  As someone who has adopted a rescue dog, I attest to the fact that you can learn a lot from a rescued animal, be it a dog or a horse.

One thing about the book that others might not find as compelling is that it takes place in  Dutchess county New York.  Since I lived in Wappinger Falls for a few years, I kept on recognizing place names in the book and I thought that was kind of fun.

Chosen by a Horse is a can’t-put-it-down book.

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

This books was just fun.  Maybe not the best written book that I read in 2008 or  the most literary but is extremely entertaining and fun and I'm glad that I read it.

This modern-day fairy tale involves a post-graduation -- well, other than that pesky thesis -- trip to London to see a love interest:

Oh my God, that can't be him, can it? No, of course it's not. Why would he be wearing a jacket like that? Why would ANYONE be wearing a jacket like that? Unless they're being ironic. Or Michael Jackson, of course. He is the only man I could think of who would wear red leather with epaulets. Who isn't a professional breakdancer. That CAN'T be him. 

Oh, please God, don't let that be him....

... and a detour to the south of France.

The List
  1. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
  2. Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner
  3. The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein
  4. Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
  5. Secrets of a Shoe Addict by Beth Harbison
  6. Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
  7. Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancasater
  8. Notting Hell by Rachel Johnson
  9. The Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal
  10. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
  11. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
  12. August by Gerard Woodward
  13. Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
  14. She Went All The Way? by Meg Cabot
  15. The Best Day of Someone Else's Life by Kerry Reichs
  16. Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky
  17. Un-Bridaled by Eileen Rendahl
  18. Big Boned by Meg Cabot
  19. Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella
  20. Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella
  21. This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
  22. Size 14 is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot
  23. Bollywood Confidential by Sonia Singh
  24. Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot
  25. Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
  26. The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham
  27. The Pact by Jodi Piclout
  28. Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison
  29. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  30. No Angel by Penny Vincenzi
  31. Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult
  32. Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
  33. Rashi's Daughers: Book I Joheved by Maggie Anton
  34. Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
  35. The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal
  36. Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
  37. The Liar's Diary by Patry Francis
  38. The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
  39. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  40. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
  41. The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve
  42. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
  43. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
  44. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
  45. Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards


  1. Wow! I am surprised you can keep track of al the books you have read! I can't remember what I read last month! I am a huge Phillippa Gregory fan as well as Jodi Picoult. I wanted to read the Susan Richards book but I was afraid it would be sad.

  2. Last year I started to keep track of what I was reading. I keep a list in the sidebar of the blog. I started my 2009 list already -- there's no way I'll finish Felice today!

  3. Happy New Year Janyne!

    Looks like a great reading list! I am reading "Such a Pretty Fat" right now and love it - it's hilarious.

    Can't wait to see what you are reading in the new year! Like Steph, I can barely keep up with reading, let alone tracking it. You're doing great!

  4. I am reading The Namesake right now and LOVE it. And Chosen by a Horse was a lovely book that I read based on your recommendation. I am working my way though other books on your list, too! :)

  5. Hi J,

    I just finished Plum Wine and really enjoyed it. Thank you!

  6. I loved loved loved Plum Wine. I read Felice a few weeks later and didn't like it very much at all. However, it takes place on the French side of Nova Scotia so maybe you'd enjoy that aspect of it?