Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 in Review: Favorite Books

I read 42 books this year--12 more than last year's paltry 30.  I guess that should be a good as sign as any that I am slowly getting more time to myself.  Or maybe it is because I got a pair of wireless headphones, and I can listen to books while I spend way too much of my time trying to put Finn to bed.  Who knows.

In chronological order from the beginning of the year to the end, here are my favorite books of 2011: 

The Forgotten Garden:  This is one of the few written-for-adults books where I didn't have to worry about language, sex, what have you.  It is just a really good multi-generational story involving some mystery and romance--good, solid story telling.

Born to Run: Now I wouldn't consider myself a serious runner, but this book is absolutely fascinating.   The book picks apart the general consensus of the sports medicine community which states that man is not evolved to run and so one should expect injuries if one persist in running a lot.  Science is interwoven with some really good story telling of The Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  I couldn't stop talking about it and in the end converted my sister and husband to barefoot running.

Leviathan Series: This series competes with the Harry Potter series as the best audiobook series ever.  Alan Cumming is absolutely brilliant as the narrator.  Of course to have a great audiobook, you have to have a great story.  I fell in love with Alek and Deryn.

Real Food: This book really helped move us towards a more traditional foods approach (versus just a local/organic/mostly vegetable approach.)  Little did we know how much this would come in handy a few months down the road when we switched to a gut-healing diet.  The raw milk chapter sort of blew my mind, and Mr. F. and I were almost convinced to buy some on the black market.  But then we chickened out.

Moon Over Manifest:  this is such a wonderful children's/YA book.  It is the type of book you put on your list of "books to give my child someday in order to foster a love of reading."

Okay for Now: Such a great coming of age book.  Gary Schmidt is a genius in the way he is able to bring so many dissimilar elements (Moon exploration, Jane Eyre, Baseball, Audubon paintings, etc) together in a completely coherent manner.

Uncommon Criminals: This was just a fun book to listen to.  Pure reading/listening entertainment.  This is the second book in the series, the first being Heist Society.  I find Hale to be dreamy.

Unwind: I read a number of Young Adult dystopian novels, but this was perhaps the best of the bunch.  It is a bit more disturbing than the others, a factor of the author being male, I think.  It is told from the perspective of three different kids.  And the best part, I felt like the book came to some sort of completion even though there is a sequel planned.  No annoying cliff hangers.

Raising Your Spirited Child and Sleepless in America:  These books really changed my mind about parenting and helped me deal better with my son.

What Alice Forgot: A fun and well-written chick book. 

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