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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Book Review, 2016

This year it feels like I have read and listened to a lot of mediocre books - something to pass the time but missing some literary magic.  However, there were a few that completely captured my mind and heart and reminded me why it is that I love to read.  Without question, my favorite books of the year were Britt Marie Was Here and The Nightingale.  The books are polar opposites in content and emotion, but they were both the type that made me sad to finish the story.  This year I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes, or a few of my thoughts on the books.


*Secrets of a Charmed Life A-
"People have to tell their stories or they suffocate."
"Safe is not the same as happy, trust me on this."
*The Lake House B+
"She had found there were very few genuinely dull people; the trick was to ask them the right questions."
"A person never forgets the landscape of their childhood/"
The Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend B
This book had so much potential and a few really great moments, I just wanted a little more from it.
"There was something sad about the town, as if the generations of problems and disappointments had rubbed off onto its brick and roads"
Pretty Baby A-
"Mamma used to say, we don't have much, but at least we have each other - and then one day, we didn't even have that much"
"I know how betrayal and disillusionment feel, when someone who could give you the world refuses even a tiny piece of it."
Band of Sisters B-
"You've made a god of your fear and jealousy, Sister. For what is a god but what we go to again and again."
Sycamore Road B
“When you have no future, you live in the past.”
The Taliban Shuffle B
In theory, her story was fascinating, but the book needed a really good editor to make it more readable.
“I was also trying not to date in Kabul, as Afghanistan resembled Alaska if you were a woman—the odds were good but the goods were odd.” 
“I had seen more death—the tsunami, two different earthquakes. But I could somehow understand natural disasters. This was a human disaster, and I couldn’t make sense of the hate.” 
The Girl in the Spider Web C+
I really liked the first three books in this series and worried that since this wasn't written by the original author, it wouldn't be as good.  Unfortunately, I had very little interest in even finishing the book.
“Ha, no, that it’s always the wrong people who have the guilty conscience. Those who are really responsible for suffering in the world couldn’t care less. It’s the ones fighting for good who are consumed by remorse.” 
Take Me With You A-
"All I know is, it's what makes  You know how when you're working or going to school, and you just keep repeating the same days?  And then you notice the days are going y really fast...and they're starting to look alike.  And then you start to feel like that can't be it.  This can't be a whole life, there has to be more.  That is what climbing is to me.  Its the more.  The thing that makes me feel like life is enough.  What makes your life feel like enough"
Trail of Broken Tears B
“a mother cannot give birth to a child and not lose a piece of herself. The child takes a part of the parent with them, holding it as their own. Whether it be their heart or soul, they are now connected for always.” 
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper B+
“By sorting out her wardrobe it felt as if he was saying goodbye to her all over again. He was clearing her out of his life."
“All his thoughts were running riot, like rowdy children, and he wanted them to stop and leave him alone."
A Memory of Violets B+
“sometimes it is better to look at the shadows rather than be dazzled by the sun."


My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry A-
It took me a bit to get into the story, and to keep track of all of the details, but once I did, I really liked it.
"Don't fight with monsters for you could become one"
"Death's greatest power is not that it can make people die, but that it can make people want to stop living"  "Because not all monsters were monsters in the beginning.  Some are monsters born of sorrow."
The Last Anniversary B
"If her back had ever hurt like this when she was twenty she would have been hysterical, demanding painkillers and cups of tea in bed, but she has found that nobody is especially surprised to hear you’re in pain when you’re in your eighties. You might find it astonishing, but nobody else does.” 
“A marriage is hard work and sometimes it’s a bit of a bore. It’s like housework. It’s never finished. You’ve just got to grit your teeth and keep working away at it, day after day.” 
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto A-
This is a book that definitely should be listened to, the performance completely made the story.
“All humans are musical. Why else would the Lord give you a beating heart?” 
“As life goes on, you will join other bands, some through friendship, some through romance, some through neighborhoods, school, an army. Maybe you will all dress the same, or laugh at your own private vocabulary. Maybe you will flop on couches backstage, or share a boardroom table, or crowd around a galley inside a ship. But in each band you join, you will play a distinct part, and it will affect you as much as you affect it.” 
Forgiven A-
I have actually meant to write an entire post about this book - the story of a mother whose son shot 10 Amish girls, five of whom died.  In an effort to try to understand him and find peace, she develops a relationship with many of the Amish who were directly affected.  It was heartbreaking and beautiful and really made me think about my willingness to let go of the hurts I have experienced.  
The Short Drop B+
“In the immortal words of Duke Vaughn, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, take a big bite and chew slow.” 
Britt Marie Was Here A
"Britt Marie's common sense had obviously locked itself in a closed"
"When she doesn't know what to do with herself she deals with it in her usual way, she cleans"
The Nightingale A 
“I am a mother and mothers don’t have the luxury of falling apart in front of their children, even when they are afraid, even when their children are adults.” 
"If you spend your entire life trying to cheat death, there is no time left over to embrace life"
The Good Goodbye B
The book alternates which character is telling the story so that made it a little more interesting to listen to.  However, one of the main characters didn't have a voice and I think hearing her perspective would have made the book much more interesting. 
As You Wish B
I still love the moving The Princess Bride, but unless you are a superfan,and entire book of reminiscing about the making of the book was a little too much.
Circling the Sun A-
“Flying demanded more courage and faith than I actually possessed, and it wanted my best, my whole self. I would have to work very hard to be any good at it at all, and be more than a little mad to be great, to give my life over to it. But that's just what I meant to do.” 
“Sometimes when you're hurting, it helps to throw yourself at something that will take your weight.” 
The Good Girl B+
"What did you want?” she asks. What I wanted was a dad. Someone to take care of my mother and me, so I didn’t have to do it myself. But what I tell her is Atari.” 
I Am Malala B
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” 
“The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking.” 
The Traitor's Story B+
“When had doing the right thing stopped being the automatic option and become something that had to be worked at instead?” 

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