My new year's resolution for 2010 was to write down every book I read, which I kept up through about March or April maybe. So, I'll be lowering the bar on any resolutions I make for 2011. I estimate I read 90-100 books per year, and I can't remember what they all are for the life of me. However, here are a few of the best, those that stood out for me, not in any particular order.
1. The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault
Combination mystery/coming-of-age story set at a lexicographer's. I really loved this.
2. The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne
Family drama interwoven with facts and anecdotes about the Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) family.
3. Scars and Stilettos by Harmony Dust
The subtitle of this is "the transformation of an exotic dancer," and that's what it is. Fantastic book; I could not put it down.
4. Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
I've been meaning to read this book for years but never have until this summer. What I was missing! The true story of five years in the life of a young boy living in Illinois during the Civil War. Two of his brothers went to fight--one for the Union side, the other for the Confederacy. The incredible things that happen make you think this is fiction, but the book was carefully reconstructed from the journals of the author's great-grandfather. Keep the Kleenex by you while you read.
5. Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell
I have to steal this bit from an amazon reviewer: "When I finished this book I started raving about it to all my friends. 'What's it about?' they asked. 'Um, this housewife in Kansas City.' 'Yeah, but what happens?' 'Er... nothing really. She gets married and has kids and they grow up.' But trying to summarize Mrs. Bridge cannot evoke the brilliance and heartbreak of this novel." Yup. What he said.
6. Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington
I wrote a whole blog post about how much I loved this book, in case you missed it.
7. Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman by Don King (editor)
Collection of Joy Davidman's (aka Mrs. C.S. Lewis) letters. As I was reading, I kept thinking I would turn out the light and go to sleep but would then say to myself, "Just one more letter!" Besides being fascinating, I identified so much with Joy. Can't wait to meet her someday!
8. Solitary by Travis Thrasher
Wrote about it here.
9. While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin
I got this book in the mail, and from the back cover it sounds like a love story, so I was all, "Meh," but it's also set during World War II, so at least part of me was like, "yay!" so I took a chance and read it and am so.glad I did. I guess there's somewhat of a love story, but really it's a story of family and loyalty and of how God is working all the time, even when we're not seeing it.
10. Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most by Wess Stafford
I saved the best for last. Honestly, I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, just typing the title. If you haven't already, please, please read this incredible memoir by the founder and CEO of Compassion, Int'l. One amazon reviewer writes, "This book is a marvel of leading one up the garden path, at the end of which is an uncaged tiger." So true. I cried with both pain and joy at this. It is one of the most amazing stories of forgiveness and redemption I've ever read. I'm giving it to my dad for Christmas (he doesn't read this blog!) I wish every pastor, every teacher, every Sunday School worker, every missionary, every parent, every adult, everyone who's ever been hurt, everyone who ever needed to forgive someone, everyone who's ever felt overwhelmed by suffering, everyone who has ever been disappointed with God, everyone everyone everyone would read this. If you read any book in 2011, let it be this one.
There's my list. I've got a stack of books already that I'm planning to read in the coming year, but I'd love some recommendations, too. What were some of your favorite books this year?