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Friday, November 12, 2010

My Favorite Books From Age 32

As I mentioned yesterday, I track my reading from birthday to birthday. To figure out the "best" books from this past year I looked over the list of everything I read during my 32nd year and pulled out the titles that still make me "feel something" even months after reading them. Those books that really stay with me, those are the ones I'd say were my best reads/listens of the year.

To make it easier to find something you might like I've grouped them by genre. But I'd recommend ALL of these books so do check them all out! (The links take you to my original reviews.)


- NON-FICTION -
  • Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean - this story of a young girl who is the only survivor of a tragedy at sea is not the best-written book ever but the story is very compelling and one I will not forget
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - this book turned upside-down everything I thought I knew about the native peoples of the American West
  • Once A Warrior King - gave me a different look at the Vietnam War and a glimpse of what my Dad's experiences there were like
  • The Hot Zone - I will never, EVER think of plague-like diseases (or travel in the rainforests) in the same way EVER again
  • Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller - learning the real story of the woman whose life was portrayed in the book/movie Out of Africa make me appreciate that beloved movie even more
  • Kon Tiki - journeying across the Pacific in a raft just to prove that it could have been done by ancient people?! very, VERY cool

- FICTION -
  • The Old Man and the Sea - this one stuck with me for its beauty and simplicity, and also because I never thought I'd like anything by Hemingway yet I loved this one
  • Remarkable Creatures - this story opened up an entirely new area of historical fiction to me and I loved it

- FANTASY -
  • The Gathering Storm - this book was the first in the Wheel of Time series to be written since the death of the original author, Robert Jordan - the amazingness of this book gave me hope that Jordan's notes really will be enough to provide Brandon Sanderson what he needs to finish this series as it deserves

- (sort of) SCI-FI -

These two books are technically science fiction but really defy the genre. If you are not a SciFi fan, these books would probably be ones you'd really enjoy.
  • The Sparrow - I've read this book twice now and plan to read it again. It's really about what it means to be human and what it means to believe in a higher power.
  • Kindred - I added this one because I've found myself recommending it to so many people, and always with good results. It's almost historical fiction.



So tell me ... did I convince any of you to read these books this past year?  Or if you missed my original reviews, did I convince you to read one of them now? 


ALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean
Isak Dinesen: The Life of a StorytellerThe Old Man and The SeaRemarkable Creatures: A NovelThe Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time, Book 12)The SparrowKindredThe Hot Zone: A Terrifying True StoryKon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by RaftBury My Heart at Wounded Knee: The Illustrated Edition: An Indian History of the American West
  


So tell me ... did I convince any of you to read these books this past year?  Or if you missed my original reviews, did I convince you to read one of them now? 

17 comments:

Trisha said...

You really make me want to read the Wheel of Times series, but AAAAHHH! That feels like such a commitment! But here you keep tempting me with reviews and events you attended...

Amanda said...

Have you read Out of Africa? Oh it's such a wonderful book! I've never seen the movie, but I adored the book, though it took me a few weeks to read.

I'm right with you on Kindred, too! And I adore The Old Man and the Sea. Great picks!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

OF course Heather :) I would love to read Kindred, Remarkable Creatures and The old Man and The Sea.

I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee years ago with my book club and it broke me - what a powerful read!

Kerry said...

YES! I love finding other Jordan fans. I'm re-reading the series to play catch-up so I am up to date for Gathering Storm (I know, I know, I'm like a year behind now). So fun!

Heather J. said...

Trisha – Aw, come on, you can do it! The last book comes out next year – you can get through the whole series by then (you can even do it on audio …)

Amanda – YES! I loved the book! The movie is more of a compilation of the book and her biography. I recommend both the biography and the movie – I think you’d like them both. AND the bio is available on audio, so you could listen to it this coming year! ;)

Sheila – I’m glad to see that I’m influencing you! And I would have loved to discuss Bury My Heart with a book club group – it is such a powerful, heartbreaking book.

Kerry – Ooh, and aren’t local to me?! We definitely need to chat before the next WoT book comes out – you would love attending some of these events!

Amy said...

Wow, I haven't read any of those books! A few are on my tbr though :) And I'm definitely looking forward to The Gathering Storm too :)

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I remember thinking that I wanted to read Alone At Sea. We spoke about that one. It does sound good. I recommend Kindred a lot as well. I definitely think its historical fiction/fantasy. Good picks. I really want to read Remarkable Creatures as well.

Suey said...

You are always convincing me to read books! Of this list, the one that stood out to me, from your original review, is Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I really hope to get to that on some day.

Ryan G said...

I am going to read Gathering Storm but not until I reread all the books before it.

Beth F said...

Wounded Knee and the Isak Dinesen biography were both favorites of mine. I remember reading Kon Tiki a zillion years ago and loving it.

Old Man and the Sea is a perennial favorite and Remarkable Creatures in in my TBR.

Gathering Storm ... I need to get going on that series!

I like the reviews of your year in books.

amy said...

Yes Heather, you did convince me to read The Sparrow last month and I am glad I did. I had never heard of it until you talked about it and I found it fascinating.

Erin said...

I really like this way of organizing your annual reading! My birthday is in January, so I don't quite do it that way, but almost. I like the idea of being able to say "The books I read during my ___ year."

The Sparrow and The Old Man and the Sea are already on my list--I'll add your recommendation to them! My husband loves the Wheel of Time series, but I'm not brave enough to start it.

Erika Robuck said...

Of course, I'm partial to OLD MAN. Have you read A MOVEABLE FEAST? That's another Hemingway favorite of mine.

I really need to read THE SPARROW. You're the second person I know with great book taste that has recommended it.

Great list!

christa @ mental foodie said...

I want to read The Hot Zone! Already have the Sparrow and Kindred on my TBR list too!

Nan said...

I read The Old Man and the Sea, but it was a long time ago. I have a feeling it would be sadder for me now that I am older. The book you've 'convinced' me to read is the biography of Isak Dinesen. I do love the movie, Out of Africa, and would like to read her book, as well as the biography.
I'm not a sci-fi/fantasy girl at all. :<)

Amanda said...

Awesome! I didn't know there was a biography too. Could you tell me the title and biographer? Hopefully my library will have the audio version!

Heather J. said...

Amy – NONE of them?! Wow, that’s kind of crazy … just goes to show how many truly fantastic books are out there!

Nicole – ALONE is compelling because the story is just so horrible and crazy. I hope you do pick it up at some point.

Suey – BURY MY HEART will rock your perception of American history, that’s for sure. And I’m glad I’m such a good influence. ;)

Ryan G – Oh yes, this is a series that you definitely have to read in order!

Beth F – I’m so glad that someone else has read and enjoyed both the Dinesen bio and Kon Tiki – I don’t think I’ve come across any other bloggers who’ve read either of them.

amy – YAY! I’m so glad that you not only read it but enjoyed it – it is a powerful read, that’s for sure.

Erin – My way or organizing isn’t conventional but it works for me. :) I hope you get a chance to read SPARROW and OLD MAN – they are both great, but in very different ways.

Erika – OLD MAN is the only Hemingway I’ve ever read. I hope to remedy that soon, but so far that’s it. And you really must read SPARROW – it will blow your mind.

Christa – HOT ZONE is fantastic but horrible at the same time. I’d love to see more people read it!

Nan – I hope you enjoy the Dinesen bio – she led a truly amazing life! The movie is sort of a compilation of parts of her bio and parts of the book OUT OF AFRICA. Personally I got a lot more out of the movie after listening to the bio.

Amanda – The bio is the one I reference in my list above: Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, by Judith Thurman. The audio I listened to was narrated by Davina Porter. I have mixed feelings about her work (sometimes her voice fits the particular book, sometimes it doesn’t) but she did a pretty good job with this one.

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