Despite the fact that my reading slowed to a trickle at the end of 2009, I managed to read a total of 51 books. (Why, oh why, didn’t I hurry up and finish just one more book?!?!? One a week would be a real record for me, but I guess this is close enough to count, right?) Add to this number the seventeen or so chapter books I read aloud to my girls (not to mention the countless picture books we shared), and that boosts my total to nearly 70 books. I’m giving myself a hearty pat on the back over this, believe me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 2009 reading , and that’s really what it’s about for me right now.
I’m really not very good at picking favorites, but I’m going to try. Looking back at my Best of 2008 list, I’d say I was pretty much on target in terms of picking the books that were most memorable to me, so here goes:
The last half of this year has been fiction-heavy, so I was surprised to look back and realize that I read about sixteen nonfiction titles. By far the one that stands out the most to me is Change Your Heart, Change Your Life by Dr. Gary Smalley. I was charmed by Smalley’s informal, funny, touching presentation at a marriage conference Steady Eddie and I attended, and we promptly bought his book after hearing his testimony. I’m sorry to say that I’ve fallen off the Bible memorization and meditation wagon through my months of holiday preparations and morning sickness, but I’m ready to turn over that proverbial new leaf for 2010 and make it a part of my life again. I might just re-read this book to get me started. It’s that good.
Another nonfiction book that I found to be inspiring, encouraging, and convicting is Feeding Your Soul: A Quiet Time Handbook by Jean Fleming. (Can you tell by these first two choices that I’m in dire need of some discipline in my own spiritual life? I am.) I found this book immensely readable and pratical. My review of this book is short, but really, this book is more about doing than thinking, so maybe that’s appropriate.
Sacred Parenting is one of those books that bears re-reading, and it’s definitely one of the best I read in 2009. However, I feel sort of like the person James describes in this passage concerning this book (and lots of other things):
23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (James 1:23-24)
I suppose it’s appropriate that so many of my most memorable reads last year were “God Reads”–that’s exactly how I feel about A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller. I just can’t believe I’d had to book around for so long and hadn’t read it.
Fiction-wise, I had a juvenile/young adult heavy year, which is perfectly okay by me. Of all the adult books I read, though, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Some Wildflower in My Heart get top billing. This year I’d like to break out of my adult fiction rut of reading fiction by primarily one author.
It’s no secret that I love juvenile fiction, and young adult fiction comes in right behind it. I feel like I’m always playing catch-up when I read about new books on other bloggers’ blogs because I rarely read any book when it’s brand new. However, I did manage to read a few relatively new titles from these genres which this year which I loved. The Mysterious Benedict Society and Volume One of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing are two books I won’t soon forget and two books the sequels of which I really hope to read this year. I also really enjoyed The Pirate’s Son by Geraldine McCaughrean. This is the second book by McCaughrean I’ve read, and I look forward to spending more time with this talented and thought-provoking author.
I’m rounding out 2009’s top ten with a classic that I was surprised to enjoy so much, ‘though I don’t know why. A Girl of the Limberlost is one of those books I’ve always known about, and I’m really glad that 2009 is the year I finally read it. Old fashioned books really are the best sometimes, aren’t they?
That’s a lot of fine reading. 2009 was a great bookish year, and I’m looking forward to 2010 being the same! I hope to post a few bookish thoughts and plans for this new year in the next day or two, so stay tuned. 🙂