Book Review 2013

Dun Da Da Dun Da Da Duuuuuun!  It’s Book Review Time!

With Dorothy’s pregnancy 2013 was a year of survival for me and my book list definitely reflects it.  It’s shorter than usual and there are many more fun, fluffy reads on the list than serious works.  Still, what I did read of value happened to be incredibly valuable and I am excited to tell you about those titles.

On with the show!

In 2013 I read (Besides my Scriptures…a friend of mine included that on her list, but I am choosing not to):

My Antonia by Willa Cather
Cardboard by Doug Tennapel
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
The Magician by Michael Scott
The Sorceress by Michael Scott
The Necromancer by Michael Scott
The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright
Maus II A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
Visions of Glory by John Pontius
Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas
The Enchantress by Michael Scott
The Quilter’s Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; A Righteous Gentile vs. The Third Reich by Eric Metaxas
Harry Potter Books 3-7 by JK Rowling
Are My Children Going to Make It? by R. Wayne and Leslee S. Boss
Yukon Ho!, Revenge of the Babysat, Weirdos From Another Planet, and Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Beginning of Better Days; Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith with Personal Insights from Sheri Dew and Virginia H. Pearce
Raising Cain; Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson

Hands-Down-Easily my Best Read of the Year:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; A Righteous Gentile vs. The Third Reich.  This biography and the man it chronicles were phenomenal, inspiring, and important.  Worth every single one of it’s 592 pages, this is one book I can unreservedly recommend to you.  In fact, I was so moved by it that I feel it deserves it’s own post.  So stay tuned folks!

The Most Disappointing Series of the Year:

The Alchemyst series by Michael Scott.  A fantastic idea but mediocrely (I just made up that word apparently. Doesn’t it seem like that should be a real word?!?) executed (Anyone else ever read a book thinking “Wow, this is a cool idea. I wish a more talented author had come up with it!”???), and abysmally finished.  I don’t think I have ever read a more disappointing final installment in a series than The Enchantress.  I actually recommended this series to friends up to a certain point.  The idea of the books are quite original.  Some of the characters were memorable (though not the 2 main characters, so that’s a shame), and the books are humorous and exciting.  Obviously I liked them enough to read them all.  Man.  If it weren’t for the horrible ending I could forgive all the other details that made them less than stellar.  I say skip the series entirely or just read all but the last book and imagine the author died suddenly and you get to make up your own ending.  I promise whatever you come up with will be better than what the author did!

The Best Series of the Year:

The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson.  Wow.  If you are looking for a fun distraction book, these are great.  A well constructed fantasy world with original magic, loveable characters, a thrilling, thought provoking (though somewhat predictable) story (He should NOT have done those little beginning of the chapter entries.  They gave it all away!) with a truly satisfying ending… what’s not to love?!  Warning though:  They are pretty violent.  And it’s not just normal violence (’cause that’s not bad enough?!?), it’s disturbing, twisted violence in my opinion.  Do I still recommend the series?  Yes.  For me it wasn’t bad enough to stop reading, but if you are particularly sensitive to violence in your books I say skip these.  Also, I was distracted by the fact that I know the author is LDS.  I worried about his testimony.  Weird.  True.

The Most Controversial Book I Read This Year:

Visions of Glory.  I enjoyed it.  I don’t mind if you didn’t enjoy it or if you deliberately didn’t read it.  I get it.  Corey won’t read it for probably the exact same reasons you won’t.  But really? I don’t think you should judge too harshly until you have read it.  But let’s still be friends even if you did exactly that, okay?

If You Are Rearing a Man-Child Put This Book On Your Must-Read List:

Raising Cain.  This was a powerful read.  Eye opening.  Helpful. It made me feel good about some aspects of my parenting, and helped me realize that I need to change others. My favorite chapter is the last one which gives the take-aways from what the rest of the book discusses.  It’s entitled “What Boys Need.”  It had 7 main points: 1-Give boys permission to have an internal life, approval for the full range of human emotions, and help in developing an emotional vocabulary so that they better understand themselves and communicate more effectively with others.  2- Recognize and accept the high activity level of boys and give them safe boy places to express it.  3- Talk to boys in their language- in a way that honors their pride and their masculinity. Be direct with them; Use them as consultants and problem solvers. 4- Teach boys that emotional courage IS courage, and that courage and empathy are the sources of real strength in life. 5-Use discipline to develop character and conscience, not enemies. 6- Model a manhood of emotional attachment. AND 7- Teach boys that there are many ways to be a man.

Sound like good stuff?  It was!

Chaim Potok Has Done It Again!:

My Name is Asher Lev.  Mr. Potok has a gift.  Truly.  I was amazed at this book.  It was tragic and lovely and just what a book about complex relationships and discovering ones self (among other great things!) ought to be.  I have read this and The Chosen, by Chaim and they were both excellent.  Has anyone read any of his other works?  I’d love to know if they were equally as worthwhile!

I Don’t Care What You Think:

I am not ashamed that I read all those Calvin and Hobbes collections.  I loved them as a girl and they are even funnier now that I am a parent of 3 boys!

I Love You Mom:

Are My Children Going to Make It? was great, and you were the best mom a girl could ask for.

Also From My List that I’d Recommend:

My Antonia, The Beginning of Better Days, and Cardboard.  I need to go take care of my kids now, so you’ll get no explanations as to why!  Sorry!

Alright… I ask every year… Now what are your recommendations for me?!?

3 thoughts on “Book Review 2013

  1. Ok I am not finished with it yet but… 2013 CRAZIEST YEAR EVER for us… so bear with me..
    Mark Twain said of Ulysses S Grant’s biography….”a great, unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece.” Twain was his editor and sat with Grant all the last days of his life to help prepare and edit the manuscript as he wrote it out with a pencil… Twain also said he had to do very little editing… I am a huge Lincoln fan, So my idea of seeing what else or who else wrote about this time was tweaked by Twain being the editor… the name of the book is
    Personal Memoirs by Ulysses S. Grant. Such an accomplishment was forged in the need to financially secure his family… He was broke.
    Character comes in many package… What a man what a character what a legacy.
    aunt deedee

    Many of you choices are AWESOME…
    I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU ABOUT THE Alchemyst series…. I barely made it thru the first and realized NOT WORTH the time… too plain..

    I thought a favorite book of mine and gone a wandering and would never return…
    MIRACLE HAPPEN… It is added to my list for 2014 to enjoy again…
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Anne Bronte..
    delicious and SO TRUE even today..

  2. I still need to read the Bonhoeffer book–I’ve been thinking about it ever since you told me. You know, I think I was a little too young to appreciate My Antonia when I read it, but years later I still think about it so I guess that’s the mark of a great book. The only other Chaim Potok book I have read besides the two you mentioned is The Promise, which is not as good as The Chosen. I went through a period of wanting to name a son Reuven after reading that book.

    I’m not sure if I have any new recommendations for you–have you read Elizabeth Gaskill’s North and South? I enjoyed that one. Have I ever told you about Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset? It’s one of my all-time favorites, so I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned that to you either. It’s very long through (was originally written as three books). And I second The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

  3. Oh the Mistborn Series. I did love it but the romance just drove me nutso! Just felt so off. When my brothers swore to me he was married I was like, “YOU ARE KIDDING RIGHT?” I was thinking he was like 17 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s