Saturday, January 24, 2015

2014 Reading List

With my list of books I want to read this year, I thought I might like to also have a list of books I read last year. It's hard to remember, but this is what I have come up with so far apart from the eight cheesy Christmas books I read on my Kindle in December and any kind of Christian Living book:


1) Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell -- this was actually my first time reading this book. It will not be the last.


2) To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee -- not my first time to read this, but also not the last.


3) Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg -- I read everything Fannie Flagg wrote in 2014. I have to say, I like her most recent stuff best. To me, this is one of those odd cases where the movie is better than the book.


4) A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg -- this one is one of her better ones, in my opinion. It was sweet and I have even recommended it to some of our customers at the flower shop who love cardinals.


5) Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg -- just no. This is her first and worst book. Don't bother. Her more recent works are so much better.


6) Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg -- now, this is third in a series and I didn't realize it and read it first. It is mostly about old people that live in a small town in rural Missouri. If it sounds boring to you, we have that in common. I probably would've liked it better if I had known who any of the people were beforehand as I think it was written for people who knew and loved the characters from the series (some of whom were dead and revisited in heaven- sort of).


7) Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg -- this is the second in the series and again, I didn't realize it was a series until I began reading this one, and even then, didn't realize there was another one which came first. I think this one is the best of the three and could stand alone.


8) Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg -- by the time I got to this book, I was sick to death of Elmwood Springs, Missouri. Yep, this is the first of the series- the first and the worst. It is clear to me that Ms. Flagg has become a better  and better writer and storyteller with time- encouragement for all of us!


9) I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg -- I liked this one. I remember when it came out and was written up in Southern Living because I clipped the article so I would remember to read it because, at that point, I had never read anything by Ms. Flagg. Four years later, I got around to reading this and everything else she ever wrote!


10) The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion -- I also liked this one. This was the first one I read as it had just come out in late 2013. The story follows one of the characters from Welcome to the World, Baby Girl, but again, I didn't realize that at the time. Basically, I read everything out of order. Still, this was my favorite of all of Ms. Flagg's books.


11) The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty --This is the second time I've read this one. There isn't much of a plot; it's more of a character study, I guess. It won a Pulitzer Prize, but I'm not sure I get it.


12) The Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen -- I also read everything Mrs. Klassen wrote last year. And I read these in order of publication though it didn't matter as there were no repeat characters. They were all pretty good in an easy reading sort of way.  These are the ones I said were kind of Ruth stories set in Regency England.


13) The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen


14) The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen


15) The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen


16) The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen


17) The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen


18) The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

19) Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly -- Oh dear. This is most certainly not an endorsement. I can stand neither the subject nor the author. But I love my dear coworker who really wanted me to read this and lent it to me. I tried to find something nice to say about it. Evidently, I did because the following two were lent to me afterward.

20) Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly

21) Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly


22) A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander -- This is the book I mentioned that I read because it was set Belmont Mansion in Nashville. It was kinda cheesy.


23) Beauty so Rare by Tamera Alexander -- This is the second book set at Belmont Mansion and it was even cheesier. George and I jokingly referred to this book as "booty so hot" as a misquoted reference to an old SNL sketch (I have since found out that the actual quote was "booty so tight" from "The Best of T.T. and Mario"- fair warning, it is horribly inappropriate!)


24) Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway -- I really wanted to like this series because it combined my two loves of Jane Austen and the South. But they were no good. I read the second one just to give it a fair chance, but they really just aren't worth reading.


25) Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs by Mary Jane Hathaway


26) Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry --I think this is probably sacrilege, but I didn't really love this. The writing was lovely, of course. But the characters were all strong, silent types. No one talked about anything or expressed feelings, and that is just a world I could not live in!


27) The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy -- My brother-in-law lent this to me and it was really good. It's chock full of family dysfunction but does have some redemptive elements to it.


28) Homesick: a Memoir by Sela Ward -- This is sort of the first book I read out of homesickness for the South and the list above is what I can remember of what followed! I think it was written at the height of Sela Ward's acting career, but I have not watched either of the shows for which she is famous so I just found myself not caring. For some reason, I expected it be more about love for the South than her very specific story, but I was wrong.


29) The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander -- I read this series, The Chronicles of Prydain,  aloud to the kids over the summer. We enjoyed it, but we were also ready for it to be over by the time we got to the last book.


30) The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander


31) The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander


32) Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander


33) The High King by Lloyd Alexander


34) Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James -- I read this because I knew Masterpiece was going to do an adaptation of it and I figured it must be worth reading if it was worth adapting. It wasn't bad, but it's really just so impossible to come alongside Jane Austen. I understand why people try, because we all want more Austen, but we probably need to just reconcile ourselves to the fact that we won't get any more until the new heavens and the new earth.


35) Longbourn by Jo Baker -- See, I need to take my own advice. There is no new Jane Austen. This book really was sacrilege. I hated it. Truly. It was yucky! Yucky! Yucky! Yucky!


36) Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding-- The third Bridget Jones book came out in late 2013 and my library immediately had a wait list for all three books. I didn't get started on these until early 2014. They're pretty much exactly like the movies, only everyone is slightly more charming on the silver screen. I have heard Hugh Grant doesn't want to be in the movie for the third one so I guess it won't get made- at least not until he changes his mind!


37) Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding


38) Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding


39) Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella -- I read everything Sophie Kinsella ever wrote (well, not what she wrote under her real name, Madeleine Wickham) in 2013 and then had to wait almost a year for her to put something new out. And now I will have to wait again for the next book! I completely adore her!


40) Wish You Were Eyre (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) by Heather Vogel Frederick -- Oh my goodness! This is the sweetest series that I found for Amabel in 2013. I bought them all for her and read them before she did! But the last volume came out a little later and I didn't get to it until this year. It was so good, but it was the last one and we are a little sad there won't be any more stories about our friends in Concord, Massachusetts.


41) My Life in France by Julia Child -- I had started this a while ago and somehow quit reading it. I think because Mrs. Child was actually really liberal and kind of harsh about a lot of things, despite Meryl Streep's adorable portrayal of her in Julie and Julia.  I love reading cooking memoirs, but this is actually one of my least favorite. Maybe if she hadn't brought her political views in so much. She also had a very bad relationship with her dad and I didn't like hearing about that either, especially because the problems in the relationship centered around differing political views. Can you imagine being so politically minded that you would let it come between you and your family?


42) Nightmares by Jason Segel -- I read this as soon as it came out last year and I could get my hands on a copy from the library. It was kind of a Monsters Inc. meets Coraline... I don't know, I can't exactly remember, who was meeting whom, but while reading it, it was all very familiar. I started a new N. D. Wilson book today and it kept nagging at me that I had read something else other worldly around Halloween. That was it! I liked it.

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