Monday, January 31, 2011

Books Read in 2010

The last time I did a blog on books I read, I mentioned that I hadn't really cared for a certain book.  And then the author left a comment on my blog!  He was really very kind, suggesting other books of his that I might enjoy instead (and it was probably written by his assistant, not by him, anyway!).  I think authors must have an automatic search that comes up with the titles of their books whenever they appear on the internet.  

That said, I will proceed with the list from 2010 and will be completely honest about my opinions of the books read.  Hopefully you will find some on the list that will inspire you to read that particular book.

1.  Low-Fat Living by Robert K. Cooper.  Mr. Cooper explains, as the book cover says, how to turn off the fat-makers and turn on the fat-burners.  This was a really good book with lots of practical suggestions.  Of course, healthy living and healthy eating are harder to put into practice than it sounds (as you probably very well know!).  One thing I got from this book and I've done more or less regularly since reading the book, is that I do stretching and strengthening exercises first thing in the morning at least four mornings a week.  This helps "wake up" your metabolism.  And for me, if I don't do it first thing, I just don't do it. After reading this book, I also bought the Low-Fat Cookbook that his wife wrote.  I have gotten some good recipes from that book, such as the low-fat carrot cake recipe I made for John's birthday.  It was really good and only used a fraction of the 1 1/2 cups of oil that most carrot cake recipes call for.


2.  Growing Up Digital by Don Tapscott.  This book was written in 1997, so it was way outdated.  But it was interesting to see how many of the things he predicted have come true.  It was also helpful to see how today's generation of young people and kids rely almost solely on digital resources as their source of information, communication, and entertainment.  I think, though, that I need to read Grown Up Digital for more up-to-date information!  So if you are interested in this subject, don't bother with Growing Up Digital!  Just read Grown Up Digital instead.

3.  The Thyroid Sourcebook by M. Sara Rosenthal. The doctor informed me that I have a low-level of hypothyroid disease, so I checked this book out of the library to get a little better informed about the disease.  It was helpful, but it will only be interesting to you if you need to know about hypothyroid or hyperthyroid disease.


4.  Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah.  In this story, the heroine's husband, a Muslim, is killed as he goes to work in the World Trade Center on 9-11.  Though she is a victim of terrorism, she is often treated as one of the terrorists as Americans would see her Muslim dress and assume she was "one of them".  The book takes us on her journey of what it can be like as a Muslim living in America.  I thought this was a pretty good book.


5.  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen. The sub-title is A Memoir of Going Home, but the subtitle didn't really describe the reality of the book in my mind.  Ms. Janzen, who was raised Mennonite, left all that behind when she went off to college.  Through a series of difficult and tragic events in her life, she went home to Mom.  While she clearly loves and appreciates her mother, she continues to mock the faith she grew up in.  The book was supposed to be funny and witty, but I really found it to be neither.  I thought it was sarcastic and often mean.  I wasn't upset with her questioning her faith so much as the attitude she has towards her family.  



6.  Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan.  This book is a series of short stories about children in difficult situations in Africa.  One of the stories deals with a family leaving in a shanty who survive by sniffing glue which dulls the appetite and by sending their daughter into prostitution; one deals with selling children into slavery; one deals with the Muslim/Christian conflict in Nigeria.  There are others, but those are the ones that stand out in my mind.  Mr. Akpan writes extensively in West African dialogue in some of the stories and I think that would be hard for some readers to understand.  This is not a "feel good" book, but it is one I highly recommend as it is eye-opening to the plight of many of Africa's children.



7.  Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama.  This book was written by President Obama before he had any aspirations of being president or even a politician.  No matter what your feelings about our President, this book will give you some insight into what makes Mr. Obama tick.


8.  Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser.  I don't even remember what this book was about!  I think I enjoyed it, but obviously it made little or no impact.  If you want a book for the weekend that you can lose yourself in, this would be it!


9.  Madame, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart.  Mary Stewart writes romantic mysteries...and they are always clean.  I picked this up at a charity shop in Oxford as I was desperate for something to read.  All the books in the guest house where we stayed were in Korean!  LOL.  Mary Stewart's books are good for a light read.


10.  Evangelism and Social Action in a Lost and Broken World by Ronald Sider.  This book was given to John while we were in England.  This is a very good book for understanding how Christians should be involved in social action.  Should churches do evangelism with the assumption that lives will automatically change?  Or should they do social action as a means to evangelize?  Or is there a way to be involved in both?


11.  Brick Lane by Monica Ali.  A young girl's arranged marriage takes her with her new husband to live in England.  This book was pretty good, in spite of the fact that the heroine of the story has an affair.  I love stories where cultures meet.  This meeting usually results in conflict, stress, and living between two worlds.  Do the two worlds ever become one?  Does one ever fully adjust to living in a new culture?  What role does family play in the adjustment?

12.  The Emerging Church:  Vintage Christianity for New Generations by Dan Kimball.  Mr. Kimball "explores the cultural changes impacting churches and offers practical advice of how they can creatively reach emerging generations."  Mr. Kimball gives us much to think about.  One thing that really struck me is that today's generation operates more in community than my generation did, so they are looking for a church with a family feel.  Small groups can be multi-generational, for example, rather than peer groups.  He also said that young people are looking for a truly spiritual worship experience.  They don't care so much about multi-media productions (they get that at work and school), but want quiet, candles, and meaningful prayers.  Young people also want very much to be involved in things that make a difference, such as working together in an inner city.


13.  The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. A story of a man who studies in the USA, returns to his home country and becomes involved in a terrorist plot.  Very disturbing, but very insightful.  You might expect this to be an action-packed book, yet it is entirely a conversation between two people.  Mr. Hamid is a masterful enough writer that this conversation holds your attention.


14.  Mortal Fear by Robin Cook. Robin Cook writes great medical thrillers.  If you want a book that will keep you turning the pages, this is a good one. 


15.  Wedding Photography by Mark Cleghorn. This book was really helpful to me as I prepared to take pictures for my niece's wedding.  Perhaps most helpful is his list of which pictures are "musts" at any wedding.


16.  They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky by Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, and Benjamin Ajak. This book is about and by three of the Lost Boys of Sudan.  As Sudan goes through its referendum process, I would highly recommend that you read this book to help you have a fuller understanding of one of the world's main current events.  It is not pretty reading, though it is full of hope.  How can boys go through so much horror and still be able to have a positive outlook on life?


17.  A Question of Belief by Margaret Yorke.  This is a psychological mystery.  It was good and I'd like to try more of Margaret Yorke's books.  


18.  City Girl by Lori Wick. I've read Lori Wick books before that I liked, but this wasn't one of them.  It was total fluff.  Worst of all, it supposedly took place in the early 1900's, but was historically unbelievable.  It had the feel of 2000's characters dressed up in 1900's clothes, doing 2000's stuff.


19.  Digital Photography by Steve Barrister, and Digital Photography: 99 Easy Tips by Ken Millburn.  These were books on photography that I read in preparation for my niece's wedding.  They were quite helpful.


20.  Langford's Starting Photography by Michael Langford & Philip Andrews.  I checked this book out of the library, but it was so helpful I then bought it off Amazon.  It is set up with practice exercises you can do, so it's very much like taking a photography class.


21.  Contagion by Robin Cook.  The bubonic plague comes to New York City in this one.

22.  The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith.  I love Mr. Smith's well-developed characters in the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.  These books aren't particularly fast-moving, but the characters become friends as you read through the series.


23.  So Long Insecurity:  You've Been a Bad Friend to Us by Beth Moore. I have very mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, most women, myself included, struggle with insecurity and I was helped quite a bit with this book.  On the other hand, while I like Beth Moore as a speaker, I don't care for her as a writer.  So, I recommend this book as a helpful book if this is one of your struggles, but I offer the recommendation with the caveat that it's not written in my favorite writing style.

1 comment:

Esther Garvi said...

Wow, you're fortunate to have been able to read all those books! I don't know when I had the time to sit down and read last... but it was ages ago, and I love to read. Nr 16 sounded really interesting, but you can't pick an emotionally difficult book just any day... Thanks for the review you put together, Nancy!