a year in review: books.

a year in review: books.
for the past two years, i have copied my husband’s new year’s resolution to read a book a month.  i will admit that i do not end up making it through one book each month, but i do end up averaging about twelve, some months reading more than one book and others reading at a much slower pace.  i love coming up to the end of the year and thinking back on all the books i read; there is a sense of accomplishment for me!

i choose my reads primarily based on recommendations from others because the library and the bookstore are way too daunting if i do not have a title in mind and because there have been a handful of times i have gone in with no ideas and grabbed something and it was terrible.  so i thought i would share my list with you all so that hopefully you will find a book you want to pick up!


my 2013 reads with links to each book and a short synopsis and review:

the impossible lives of greta wells – a woman gets sick and has to undergo a new electrotherapy procedure which malfunctions and repeatedly sends her between 1918, 1941 and the present day, where she sees how her life could have been in each of those eras.  though sometimes kind of confusing, it was really cool and it showed how there were some things which were consistent through all three of her possible lives and some things that could have been totally different if she had made other choices. 

gone girl – by far the best book i have read in a long time; i have been comparing every book since then to this one!  everyone i know who has read it was obsessed except my little sister who hated it, but i think she is the oddball here 😉  basic story line: woman disappears on the eve of her and her husband’s fifth wedding anniversary and he becomes the prime suspect in her murder but it turns out she is alive (do not worry i did not just spoil it for you!)  
*note: this is being made into a movie set to premiere some time this year so be sure to read before then!

my year with eleanor – a super easy read but very profound and inspiring at the same time.  it is a girl’s memoir of how she was working in new york for a gossip magazine and was suddenly laid off; she realized she had become so consumed by her work and started putting so much emphasis on material things that she had become very self-conscious and timid, a shadow of the outgoing and exuberant person she used to be.  inspired one day by the eleanor roosevelt quote “do one thing each day that scares you”, she vowed to take a year off and do just that.  Some days focused on conquering big fears (like swimming with sharks) while other days were small fears (like telling someone off who cut her in line).   

dark places – by the same author as gone girl and though not quite as good, still an excellent read.  the main character is a girl, now an adult, whose mom and sisters were murdered one night and she escaped.  the brother has been in jail all these years as the prime suspect, though it was never confirmed that he was the killer and a lot of people suspect that it was the deadbeat father.  she comes in contact with a group that is obsessed with unsolved mysteries who tries to get her to revisit the memory and figure out who really did it.  

the light between oceans – a man and his wife live alone on a tiny island off the shore of australia where he is the lighthouse keeper.  she is one of those people who is born to be a mother but keeps miscarrying, when one day a dingy boat washes ashore and inside is a dead man and a little baby, still alive.  the husband’s job requires him to report any activity that happens along the coastline, but the wife sees this as an answer to her prayers and convinces him to give the man a proper burial and then raise the baby as their own.  they grow spend the next few years as a family until one day they go back to the mainland and find out that the man’s wife is still alive and has gone crazy holding out hope that her husband and baby are alive.  at that point, they have to figure out what to do and have to live with their choices. 

sharp objects – another one by the author of gone girl, this is actually her first novel.  again, amazing, i truly think gillian flynn can do no wrong.  basic story line: a girl working as a journalist at a sub-par newspaper in chicago is called upon to return to her small hometown in missouri to cover a murder story.  within one year, two little girls in the town went missing and were discovered dead soon after with all their teeth pulled out.  covering the story forces the main character to face her own past, that which she tried to escape by moving to chicago.  

beautiful ruins – this one looked so good and i was so excited to read it, but in the end i never even finished it.  the story centers around a woman showing up to a little inn in an abandoned town on the northern coast of italy and widens to show how a handful of characters’ lives interconnect through a span of years.  while the depiction of the northern coast of italy was absolutely beautiful, especially since i had been where they were talking about and that coast captured my heart, the characters were less than pretty.  they were rich and privileged and thought that their actions didnot have repercussions so i just got annoyed while reading it.  maybe the ending was fantastic and pulled it all together, but i never got there.  maybe someone should read it and let me know how it ends!

the hunger games trilogy – of course if you have not already read these, you must!  they are such easy reads but really engaging and entertaining. 
lost girls – this is a true story of an unsolved serial killer case.  it is written by a journalist and is sort of an expose and news report in one but it reads like a book.  just a few years ago there was a serial killer who went after petite prostitutes who sold themselves via the internet and though based out of new york city, traveled outside the city for their work.  their disappearances were linked as the bodies were found buried along the beach on long island.  a fascinating read and an incredible expose of the world of prostitution;  you really feel for these women even though they choose that life for themselves.  the creepiest part of the story and the only reason i would say it was a little bit unfulfilling is that it is an unsolved mystery.  the writer was hoping that in doing all the research he might be able to shed light on it and help the police discover the killer, but they never did.  
now i am trying to figure out what to add to my list for 2014!  i have a list going but am open to suggestions; if you have any i would love to hear them!

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