07 January 2010

Book Shelf: Best of Aught Nine

I was a reader as a kid then kind of backed off once I was pursuing science in college, then graduate school, seven years of research, and 20 years of teaching. Reading was work so I liked to use my hands for spare time and relaxing. In the last years I have started reading and realized I can't die, I have too many books to read.

My friend and I started a book club. It went like this...I was on a driving trip with my husband. In. An. R. V. That is a whole other story. Anyway, barrelling down the road in the big bus, I finished the last page of the best book I have ever read, closed the book, hugged it and sighed aloud.



Sound of that Cummings diesel pusher engine and 18 wheels, more or less.

I was telling Beverly that. Of course she asked "what was the book, who wrote it, how did you come across it, what was it about, how did it smell, glossy or matte?"

So we formed a book club about 7 years ago. We meet each month. The hostess selects the book and brings it to the last month's meeting, sells it to us, then feeds us while we talk about the book, taking home a new one.

These are my favorite five from 2009, some are book club books, some were on my own 'to read' list. I can highly recommend any of them.

5. Chocolat by JoAnne Harris. This was made into a movie years back. The movie is good but the book is a delight. Takes you to a chocolate shop in Paris complete with a priest with a secret and a bit of magic. There is a sequel as well which is on my 'to read' list.

4. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. An autobiographical story about a young mother's breast cancer journey at the same time her father is diagnosed with cancer. It is actually upbeat, funny, and you really want to meet these people. I immediately googled videos of her because I really felt like I got to know Kelly. I missed her when all was said and done.

3. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Have you seen any of the Showtime series The Tudors? I love Tudor England and this is a long story with tons of detail in a historical setting. Settle in and read and read with reckless abandon across the years of patriarchal English loves and lives. This is part of an entire series of exploration of the lives of woman in medieval England. Oh delicious, thank you Phillipa.

2. The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup. I have never recommended a book more. Don't wait until you think you might be in perimenopause. Realize it can start in a woman's thirties. I do not joke about PMS or menopause. I think it is fine amongst your girlfriends but I hate when women are seen as irrational and defective because of natural hormonal ebbs and tides. These things give birth to babies, wisdom, traditions and bonding. This book is a road map to loving the changes.

1. Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith. Oh Betty, sigh. She wrote A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, another favorite of mine. This book explores young marriage. So simple. These gals from the 20s and 30s didn't examine their lives and spend time feeling unhappy whilst looking for joy. I can learn so much from that. The simplicity of a good bar of soap or bread, getting a meal at all. The smell of your husband. Sounds in the hall. My favorite book of the year.

Thank you for a great blogging experience in 2009. Comments have really been my favorite reading of the whole year. please don't be afraid to leave them. I am a comment monger, yes, I am.


  1. I've been meaning to read "Joy in the Morning". "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is my favorite book. Also I'm young and married -- I'm sure I will learn a lot from it. Maybe I'll spend some of my Christmas money on a copy...

  2. I haven't read any of these, but they all sound great, especially "Joy in the Morning". I'll put it on my "To Read" list.

  3. OK, now I really want to read "Joy in the Morning." That'll be next on my list.

  4. Thanks Robin, going to hasting tomorrow to purchase a book.....or two. Lisa

  5. Yay for books! I love reading. Looks like you read some good ones this year! I read "The Other Bolyn Girl" a couple of years ago and was happy to see it had a fairly happy ending...you know, better than her getting her head cut off ;)

  6. Great list! Thanks for sharing it. I will definitely look in to those.

  7. I too am a reader. I have read, voracously sometimes, in spurts, other times. Joy in the Morning. I think I read that about 40+ years ago. Time to reread it I think. My personal favorite( among about 20 others!) is "All but My Life". I have lent it to many, many people.


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