Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday's Reflection: Annual "My Favorite Books of the Year" List

I am happy to report that it has been another good year of reading. On the other hand, I must also report that my book shelves are still full of books I have purchased, but not yet read. The good news about my "reserved books," along with the long list of "possible" books I keep on my iPhone, is that 2014 will be another good year of reading. Beginning tomorrow! 
In the meantime, here is my list of 2013 Favorites--in no particular order.

* The Round House by Louise Erdrich
* A Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (See my post from earlier this year about this book. http://clearingthespace.blogspot.com/2013/02/510-pages-to-go-post-by-nancy-l-agneberg.html )
* A Question of Identity by Susan Hill (I read her mysteries as soon as a new one comes out.)
* Mrs. Queen Takes The Train by William Kuhn
* The Living is Easy by Dorothy West (Why didn't I know about this book before?)
* The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin (About Anne Morrow Lindbergh)
* Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (My annual read of this beloved book.  This year I saw a production of Pride and 
Prejudice at The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis and during the
intermission I conducted an informal book club for some women 
sitting near me.)
* The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
* Benediction by Kent Haruf
* A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kasgar by Susanne Joinson
* The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen
* Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg
* And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
* Z A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
* All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West (This book will go on my"reread" list. and would be wonderful book for discussion along with Being Esther by Miriam Karmel.)
* Vacationland by Sarah Stonich
* Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann 
* The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
* The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (My reading this book
started my husband on a binge of reading all of her books. I 
have been doing the same. I recommend beginning with the first in the series, Still Life.)
* The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberg
* A Tale of the Time Being by Ruth Oseki
* Illuminations, a Novel of Hildegarde von Bingen by Mary Sharratt (I have been waiting for this book to come out in paperback, and it was well-worth the wait.)
* Wonder by R. J. Palacio (A recommendation from my 11 year old granddaughter and I thought it was very special.)

Note: I include links to my posts where I have written about some of these books this past year.
* Dearie, The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz
* Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, Staying Close to What is Sacred by Mark Nepo 
* The Second Half of Life, Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom by
    Angeles Arrien http://clearingthespace.blogspot.com/2013/10/tuesdays-reflection-what-are-you-going.html 
* Good Prose, The Art of Nonfiction, Stories and Advice from a
Lifetime of Writing and Editing by Tracy Kidder and Richard
* I Will Not Die an Unlived Live, Reclaiming Purpose and Passion by Dawna Markova http://clearingthespace.blogspot.com/2013/09/septembers-book-i-will-not-die-unlived.html
* Untethered Soul, The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer
* The Life of the Skies, Birding at the End of Nature by Jonathan
* Lean In! Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (I gave copies of this book to a number of young women in my life.)
* Immortal Diamond, The Search for Our True Self by Richard Rohr
* The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit http://clearingthespace.blogspot.com/2013/10/octobers-book-faraway-nearby-by-rebecca.html
* Speaking of Faith, Why Religion Matters and How to Talk About It by Krista Tippetthttp://clearingthespace.blogspot.com/2013/11/novembers-book-speaking-of-faith-why.html
* Stitches, A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair by Anne
Lamott http://clearingthespace.blogspot.com/2013/12/decembers-book-stitches-handbook-on.html
* The Not So Big Life, Making Room for What Really Matters by Susan Susanka (Susanka is an architect whose earlier books are about "not so big houses." I read this book when it first came out, but now as we settle into our Little House and move into retirement, this book seems even more apt.)
*A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch (The perfect fantasy book for wintry days. On recent mornings I have accompanied Branch to Sissinghurst, the homes of Beatrix Potter and Jane Austen and many other places, all illustrated with her watercolors drawings.)

A Suggestion
This fall I had the privilege of being interviewed by Mollie Hoben for their "Profile of a BookWomen Reader" feature in the October-November issue of BookWomen, A Reader's Community for Those Who Love Women's Words. This publication always leads me to old and new books. I suggest you check it out. http://www.womenspress.com 

An Invitation
What were your favorite books this past year? If you read any of the books on my list, let me know your opinion? What are you planning to read in 2014?

As you enter the new year, I wish you, along with good health and fulfilling days, a year of good reading. 

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