Books Read in 2012

Books Read in 2012Overall I’m pleased with my reading in 2012. I read some great books, and read a lot in some of my favorite areas (memoirs especially).

As I reviewed my list of books, I was struck by some of the lighter, genre fiction that I read. I’d say that I read too much of that, except that I know that virtually all of it was done via ebooks and in pockets of time that don’t lend themselves to deeper reading. So almost all of that reading was done during times that I would otherwise have read nothing at all, which doesn’t feel quite as bad as it would otherwise. I’ve also figured out a more efficient way to find books I can read on my kindle so I’m hoping in 2013 I’ll have higher quality ereads as well. 🙂

My list of board and picture books isn’t complete. I wasn’t always great about recording the books we borrowed from the library, and hope to improve on that this year. I like keeping track of them so I remember what we’ve already borrowed, and so that when I’m trying to remember “what was the name of that book we read that my kids loved so much?” I have a better chance to figure it out.

An asterisk (*) by a title means it’s one I especially enjoyed or recommend.
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Friday Link Love

Friday Link LoveTo share some Friday Link Love, here are some of my favorite posts regarding the book-related stuff going on around the internet lately:

  • {Shameless self-promotion alert!}
    I’ve started pinning the books I’ve read for the year to dedicated boards on Pinterest – one for all the adult books, and one for children’s books. I’d love it if you’d follow them and/or repin any that catch your eye.
  • Have you read Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess7 by Jen Hatmaker? (It was one of my favorites for 2012). My friend Adrienne from A Suburban Menagerie is was leading an online study session based on the companion book, The 7 Experiment: Staging Your Own Mutiny Against Excess. It starts February 4, so you’ve got plenty of time to get the book still and join in. {Update – her blog is no longer online. The book is great though!}
  • Jessica at Quirky Bookworm has a reading challenge going on: the 2013 Classics Catch-Up Challenge. She’s got a list of assigned titles (with one substitute permitted), and you can choose your level of participation. If you sign-up and read at least 9 of them, you’ll be entered to win an Amazon gift card.
  • Life as Mom has a new format for Booking It this year – instead of assigned books each month, there will be discussions on a variety of books, cohosted by Jessica, Anne, and Carrie. And they’ve included a list of suggested titles too. (With a disclaimer!)
  • If you saw my post yesterday, you’ve already heard about this, but Anne at Modern Mrs Darcy also has a new monthly linkup starting – book reviews inspired by twitter’s 140-character limits. In other words, short and sweet. First one went live Wednesday,but the link-up is still open so there’s time for you to write a post and add it. I originally wasn’t going to participate, but couldn’t resist.

Any other fun book-related stuff going on in internet land? Please share in the comments!

Twitterature: Current Reads

twitterature-graphic1Anne (a.k.a. Modern Mrs Darcy) is hosting a new reading link-up of brief reviews of books – “Twitterature” . Brief as in twitter-inspired 140 character reviews (although she’s not being that completely strict about it.)

No matter, my usual book posts are waaaay too wordy for that. So instead, an up-to-the-moment-of-writing look at the books I have in progress or am about to start reading.

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Book Review: Dead Man’s Hand

Book Review: Dead Man's HandDead Man’s HandBook Review: Dead Man's Hand by Eddie Jones

I’m not really sure how to fully evaluate this book. As an adult woman, I didn’t like it, but then again I’m not the target audience, which is probably 9 – 12 year old boys. Giving it a complete pass just because I’m not the target audience feels somewhat weak however; I read a lot of children’s and young adult fiction and strongly believe that great books are great books, no matter the targeted audience. This one is not a great book.

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Mini Reviews: Memoirs to Skip

Mini Reviews: Memoirs - Apron AnxietyApron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the KitchenMini Reviews: Memoirs - Apron Anxiety by Alyssa Shelasky

I love food memoirs, and so I thought I’d love this one. I admit to having some hesitation when I went to get it from the library for two reasons: the subtitle hinting that the book might have more explicit content than I would want to read, and the stupid cover image. Since I was just borrowing it, I figured I’d have little to lose, and could always stop reading it if I didn’t care for it.

Except I didn’t stop reading it. It was a train wreck, and for whatever reason I couldn’t look away. I found her appallingly narcissistic and shallow.

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Biggest Disappointments of 2012

Overall 2012 was a great year for reading – I read more books than I expected to get through, and had a hard time picking my favorites (always a good sign of a good year). That’s not to say that every book was a winner. While some might have been worse reads for me, these are the 10 books that let me down the most, because I expected more from them:

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Friday Link Love

Link LoveI’m a little bit obsessed over year-end lists and posts relating to goals or plans for the new year.

I’m also a little bit obsessive over not writing my own year-end lists until after the year has completely ended, but most people aren’t as ridiculous as me. Hence why my own “best of” list didn’t make it’s appearance until after 2013 started.

To share some Friday Link Love, here are some of my favorite years-end posts that I found from around the web: [Read more…]

Book Review: The Forgotten Garden

Book Review: The Forgotten GardenThe Forgotten Garden: A Novel by Kate Morton

I kept running across Kate Morton’s name and book titles, and was curious by them. Their length gave me pause though; at over 500 pages they’re a hefty investment of reading time and I would have preferred to have someone I trust tell me they’re worth it.

My impatience to give Morton a try got the best of me and that, combined with an upcoming vacation where I expected to have extra reading time, led me to get the first one of her books that the library had available.

The Forgotten Garden is what the library provided, and it ended up being a fun vacation read.

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Book Review: Like Moonlight at Low Tide

Like Moonlight at Low Tide Like Moonlight at Low Tide: Sometimes the Current Is the Only Thing that Saves You by Nicole Quigley

I’m not entirely sure how to fairly review Quigley’s book. Missy, the main character, is compelling and I really cared about her. Her depictions of life in Florida rang true for me (I grew up there, although not in an island community as Missy does). Some aspects of the story felt incomplete, and Missy frustrated me at times with some of her decisions and actions. Were those really issues with the book, or were they merely issues for me because of my emotions when reading it?

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Book Review: Memorize the Faith

Memorize the FaithMemorize the Faith! (and Most Anything Else): Using the Methods of the Great Catholic Medieval Memory MastersBook Review: Memorize the Faith by Kevin Vost

I learned about this book through Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering EverythingMoonwalking with Einstein, which introduced me to the concept of using specific techniques to memorize any sort of information. Foer’s book was heavy on his experiences training for the U.S. Memory Championship and it was interesting, but I was also curious about more of the specifics behind the techniques and how they could perhaps be used in real life. Or, more specifically, in my attempts to memorize passages of scripture.

Which led me to this book, with its seeming claim to teach me how to memorize “almost anything.”

The good:
Vost does an excellent job of really explaining the method loci of memorization and giving great examples of how to use it. He walks you through establishing your memory rooms and creating memory “triggers” for virtually anything. His writing style is entertaining and clear. While the majority of his examples are Catholic-oriented, his methods are applicable to anyone. He includes notes for adult readers, as well as younger ones and homeschoolers (in other words, how to make it work for anyone, of almost any age).

The not-so-good:
I read the book hoping for help in memorizing passages, rather than lists. Turns out passages are harder and don’t lend themselves to the method loci as well as lists. Rats.

Despite it not completely helping me with what I wanted, I still really appreciated the great job the book did at detailing specific memorization methods that really are effective. Unless you are adamantly opposed to reading a book with Catholic examples, I think it’s an excellent resource for learning to memorize more efficiently and effectively.


Publisher’s Description:
“They laughed when I said I could name all 27 books of the New Testament …but after I named them all in order, plus the 46 books of the Old Testament, they begged me to show them how I did it.” Yes, I know that memorizing the Faith is no substitute for living a holy life, but even devout people can’t live by truths and precepts they don’t remember. That’s why, over 700 years ago, St. Thomas Aquinas perfected an easy method for his students to memorize most any information, but especially the truths taught by Christ and His Church. As the years passed, our need for this ancient art of memorization grew, yet somehow our culture largely forgot it . . . which is why today, when you and I try to remember a list of things, we have to repeat their names over and over. Or, to remember to call the dentist, we tie a string on our finger. And we clutch at any means whatsoever to recall our passwords for ATMs, credit cards, and voicemail, our login names for Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon, and the host of other names and numbers that clog our minds and clutter our days.

Now, thanks to the delightful pages of Memorize the Faith!, you can easily keep all these in mind – and learn the Faith! – by tapping into the power of the classical memory system that helped St. Thomas become the Church’s preeminent theologian, and made it easier for him to become one of its greatest saints. Here, Catholic scholar Kevin Vost makes available again Aquinas’s easy-to-learn method – the method Dr. Vost himself has used for decades to recall names, dates, phone numbers, the first dozen digits of pi (3.141592653589) and even whether, when his wife called him at work today, she asked him to bring home ice cream and toffee . . . or was it truffles and coffee? Indeed, Dr. Vost will teach you to remember virtually anything, but he devotes most of his book to showing you how to improve your memory of Catholic truths so you can live the Faith better. By the time you finish this book, you will have memorized dozens of key teachings of the Church, along with hundreds of precepts, traditions, theological terms, Scripture verses, and other elements of the Faith that every good Catholic needs to know by heart. Memory is the foundation of wisdom. It makes holiness easier. To grow wiser in the Faith . . . and holier . . . turn to Memorize the Faith! today.

Book Details

Title:Memorize the Faith! (and Most Anything Else): Using the Methods of the Great Catholic Medieval Memory MastersBook Review: Memorize the Faith
Author: Kevin Vost
Category: Nonfiction
Length: 250 pages
Format: Trade Paperback
Release Date: 2006
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
ISBN: 1933184175 / 978-1933184173
My Rating: 4 Stars

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