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    NJ native without the accent or the big hair. Currently residing in Beijing. Teaching English. Absorbing all things China. Exploring SE Asia.

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The books of 2009

One of my goals for 2009 was to read, on average, a book a week.  I came very close.  Even though I didn’t make it, I did read more than I did in 2008.  Just like last year, here are the books I read this year.  But this time I’m going to do something a little different.  While I’m in China I often start reading whatever is lying around or available, so I don’t always know what the book is about.  In the interest of keeping you from reading the ones that turned out not to be so good, here’s a little rating system:

bold = Read it!  It’s good.
normal = Neutral.  Neither highly recommended nor disliked.
strikethrough = Bad.  Don’t read it.

I’ll link the books in bold to Amazon so you can read about them if you want to.  They are in the order I read them, beginning in January.  Also, I’m an adult making suggestions to adults, so I’m not advocating that you give any of these to your 12-year old before you read it first.

  1. The Brethren (John Grisham)
  2. The Beach (Alex Garland)
  3. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
  4. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at A Time (Greg Mortenson)
  5. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (John Grisham)
  6. The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield)
  7. Angels & Demons (Dan Brown)  If you’re going to read a Dan Brown book, go with this one, although the ending is a little crazy.
  8. The Appeal (John Grisham)
  9. Improving Your Serve (Charles Swindoll)
  10. Mere Xtianity (C. S. Lewis)
  11. Prince Caspian (C. S. Lewis)  We read this in class.
  12. The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde)
  13. Lost in a Good Book (Jasper Fforde)
  14. The Well of Lost Plots (Jasper Fforde)
  15. The King Of Torts (John Grisham)
  16. Father Melancholy’s Daughter (Gail Godwin)
  17. Twilight (Stephanie Meyer)
  18. New Moon (Stephanie Meyer)
  19. Eclipse (Stephanie Meyer)
  20. Breaking Dawn (Stephanie Meyer)
  21. The Host (Stephanie Meyer)
  22. The Beautiful Fight (Gary Thomas)
  23. The Secret (Beverly Lewis)
  24. Rain Song (Alice Wisler)
  25. Kiss (Ted Dekker)
  26. The Parting (Beverly Lewis)
  27. The Forbidden (Beverly Lewis)
  28. The Longing (Beverly Lewis)
  29. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University (Kevin Roose)
  30. Multiple Blessings (Gosselin)  Considering what happened to these people this year, a good portion of this book was a string of lies to sell more copies.
  31. Adam (Ted Dekker)
  32. G0d in The Dock (C. S. Lewis)
  33. Monster (Frank Peretti)
  34. What He Must Be (Voddie Baucham)
  35. American Born Chinese (Gene Luen Yang) This is a graphic novel that combines China, the US, some Xtianity, and the Monkey King.  Good, if you like that kind of thing.
  36. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (Anna Frank)
  37. The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth George Speare)  We’re reading through this in my 8th grade literature class.
  38. Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Albert Mohler)
  39. The Lost Symbol (Dan Brown)
  40. The Sacred Romance (Brent Curtis & John Eldridge)  If you don’t like Eldridge, you might not hate this book.
  41. Where Underpants Come From: From Checkout to Cotton Field – Travels Through the New China (Joe Bennett)  I didn’t bold this because there are a number of China fallacies that Bennett perpetuates in it.  But a good read if you’ve lived in China and can pick apart the fact from the fiction.
  42. The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)  The story is good, but it’s not a rated-G read.
  43. PS, I Love You (Cecelia Ahern)
  44. Respectable Sins (Jerry Bridges)
  45. The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom)
  46. The Associate (John Grisham)
  47. Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding G0d’s Will or How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random… Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. (Kevin DeYoung)  I have a few bones to pick with this book, but the author is mostly writing to combat a subcultural trend.  It’s good and will make you think.  Even better, it’s small and concise.
  48. Escaping North Korea: Defiance and Hope in the World’s Most Repressive Country (Mike Kim) Most fascinating book I’ve read in a long time.  Kim talks about forcibly entered the British embassy in Shanghai and smuggling North Koreans through an underground railroad through China-Laos-Thailand.  If you’ve ever traveled in this area of the world it will be of special interest to you.  He describes almost the exact route that I took when I traveled between China and Laos this time last year (only I did it legally :)).

What good books have you read recently?  Which are on your “to-read” list?  What are your reading suggestions for 2010?

I keep track of the books I read at Goodreads, a sort of social networking site for readers.  Create your own account, see what your friends are reading, and follow me there!

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2 Responses

  1. haha totally awesome that you and I both posted our lists. I should have checked if others did that too. I love what you did with bolding the ones You loved with links to the book on amazon. I am checking a couple of those out to see if I would be interested in reading them. The books that I rated 4-5 stars are the ones that I adored on my list. I also read through most of two other books (read 500 pages on one of them and gave it up. . sherlock holmes vol. 2 haha. the other book that I gave up on was the book of virtues but I’ll get back to it in the future. I got through 200 pages on it).

    Thanks again for letting me borrow Three Cups of Tea from you. I’ll return it to you next time I see you, whenever that is. If you have a way, you could come to my place (where my boys have toys to play with and such) with your student and even another person if you’d like too. . .I don’t mind visitors.

    You read a lot!! I remember your list from last year. I think that is what inspired me to make the list I had last year as well.

    Rob read Time Traveler’s Wife this year and he liked it a lot but he read to me some of those graphic parts because he didn’t expect his little sister to tell him to read such a book that she read. I am thinking of reading it but I don’t know if I was to read about all that stuff. Maybe if I like the movie when It comes out on DVD.

    I think I’d like to read book #47. It sounds interesting to me. I’ll probably have the same bones to pick as you but maybe not. There was an awful book I read last year that all these people suggested I read and I was appauled that such people with walks as theirs would suggest a book about a woman’s walk who just condoned so many of what she did and what others did like it was nothing. I can’t handle that. :: sigh :: #48 sounds like a book up my alley too.

    I remember reading #37 in middle school.

  2. […] keeping track of what I read in 2008, I didn’t meet my goal in 2009 to read, on average, a book a week.  The reason behind the goal wasn’t for the sake of […]

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