intensely trivial

Books read in 2008

I had a New Year’s Eve resolution to post a list of the books I’ve read this year, before the kids go to bed and Dan and I sit down for our customary New Year’s glass of wine, reflection, and other married activities. One of my wonderful blog readers requested this post, and that’s why I’m doing it. I usually write myself a note about the book I’ve just finished so I can remember something about it in the future, but on some of these, I was too lazy to do that. Let’s see if I need to post any other disclaimers. Hmmm. I read a wide variety of things. I don’t agree with everything I read. I try not to finish any books I hate, and I’d like to think all of these have at least some merit. I finished all of the books in my list.
So here goes — the books I read in 2008:
1. The Hungry Tide, by Amitav Ghosh. About the Sundarbans, the tide country, tigers, cyclones, fresh- and saltwater intermingling, other stuff intermingling. It was an interesting book, and some parts were quite suspenseful, but it took a long time to read for some reason. It did make me want to look up Indian recipes online a lot. 
2. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides. Wow, this was such a great book! I loved it! It was so interesting and well written.
3. Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons. This character is extremely believable. I flew through this book and really, really liked her. She seems so real. I can hardly believe this is a first book by a fairly young writer.
4. Pleasures Evermore, by Sam Storms. The fasting chapter was especially good. I wasn’t really looking for ways to avoid sinning, but maybe God knows I need ways to keep replacing him with counterfeits (like food).
5. The VBAC Companion, by Diana Korte. A great resource for doulas and moms wanting a VBAC.
6. The Bride Price, by Buchi Emecheta. Takes place in Nigeria. Interesting culturally, and I kind of got involved in the plot, too.
7. The Signet Classic Book of Southern Short Stories. Took me a while to get through this, I think because a short story just begs you to take a break after it before you go on to the next one. Besides, I’ve been so tired lately I can’t concentrate. I’d much rather read or surf meaninglessly on the internet. I did like some of these quite a lot, though. Can’t remember the names of the authors at the moment, though. The South is such a fertile literary ground.
8. Gilead, by Marianne Robinson.
9. Advanced Bible Course, by E. W. Kenyon.
10. Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian.
11. Hypnobirthing, by Marie Mongan.
12. Living Water and Indian Bowl, by Swami Dayanand Bharati. Extremely thought-provoking. I think this is a really important book for anyone doing cross-cultural mission work. (That includes folks like Dan and me, as piddly as our mission work is.)
13. 101 Reasons Why I’m a Vegetarian, by Pamela Rice. I think this book is the final pounding of the gavel on my debate over going vegetarian. It’s very convincing. It bothered me, the flippancy with which she ends most chapters with “Obviously, the only conclusion is to give up meat!” But overall, I took the book seriously.
14. Passion for the Heart of God, by John Zumwalt.
15. Creative Correction, by Lisa Whelchel. This was the encouragement I needed to get on top of discipline with the kids again. There were lots of creative ideas for how to do it, and I’m pretty motivated now.
16. The Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn. Now I want to read The Complete Tightwad Gazette. So I’m not so weird after all, for being a tightwad!
17. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League.
18. A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley. Tragic, but it rings true in some ways. Thank the Lord I have a family that won’t shatter like that one.
19. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart. I learned a lot from this book. Now I just have to start studying the Bible better.
20. The Woman Question, by Kenneth Hagin.
21. Strategic Spiritual Warfare, by Pat Hulsey and Ray Beeson.
22. The Shack, by William P. Young. It was good! There are a lot of big ideas that I should probably intentionally chew on for a while. The writing annoyed me sometimes, but I was able to accept it once the framing was over with and the core of the story began.
23. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. Just a lovely book, so elegantly written. I loved the girl, Paloma, and the concierge, Renee.

(Here’s where I started keeping track of my books on my blog instead of elsewhere, and I stopped commenting so as not to get laborious on my readers. I’ll add some quick comments.)

24. Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals, by William J. Webb — how to determine whether something in the Bible is culturally bound or transcultural. It was very thought-provoking and I thought made some good points, although in some cases it was a bit of a stretch.

25. Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres — This book absorbed me. I LOVED it. Loved the characters, loved the cultural and historical stuff about the Greek island where the story was set. Learned a lot about World War II.

26. Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin — very inspiring. As if I needed any convincing, this book further convinces me that the U.S. strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan must be rethought. (I say this because I am such an expert. 😉 )

27. Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, by Judith Warner — I blogged about this one.

28. I Suffer Not a Woman, by Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger — an examination of the passage in II Tim. about women’s roles in the church

29. The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller — Though I can’t remember being tempted to have an affair, this book was a valuable examination of how one would deal with such a thing. And what makes people have them? I loved the character development. I’d much rather read a book than watch a movie anyday.

30. Kingfishers Catch Fire, by Rumer Godden — a beautiful book. I blogged about it.

31. Hannah Coulter, by Wendell Berry — recommended to me by my wonderful friend, Jessica. I blogged about it, too.

32. Developing Your Prophetic Gifting, by Graham Cooke — my mother-in-law gave this to me. She’s very charismatic.

33. The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges — Oooh, very challenging. I think I should probably read this about once a year.

34. Birthing From Within, by Pam England and Rob Horowitz — I loved this birth book. Blogged about it, too.

I do so love reading. I don’t get as many books read now that I have two smallish children, but the ones I read are, I think, worth it. Thanks, Terri, for asking for this post. 🙂

Happy New Year, everyone, and may you have many happy hours of reading in 2009!


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  1. * Erika says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Some of these looked very intriguing. I will probably come back to it for book ideas…though there are already so many I’m interested in reading. How do you get through so many?? Are you a fast reader?

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  2. * clbeyer says:

    Thanks, Rachel. I just hate that my “to read” list grows so much more quickly than my “have read” list!

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  3. * manhattandoula says:

    Erika, I wouldn’t say I’m a terribly fast reader, although maybe a little faster than average. I live with a guy who is a faster reader than anyone else I know, so my standards might be kind of skewed. As for how I get through so many, it’s just that I would rather read than about anything else in my time after the kids are asleep. It’s stimulating and restful to me.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  4. * t'ilia says:

    Hey Rach–if you’re going vegetarian and want some recipes, one of my friends from Irwin is a vegetarian (since birth) and her blog has some of her recipes posted on it. She’s an amazing cook, so it’s worth checking out.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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