A Year in (Book) Review Part 2

Happy New Year!

2016 is here and I am so excited to see what is in store for Anthony and I. As promised I am going to finish my countdown of the best books I read in 2015. To recap yesterday’s 6-10 click back to see my previous post.

Today we will go from number 5 down to number 1.

5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

15507958I’d heard great things about this book but wasn’t sure it was for me. The plot is a little heavy and believe me, I bawled my eyes out. This book is so good because it really makes you think about freedom of choice. The expanded freedom of choice we have drives us to make choices that suit our pleasure seeking needs. The topic of assisted suicide does not come up frequently in conversations about personal choice, but here in Oregon it is a very real thing. I really appreciated the realness the author brought to the story. Very well told and I am still thinking about it months later.

4. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

31463I first read Thomas Hardy in high school when Tess of the d’Urbervilles was assigned reading in my AP English class. I loved the way Hardy wrote and that book remains a favorite that is on my to-read-again list. I was excited to hear that Far From the Madding Crowd was being turned into a film and knew I needed to read it before I saw the motion picture. This is another book where the main female character was hard for me to like (I have this problem a lot). But, her character did not waver or ebb and flow, she was very constant in her annoying habits and that I can appreciate. Gabriel, a shepherd, and so much for Bathsheba (the main character mentioned above) was absolutely divine. I liked him almost as much as Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, almost. This story is full of insight on the human condition and I loved it.

3. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

77766I have read this book so many times and each time I get something new out of it. The Little House series was a big informer of my childhood and this book especially brings back memories of scenes I reenacted with my sisters or friends. Yes, we played with a real pig’s bladder at my aunt’s house. Yes, I tried to make all kinds of weird candies in the snow. Yes, I dreamed of living in a sod house. My sister’s and I even name an area we played in at my grandma’s house, “Little House on the Prairie.” This book already had tons of special meaning for me, but then I shared it with my last class of Kindergartners at the very end of the year. I could not believe the depth of their response to the ending. I got choked reading it to them and even a couple of the little boys had tears in their eyes. Pa playing Auld Lang Syne on the fiddle and Laura explaining what it means is very powerful.

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

1880504This book. Wow. This is a book every girl should read. I had never read this but have seen the movie many a time. The movie is good, but the book goes so far beyond good. I am serious when I say that girls should read this, even better, girls should read this with their mothers or a trusted female mentors. There are so many valuable lessons about friendship, love and hard work. There is so much about becoming a woman in this book. I think that some young men may enjoy it as well because it is just so full of life. I cannot say enough about this book. If you haven’t read it, read it. If you have, read it again.

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

14891I read this on our road trip from AZ to Tahoe to OR this past summer and had to keep putting it down. Not because it was boring, but because I couldn’t stop talking about it or reading passages from it to Anthony. That is a sign of a truly good book; it is so good you have to keep putting it down to think. There is so much of that in this story. Mostly I loved how it showed what immigrants at the turn of the 19th century thought of America, even with their poor living conditions. The observations made by the young narrator about the value of work are on point and should be read by every young adult. This book is so, so, so, so good. It definitely earns its number one spot on my list for the year. READ IT.

So to recap:

10. The Bostonians by Henry James

9. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

8. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

7. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

4. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

3. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

  1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Honorable Mentions: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis, 41 by George W. Bush and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Most of my favorites were not written recently, 4 of them were written for children and all of them examine what it means to be human. It has been a great year for reading and taking a look at my to-be-read list I’d say 2016 will be delightful as well.

So until next time,

I love you more than childhood games and literary leading men,

Whitney

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One thought on “A Year in (Book) Review Part 2

  1. Pingback: February Book Banter: Part 1 | I Love You More Than Golden Retrievers and Stars

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