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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
I love December. Sure, the presents, cookies and family time are great. But what gets me really excited? The Best Books of 2012 lists. I don’t usually agree with the (snobbish) book world’s top picks, but I relish in reading their carefully selected and politically correct choices. You know in high school when the coach would post who made the cheerleading squad? Book picks are like that for me because I’m a geek.
Below, I’ve compiled Best of Lists from The New York Times, Amazon and Publisher’s Weekly. I saw several repeats such as Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Building Stories by Chris Ware and Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.
Have you read any of those three? I haven’t. How many of the books below interest you? I’ve read four of them, and three others are in my to-read pile. Is it PC to write that several of these seem kind of boring? I only speak the truth.
I’ll write about my own picks next week, and I promise they’re more fun. Also, stay tuned for a post about the books Parents staffers loved this year.
Most importantly, what’s your favorite book of 2012? Bare your soul to me in the comments.
The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2012
Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel
by Chris Ware
A Hologram for a King
by Dave Eggars
by Zadie Smith
The Yellow Birds
by Kevin Powers
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Amazon, Andrew Solomon, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, best books of 2012, Bring Up the Bodies, Cheryl Strayed, Far From the Tree, Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl, Hilary Mantel, John Green, Katherine Boo, New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, The Fault in Our Stars, Wild | Categories:
Best Of Lists, Best Sellers, Fiction, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Popular Books
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
One writer hit the literary lottery today. Oprah anointed Hattie Mathis with the book industry’s most lucrative label: Oprah chose her novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, as the latest pick for the Oprah Book Club 2.0.
I had heard great things about Cheryl Strayed’s Wild long before Oprah picked it. Now Strayed enjoys paid speaking engagements, movie deals and future book contracts. I hope the same holds true for Hattie Mathis. I just learned about The Twelve Tribes of Hattie this morning along with the rest of the world.
The book goes on sale tomorrow, and I can’t wait to dive into it, and then write a review here. It will be fun to watch it on the sales charts, too. Today, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is ranked 89,309 on Amazon. Within a few weeks, I’m betting that it will be in the top 10 on all of the bestseller lists.
Good for Mathis. Reviews of this book (Publisher’s Weekly and the like) say it’s great and full of rich prose to guide its compelling characters and plot. The narrative is told through different points of view–kind of a like several short stories that come together at the end and make sense as a whole. Here’s more about the book from the publisher, Knopf:
“In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd, hoping for a chance at a better life, flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia with her twin babies. Instead, she watches helplessly as they succumb to an illness that a few pennies might have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave, fearing a show of tenderness would inadequately prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their lives.”
Are you into Oprah’s picks? Do you share her taste? Check out the complete list of Oprah’s Book Club selections to find out how many you’ve read. I’ve read 18–and one of my favorites is still She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I also loved the classic East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Oh, and Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, too. I could go on and on.
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Friday, August 31st, 2012
I am at the beach this week with my family. I’m cartwheeling, sunbathing and reading at Fire Island in New York. Every year since 1997, I’ve made my pilgrimage out here. Cars aren’t allowed, swans are aplenty and walking barefoot is required on this tiny paradise place just two hours from my house.
This trip was particularly memorable for three reasons: My kids slept late, and I finally read Gone Girl and Wild.
I know you’ve heard a lot about these two books, but the hype is for real. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn will be number one on the New York Times bestseller list tomorrow for the second week in a row. This psychological thriller about love and marriage will make you forget you own a TV. Wild by Cheryl Strayed holds tight at number three after several weeks on top. It’s a memoir about a young woman who finds it prudent to walk thousands of miles in the mountains by herself.
Here are five reasons to read both books (Gone Girl first) right now.
1. However crazy you think you are, you will be assured of your sanity after meeting Gillian Flynn and Cheryl Strayed’s fictional and real characters.
2. The most difficult relationships in your life may suddenly seem more manageable.
3. You’ll be alive when you read these books. Hopefully, no one will be trying to kill you.
4. You’ll read lines like these:
“You’d just breeze in and be Fun Daddy. I’d do all the work to make them good people, and you’d undo it anyway, and they’ve love you and hate me.” –Gone Girl
“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.” –Wild
5. You can friend both authors on Facebook afterward (they accepted me!) and find out more about what’s inside their insightful, genius minds.
Have you read either? Did you go crazy in the best kind of way?
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bestseller, Cheryl Strayed, Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl, New York Times bestseller, Oprah, psychological thriller, Wild | Categories:
Best Sellers, Fiction, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Popular Books
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
Stephen Covey, a man who taught millions of people to make their home and work lives better, died Monday at age 79 in Utah.
I bought The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, three times since college. Obviously, I need to work on my effectiveness–or at least my organizational skills. But I kept going back to Covey’s book because I needed the his influential, groundbreaking advice. Other people are revisiting this seminal work because overnight, since his passing, this title has once again become the #1 best-seller in the self-help category on Amazon. If you like Stephen Covey’s work, also check out Cheryl Strayed‘s (author of Wild) new advice book called Tiny, Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.
In the meantime, it’s always a good time to read Covey’s original and excellent 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
1. Be Proactive
Highly effective people make decisions to improve their lives instead of constantly reacting to external influences.
2. Begin with the End in Mind
Develop a personal mission statement and work on long-term goals based on your personal principles.
3. Put First Things First
Spend time doing what fits your personal mission. Prioritize your roles in life and make time for the important ones.
4. Think Win-Win
Try to find relationships and answers to problems that are beneficial to everyone involved. If you can’t come up with a win-win, don’t make a deal.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
This is the most important principle of personal relations. Listen to the other person’s perspective first, then put yourself in her shoes.
Use everyone’s good ideas to come up with the best solutions.
7. Sharpen the Saw
Don’t just work, work, work. Take time out for physical, mental, social and spiritual development.
Covey will continue to help and inspire people for years to come. Advice this good lives on and on.
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7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, Tiny, Wild | Categories:
Best Sellers, Classic Books, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Popular Books
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Looking for the perfect book can be like trying to find the right dress for your high school reunion. You want something that fits your taste and mood–one that doesn’t poke or jam you up. You need a read that’s ravishing and deeply personal. A good book–like a fab frock–should make you say, “Gazonga. Me likey.”
The social networking site Goodreads can swoop in and become your own personal book shopper. You input your literary likes and dislikes, and it generates on-point recommendations for you based on real people’s ratings and opinions. It’s also an addictive way to share your picks and pans–especially with your friends on Facebook. In fact, Goodreads has teamed up with Facebook to create an app that’s much more exciting and way less stressful than clothes shopping.
To show their mutual love, Facebook is helping Goodreads promote up-to-the-minute book recommendations. Below is a list of reads that real people love (including me because I’m a long-time user). All of them were rated four stars (out of five) or above. Some–like Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened–I totally loved. This is a great summer reading list. But you’re on your own when it comes to that dress.
1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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4.27 Average Rating
This psychological thriller is the highest rated adult novel getting shared on the Goodreads app right now. When Amy disappears on the morning of her anniversary, suspicion is cast on her elusive husband, Nick. Readers must choose sides as they read the couple’s conflicting accounts. (more…)
Bared to You, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Cheryl Strayed, Facebook, Gone Girl, Goodreads, Home Front, Jenny Lawson, John Green, Katherine Boo, Let's Pretend this Never Happened, Rachel Maddow, Steal Like an Artist, The Fault in Our Stars, The Shoemaker's Wife, The Snow Child, Wild | Categories:
Best Of Lists, Best Sellers, Fiction, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Mommy Bloggers, Must Read, Popular Books