Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Belated Required Reading Post

Way back, in a happier and more optimistic time, let's call it January of 2009, I was filled with purpose and gave myself some lofty goals to fulfill.

Oh, think back with me to that soft sepia colored past. A new and unprecedented President was being sworn into office. Chevy and GM still thought they might escape declaring bankruptcy. And I... I had one simple dream and that was to read fifty books in a year and keep careful track of them on this blog with simple monthly updates.

Okay, so the fifty books part I am actually doing okay on (check out the sidebar for my full list), but the whole keeping track of them started to fall apart somewhere around March. Yes, only three months in. Pathetic, I know.

Here's the problem: keeping track of what I read requires organization skills, and those are the kind of skills that I tend to struggle with.

You see I read books from all over the place. Some are from the library, others are borrowed or given as gifts (uh, okay, I actually consider those the same thing. Do not lend me a book that you actually want back.), a few I pluck from my bookshelf, and sometimes I buy from one of the big chains (with a coupon in-hand, of course) or the second-hand store.

These books are then strewn throughout my household, and they remain that way until I start tripping over them, or they are cluttering the counter so bad that I cannot properly prepare dinner. That is when they are all herded into a corner somewhere. Yes, shoving my various crap into various corners of my home is what passes as "cleaning up" in my household.

The point is that my organization process, such as it is, makes keeping track of what I've read a bit difficult at times.

I don't want to give up completely though, so I am going to keep tracking all my books in my sidebar, and while I will not go through every book I've read in a blog post, (Does anyone out there really care anyway? If you do, and you see a book in my sidebar that you want to know if I liked it or not - feel free to drop me an email. I will no doubt send you back an incredibly lengthy email with my opinion, why I bought the book, other similar books I like, why I like books, and other various opinions that will make you very sorry you asked in the first place.) I will highlight one or two books that I really loved, or maybe really hated - although probably not the latter because who really needs all that negativity?

So, in the past few months since I last updated I've read a pile of romances from the used bookstore, some urban fantasies, literary fiction for my book club, a few non-fiction books, and even a YA that I didn't count because I skipped pages 50-250 because I thought it was too slow, but was still curious enough to see how it ended.

Some I liked, some I finished in less than 24 hours, but there was only one that I LOVED. I Loved this book so much I would say it is hands down the best book I've read this year so far. And I loved it so much that I bullied my husband into reading it too just so I could have someone to talk about it with. My husband is not a big reader, but he actually finished the book in less than a week, which tells you right there that he LOVED it too.

What was that book? Oh, I'm so glad you asked.

The Silver Linings Playbook is told in the first person by Pat Peoples, who has just been released from a mental institution. His number one goal is to reunite with his wife, unfortunately, she has a restraining order against him for reasons that he does not remember.

Now I have a little bias against books with male characters as the main character, and the only reason I picked this one up was because I saw it recommended on NPR by Nancy Pearl as one of her summer book picks. Deciding to attempt to overcome my bias, I found it at my local library and brought it home with me.

I don't really want to give anymore plot details away (and if you are really interested you can read them somewhere else), but I do want to say that this book just made me happy. It was sweet without being saccharine, and the characters felt like real people.

The book has been optioned, and will probably be made into a movie - maybe even a really good one (it actually has potential to be a really great movie, but we all know how these things often get screwed up and turned into something unbearable to watch.) - but I suggest you go out and read this book NOW.

Seriously, read it. I know that all books are not for all people, but if you do not like this book then my guess is that you are either an alien life form or a cyborg.

And for those who are counting I have now read 29 of the 50 books that I need for my yearly goal. So if anyone has suggestions for what books might fill slots #30-50 please share them with me in the comments.


  1. Wow. Well, I've never heard of this book but it sounds like something I'd like. Thanks for the recommend!

  2. I'm with Jessica - I hadn't heard of this book either. But maybe I need to read it - as soon as I get done with Bray's book.

  3. I have never heard of this book either but I love those rare finds. I especially love when they're so highly recommended. Thanks for sharing your opinion with us and bringing this book to light.

  4. My reading plans this year aren't quite going according to, well, plan either. My standing goal is to read 100 books a year, and for the last several years I've topped that number by anywhere from 10 to 30. This year, here I am in the middle of July and barely past the 50 mark. Not liking this trend at all...

  5. I am currently reading the Time Traveler's Wife; I will look for the Silver Linings Playbook.

    Enjoyed reading your blog

  6. I'm late to comment because I was out last week, but I wanted to say I too belong to the cleaning school of putting piles into corners. And sometimes shoving things into boxes and boxes into closets.

    I wanted to read 15 books in 2009 (finally set a realistic goal), and I've read 3. *hangs head* But I've started like 20, if that counts for anything.

    If you haven't read The Keep by Jennifer Egan or Grab on to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way by Bryan Charles, I highly recommend them.