Books Read in 2012 4

Key:   ****  superb     *** really liked   ** liked    * it was okay   () pure fluff

(Note: I’ve written short assessments of most of these books on my bookshelf.  I’ve put a few comments below by sone of them.)


****The Barbarian Nurseries – Hector Tobar (Pulled me in quickly.  Rollicking look at what happens when the housekeeper is left with two boys and the parents don’t come back.  By turns funny and serious.)

**It’s Fine by Me – Per Petterson (Serious/bleak/accurate coming-of-age story of teenager in the 1960s in Norway. He wrote the superb “Out Stealing Horses.”)

***Room – Emma Donoghne (This book gave me goosebumps as it creates a world and world view when one is born confined to a room.)

*The Love of My Youth – Mary Gordon

**Empire Falls – Richard Russo

****Map of the Invisible World – Tash Aw (Set in 1960s Indonesia – political, clash of cultures, CIA – really enjoyed.)

**Wish You Were Here – Stewart O’Nan^ (I enjoyed but not as much as his other novels.  New England – family – closing up the summer home.)

***Last Night at the Lobster – Stewart O’Nan (Red Lobster-closing-last shift)

***The Odds: A Love Story – Stewart O’Nan (Gambling, marriage, taking a last chance)

***Still Alice – Lisa Genova (Harvard professor, develops Alzheimers, well-told)

**We the Animals – Justin Torres (3 wild brothers growing up, Puerto Rican, ends-too-abrumptly, author to watch)

**The Submission – Amy waldman (9/11 memorial contest – anonymously chosen selection by Muslim – backtracking insues)

** Freedom – Jonathan Franzen (sprawling novel – a thing into itself – I enjoyed but didn’t really care about most of the characters)

Adam Haberberg – Yasmin Reza (read it but wouldn’t recommend – just couldn’t care about the characer)

***Songs in Ordinary time _ Mary McGorry Morris

() The Nanny Diaries (Book I) – Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus (fun, fast fluff&nbsp
**The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (A No 1 Ladies Detective Series Novel) – Alexander McCall Smith (I love the series and this one was enjoyable as usual.)

*Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie Series- Book 4) – Kate Atkinson (I don’t tend to be a big mystery reader but this was okay.)

**The Healing – Jonathan Odell (midwifery, folk healing, Southern setting)

*The Paris Wife – Paula McLain (Novel about Hemingway’s 1st wife – I found her annoying)

*The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski (Harrowing novel about the Holocost in Poland.)

**The Uncoupling – Meg Wolitzer (Premise more promising than execution.  what happens when women withhold sex in a community surrounding a high school play production.)

**The Little Giant of Aberdeen County – Tiffany Baker (Small town oppression of a girl who has a pituitary gland problem.)

**Imperfect Birds – Ann Lamott (Enjoyed.  Kid lying about her drug and alcohol use, parents denying what they know, academic pressures.)

***State of Wonder – Ann Patchett (A magnificent writer not as wondrous as Bel Canto but worth reading.  A revolutionary drug that can change fertility, a missing scientist in S. America, suspense.)

****The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak (Phenomenal book set during the Holocost narrated by death looking at the lives of a young girl and her community.)
**How to be Good – Nick Hornby

() Imperfect Bliss – Susan Fales-Hill (Almost better than fluff because of the subject of the protagonist’s doctoral research but never leaves the lane of a novel where romance wins.  the author is Josephine Premise’s daughter and a television producer.)



***This is Not Chick Lit (Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers) – Elizabeth Merrick

***20 Under 40: Stories from the New Yorker – Deborah Treisman, editor



***Yes, Chef – Marcus Samuelsson

**You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother & How they Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (& Each Other) – Vanessa Williams & Helen Williams

***Why Be Happy when You Could be Normal – Jeannette Winterson

***A Chance in the World: An orphan boy, a hidden past, and how he found a place called home – Stephen J. Pemberton

**The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the 50s, New York in the 60s, A Memoir of Publishing’s Golden Age – Richard Seaver



**A Short Guide to Happy Life – Anna Quindlen (it’s VERY short)

**Our Black Year: One Family’s Odyssey in the African-American Economy – Maggie Anderson

***The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities – Will Allen

*The Necklace: 13 Women & the Experiment that Transformed their Lives – Cheryl Jarvis

***Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema & the Transformative Power of Music – Tricia Tunstall

**Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 – Stephen Puleo

**The Art of Choosing – Sheera Iyengar



The Pushcart Wars – Jean Merrill (Somehow I missed this book when it was published but it’s still fun ro see how a “war” unfolds between pushcart owners and truck owners in NYC.)

The Anna Hibiscus books by Nigerian author Atinuke are quite fun for young reader beginning to read chapter books.  I recommend the series about a little girl who lives in “Africa, Amazing Africa” with an extended family,  Anna is biracial – her mother is from Canada and her father is from Africa.  They are: Anna Hibiscus (Book 1), Hooray for Anna Hibiscus (Book 2), Good Luck Anna Hibiscus (Book 3), and Have Fun Anna Hibiscus (Book 4).  There’s also a picture book for younger kids – Anna Hibiscus’ Song.  All of the books are absolutely joyful and meant to be read aloud.  I highly recommend.

Africa is Not a Country – Margy Burns (The title of this books truck me because this is something I’ve always said this, particularly to young people and educators.  Africa is a continent full of countries!)

Wish I hadn’t read:

A Boy Called It –  Dave Pelzer – Self-published, poorly written to the point that maybe this tale of horrific child abuse was made up. It doesn’t feel authentic at all.


Started but didn’t bother to finish:

The Ginger Man – J.P. Donleavy  (didn’t want to give precious time to the character who I just couldn’t get into – a serious con man with nothing that made him interesting to me.)


Didn’t finish but will in 2013:

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention – Manning Marable – I just didn’t feel like going there when I started.  I will though.

^ In 2011, I read Emily, Alone by Stewart O’Nan which features one of the characters in Wish You Were Here.  I liked Emily, Alone better than Wish You Were Here.)

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About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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