Tag Archives: books

2015 Books

To keep track of the books I’ve read this year:


  1. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (January book club, started in 2014, text/audio)
  2. The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  3. Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? by Mindy Kaling (audio)
  4. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (text/audio)
  5. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (text)
  6. In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White (Feb/March book club text)
  7. All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (audio)
  8. Magnolia Webnesdays by Wendy Wax (text)
  9. Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes (text)
  10. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (audio)
  11. Think Like a Freak by Stephen J. Dubner, Steven D. Levitt (audio)
  12. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (audio)
  13. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (text)
  14. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (audio)
  15. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (audio)
  16. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty (audio)
  17. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (audio)
  18. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (audio)
  19. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (audio)
  20. Big Gril Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (audio/text)
  21. David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell (audio)
  22. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (audio & text)
  23. The Accident by Chris Pavone (audio)
  24. The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison (audio)
  25. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (audio)
  26. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (audio)
  27. Resilience by Eric Greitens (text)
  28. The Martian by Andy Weir (text)
  29. **it seems I am listening to more audio books than I can remember. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing,**

    On the TBR Pile:

    Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America
    The Invention of Wings
    The Husband’s Secret

New Thing Learned

This is a little thing, but oh, how happy it makes me!

The other day, I realized that I can “take notes” and highlight passages when reading books in iBooks. Not only that, but iBooks keeps a list of them that both shows the passage and contains a link to the page where I made the note or highlighted text.

Really, this has made more than one of my days!

Other Books I read in 2011

I read other books that I didn’t count as part of the 10, and here they are:

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. The story of 3 generations of women and a beach house in Maine. This is the second of Sullivan’s books that I’ve read, and I really hope she is working on a third now! She writes beautifully; I love how the present and past, the profound and the mundane are woven together as part of the same story, just as they are in our heads.

Commencement, by J. Courtney Sullivan – This was wonderful. Chronicles 4 Smithies 4 and 5 years after gradution. Many flashbacks, 4 points of view. I really enjoyed this book!

The Paris Wife Awesome book club read!

10th Anniversary by James Patterson. I like the Women’s Murder Club. Its good summer reading.

Promises Kept by Jane Green – I cried. This book made me want to throw it across the room because I knew what was going to happen. The happy woman who was succeeding in her marriage, parenting and friendships and genuininy happy? She was going to get really, really sick. Can’t say I was shocked.

Storied I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe – Are there any adult women who didn’t have a crush on Rob Lowe at some point?

Blue Bloods, by Melissa de la Cruz – Young Adult vampire fiction set in New York City. Does anything say summer more than that?

Bossypants, by Tina Fey – too much fun to count.

The Divorce Party, by Laura Dave – Two points of view, one very long and interesting day. I’m tempted to count this in the official list. Maybe I still will.

The First Husband, by Laura Dave – A different take on chick lit. I found this really enjoyable and thoroughly engaging. I’m looking forward to finding other books by Laura Dave (I think there are some).

Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster – too much fun to count. An unemployment memoir with the best subtitle ever: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office. Really. With a title like that, how could it not be fun? Also My Fair Lazy I didn’t love this one as much, although it was still wickedly funny. And I think I want to read some Edith Wharton now.

Still Alice, Lisa Genova – a book club selection. I love this book. It is both an amazingly and horrifyingly real account of a woman’s battle (and submission) to early onset Alzheimers Disease. I didn’t count it because I’d read it before.

Let Neglected, Lisa Genova – a book about Left Neglect syndrome, which is apparently a real thing where a traumatic brain injury makes a person incapable of understanding that there is a “left” side to things. Very interesting, but so foriegn it was difficult to really “get it.”

The Power of Half, Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen – another book club selection

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery. When I got this book out of the library, the librarian gushed over what a wonderful book it was and how much I was going to love it. She was wrong. I read half of it and put it down because I just couldn’t do it anymore. Deeply philosophical and very slow moving, I just couldn’t get into it. I might try it again.

Under the Boardwalk and Summer Lovin’ by Carly Philips. Brain Sorbet. Light reads that are just easy. Great for the beach, the bathtub or when you simply don’t want to be challenged.

Sizzling Sixteen & Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich. My dad reads these, too.

Lift by Kelly Corrigan. I loved The Middle Place so much and was excited to read her new “book.” But at under 50 pages, it is hard to consider it an actual book.

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. Lawyer fiction sort of like John Grisham.

Leave it to Cleavage by Wendy Wax. Meh, but she apparently lives in East Cobb, which is interesting.

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner. So much better than the last couple Jennifer Weiner books. It was great to see her back up to form.

10th Anniversary and Now You See Her by James Patterson.

Something Borrowed and Something Blueby Emily Giffin. I picked up Something Borrowed because it is out in a movie, and realized halfway through that I had read it before. I didn’t really remember the ending, though, so it was fun. I knew I had read Something Blue already, but re-read it because I could’t remember the details and wanted to see what happened with Darcy after finishing the first one.

My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. I had seen this woman’s TED presentation and was fascinated. The book did not disappoint. Dr. Taylor did an amazing job of explaining what a stroke feels like, and how it feels to recover from one. In the midst of that, she also manages to explain some brain anatomy and functionality in an understandable way and use that to explain transcendence and connection. Pretty impressive for 224 pages.

The TED Presentation: http://blog.ted.com/2008/03/12/jill_bolte_tayl/

I feel like I’ve missed more, but I can’t remember what they are now. Besides. New year, new list.

12.7 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Certainly, this book is different than any other book I’ve read.
A combination biography and history of science with some sociology, cellular mechanics and research practice explanations thrown in, Roberta Skloot wove together many disparate disciplines into a cohesive story that was both captivating and touching.

Even if the phrase HeLa doesn’t immediately mean anything to you, it is impossible not to have heard or read something about them during the past years. This cell line, as well as many others, have been instrumental in most of the medical advances of the 20th century, from the polio vaccine to blood pressure medicine and beyond.

Skloot uncovered the story of the woman from whom the cell line originated, which in and of itself seems simultaneously straightforward, common and disturbing. In addition to sketching out the details of Henrietta, she chronicles the lives of her children as they eventually discover their mother’s contribution to science and their struggle to understand what it means.

There are sections of the book that seem slow. Perhaps that is a factor of switching gears from the children’s “current” lives to Henrietta’s life to the life of the HeLa cells in medical history. Overall, though, the story is fascinating, and the differences between the family’s lack of power over their mother’s cells and history and the awesome power of those groups with her cells is dumbfounding.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the chapter where Skloot brought two of Henrietta’s children to see the HeLa cells. Both children were too young to remember much about their mother when she was alive. Neither knew anything about her cells being harvested and used until they were adults. Neither had ever seen the cells, nor had any contact with anyone who had worked with the HeLa cells before. The idea that one writer and one researcher would take the time to explain what was happening, and let them see the beauty of their mothers’ cells was moving.

My other favorite part of the book was the Epilogue, where Skloot wrapped up all the themes in the book and presented he ethical and legal dilemmas facing the world today in regards to our cells and what happens to them after they leave our body. Should we have a say in what happens? Should we care? Should a pharmaceutical company be able to patent a human DNA?

The questions raised in this book are many and deep. I will certainly be paying more attention to the discussions surrounding them in the future!