So many people are telling me, "Better enjoy reading before the baby gets here!" But, why? Why can't enjoy it when my baby gets here? 

A friend of mine recently told me that she just read her first novel since the birth of her daughter...a year ago. Granted, everyone goes at their own pace and I go through spurts where I read more at some times than others. But, if I'm going to have a baby around the naps 4 times a day and I'm gonna take the advise to "rest when your baby rests", I can't physically take 4 naps in a day! I'll never  sleep that night. But, lounging on the couch with a good book? That, I can do!

I am currently in the process of reading, "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems" by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau. (Unfortunately, I can't tag their website here because Tracy passed away late in 2004.) However, even though it's for the benefit of my family (which I why I am reading it allowed to hubby), it's not exactly what you would call leisure material. 

Since Jon and I got engaged I really haven't had the ability to read like I want to. But, who can blame you when you are planning a wedding, volunteering for 70+ hours a month, working 30 hours a week...etc? But, now that I am technically a stay at home wife and mom (with my part-time photography) I would like to make more time for small things I can enjoy and take advantage of even if I don't have that much time.

Hubby and I already read and study so much for work and volunteering and general knowledge that some people probably wonder what the fun is in reading even more for recreation during your time off the clock. My husband is already one of those people; if I don't read it to him, it's not going to get read.
Our life has been such a rat race in the past 2 years that it took my being extremely ill and even hospitalized this spring for me to be able to read the Hunger Games series quickly... and quickly is an understatement. I sat around reading for 8-9 hours a day. If only I had that kind of time now!

The list below (accompanied with photos and summaries) were mostly books on the New York Time's Best Sellers list, Oprah's Book Club list, or Best Books of 2012 list. Others were just suggestions from friends or from people that I saw reading these books in waiting rooms...etc, and then tucked them away in my mind.

Since I was a little girl I've always kept a running book list and just marked them off as I finished them. That, though, has been hard to keep up with. A personal challenge to complete 15 books in 365 days (plus the 11 left in this year-- just for a head start) gives me a bit of a jolt; and, although I might not make it to 15, I will definitely put forth an effort. OCD people have a tendency to do that kind of stuff when it's written down in a list. haha

Please enjoy the list and message me for questions! I hope you get some ideas and many well spent hours!
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life--the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

With spare, graceful prose and the emotional wisdom of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker has created a singular narrator in Julia, a resilient and insightful young girl, and a moving portrait of family life set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.

As a new age dawns in England's twelfth century, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral sets the stage for a story of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal. It is in this rich tapestry, where kings and queens are corrupt - and one majestic creation will bond them forever.
Note** I did NOT add the sequel, "World Without End", to my list for this year. These books are extremely long and I would rather wait to see if I like this one, then take a break.

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathetic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

Note** Gotta throw a good "fluff" piece in after a long history novel or I'll give up on this list completely! Nicholas Sparks is my FAVORITE fluff writer ;)

Tale of the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.

In their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together.Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama of her fate, but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.

Note** Have heard amazing things about this book!

Life of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound.

Note** Took my 6 yr old to see this movie... I should've read the book first!

Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, Les Misérables is not only superb adventure but a powerful social document. The story of how the convict Jean-Valjean struggled to escape his past and reaffirm his humanity, in a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance, became the gospel of the poor and the oppressed.

Note** I have already seen the older version of this movie & plan on seeing the new musical version in theaters next Tuesday. However, I think I will understand a lot more of the underlying story once I read the book. A very long read however!

Moth is a 12-year-old girl growing up in the tenements of Lower East Side Manhattan in 1871, "born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart." The heroine of Ami McKay's sobering novel The Virgin Cure is sold into servitude by her mother but escapes to the streets, begging and thieving to survive. Rescued in an alley, Moth accepts refuge at Miss Emma Everett's Infant's School, a brothel of certified virgin maidens who, after being checked by the kindly Dr. Sadie, "are brought into the trade gradually, with care and consideration for their tender age"—instead of having their purity brutally stolen by men seeking the "virgin cure" for syphilis. But for Moth, this is a slavery no better than the one she escaped. With Dr. Sadie's help, our hardscrabble heroine invents a new career for herself as a performer at Mr. Dink's dime museum, finally creating the kind of independent life she craves.
Note**This book is currently on "order" status at many libraries! Might have to search before you find a copy.

Concerns the relations between the English and the native population of India during the colonial period in which Britain ruled India. The novel takes place primarily in Chandrapore, a city along the Ganges River notable only for the nearby Marabar caves.
Note**The plot summaries on this book on many websites are very long and I would've posted more, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone.

It is every woman’s nightmare—or fondest dream. Her husband leaves to drive the babysitter home and doesn’t return. Thus begins Gone, Cathi Hanauer’s sexy, tension-filled new novel.    
For the past fourteen years, Eve Adams has worked part-time while raising her two children and emotionally supporting her sculptor husband, Eric, through his early fame and success. Now, at forty-two, she suddenly finds herself with a growing career of her own—even as Eric’s career sinks deeper into the slump it slipped into a few years ago.     After a dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate Eve’s success, Eric drives the babysitter home and, simply, doesn’t come back. Eve must now shift the family in possibly irreparable ways, forcing her to realize that competence in one area of life doesn’t always keep things from unraveling in another.     Gone is a novel about change and about redefining, in middle age, everything from one’s marriage to one’s career to one’s role as a best friend, parent, and spouse. It is a novel about passion and forgiveness and knowing when to let something go and when to fight to hold onto it; about learning to say goodbye—but, if you’re lucky, not forever.

With a clinically depressed mother at home, isolated young Naomi Feinstein and her father often escape to 83 Beals, in Brookline, Massachusetts, otherwise known as the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site, where the glamorous former president and his parents once lived as a family. Now a museum, the house features preserved rooms with a red button that makes "Rose's smoothly nasal voice emerge from speakers on the ceiling" as well as antique rocking horses, oriental carpets and a piano—all of which become the furnishings of a dream home for Naomi, inspiring hopes of upper-class glamour and advancement. Fifteen years later, when she enrolls in Wellesley on a scholarship, she decides, "I would win, all the time, at everything." The loneliness she felt as child, however, isn't so easy to cure at an ultra-competitive women's college, and she takes refuge in the on-campus Shakespeare Society. In the eyes of her fellow type-A students, her move is akin to joining to the Animal House, complete with parties and members-only secrets. But in bonding with her fellow "Shakes," she begins to understand "how we all lived so full of fear" and how to make the kinds of choices that eventually lead to an uncommon but joy-filled life.

One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in American literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant.

Note** Never read a book that was written with the type of technique... Looking forward to it with anxiety!

In a remarkable debut novel that sizzles with sensuality, crackles with life-affirming energy and moves the reader to laughter and tears, author Pearl Cleage creates a world rich in character, human drama, and deep, compassionate understanding. After a decade of luxe living in Atlanta, Ava Johnson has returned to tiny Idlewild, Michigan -- her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth: Ava has tested positive for HIV. Bur rather than a sorrowful end, her homecoming is a new beginning. Because, in the ten-plus years since she left, all the problems of the big city have invaded the sleepy community of her childhood. Because dear friends and family sorely need her help in the face of impending trouble and tragedy, and Ava cannot turn her back on them. And because, most importantly, Ava Johnson is inexplicably and undeniably falling in love.

Sunny Mann has masterminded a perfect life for herself and her family in a quiet Virginia town. Even her genius husband, Maxon, an astronaut on his way to the moon, has been trained to pass for normal. But when a fender bender sends her blonde wig flying, her secret is exposed. Not only is she bald, but she's nothing like the Stepford wife she appears to be. As her façade begins to unravel, we discover the singular world of Sunny and Maxon, two outcasts who found unlikely love in one another. Theirs is a wondrous, strange relationship formed of dark secrets, long-forgotten murders and the urgent desire for connection. 

But with parenthood came a craving for normalcy that began to strangle their marriage and family. As Sunny and Maxon are on the brink of destruction, at each other's throats with blame and fear, Maxon departs for the moon, where he's charged with programming the fledgling colony's robots. And when an accident involving Maxon's rocket threatens everything they've built, revealing the things they've kept hidden, they discover nothing will ever be the same… 

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

On an icy winter night, a terrible accident forces a family divided to come together and make a fateful decision. Cara, once protected by her father, Luke, is tormented by a secret that nobody knows. Her brother, Edward, has secrets of his own. He has kept them hidden, but now they may come to light, and if they do, Cara will be devastated. Their mother, Georgie, was never able to compete with her ex-husband’s obsessions, and now, his fate hangs in the balance and in the hands of her children. With conflicting motivations and emotions, what will this family decide? And will they be able to live with that decision, after the truth has been revealed? What happens when the hope that should sustain a family is the very thing tearing it apart?

Note** Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. I've read two others of her books and I haven't been disappointed yet!


12/24/2012 7:17am

I am also an avid reader but I found that when I had a newborn and they finally went to sleep I had so many things I needed to get done; like shower ,load dishwasher etc...that I started getting in a comfy spot with a good book when I would breast feed(and it seems like all the time) it totally helped me relax which is so important when you nurse.

Quin McConnell
12/24/2012 7:17pm

That is a great idea, Abby! I never thought of that, but will definitely be trying it. No point in wasting life on the tube during that time if you could multi-task, relax, and feed little one. Love it!


Leave a Reply.