As if us parents of children with diabetes have the extra time or the energy to actually read a book, I’m giving it my best shot to read (or “read”)
50 25 books in 2011.
Notice I crossed out the 50 and made it 25. Yeah, that goal was totally unrealistic. What was I thinking?! Oh, it was wishful thinking. Maybe a more attainable goal would be reading one book a month.
Visit my 2:00 AM Book Club page to see all of the books I’ve read in 2011 and those that are on my list.
17. Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (audiobook)
(About the book:)
After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?
In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.
I actually picked this up in the young adult section at my library because I saw Alvarez’s name on the audiobook jacket. I had just finished reading In the Time of Butterflies also from the author. This audiobook is read by two actors who give voice to Tyler and Mari (pronounced like Mary).
I appreciated the commentary on the life of the migrant worker and also the blurred lines when children of the immigrants are born in the US. Some of the families have citizenship and some do not. No matter your stance on immigration policy, this is a real issue of our times.
What I didn’t realize when I picked this title up is that it’s set in Vermont, a state I am familiar with. At one point in the book they discuss Italian immigrants to Vermont who came to work in the granite industry…this is my family’s story. (Though they migrated legally.)
In the story, the mother is separated from the father and her children. I thought for sure I knew what the title meant for the family, but I was glad that the title actually had a different meaning in the end.
18. Bossypants by Tina Fey (audiobook)
(About the book:)
Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.
Oh. Em. Gee. I know I’m always saying that the books I read are great on audiobook, but Bossypants is one that you really need to listen to because it is told by Tina Fey herself. She cracks. me. up.
Your biggest question of Tina might be why she has that scar. She does allude to it. But in this memoir we come to understand how she got to where she is as a comedienne, writer, and actress.
I think one of the funniest moments is when she describes her breast pump as a “William Sonoma tit juicer.” Oh, that was a good one. (I attempted to use a breast pump with both kids. In fact I pumped at work every day in plain sight until my son was 10 months old at which point I cut back on breastfeeding.)
This is a must read/listen! Snark at it’s finest!
19. Dead Reckoning: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris (audiobook)
(About the book:)
With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…
This is the 11th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. What can I say about it other than it follows the form of the other books in the series. It’s light reading (or listening) and entertaining. If you are looking for a frivolous series to read, this is good.
20. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (audiobook)
(About the book:)
Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women-mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends-view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.
Since I rarely see movies in the theater I knew I had plenty of time to read The Help before seeing the movie. I have heard that the movie does the book justice (unlike some books turned movie). This is another book that was great on audiobook because each of the main characters is narrated by a different actress really bringing each to life.
Oh my gosh I just wanted to smack some of the white women in this book. I realize that they were products of their time, but beyond the racism many were just plain catty and elitist even against women of their own race and social standing. But don’t worry, the worst one gets her just desserts…literally. And you’ll just have to read the book to see what I mean by that.
Despite the conflict in the book, it really is an uplifting story of several strong female figures. The main character Skeeter comes of age, and the two maids find their voice in a world where they typically have no say.
Book descriptions are from Barnes & Noble. Links to bookstores are affiliate links and are provided so that you can find the books easily. I personally utilize the public library quite a bit, especially for audiobooks and fiction. I received titles marked with an asterisk (*) free of charge for review consideration. Please read the disclosure statement regarding affiliate links.