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Booking Time

Tuesday, 27 December 2011 | Tags: , , , ,

For me, time off means the opportunity to read, to retreat, and in this way, to rejuvenate. Once your holiday festivities die down, you may also want to seek refuge in a book or two. Here are a few of my favourite reads of 2011, though some were not new to the bookstore shelves, just new to me.

 

The Affair, Lee Child
Another Jack Reacher novel, this one predates most other Reacher adventures and explains how the take-no-prisoners leading character came by his traveling ways. Reacher is one of my favourite characters in pulp fiction, as there is nothing that guy can’t do. Fast-paced and suspenseful, this is one you won’t be able to put down.

  The Affair
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Little Bee, Christopher Cleave
This book came out in 2010 but I only got to it this year. Little Bee is an African refugee who comes to England looking for Sarah and Andrew, who were her salvation, in all senses of the word. The story of how their paths first crossed is among the most haunting and disturbing that I’ve ever read. It gives new meaning to “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” And begs the question, “what would YOU do?”

Little Bee
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The Passage, Justin Cronin
I had looked at the Passage a few times in the bookstore, only to put it down. A vampire plague? No thanks. I got my fill of blood suckers with the Twilight series. But to say The Passage is about vampires is like saying the Star Wars is about robots. I read all 800 pages in under a week. (Granted, I was on vacation.) I cannot wait for the second installment of Cronin’s planned trilogy about life after a very creepy Armageddon.

The Passage
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The Marriage Plot, Jeffery Eugenides
Eugenides’s Middlesex is one of my top ten favourite books ever. Ten years later, he’s (finally!) come out with this, his third book, and it was worth the wait. The Marriage Plot follows the romantic relationships of three college friends after graduation. But a Jane Austen-style love triangle this is not. Well-written and engaging, this is more of a real life look at love gone wrong, only with protagonists who are much more erudite than most 20-somethings I know.

The Marriage Plot
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The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Most of the action takes place at the turn of the last century, at an unusual traveling circus where nothing is black and white, except for the circus itself. Two magicians face off in a mysterious competition in which neither they, nor the reader, comprehend the rules. To reveal more would ruin it, but suffice to say this was one of the most unusual and inventive books I’ve read in a long time.

The Night Circus
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State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
When her colleague Anders Eckman dies mysteriously in the Amazon jungle, pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh leaves her lab coat behind and goes to Brazil, looking for answers. In a journey that rivals Kurtz’s, Marina heads into her own heart of darkness to learn what happened to Anders, what her former professor Dr. Swenson is researching in the jungle, and ultimately, to fight her own demons. Patchett may be best known for Bel Canto, but I enjoyed this novel more.

State Of Wonder: A Novel
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Before I go to sleep, S.J. Watson
You wake up in the morning and you don’t know where you are, who the man is sleeping beside you, or even who you are. And it gets worse. This happens EVERY morning. Christine suffers from a rare form of amnesia (don’t they always?) and doesnt know who to trust. This gripping thriller is a perfect beach or rainy day read.

Before I Go To Sleep
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I can’t wait to dive into my new reading list for 2012! Feel free to post suggestions. I’m always looking for recommendations!

Reading in the pool, Dominican Republic

My favourite vacation pastime!

 

On 12 27, 2011 at 07:36:48 PM, Lani W. said:

Vancouver Cop, Sean Slater’s first novel “The Survivor”. it’s a riveting police thriller set in Vancouver.

On 12 28, 2011 at 01:08:14 PM, Lori M. said:

I enjoyed two older books on my recent trip to Europe… The Help was an absolute joy to read… if you’ve seen the movie you’ve missed all the good parts! Water for Elephants… again, Hollywood never seems to do a book justice on film (although I enjoyed already having faces for the characters because Robert Pattinson is not a bad face to have to use!!)

On 12 28, 2011 at 02:42:15 PM, Judy P. said:

Thanks for all the good recommendations. I just finished Sara’s Key..excellent. I am recommending it to everyone!

On 12 29, 2011 at 09:56:05 AM, Sue B. said:

I agree with Lori M. re: The Help. I mainly read non-fiction and bios but a twitter friend strongly recommended The Help. Beautifully written and engaging – you feel like you’re there. If you want to venture into non-fiction…. Little Princes (Conor Grennan) and All That is Bitter and Sweet (Ashley Judd). The first is about a guy (Conor) who volunteers in a orphanage in Nepal which ends up changing his life. The second is about Ashley’s life growing up, her battle with depression, and her work to help women in the developing world.

On 12 31, 2011 at 09:37:15 AM, Kristina M. said:

Thanks for the recommendations everyone!

@Lori M.: I’ve read both and liked the help especially. I even enjoyed the movie – I’m always curious to see how they will bring books to life on the big screen. Though in the case of water for elephants, the book was superior. Have you read her latest, the Ape House? Loved that one too.

@Judy P.: I’ve heard that’s great, thanks. I’ll add it to the list!

@Sue B: I actually don’t read a lot of non-fiction, unless it’s something medical/psychological like The Brain that Changes itself or The Man Who Mistook his wife for a hat – that kind of stuff I find so fascinating. Though I did really enjoy Tina Fey’s book Bossypants. We all need a good laugh!

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