Surrendering to Helplessness

Parenting requires surrendering to helplessness. There are so many things, big and little, that we cannot control. From the bodily bumps and scrapes, to the emotional and social bruises my son have suffered, I have often felt helpless. Do I understand that these injuries are all part of growing up? Of course. But would I prevent those hurts from ever occurring if I could? Probably.

My instinct is to protect, to shelter, and, above all, to keep them safe.

In this regard I have never felt more helpless than the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. As I watched the news come in, and realized the horror of what had occurred in a grammar school, I could only think of those families’ pain. I am positive all of those parents in Connecticut share my instinct to protect, and yet, they were helpless in the face of one young man with guns.

I know I hugged my sons tighter that evening. I didn’t want to scare them with details, but I wanted them to understand and be able to talk about the images and news flashes that surrounded us. So, I decided to tell them in the simplest terms possible.

“There was a tragedy in Connecticut.”  “A very sick man went into a school and killed children.”  “We need to keep all of those families in our prayers.”

I watched their faces and reactions carefully. My oldest just kind of gulped and looked away. It turns out he already knew about it from classmates and wasn’t sure if I knew. He didn’t want me to feel bad. My youngest two cried, especially when they asked about how old and how many kids. Of course, my youngest (8) wanted me to promise it could never happen to him.

What could I say? I was helpless in the face of his direct question, “Mom, will I always be safe at school?” Of course I said that I believe his teachers and principal do everything they can to make his school safe. I reminded him about the security doors, and asked about their emergency plans. I was grateful for our faith, which provides the solace of both Heaven and prayer.

And yet,

When it came time to drop them off at school, I was helpless to stop my own tears. I was terribly afraid to leave them there. Afraid of my own fear that a wave in the doorway could be the last time I saw my beautiful boys; afraid that I could be rendered utterly helpless against random violence, mental illness and too many guns.

Less than a month later, drop off has gotten easier. My sons know I love them. I refuse to raise them in a climate of fear. It’s no way to live. I determine to believe the best and trust that they will come home to me each day.

That trust, too, is a surrender to helplessness.

I thank Daily Prompt for inspiring this particular post.

helpless

W…W…W…Wednesday

www_wednesdays44

Another Wednesday has arrived. (Does this week seem endless to anyone else?) At least it’s an excuse to talk books (as if I need one). Feel free to play along. Just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? Learning a lot about Bangladesh and the immigrant experience in The Newlyweds, a good suggestion from a good friend. Just started to listen to A Red Herring without Mustard, #3 in the Flavia de Luce series. I adore Flavia and the audio version is perfect for the car – I only wish I had a longer commute.

What did you recently finish reading? Finally finished the audio version of The Chaperone. There is so much to like about this book, but ultimately it was too much for me. I wanted a more narrow focus and more about Cora & Louise instead of mentioning every historical touchstone in the 20th Century. Loved The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. Just a beautiful, thoughtful book. It too spans much of the century, but to much greater effect.

What do you think you’ll read next? Just received noticed that The Casual Vacancy has finally arrived for me at the library. That will have to be next. My friends and critics I trust are evenly divided on this novel so I look forward to adding my two cents.

What are your W…W…W… titles?

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie – a new review

the twelve tribes of hattieOne of the things I share with my mother-in-law (other than loving her son and grandsons) is a love of reading. Many times we have bonded over book titles. So, when I felt a book underneath the wrapping paper at Christmas, I was pretty confident she would choose a winner. I was pleased to see a title, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, which I had not yet read.

Once again, my mother in law had produced a winner.

The book opens rather dramatically with 10 month-old twins suffering with pneumonia in 1925. We are immediately thrust into Hattie’s world, its joys and its tragic misfortunes. Thereafter, each chapter is told from the perspective of one of Hattie’s children, or in a couple powerful instances, Hattie’s voice about one of her children or grandchildren.

In some ways, these glimpses into each child’s stories give this book the feel of excellent short stories, but given Hattie’s reoccurring role in each narrative, Twelve Tribes holds together as a full novel. Through these interconnected pieces, we trace not just Hattie’s life, but can look at African American history, primarily urban, in the 20th century.

His pain was his most precious and secret possession, and Six held on to it as fiercely as a jewel robbed from a corpse.”

In a brave move, Ayana Mathis doesn’t provide any easy heroes in these pages. Hattie and her tribe(s) are all broken and damaged by life and the choices they make. She is far from a perfect mother and her children don’t rise from their lot miraculously. I really appreciate that she doesn’t make this story easy on us, the reader.

The thing to do was to insult her or slap her or run her out into the night. She’d left him with all their children. She was holding another man’s baby in her arms. Anyone would agree that he ought to do something terrible to her, but she had been gone fifteen hours, and in that fifteen hours his life had crumbled like a lump of dry earth.”

Even in the end, with Hattie’s granddaughter, Mathis does not provide any resolutions to the stories we’ve read. I found the book’s ending perfectly in keeping with what had come before, experiencing a sense of closure without really knowing an “ending.”

This novel put me very much in mind of Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge – interconnected stories, one strong-willed central woman around whom the novel branches out, strong sense of place, beautiful language.

Highly recommend.

From just OK to really great, my December reads

Live by nightLive by Night by Dennis Lehane

4 stars

Lehane continues to be an absolute pleasure, this time in audio version. Live by Night continues the story Joe Coughlin, who makes only a brief appearance in The Given Day. Filled with booze, mobsters, dames and violence, this novel is part film noir crime drama and part vividly detailed historical fiction. I love the mood Lehane sets and the darkly troubled characters who people his novels. Highly recommend.

I don’t think people are ready for moderation. It makes them think too much. People like sides, not subtleties.

on canaans sideOn Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry

4 stars

Stunning, vivid, beautiful writing. Barry examines the costs of war, speaking through the voice of an octogenarian Irish immigrant. I loved the format of Lilly writing her own history as she prepares to take her life. A sad premise, but ultimately very fulfilling, this is a book for which I wanted to (needed to) take my time and savor the language.

To remember sometimes is a great sorrow, but when the remembering is done, there comes afterwards a very curious peacefulness. Because you have planted your flag on the summit of sorrow. You have climbed it.

when it happens to youWhen It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

3 stars

I picked this book up completely on impulse at the library and found it an enjoyable, if somewhat shallow read. I was frustrated that Ringwald didn’t fully commit to a novel, choosing instead to write it as intertwined short stories. I never quite knew whose story I wanted to follow and the book ended up failing as short stories and not quite meeting the demands of a novel. Still, I enjoyed the journey and found a lot of emotional truth in her characters.

It seemed to Greta that Theresa was one of those girls who spent all of her time being an imposition while obviously trying not to be an imposition. Almost everything Theresa said or did broadcast the message ‘I won’t take it for myself. You’ll have to give it to me.

one thousand white womenOne Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

3.5 stars

Although it took me a while to really get into the groove of this epistolary novel, I ended up really enjoying the book. Based on the premise that Ulysses S. Grant attempted to broker peace with the Cheyenne Indians by trading white brides for horses, we follow the journal entries of a wealthy Chicago woman who sees her escape from a mental asylum in the fictitious program. While the premise is a lot to swallow, I found myself convinced enough by May Dodd’s voice and the details she provides, that I kept forgetting I was reading fiction.

That’s exactly the good thing about the Injun life–you don’t have to stop and think about whether or not you’re ‘happy’–which in my opinion is a highly overrated human condition invented by white folks.

telegraph avenueTelegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

2 stars

Chabon is unquestionably a brilliant writer, with passages that stopped me with their beauty and evocative image, but his writing overwhelmed his storytelling. I never completely engaged with his characters or this story, which I found confusing. Since he asks readers to follow him through single sentences that span ten pages (no exaggeration), he’d really better make me want to go on that philosophical journey. He did not. I struggled to finish this book, but I would definitely give Chabon another shot.

The Secret History came off kind of boring in its particulars, truthfully, built on events and details and historical phenomena whose obscurity to Titus only deepened as his grandfather strung them together.

Daily Prompt: Quote Me

 

Although I’ve followed WordPress‘s Daily Prompt for many months, I have not often jumped on board and followed up with a post. They may rattle around in the back of my mind and inspire me days, weeks or even month’s later. But this one stopped me. This is easy I thought.

I love quotes. I Pin quotes. I Google Quotes. I eagerly await the Daily Quote from Goodreads. I stop what I’m reading to copy quotes.

But a quote to which I return over and over? That challenge narrowed the field considerably. I have several quotes about reading and books, but they are not where I turn for inspiration or motivation. When I’m in a bad place, or in need of a push, I turn to the brilliant Toni Morrison.

If you wanna fly

A Standing Ovation for Les Miz

Les MizBefore I even begin a review of the current film, I have to acknowledge the hold this musical has over my heart. I’ve seen the stage version multiple times. As a teenager I sang “On My Own” into my mirror with embarrassing frequency. I still stop whatever I’m doing every time PBS airs the 25th Anniversary Concert special. My feelings about the music are inexorably intertwined with people I have loved and lost. No one will ever sing “Bring Him Home” with the heart-breaking sweetness and depth of the late Joe Bass. Likewise, no showman will ever upstage Wayne Buidens barely singing, but completely selling “Master of the House.”

So, there now, I’ve admitted my total lack of objectivity when it comes to Les Miz.

Oh, and I might also mention that for several years I have had a fantasy crush on Hugh Jackman. Hugh JackmanActor, singer, devoted husband, loving dad, clever and hilarious interviewee and that body! C’mon. Who doesn’t love this man?

Given my passion for the music and the lead actor, I actually got excited about the movie version. Of course, I also feared the many ways in which Hollywood could ruin my beloved musical – miscasting, inserting spoken dialogue, retelling, 3D, bad musical arrangements, deleting scenes, adding new music…. The reviews, when they came in, did not inspire a whole lot of confidence in the film. Frankly, I’m surprised I didn’t chicken out on seeing it.

On New Year’s Day, along with my son and my mother, I saw the movie.

I love it.

First of all, my man Hugh Jackman gives the performance of a lifetime as Jean Valjean. Yes, his singing can tend toward the nasal, but his performance overall brought me to tears over and over again. He embodies the role, reaching deep into himself to portray the pain of a man teetering on the precipice between despair and salvation. Hopefully, the Academy will recognize the physical, emotional and vocal demands of this role and reward him with an Oscar.

Samantha BarksThe other stand-out for me is Samantha Barks as Éponine. Barks is not (yet) a Hollywood star, but I was familiar with her because she played the same role in the 25th Anniversary Concert I mentioned earlier. I’m stunned that the producers actually allowed the stage actress and not a Hollywood starlet to play this crucial and meaty role. I’m sure her beauty and smoking hot body didn’t hurt, but she is simply brilliant as the heartbroken and courageous Éponine.

Actually, the supporting cast in general is outstanding. They each had moments to shine and held the film together beautifully.

Are there flaws? You bet. Russell Crow is a vocal embarrassment as Javert. He is a fine actor, but I actually cringed every time he began to sing. And, while Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are both perfectly cast as the inn-keeper and his wife, I found their antics too overblown even for these overblown characters. Carter, especially, is so similar to her Sweeney Todd portrayal of Mrs. Lovitt, that it was like watching the same film.

But none of the film’s flaws could mar the overall brilliance, drama and epic sweep of the movie. I applaud the director, Tom Hooper, for his courage in allowing the actors to really sing their roles – to allow their characters to carry the musicality instead of the other way around. I know he’s already catching flack for recording their songs “in the moment,” but that is what captures the theatre magic in the movie. The cinematography, costumes, sets and editing are all top-notch.

I have no idea how this movie will resonate with audiences who don’t already love the musical (my 10 year-old thought it was “fine.), but if you’re a Les Miz fan, I encourage you to go. Bring tissue, sit back, and get swept away.

W…W…W…Wednesday

It’s the first Wednesday of 2013. You know what that means? (Really, it means back to work and the end of vacation for me, but it’s also a great day for a book post). Feel free to play along. Just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? I’m half-way through The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis. The book was a Christmas gift, well-chosen and very engaging. Still trying to finish the audio version of Laura Moriarty‘s The Chaperone. This is a LONG book — really good, but I’m ready for it to be over.

What did you recently finish reading? Finished Michael Chabon‘s Telegraph Avenue, which I wanted to love, but didn’t. Despite his often brilliant prose, I found the details and cultural references bogged the narrative down and prevented me from really engaging with the characters. On the other hand, I kicked off 2013 with a graphic-style memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. I love a good memoir and Alison Bechdel‘s coming-out story fit the bill, although I’m not sure about the comic-strip approach.

What do you think you’ll read next? I’m determined to read Kate Morton soon. I also have an ARC of With or Without You. being released on February 26, that I should read and review. It’s so great to feel like 2013 is wide open with book possibilities.

What are your W…W…W… titles?

Top Ten Tuesday: Which posts best reflect me?

Way back in August, I saw a meme on BookSpeakVolumes which I always meant to try. So, on the first Tuesday of the new year, I offer my own Top Ten. (And I thank Leah for the inspiration, even though it took me months to use it.)

top ten tuesday

Which 10 posts best reflect my blog? I’ve tried to combine personal favorites plus those that struck a chord with readers. Surprisingly, they aren’t primarily book/review related. The ones that stick are those that reflect my real life outside of books. Go figure.

1. Love and Guacamole ~ March 22, 2012

One of my first WordPress posts, it remains one of my favorites. It reflects my love of family and tradition. Plus, my Lita made the best guacamole ever and I provide the recipe.

2. World Book Night with a little help from my son ~ April 24, 2012

In one post I was able to combine so many passions — my sons, books, sharing my opinions about books, photography and Twitter. Really, it’s a doozy.

3. Goodbye Dad ~ September 17, 2012

Opening up about my father’s illness and death was a natural part of grieving for me. I am still so grateful for the love and prayers I received in response to this post.

4. I said “yes.” Now what? ~ May 23, 2012

I laid my insecurities bare and felt the immediate love of the blogging community. As my life took a sharp, blind turn, I was consoled by my ability to write as a way to process fear.

5. Monday Quote: Say Yes ~ May 7, 2012

Somewhat related to the above, I really enjoyed the few months when I always started my week with a quote from literature and personal reflection. This was one of my favorites.

6. Monday Quote: Resilience ~ July 16, 2012

First and foremost, I am a mom. I make a conscious effort not to write “too much” about my boys (for both their sakes and mine), but when I do write about them, it always turns out well.

7. Secret Relief ~ March 29, 2012

And then there’s mom-guilt, always a great topic for a blog post. This is one of those posts that touched a nerve with other people. I think we’ve all been here as parents.

 

My favorite book reviews of the year  round out my list. These are the cases where I really took my time to provide a thoughtful and intriguing review.

8. Girlchild sparks a raw memory ~ July 7, 2012

9. The Best Book I’ve Read All Year – Tell the Wolves I’m Home ~ November 19, 2012

10. Just as great the second time: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake ~ June 20, 2012

 

It was amazingly difficult to choose 10 posts that best reflect Alena’s life. How’d I do?

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Big List

After a little experimenting, I managed to export a complete list of my 2012 reads, including the titles on which I gave up. I track all of my books using Goodreads, my all-time favorite website. My 2012 total stands at 92 books completed — not close to my record of 112, but besting my 2011 total by 5 books. Frankly, I was surprised to find out I gave up on 6 books this year, but I’m getting better at letting go of books that just didn’t capture my interest.

All in all, it was a good book year for me, with a mix of old and new. I wish I would have had time to include some of 2012′s award-winners and critical faves, but there’s always 2013. I’m setting a 75-book goal for next year. How about you?

Title Author My Rating Average Rating Publisher Number of Pages Year Published Date Read Exclusive Shelf
Telegraph Avenue Michael Chabon 0 3.49 HarperCollins 465 2012 currently-reading
The Chaperone Laura Moriarty 0 3.86 Riverhead Hardcover 371 2012 currently-reading
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire   (Harry Potter, #4) J.K. Rowling 0 4.43 Scholastic Inc. 734 2002 currently-reading
The Flame Alphabet Ben Marcus 1 2.85 Knopf 289 2012 ######## i-gave-up
All The Pretty Horses CD: All The Pretty   Horses CD Cormac McCarthy 2 3.9 HarperAudio 10 2000 i-gave-up
The Next Best Thing Jennifer Weiner 0 3.29 Atria Books 400 2012 i-gave-up
Girl Land Caitlin Flanagan 0 2.74 Reagan Arthur Books 224 2012 i-gave-up
A Hologram for the King Dave Eggers 2 3.39 McSweeney’s 312 2012 ######## i-gave-up
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen 0 4.03 Penguin Books 409 2003 i-gave-up
The World We Found: A Novel. Thrity Umrigar 4 3.73 Harper Perennial 2012 1/1/2012 read
Maine J. Courtney Sullivan 3 3.29 Knopf 388 2011 1/1/2012 read
The Paris Wife Paula McLain 2 3.72 Ballantine Books 314 2011 1/6/2012 read
Good Omens Terry Pratchett 3 4.27 HarperTorch 398 2006 ######## read
Anatomy of a Disappearance: A Novel Hisham Matar 5 3.48 The Dial Press 224 2011 ######## read
The Cat’s Table Michael Ondaatje 4 3.6 McLelland 269 2011 ######## read
The Dry Grass of August Anna Jean Mayhew 3 3.82 Kensington Books 289 2011 ######## read
Rules of Civility Amor Towles 5 4.02 Viking Adult 335 2011 ######## read
The Descendants: A Novel Kaui Hart Hemmings 4 3.81 Random House 247 2007 ######## read
The Kitchen House Kathleen Grissom 4 4.15 Touchstone 369 2010 2/2/2012 read
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Jonathan Safran Foer 5 4.01 Houghton Mifflin Company 326 2005 2/8/2012 read
Slouching Towards Bethlehem Joan Didion 5 4.26 Farrar Straus Giroux 238 1990 2/9/2012 read
Zeitoun Dave Eggers 4 4.14 McSweeney’s 342 2009 ######## read
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of   Magical Reading Nina Sankovitch 3 3.55 Harper 241 2011 ######## read
Running the Rift Naomi Benaron 4 4.03 Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 365 2012 ######## read
The Translation of the Bones: A Novel Francesca Kay 3 3.31 Scribner 240 2012 ######## read
Girl Reading Katie  Ward 2 3.42 Virago Press (UK) 342 2011 ######## read
Next to Love: A Novel Ellen Feldman 3 3.56 Spiegel & Grau 320 2012 3/2/2012 read
The Fault in Our Stars John Green 4 4.55 Dutton Books 313 2012 3/5/2012 read
Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away Christie Watson 4 4.05 Other Press 448 2011 ######## read
The Flight of Gemma Hardy Margot Livesey 3 3.61 HarperCollins Publishers 447 2012 ######## read
Busy Monsters William Giraldi 3 3.31 W. W. Norton & Company 282 2011 ######## read
The Patron Saint of Liars Ann Patchett 3 3.68 Fourth Estate 352 2003 ######## read
Carry the One Carol Anshaw 3 3.19 Simon & Schuster 253 2012 ######## read
When I Was a Child I Read Books Marilynne Robinson 3 3.9 Farrar, Straus and Giroux 224 2012 4/4/2012 read
Horoscopes for the Dead Billy Collins 5 4 Random House 128 2011 4/7/2012 read
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats Jan-Philipp Sendker 4 4.02 Other Press 336 2012 4/9/2012 read
Unless: A Novel Carol Shields 5 3.57 Harper 224 2002 ######## read
The Land of Decoration Grace McCleen 4 3.67 Henry Holt and Co. 320 2012 ######## read
The Underside of Joy Seré Prince Halverson 3 3.84 Dutton Adult 307 2012 ######## read
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other   Stories Flannery O’Connor 4 4.27 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 252 1992 ######## read
The Healing Jonathan Odell 3 4.08 Nan A. Talese 352 2012 ######## read
A Land More Kind Than Home Wiley Cash 5 3.91 William Morrow 320 2012 ######## read
Girlchild: A Novel Tupelo Hassman 4 3.56 Farrar, Straus and Giroux 275 2012 5/6/2012 read
Home Toni Morrison 3 3.72 Alfred A. Knopf 160 2012 5/9/2012 read
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Rachel Joyce 3 4.01 Random House 336 2012 ######## read
The Gilly Salt Sisters Tiffany Baker 3 3.36 Grand Central Publishing 370 2012 ######## read
Truth and Beauty Ann Patchett 4 3.88 Harper Perennial 257 2005 ######## read
The Flowers of War Geling Yan 3 3.49 Harvill Secker 250 2012 ######## read
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake Jenny Wingfield 4 4.17 Random House Trade Paperbacks 352 2012 6/1/2012 read
Stone Arabia Dana Spiotta 4 3.3 Scribner 235 2011 6/3/2012 read
Salvage the Bones Jesmyn Ward 4 3.78 Bloomsbury USA 261 2011 6/8/2012 read
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake Aimee Bender 5 3.13 Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 304 2010 ######## read
Blue Asylum Kathy Hepinstall 4 3.62 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 271 2012 ######## read
Run Ann Patchett 4 3.46 Harper 304 2007 ######## read
The Snow Child Eowyn Ivey 3 3.97 Reagan Arthur Books 389 2012 ######## read
South of Superior Ellen Airgood 3 3.51 Riverhead Hardcover 384 2011 ######## read
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Tom Franklin 4 3.79 William Morrow 274 2010 ######## read
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn 5 4.01 Weidenfeld & Nicolson 419 2012 ######## read
Pigeon English Stephen Kelman 4 3.48 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 263 2011 7/5/2012 read
Office Girl Joe Meno 3 3.29 Akashic Books 295 2012 7/6/2012 read
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time   Indian Sherman Alexie 4 4.15 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 230 2007 7/8/2012 read
The Madonnas of Leningrad Debra Dean 2 3.67 Harper Perennial 228 2007 ######## read
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone   (Harry Potter, #1) J.K. Rowling 4 4.34 Listening Library (Audio) 169 1999 ######## read
In One Person John Irving 3 3.58 Simon & Schuster 425 2012 ######## read
The Sandcastle Girls Chris Bohjalian 4 3.86 Doubleday 320 2012 ######## read
The Weight of All Things Sandra Benitez 4 3.92 Hyperion 256 2002 ######## read
The Sense of an Ending Julian Barnes 5 3.69 Jonathan Cape 150 2011 ######## read
Memory Wall Anthony Doerr 4 4.21 Scribner 256 2010 ######## read
This Is Where I Leave You Jonathan Tropper 4 3.9 Orion 352 2009 8/3/2012 read
The Magician’s Assistant Ann Patchett 3 3.6 8/8/2012 read
A Walk Across the Sun Corban Addison 4 4.17 SilverOak 371 2012 ######## read
Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art Christopher Moore 4 3.74 HarperCollins 403 2012 ######## read
Prodigal Summer Barbara Kingsolver 3 3.91 Harper Perennial 444 2001 ######## read
The Buddha in the Attic Julie Otsuka 3 3.57 Random House Audio 0 2011 ######## read
One Last Thing Before I Go Jonathan Tropper 4 3.79 Dutton Adult 324 2012 9/3/2012 read
Playing with Matches: A Novel Carolyn Wall 3 3.71 Bantam 320 2012 9/9/2012 read
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets   (Harry Potter, #2) J.K. Rowling 4 4.23 Listening Library 9 2001 ######## read
Songs Without Words Ann Packer 2 2.94 Random House Audio 0 2007 ######## read
One Amazing Thing Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni 3 3.41 Hyperion 220 2010 ######## read
We Need to Talk About Kevin Lionel Shriver 4 4.01 Harper Perennial 400 2006 ######## read
The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag Alan Bradley 4 3.95 Random House 2010 ######## read
Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter 4 3.85 Harper 337 2012 ######## read
In the Shadow of the Banyan Vaddey Ratner 4 4.12 Simon & Schuster 322 2012 ######## read
The Weird Sisters Eleanor Brown 3 3.39 Penguin Audio 158 2011 ######## read
Where’d You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple 4 3.98 Little, Brown and Company 326 2012 ######## read
Astray Emma Donoghue 4 3.64 Little, Brown and Company 288 2012 ######## read
The Forgetting Tree Tatjana Soli 3 3.15 St. Martin’s Press 404 2012 ######## read
Fool Christopher Moore 4 3.93 HarperAudio 0 2009 ######## read
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) J.K. Rowling 4 4.43 Listening Library (Audio) 10 2000 ######## read
Gold Chris Cleave 4 3.7 Simon & Schuster 324 2012 ######## read
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake Anna Quindlen 4 3.73 Random House 182 2012 ######## read
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky 4 4.14 MTV Books and Pocket Books 213 1999 ######## read
Tell the Wolves I’m Home Carol Rifka Brunt 5 4.21 Random House Publishing Group 355 2012 ######## read
Taft Ann Patchett 3 3.36 Harper Perennial 246 2003 ######## read
Flight Behavior Barbara Kingsolver 4 3.9 HarperCollins 436 2012 ######## read
Live by Night Dennis Lehane 4 3.87 HarperAudio 2012 ######## read
On Canaan’s Side Sebastian Barry 4 3.83 Faber and Faber 2011 ######## read
When it Happens to You Molly Ringwald 3 3.6 Harper Collins 256 2012 ######## read
One Thousand White Women: The Journals of   May Dodd Jim Fergus 4 3.83 St. Martin’s Griffin 420 1999 ######## read
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone   (Harry Potter, #1) J.K. Rowling 4 4.34 Scholastic Press 310 2003 read
Away Amy Bloom 0 3.31 Random House 240 2007 read
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