I may not have read the bestsellers of 2011, but I did do more (recreational) reading this year than (surprisingly) any year I was in college. And with that, I have created a list of the Top 5 Books I’ve Read in 2011 (in no particular order).
1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Set both during the Great Depression and present day, this novel switches back and forth between Jacob Jankowski as a Columbia Vet School drop out and as an old man in an assisted living home. The adventure of his youth, of self-discovery, love and coming of age, could almost equal the talent in the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Jacob’s love of animals translated to his strength of survival during the Great Depression, and introduced him to a unique woman. This book kept me hooked and flipping pages for the week that I read it. I honestly could not put it down and this was probably the best book I could have possibly read this summer.
2. Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction by Sue William Silverman
I took a risk with reading for fun during my last semester of college, but this is what I chose. A memoir of her sexual addiction and her journey to discover self-worth and what her self-destructive behavior has been doing to her since a young age. A 28-day journey in rehab and her first day out, we follow Sue William Silverman and even enter her reminiscence of her encounters with several prominent men in her addiction and how it affects her life and her relationship with her husband. This book can make you evaluate about what it means to love and how you treat yourself, physically and emotionally.
3. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
A whimsical pick. A story of a professor and his student, many years after their classroom relationship has ended, have been brought together again by a ABC Nightline appearance by Morrie about his condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Through weekly meetings with Morrie, Mitch (and ultimately the reader) learns a bit about the disease and truly what it means to be patient and to appreciate life as we know it. Through Morrie, we can learn humility, dignity, determination, and love among other things. There are a lot of truly beautiful moments and lessons to be learned from this book, and I would highly recommend anyone to read it. Chapters are short, but to the point; every detail is there for a reason.
4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
A classic and a favorite of two friends trying to survive during the hard times of Industrializing America and the rash nature of society. Lenny and George are two men with a dream to own their own land and build their own futures, but are met with challenges at their most recent place of employment. Lenny’s kindheartedness yet slow to understand nature has made him enemies, yet George is there to protect his friend until the end. I have absolutely loved this book ever since I first read it in junior high. I try to read it once every two years or so, just so that the story and its characters don’t lose their charm. The movie with Gary Sinise and John Malkovich is an excellent visual to John Steinbeck’s work, and truly moving.
5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
So what if it’s a children’s book? I’ve probably learned more about the history of French cinema/films and appreciated the innocence and raw curiosity and persistence of children through Hugo’s story and invention. An orphaned boy who lives in the train station where he maintains the clocks, steals for survival. But the discovery and self- growth of this boy is astounding. Determined to rebuild the automaton that he watched his father rebuild himself was an endeavor, but little did Hugo know that the people he meets and his past are colliding together through him. Part picture book (through Selznick’s own illustrations and actually movie stills and photographs) and part narration, this book is truly one-of-a-kind. I have yet to see the Martin Scorsese movie portrayal entitled Hugo, but from studying Scorsese’s work and literature, I know that he would do the book justice.
Happy reading and Happy New Year!
I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, safe and well-read 2012!
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