2011 Review!

2011 has been a crazy, but good, year. My biggest accomplishment was having another little boy, Levi! He arrived the end of April, and surprisingly I've been able to read more since he was born. My secret? I read while nursing him! Yes, sometimes my toddler is tearing up the house while this happens, but I need ME time, especially while breastfeeding (it's very depleting!).
In 2012 I look forward to reading even more and participating in more challenges. I think I'll choose 1 or 2 in addition to the R.I.P. challenge in the Fall.

Challenges in which I participated:
R.I.P. VI (finished 4 of 4)

My favorites (in the order I read them):
The Poisonwood Bible by: Barbara Kingsolver (Historical Fiction)
Dreams of Joy by: Lisa See (Sisters Pearl and May: Book 2) (Historical Fiction)
A Clash of Kings by: George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 2) (Fantasy)

# of books I read in 2011:
Up from 30 in 2010 and 38 in 2009
Down from 48 in 2008 and 81 in 2007

Least favorite:
Letter Perfect by: Cathy Marie Hake (Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian Romance)

Repeated authors:
Kelley Armstrong (4) (Women of the Underworld series)
Carrie Ryan (3) (The Forest of Hands and Teeth series)
Lisa See (2) (Sisters Pearl and May series)
Patrick Ness (2) (Chaos Walking Trilogy)

Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's Crossing

By: Geraldine Brooks

Published: 2011

# of pages: 320

Official description:

Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure.

The narrator of Caleb's Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island's glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe's shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb's crossing of cultures.

Like Brooks's beloved narrator Anna in Year of Wonders, Bethia proves an emotionally irresistible guide to the wilds of Martha's Vineyard and the intimate spaces of the human heart. Evocative and utterly absorbing, Caleb's Crossing further establishes Brooks's place as one of our most acclaimed novelists.

My opinion: Excellent read! I'm a fan of Brooks, she writes great historical fiction. So I was excited about this book and it didn't disappoint me. I was impressed with the details that went into the setting, dialogue, and the historical facts. She writes an afterward that includes the research she did and what is fact and what is fiction in the book. It's neat that she used real characters, but changed some of their names. Historical fiction is my favorite genre (okay, so it's tied with fantasy!) and I recommend this to other fans of historical fiction.

All that said, this isn't making it to my favorites list. In order to be on my list, this book has to consume my every waking moment. I have to have a really hard time putting it down and after I do, I have to keep daydreaming about it, imagining myself in it, thinking about it, wanting to talk about it. This book wasn't like that for me. It's hard to completely relate to the characters, but it's supposed to be that way.

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: Well written, interesting characters, emotionally swaying, unique & original story.

Other reviews:

Book Nut
life by candlelight

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.



By: Ruth Rendell

Published: 2010

# of pages: 290

Official description:

Ruth Rendell is widely considered to be crime fiction’s reigning queen, with a remarkable career spanning more than forty years. Now, in Portobello,she delivers a captivating and intricate tale that weaves together the troubled lives of several people in the gentrified neighborhood of London’s Notting Hill.Walking to the shops one day, fifty-year-old Eugene Wren discovers an envelope on the street bulging with cash. A man plagued by a shameful addiction—and his own good intentions—Wren hatches a plan to find the money’s rightful owner. Instead of going to the police, or taking the cash for himself, he prints a notice and posts it around Portobello Road. This ill-conceived act creates a chain of events that links Wren to other Londoners—people afflicted with their own obsessions and despairs. As these volatile characters come into Wren’s life—and the life of his trusting fiancĂ©e—the consequences will change them all.

Portobello is a wonderfully complex tour de force featuring a dazzling depiction of one of London’s most intriguing neighborhoods—and the dangers beneath its newly posh veneer.

My opinion: I found this book on the crime/suspense display at the library and decided to give it a try. I usually don't pick up random books. Since I don't have much time to read, each book is carefully picked and usually recommended by someone before I dive in. So this is the first time I've just randomly picked up a book in a long time. And I'm glad I did, it was something new for me that I wouldn't have experienced otherwise.

Maybe it's because I saw Stephen King's recommendation on the cover, but I could not get it out of my head that this was similar to the 2 King novels I've read in the past. Just the description of the characters and how many of them are slightly exaggerated stereotypes. Or almost comically contradictory. Portobello's cast of characters includes a man who is a slave to his addiction (the object of his addiction is funny, but obviously addiction is never really funny), a crazy schizo, a "low life" who works hard to not work, another "low life" who ends up having the best values out of anyone in the book, and a religious man who thinks of himself as the most upright person in the book although he's actually the worst.

Portobello is by no means my favorite, but it was entertaining and even a little creepy at times. I recommend to fans of Rendell and psychological plots.

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Interesting characters, neat plot that all ties together in the end, a little disturbing, hard to really sympathize with the characters

Other reviews:

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

posted under , | 1 Comments
Newer Posts Older Posts Home


About Me

My photo
Wife, mother, bookworm.
This is a place where you can read book reviews, discover links, and learn about the reading challenges in which I'm taking part.


my read shelf:
Andrea's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Annual Goal

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Andrea has read 0 books toward her goal of 60 books.

Recent Comments