Amanda Gates

End of the Year Post, 2009

Each December I usually compile a list of five posts of my favorite reads of the year. However, this was a more lackluster year for reading. It started out strong, was mixed with some surprises, but overall, I couldn't really pick five books I loved. At least, not ones worthy of an end-of-the-year shout out. So, in lieu of a series of posts, I'm going to write one longish post, highlighting a couple books I really enjoyed, as well as a few blog posts of which I'm proud.

The Last Lecture
I don't think you'll find a negative review about Randy Pausch's book anywhere. It's engaging, inspiring and heartbreaking. It's short and sweet, but it's a thinker. What if you only had six months to live? What legacy would you want to leave behind? What lessons have you learned that you'd want to pass on to your children? Excellent book.

City of Thieves
This was a fluke. I found this book for free at work and gave it a try. I've since loaned it to three other people who all agreed: extremely good. Disturbing yet real, sad yet uplifting - plus you learn a little something, which is never a bad thing. Good for men and women readers. Definitely one I'll keep on my shelf for awhile.

Pretty is What Changes
While I can't say this is the most impressively written memoir I've ever read, the challenges the author goes through and the decisions she makes about her body are truly thought provoking, especially for women. It forces you to ask yourself some tricky questions, and the story has stuck with me all year.

Dreams From My Father
(three parts)
This was also an impulse read. I never really planned on reading Obama's memoir. I'm not like that with politicians and their books. But, for some reason I gave this one a shot. It's completely different than a memoir written after a presidency (or first lady-ship or rogue-ish VP run) because Obama wrote this before the political "machine" started for him. As I said in one of my posts, the absolute coolest thing about our president - whether you agree with his ideas or not - is that he's really one of us: raised by a single mom, middle class, worked hard to go to college, etc. (He's not some entitled kid who grew up in a wealthy family that had political connections from day one.) And he became President. It proves that if your kid says he or she wants to be president one day, you can actually say with some confidence now, "Yes, that's definitely within reach."

So, those four books stood out the most for me in 2009. Sure, I read some others that were cute, or fun, or interesting, but nothing that really grabbed me. I did, however, write some posts about books and popular culture that I thought were good conversation starters (whether they started conversations or not).

How Young is Too Young?

Does Pop Culture Make Us Feel Safe Again?
For the Love of First Grade
My Rant on Journalism Today

Here's to a great new year of reading. Though with a baby on the way, I'm guessing, perhaps, a little less reading than I'm used to.

So, what were your favorite books of 2009?

Top 5 Books of 2007
A Look Back 2008


I enjoyed City of Thieves,

I enjoyed City of Thieves, too. And The 25th Hour.

I'll have to check out City

I'll have to check out City of Thieves. I feel the same way you do, A. I was not overly inspired this year. I also read Dreams From My Father, and I think that is the best thing I read this year. I also loved The Book Thief.

I (and my mom) LOVED City of

I (and my mom) LOVED City of Thieves. I also liked The Bell Jar, The Secret Life of Bees, and Those Who Save Us.

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