Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Reading Challenges - Summary

I LOVE Reading Challenges;  I find them very motivating. These challenges help me to be more well rounded with my reading choices, but they sometimes cause me some self-imposed stress. since I like to finish what I start. So as December of 2009 approached, the for me mounted. Here are my final stats for my 2009 Challenges:

  • I signed up for (20) AND completed (17) or (85%)
Completed Challenges and # of Books Read
  1. 100+ Reading Challenge - Read 203 books
  2. 2009 Pub Challenge - Read 120 books published in 2009 (I was shocked by this stat).
  3. New Authors Challenge - Read books by 116 new to me authors (this was another huge surprise)
  4. Read Your Own Books - Read 115 of my own Books
  5. Support Your Local Library - Read 88 Library Books
  6. Audio Book Challenge - Listened to 46 audio books
  7. Clear Off Your Shelves - read 20 Books
  8. Spring Reading Thing - read 15 books
  9. Fall into Reading Challenge - read 15 books
  10. Winter Reading Challenge - read 13 books
  11. What an Animal Challenge - read 6 books
  12. Summer Vacation Reading Challenge - read 6 books
  13. Non-fiction 5 - read 5 books
  14. RIP IV - read 4 books
  15. Christmas Reading Challenge - Read 4 books
  16. In Their Shoes Challenge - read 4 books
  17. John Steinbeck Mini-Challenge - read 2 books
Challenges - NOT Completed - # books read

  1. Cozy Mystery Challenge - read 2/6
  2. A-Z Challenge - read 25/26 
  3. War Through the Generations WWII - 4/5
How did you do with your reading challenges for 2009? How many have you signed up for in 2010?

2009 Reading Stats

Total Books Read - 203

Fiction Books       - 159/203 -  78%
Non Fiction          -   44/203 -  22%
Audio Books        -   46/203 -  23 %
Children's Books  -     4/203 -    2%
YA Books            -     2/203 -    1%
Rereads                -   1/203   -    1%  (The Lovely Bones)
Review Books       -   65/203 -  32% (hope to lower this number in 2010)
Library Books      -    88/203 -  43%  (hope to lower this number in 2010)
My Books            -  115/203 -  57%  (includes review copies reviewed)
New Authors        -  116/203 -  57%  (love trying new authors)
2009 Pubs            -  121/203 -  60%  (addicted to reading the newest books)

The Best Books of 2009 - My Picks

December is my absolute favorite month of the year. My Birthday, Christmas, and preparations for the New Year, which includes finalizing lists (oh yeah I'm a list keeper).  Before I even put together My Top my Best Books Read in 2009 list, or checked out how well I did in the (20) challenges I signed up for throughout the year, I was thinking about 2010. There I was, spending hours and hours looking through my book shelves in preparation of my hopes of making 2010 a banner year!  Am I boring or what, or is this what other book lovers do as well?  say yes, please!!!

My #1 pick for 2010 was actually a tie between two books. This is the first year ever that I had two #1 books.  (I'm not taking the easy way out, there were both so memorable that I truly could not decide).  If you have not read my #1 picks, PLEASE make them a priority in'll be glad you did!

Top Fiction Picks

1. Cutting for Stone; Abraham Verghese
1. The Help; Kathryn Stockett
2. Little Bee; Chris Cleave
3. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County; Tiffany Baker
4. The Weight of Heaven; Thrity Umrigar
5. That Old Cape Magic; Richard Russo
6. Still Alice; Lisa Genova
7. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt; Beth Hoffman
8. Half Broke Horses; Jeanette Walls
9. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie; Alan Bradley
10.The Book of Bright Ideas; Sandra Kring

Top Non Fiction Picks

1. Christian the Lion; Bourke and Rendall
2. The Time of My Life; Patrick Swayze and Lisa Neimi
3. The House on Sugar Beach; Helene Cooper
4. Have a Little Faith; Mitch Albom
5. The Four Agreements; Don Miguel Ruiz

Have you read and any of these ? If so, did you love them as much as me?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

203 - Frommer's Costa Rica 2010; Eliot Greenspan


We are considering a vacation to Costa Rica sometime in 2010. Since it would be our first trip to this country, I thought this travel guide might be a perfect way to learn more about the country and its culture, it's history, the beaches, hotels etc.

The book is divided into sections:

  • The Best of Costa Rica (beaches, hotels, ecolodges and wilderness resorts, B&Bs, best family resorts, places for adventure,nature, and more.
  • Costa Rica in Depth: The history of the country past and present, culture, architecture and eating and drinking
  • Trip Planning: when to go, calendar of events,getting there and around once you are there, wedding planning, health and safety accommodations , suggested itineraries etc.
  • Separate sections about San Jose, Guanacaste (The Gold Coast), Puntarenas and the Nicoya Peninsula, The Northern Zone: Mountain Lakes, Cloud Forest and a volcano.
  • Central Pacific Coast (Where the Mountain Meets the Sea, The Southern Zone The Caribbean Coast
  • Fast facts guide; Spanish terms and phrases and Costa Rican wildlife info.
Also included is a foldout map plus detailed maps throughout the book, hundreds of color photos, reviews of hotels and restaurants, shopping and nightlife, as well as trip planning ideas for once you are there. The only thing that I was a bit disappointed in was not the book itself, but that many of the featured hotels only had one or two star ratings, even most of the very expensive resort hotels were only 3 stars, so we really need to do a bit more research and talk with people who have traveled here before. RECOMMENDED

202 - American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood; Marc Eliot

Clint Eastwood has long been a favorite actor of mine, so when I heard about the new biography, I was anxious to read more about this amazing man.  Boy did I learn a lot too! Despite the fact that Clint Eastwood was a womanizer, probably a lousy husband and a not very involved father, no one could say that the man did not have talent and that he worked hard to accomplish what he did in his 50 years on screen.  Probably one of the most iconic stars in Hollywood, he starred in westerns, thrillers, drama, romance and comedies. Some other interesting facts for me were:

  • He was married to just two women: Maggie Johnson (former swimsuit model) from 1953 - 1984) and his present wife Dina Ruiz (a former anchor woman and 35 years younger than him) from 1996 - present. 
  • He has (7) children from (5) different women: (2) from his first wife, (1) from his present wife, (2) from airline stewardess, Jacelyn Reeves, (2) with Frances Fisher, a British born American actress, and (1) by former exotic dancer Roxanne Tunis.
  • He also had a (14 year) relationship with Sondra Locke who starred in several movies with him.
  • Nominated for 5 Academy Awards and acted in more than 40 films.
Not wanting to give out too much information about Eastwood and his life, let me just say that, in my opinion,  if you are an Eastwood fan and want to find out more details about him and his acting career, this book might be a good biography to start with. My understanding is that Clint Eastwood was not interviewed for this book, so the information contained within came from multiple sources and interviews.  I cannot say whether the information is accurate or not since I knew very little about Eastwood prior to reading this book. I liked the book and would RECOMMEND it.

Wordless Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday - The Season of Second Chances

Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  What book are you waiting for to be released?  Here's my pick:

Pub Date: March 30, 2010 - Henry Holt and Co.

(about the book - amazon)

Coming-of-age can happen at any age. Joy Harkness had built a university career and a safe life in New York, protected and insulated from the intrusions and involvements of other people. When offered a position at Amherst College, she impulsively leaves the city, and along with generations of material belongings, she packs her equally heavy emotional baggage. A tumbledown Victorian house proves an unlikely choice for a woman whose family heirlooms have been boxed away for years. Nevertheless, this white elephant becomes the home that changes Joy forever. As the restoration begins to take shape, so does her outlook on life, and the choices she makes over paint chips, wallpaper samples, and floorboards are reflected in her connection to the co-workers who become friends and friendships that deepen. A brilliant, quirky, town fixture of a handyman guides the renovation of the house and sparks Joy’s interest to encourage his personal and professional growth. Amid the half-wanted attention of the campus’s single, middle-aged men, known as “the Coyotes,”and the legitimate dramas of her close-knit community, Joy learns that the key to the affection of family and friends is being worthy of it, and most important, that second chances are waiting to be discovered within us all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday Teasers

Miz B and Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

(p. 317)...."In 2005, at seventy-five years of age, Clint Eastwood was happily married to his second wife. His eight-year-old daughter Morgan Eastwood had been named after his costar and good friend Morgan Freeman.  He was the grandfather of two, Kimber's son and Kyle's daughter.  And he was head of a financial empire that included restaurants (the Hog's Breath Inn and the Inn Mission Ranch), real estate, the exclusive invitation-only Tehama Golf Club in Carmel Valley (with an initial joining fee of $300,000), part ownership in the Pebble Beach Golf and Country Club, whole or part ownership in sixty films he had produced, directed, starred in, or all three, and Malpaso, the company that made nearly all of them.  He had eight Academy Award nominations and five Oscars. And as the year began, he was deeply involved in not one but two new movies".

Monday, December 28, 2009

201 - Mean Mothers; Peg Streep

This title caught my attention several months ago, and I knew it was one book I really wanted to read, having been raised by a mother who was emotionally detached.

In this well researched book, Peg Streep, examines type of mothering that often is not spoken about: "Mean Mothers", and that they do in fact exist.  Through scientific research and case studies of adult daughters of  unloving and overly critical mothers, the author provides insight as to why some women are just not capable of nurturing their children -- especially their daughters.  It isn't just physical abuse, emotional abuse can be just as damaging. The author points out how daughters who are denied closeness, loving gestures and positive reinforcement from their mothers can develop negative self-images, and compulsive behaviors like overeating, overspending and overachieving. Emotional connection and closeness is something that is learned during infancy and childhood.  If raised in such a way that a child becomes emotionally detached, and this is not addressed as adults, future relationships are apt to suffer.

The author was a product of such a mother.........."I was no older than three or four when I knew my mother didn't love me. Of course, the way in which I knew this was different from how I would know and understand it at other times in my life, but I knew it nonetheless. I knew it first by the way she stiffened when I tried to sit in her lap or touch her arm, and how she turned her face away when I kissed her. She wasn't like the people who loved me – my father, my grandfather, my great-aunt, or even my teachers – whose faces softened with pleasure when I drew near. " 

One of the women interviewed by the author, hit particularly close to home for me (Sarah fifty-two)...."I learned not to ask my mother for anything because she never gave anything freely.  There were always strings attached. Holidays associated with family and closeness and even my own birthday were always hard for me and still are.  I approach them with low expectations and I am always ready to be disappointed because I always was with my mother. I have trouble asking for help from people, especially women because of my mother's inability to give........."

MY THOUGHTS - Although, perhaps a bit too theory based, I did find a lot of this book very interesting. If your childhood was perfect in every way, then there is no need for you to read this book.  If not, then many women might gain a better understanding of why your mother was the way she was when you were growing up. You can breathe easy, since not every daughter who is the product of a "mean mother", will become a "mean mother" herself. It takes work to move beyond the cycle of hurt that some wounded women have experienced, but it is possible to heal and to forgive. RECOMMENDED

200 - Saving CeeCee Honeycutt; Beth Hoffman

 Saving CeeCee Honeycutt; Beth Hoffman

Twelve year old Cecelia Rose (CeeCee) Honeycutt is the sympathetic narrator of this marvelous coming of age story set in the early 1960's.  CeeCee's life was anything but normal. Her mother Camille is mentally ill, and often lives in the past (1951) the time when she was crowned, Vadalia Onion Beauty Queen. Her father Carl is a traveling salesman, unable to cope with his wife's behavior, he is gone for long periods of time, leaving Cee Cee to watch over her mother. Camille's favorite pass time is shopping at the Good Will Store, always adding to her collection of prom gowns and fancy shoes.  She is the joke of the neighborhood when she strolls around town in her red lipstick, a prom gown and a tiara.  CeeCee is friendless (because of her mother), so she escapes into the world of books, schoolwork, and her kind elderly neighbor, Mrs O'Dell.

When CeeCee's mother dies tragically, her father arranges for her to move from Ohio to Savannah, Georgia with her great-aunt Talullah (Tootie) who she has never met.  She must leave her father, Mrs. O'Dell, her school and the only home she has ever known.  Little does she realize it, but great-aunt Tootie, her cook and maid Oletta, and friends will be the best thing that could have ever happened to her. Together these wonderful women provide CeeCee with the love and laughter she so desperately longed for, and in the process they enable her to come to terms with her past, and to embrace her new life.

MY THOUGHTS -  A sad, but hopeful story with memorable characters you will not easily forget. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is an amazing debut novel. It is one of those rare books that will stay with you long after the final page is turned. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

(Sent to me by the author for review)

Checkout this great video about what inspired the Beth Hoffman to write this wonderful book.

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a fun meme where bloggers reveal the books that arrived at their house over the past week. It is hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page.

Secrets of Eden; Chris Bohjalian - 2/2010 (Shaye Areheart Books)
(a favorite author of mine)

The Disappeared; M. R. Hall (Amazon Vine)1/2010 release

One Amazing Thing; Chitra Divakaruni (Amazon Vine) - 2/2010 - release

Letter to My Daughter; George Bishop Jr. (Random House - 2/2010 release)

Just review books this week -- no Christmas Books either.  Looking forward to hearing about your mailbox this week!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Salon - Cha Cha Cha Chia and other Post Holiday Stuff

Hope everyone who celebrated Christmas had a great holiday.  It's always fun to get together with family, but then there is that part of me that just likes hanging out and doing nothing for a couple of days afterward....yesterday and today are those days.  Did you eat too much like us? 

Did everyone seem happy with the gifts you gave and received?   The gifts that were big hits (given and/or received) were: gift cards to the Apple store, Best Buy, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, a Dell mini netbook, Pandora Beads, Mikasa wine glasses , Polish Pottery coffee mugs, and  (2) Keurig Special Edition coffee brewers.  That was for the human family members, but for the feline members the hit was.....yes  Cha Cha Cha Cia Cat Grass Planter. ($17.99 for this cheap looking planter and a package of oat/wheat grass seeds...LOL) 

The planter is made from ceramic and has a cat on it. (looks a bit like our Lilly!) It comes with just the right amount of potting soil and one pack of seeds.  The only thing it does not come with is the plastic they ask you to over it with after you plant your seeds. About 3 days after planting, the grass started popping through the soil and yesterday, about 10 days after the initial planting this is how it turned out! 

This is Freckles the cat, who is part goat I think, (he likes to eat our Christmas cactus, most plants really, toilet paper, wrapping paper, and then vomit afterward).  Freckles seems thrilled with the Chia Grass, and gets a few nibbles each day and then we hide it. The other cats are not as interested, but if it keeps Freckles away from our other plants then I guess I don't feel too bad about the $18.00...LOL

Do you have any plans for the last week of the year?  I plan to finalize my posts for new challenges beginning on January 1, and also do a post on my Top 10 Picks for 2009. I also hope to finish one book and read 2 more this week.

That's all for now.  Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

199 - The Monster of Florence; Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi

The Monster of Florence; Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi.

In 2000, American author Douglas Preston moved with his wife and two children to Italy (just outside of Florence). His plan was to write a new mystery novel.  While interviewing an Italian newspaper reporter (Mario Spezi) about the Italian judicial system, Preston learned that the house that he and his family were renting was near a murder site that was connected to a series of related murders in which the serial killer was never caught. In fact, between 1974 and 1985, eight double murders of lover's lane couple occurred. In each of the cases the female victim was badly mutilated. Fascinated by this information, Preston decided to abandon his plans for a mystery novel, and instead, he and Spezi became friends and decided to write about the elusive murderer dubbed the "Monster of Florence" instead.

The story is told in two parts: in the first half Spezi describes the murders, the suspects and the botched investigations. The cases turned cold, some of the witnesses died off after 30 years. The Italian judicial system and authorities are portrayed as down right incompetent and laughable.  In Italy, you are guilty until proven innocent. In the second half of the book, Preston tells about how he and Spezi met, and about their decision to write this book.  You learn that the Italian officials were so annoyed by Preston and Spezi's  research and investigation of these unsolved murders, that they arrested Spezi, and indited him initially as a suspect in the murders. They told Preston that he would be charged with aiding and abetting, and he was advised to leave the country. The authors vividly depict the Italian investigators, prosecutors, and corruption and mismanagement of evidence etc.

MY THOUGHTS - The Monster of Florence is a fascinating true crime story. The audio version was read by  Dennis Boutsikaris (a favorite audio book reader of mine). He had many distinct voices for the various characters, however the Italian annunciation, became a bit annoying for me after a while. For that reason, I almost wish I read the print version of this book.  If you enjoy true crime novels, and are not afraid to hear about some very graphic details of the murder and mutilations, then give this book a try. It's not perfect by any means, the killer is never caught, but despite that it is an interesting read.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays to Everyone

Just wanted each of you to know that I am wishing all of you and your loved ones, a wonderful holiday season, or a Merry Christmas (whichever applies) and a happy and healthy New Year.  May 2010 bring you much happiness.

Waiting on Wednesday - The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag; Alan Bradley

Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  What book are you waiting for to be released?  Here's my pick:

TITLE: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
AUTHOR: Alan Bradley
PUB. DATE: March 9, 2010

(From AMAZON)....From Dagger Award–winning and internationally bestselling author Alan Bradley comes this utterly beguiling mystery starring one of fiction’s most remarkable sleuths: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. This time, Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths—separated by time but linked by the unlikeliest of threads.

Flavia thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacy are over—and then Rupert Porson has an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. The beloved puppeteer has had his own strings sizzled, but who’d do such a thing and why? For Flavia, the questions are intriguing enough to make her put aside her chemistry experiments and schemes of vengeance against her insufferable big sisters. Astride Gladys, her trusty bicycle, Flavia sets out from the de Luces’ crumbling family mansion in search of Bishop’s Lacey’s deadliest secrets.

Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What of the vicar’s odd ministrations to the catatonic woman in the dovecote? Then there’s a German pilot obsessed with the Brontë sisters, a reproachful spinster aunt, and even a box of poisoned chocolates. Most troubling of all is Porson’s assistant, the charming but erratic Nialla. All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head?

(I LOVED Book # 1 by this author: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie)

Wordless Wednesday

(Don't Forget to Feed Them)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Teasers

Miz B and Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

(p. 4).....My father didn't smile or laugh very much, and he had a limitless gift for making me feel about as important as a lost penny on the sidewalk. Whenever I'd show him a drawing I made or try to tell him about something I learned in school, he'd get fidgety and say, "I'm tired, We'll talk about it another time".

(p. 9)...In school I was the skinny girl who had a crown-wearing, lipstick-smeared lunatic for a mother. Nobody talked to me unless they wanted an answer to a test question, and nobody sat with me at the lunch table---well, nobody except Oscar Wolper, who smelled like dirty socks and bore a shocking resemblance to Mr. Potato Head".

MY THOUGHTS: I just started this book today, and I am so excited. The writing is wonderful and CeeCee is such a fabulous narrator.

Monday, December 21, 2009

198 - Alice I Have Been; Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been; Melanie Benjamin

For Alice Liddell Hargreaves (AKA Alice in Wonderland) life has been an amazing journey, but as she approaches her eighty-first birthday, and looks back on her life, she realizes to most people, she is known only as "Alice".

When Alice was young, her father was friends with Charles Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll) a professor who loved photography. Much of his work and interest seemed to focus on young Alice. In fact, much of what was described, involving the two of them, seemed a bit creepy and inappropriate. Alice's mother, a stern and cold woman, became so concerned about Dodgson's relationship with Alice, that things between them came to an abrupt end. Why and what really occurred is never revealed.

Told in the first person by the now elderly Alice, the story covers her childhood, young adulthood, and later years.  The narrative is vivid and never contrived. The author does a beautiful job of capturing the voice of Alice throughout the various stages of her life.

MY THOUGHTS - If you love good literary fiction, or stories set in Victorian England this book is for you. A terrific character study and fictional account of what life was probably like for Alice. I'll be looking for more novels by this talented author. RECOMMENDED.
(Sent to me by the Publisher)

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a fun meme where bloggers reveal the books that arrived at their house over the past week. It is hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page.

Blacklands; Belinda Bauer - Pub. Date Jan. 4, 2010



The Girl Next Door; Elizabeth Noble - Pub. Date: Dec. 22, 2009

All (3) Review Copies were sent to me by: Simon and Schuster - Many Thanks

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Giveaway Winner - Alice I Have Been; Melanie Benjamin

And the lucky winner is Florinda! Congratulations and Enjoy! 
(I just finished this book and liked it a lot).

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Top 10 Books of Years Gone By

I've been trying to finalize my Top 10 Books for 2009, but did not want to post the list prematurely.  There is always that chance that I might hit another home run in the next 10 days.  It did get me thinking about books that I enjoyed in previous years.  I've only been keeping records since 2001, so I thought that I would post what I considered to be the BEST books that I read in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. (It was interesting for me to take a look back, scratch my head, and wonder how a few of these books even made my list to read, never mind them ending up being favorites for that year??? Has your taste in books changed over the years like mine?

2008 - Top 10 Books out of 206 Read

  1. Tomato Girl; Jane Pupek
  2. The Art of Racing in the Rain; Garth Stein (audio)
  3. Molokai; Richard Brennert
  4. Every Last Cuckoo; Kate Maloy
  5. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle; David Wroblewski
  6. Purple Hibiscus; Adichie (audio)
  7. Testimony; Anita Shreve
  8. Skeletons at the Feast; Bohjalian
  9. Unaccustomed Earth; Lahari (audio)
  10. The Commoner; Schwartz (audio)
2007- Top 10 Books out of 187 Read

  1. Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name; Vida
  2. A Thousand Splendid Suns; Hosseini
  3. The Double Bind; Chris Bohjalian
  4. Summers at Blue Lake; Althouse
  5. The Book Thief; Zusak
  6. Night Fall; nelson DeMille
  7. Gold Coast; Nelson DeMille
  8. The Loop; Joe Coomer
  9. The Rest of Her Life; Moriarty
  10. Promise Not To Tell; Jennifer McMahon
2006 - Top 10 Books out of 187 Read

  1. Water For Elephants; Sarah Gruen
  2. The Crimes of Jordan Wise; Pronzini
  3. The Things They Carried; O'Brien
  4. The Road; Comac McCarthy
  5. Cage of Stars; Mitchard
  6. The Thirteenth Tale; Setterfield
  7. The Analyst; Jon Katzenbach
  8. Wild Fire; Nelson DeMille
  9. Slay Ride; Grabenstein
  10. Book of Lost Things; Connolly
2005 - Top 10 Books out of 190 Read

  1. Snow Flower & the Secret Fan; Lisa See
  2. Kite Runner; Hoseinni
  3. Bright Forever; Lee Martin
  4. Myth of You & Me; Stewart
  5. Half Broken Things; Morag Joss
  6. Red Leaves; Thomas Cook
  7. My Sister's Keeper; Jodi Picoult
  8. Writing on the Wall; Schwartz
  9. Rapture of Canaan; Reynolds
  10. Follow Your Heart; Tamaro
2004 - Top 10 Books out of 134 Read
  1. Middlesex; Jeffrey Eugendies
  2. Between Two Rivers; Daniel Rinaldi
  3. An Inconvenient Wife; Megan Chance
  4. Sudden Sea; Scotti (N/F)
  5. An Almost Perfect Moment; Kirshenbaum
  6. The Christmas Shoes; Donna Van Liere
  7. Joy Comes in the Morning; Rosen
  8. Island Walkers; Bemrose
  9. The Usual Rules; Joyce Maynard
  10. A Redbird Christmas; Fannie Flagg
2003 - Top 10 Fiction Books out of 118 Read

  1. Life of Pi; Martel
  2. Crow Lake; Maryann Lawson
  3. Second Glance; Jodi Picoult
  4. All He Ever Wanted; Anita Shreve
  5. Learning Joy From Dogs Without Collars; Lauralee Summer (N/F)
  6. Old School; Tobias Wolff
  7. Lake of Dead Languages; Carol Goodman
  8. Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-Time; Mark Haddon
  9. Beachcomber; Karen Robards
  10. The Center of Everything; Laura Moriarty
2002 - Top 10 Books out of 87 Read

  1. The Lovely Bones; Alice Sebold
  2. Eden Close; Anita Shreve
  3. Blindness; Jose Saramago
  4. Tuesdays With Morrie; Mitch Albom (N/F)
  5. Whispers & Lies; Joy Fielding
  6. Snow Island; Susan Towler
  7. Gold Coast; Nelson DeMille
  8. Salem Falls; Jodi Picoult
  9. All the Names; Jose Saramago
  10. Chasing the Dime; Michael Connelly
2001- Top 10 Books out of 66 Read
  1. The Bonesetter's Daughter; Amy Tan
  2. Strange Fits of Passion; Anita Shreve
  3. Resistance: ; Anita Shreve
  4. The Inn at Lake Devine; Elinor Lipman
  5. The Bluest Eye; Toni Morrison
  6. The Law of Similars; Chris Bohjalian
  7. I Know This Much Is True:; Wally Lamb
  8. Good Harbor: A Novel;Anita Diamant
  9. L.A. Dead (Stone Barrington Novels); Stuart Woods
  10. Angela's Ashes; Frank McCourt (N/F)
 Were any of these books, favorites of yours as well?  My 2009 list should be out in another (10) days or so.