“O Pioneers!” by Willa Cather

The Bergsons, Swedish immigrants who have settled in Nebraska at the turn of the twentieth century, are determined to survive the wild prairie. Even as many of their friends and neighbors, such as Alexandra’s only friend Carl Linstrum, give up and move away, the Bergsons have become too invested in the rugged land to give up now.

Top 5 Books of 2010

Though I’ve read and reviewed many good books this year, there are several that stood out for me, so I’ve decided to compile a list of my top five books of 2010—enjoy!

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger

This book gorgeously illustrates love, loneliness, and loss. Niffenegger’s approach to time travel is unique. She uses it to explore the miscommunication and sense of distance that can occur in any relationship, while also discussing the larger issue of what it would be like to live life completely out of order.

“How to Read the Air” by Dinaw Mengestu

How to Read the Air is about failed relationships and imperfect people, and about the lasting effect of relationships on identities—for better or worse. Unfortunately, between the slow plot and the flat characterization, there was very little to draw me into this story, and even less to keep me hanging on. As a big fan of Mengestu’s first book, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, I was disappointed in this, his sophomore offering.

“Coraline” by Neil Gaiman

Coraline envelops you in the mystery and magic of a resourceful and imaginative child’s world. It is an excellent modern-day fairy tale that incorporates countless elements of folklore and fantasy.

“No Plot? No Problem!” novel-writing kit by Chris Baty

The kit’s contents are snarky and fun if you need a pick-me-up, but you shouldn’t expect any life-changing advice. Baty attempts to prepare you for a month-long writing endeavor with equal parts humor and advice, but the whole thing feels corny. Stick to November, or get a crowd of friends to write with you some other month, and leave this kit on the shelf.

Still Reading, and Still Thankful

Saturday, November 27, 2010 3:00 p.m. I was planning on making some progress on my books this morning, but I ended up playing outside instead. I’m now on page 130 of The Lotus Eaters, and I’m hoping to get to the halfway point by tonight. Wish me luck!