Books

BookLove: A Year of Reading

A year ago this month, I was inspired by this post on How to Read a Book a Week, and made a commitment to read 25 pages a day. At this rate, I estimated that I would finish about two books a month, a lofty proclamation for someone who typically was reading several interesting books and one time and hardly finishing any of them.

I am happy to report that I was pretty loyal to my 25 pages a day, and just last week, I started book #24! Accomplishing this goal was surprisingly simple. Twenty five pages of reading is about 30 minutes a day. I found if I read even just for ten minutes in the morning before anyone else in the house woke up, and a little bit longer in the evening, I could easily meet the daily goal. My other secret was to always have my book with me. Whenever I leave the house, I pop my book in my purse. When I have a few unexpected minutes, such as standing in line at the market or in the car waiting for the kids to get released from school or sports, I dive into my book.

Below, in the order read, are the titles, with notes for you on my favorites. Books not to be missed: Beautiful Ruins, The Invisible Bridge, The Fault in Our Stars and All the Light We Cannot See. Also, for those with an interest in Italy, Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered and La Bella Lingua.

Share with me in the comments section below your opinion on any of these books, or a favorite book of yours for my next read!

1. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: LOVED this book, highly recommend it! A love story across the years set in Italy, Italian phrases interspersed, what’s not to love?

2. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay: debut novel for a friend of my sister-in-law, a sweet read.

3. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer: Second read for this incredible book.The writing is exquisite, the love story deeply touching; war details disturbingly vivid. I especially love how much the characters love each other; particularly touched by the relationship between Andras and his older brother Tibor. Here’s my BookLove post dedicated to this book.

4. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander

5. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

6. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

7. The Fault in our Stars by John Green: I knew when I started this one that this book would break my heart. Still, what a touching read.

8. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

9. The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

10. Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel: Less about his daughter and more about Galileo, I do recommend this one as a great biographical read.

11. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

12. The Last Medici by Harold Acton: a good read if you are really interested in the Medici Family, like me.

13. The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall by Christopher Hibbert: A great read for those with an interest in Renaissance Florence. Opening chapter paints a fantastic picture of 14th century Florence.

14. The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy

15. Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales: Readers of this blog will know how much I love this book! More details in BookLove.

16. La Bella Lingua (read #3!) by Dianne Hales: see my notes on #15! 

17. Italian Food Rules by Ann Reavis: I met Ann in Florence this fall when I ran away and walked in Mona Lisa’s footsteps with Dianne Hales (read more here), so it was fun to read Ann’s book on the flight home.

18. A Vineyard in Tuscany by Ferenc Mate

19. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

20. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo: “The Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how”.

21. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

22. Saving Italy by Robert Edsel: very interesting read of the Monuments Men of Italy.

23. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: highly recommended, beautifully written and one of the best reads on this list.

24. About Grace by Anthony Doerr: In progress!

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