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#18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks

Update: Since I’m officially finished with my 52 Books in 52 Weeks, keep up to date with which books I’m reading over at Goodreads!

Number 18 on my 30 Before 30 list is to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I have so many stacks of books lying around the house, I just need to get them finished!

  1. 6/1 – Girls in Trucks #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Katie Crouch… I really didn’t enjoy this book. I kept reading it hoping it would improve, but it just didn’t for me. The narrative jumped, the stories didn’t have enough substance and I really could have done without the ending and overall lack of resolution.
  2. 6/3 -The Summer We Read Gatsby #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Danielle Ganek… I loved, loved, loved it! It had a great storyline and character development. I felt invested in all the characters by the end of it and really enjoyed the entire story. Plus, it involved The Great Gatsby so what’s not to love??
  3. 6/7 – The Alchemy of Murder #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Carol McCleary... The story is pretty good, although it reminds me of most historical novels in the writing. I had a really hard time finishing this one for some reason…
  4. 6/12 – A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Lori Smith… I really enjoyed the author’s tone and the way she was able to weave her life, her travels, Austen’s life and Austen’s stories. When she started writing about faith I was pretty wary, but Smith did a wonderful job of talking about her faith without preaching. It also feels pertinent in my life right now, so I greatly enjoyed it.
  5. 6/24 – The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, David Grann… This was a really long book (over 1200 pages on my iBooks version, almost 500 for the physical book) but it was absolutely fascinating! It was just as good as any fictional adventure novel and I loved that David Grann was able to wrap the book up and not leave the end hanging. I would definitely recommend this book, even if it takes you awhile to get through like it took me!
  6. 6/28 – Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Jonathan Stroud… I was super productive this week and finished 3 books during my vacation. Bartimaeus was a gift I received a couple weekends ago and I just now finished it. It was a good story and an easy read.
  7. 7/2 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Steig Larsson… I’m not quite sure what I thought this book (and series) was supposed to be about, but it ended up not being anything like I’d imagined. And I thought the book was fantastic.
  8. 7/4 – The Girl Who Played with Fire #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Steig Larsson… The second book after Dragon Tattoo and since the first wasn’t what I thought, I really didn’t know what to expect. I read the book in under 24 hrs because I just couldn’t put it down. So great.
  9. 8/10 – Heartstone, C.J. Sansom… Next book in the Matthew Shardlake series. It took me a solid month to get through it because I was only reading it at lunch, but I finally finished it! The last 200 pages I read tonight because I was so caught up. Love the history Sansom includes in his novels.
  10. 8/28 – The Screwtape Letters #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, C.S. Lewis… It took me two and a half weeks to read because it really is a very intense heavy book. And very though provoking.
  11. 8/31 – The Cruelest Month #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Louise Penny… The next in line in the Inspector Gamache novels that I started over a year ago. I could hardly put the book down!
  12. 9/6 – A Rule Against Murder #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Louise Penny… Fourth in Inspector Gamache and the first to take place outside of Three Pines. It’s an amazing world that Penny has built and I couldn’t wait to read the next.
  13. 9/20 – The Brutal Telling #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Louise Penny… Back to Three Pines for an amazing twist and an amazingly different story than the previous four.
  14. 9/26 – Bury Your Dead #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Louise Penny… Inspector Gamache book 6. I can’t get enough! The Inspector takes some time off to follow up on the last book, help out the Anglo society in Quebec City and tackle a huge personal issue that weaves throughout the novel.
  15. 9/30 – The Art of Non-Conformity #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Chris Guillebeau… Great book about how to live your life instead of sleepwalking through it. I wish I’d picked it up sooner and I would suggest everyone open their minds and give it a chance.
  16. 10/1 – The Little Prince #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Antoine de Saint-Exupery… It may surprise some people to know that I’ve never actually read the entire book (and me to know my favorite quote is actually not from it). I’m not sure why I’d never read it before because it took me only about 2 hrs to read, but definitely worth every minute.
  17. 10/2 – The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen… I really enjoyed this book as a story of one family’s way of giving. They’re not telling you it’s the best way to serve, but rather how they chose to give.
  18. 10/3 – A Trick of the Light #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Louise Penny… The newest Inspector Gamache novel and all about art. What’s not to love?? The plot definitely thickens for the next book of the series however.
  19. 10/6 – Dangerous to Know #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Tasha Alexander… The fifth in Alexander’s Lady Emily series about an independent British woman in the 19th century. I could hardly put this book down!
  20. 10/13 – Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Taylor Dibbert… Writing style was a little interesting at times (kind of reminded me of how I write) but had some really great information about one PCVs experience.
  21. 10/18 - The 4-Hour Workweek #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Timothy Ferriss… Great book that further fueled the fire to find my passion and change the course I’m on. I can’t see following his methodology exactly, but it definitely helped me examine more options that I had before.
  22. 10/30 – The Phantom of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Murder Mystery #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Regina Jeffers… I love a good mystery, especially a Jane Austen mystery that further develops the characters we all know and love! Plus, it had an ending I totally didn’t see coming until the last pages. Enjoyable story and I’d like to read more of Jeffers.
  23. 11/2 – Peace Corps : The Great Adventure #18: 52 Books in 52 WeeksGreat book with short stories from a variety of PCVs throughout the Peace Corps 50 year existence. The more I read, the more I want to be a part of it!
  24. 11/9 – Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell… It came on my Nook and sounded interesting, so I started reading. I really didn’t expect to be so entranced and drawn into the story. Great storytelling on the part of the authors, I really enjoyed this novel.
  25. 11/13 - The Art Thief #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Noah Charney… Just as I enjoyed Flawless  #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeksfor getting me inside the world of diamond theft, The Art Thief #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks got me into the world of art theft. Great book that I would definitely recommend to anyone.
  26. 11/14 – The Lost Painting #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Jonathan Harr… Great novel about the process behind the 1990 discovery of a lost Caravaggio painting, The Taking of Christ. It’s an easy read and a well-written story.
  27. 11/23 – Love Virtually #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Daniel Glattauer… This came as a free book on my Nook and I surprisingly really enjoyed it.  I was completely caught up in the Leo and Emmi love affair that unfolds from emails between the two.   I couldn’t put the book down and my heart definitely felt for the couple.
  28. 11/30 – Jane and the Canterbury Tale #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Stephanie Barron…  A good mystery novel written with Jane Austen as the storyteller. I will need to check out more of these!
  29. 12/11 – Drawing Conclusions #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Donna Leon… I love Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti series so much, and have ever since I read Death at La Fenice prior to spending 2 weeks in Venice about 5 years ago.  Happy to finally get to read the newest book in the series and am already anxious awaiting the next!
  30. 12/21 – The Mermaid Chair #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Sue Monk Kidd… This sounded like it was going to be really good, then at a certain point got really, really odd to me.  It could have been great but just sort of fell short for me.
  31. 12/31 - A Crimson Warning #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Tasha Alexander… The next book in Alexander’s Lady Emily series.  I love the strong character of Lady Emily, as well as the mystery and historical novel aspect of the series.  A great addition and can’t wait for the next one!
  32. 1/2 – Stumbling on Happiness #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Daniel Gilbert… I didn’t so much see that the book described happiness but more the psychology and inner workings of the human brain.  It was quite fascinating to learn about different studies that have done that help explain why we feel certain ways even though we expect to feel differently.
  33. 1/5 – Murder in the Marais #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cara Black… I finally started the Aimee Leduc Investigation series and I really enjoyed it.  I learned a lot about Paris during the Nazi Occupation as well as some of the lingering effects in the early 1990s.  Hopeful the next in the series will be just as good.
  34. 1/15 – Murder in Belleville #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cara Black… The second book of Aimee Leduc Investigation series and one that I really enjoyed.  I’m happy to have discovered this series!  I love learning more about Paris and issues that were alive in France in the 90s.
  35. 1/18 – Pictures at an Exhibition #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Sarah Houghteling… A wonderful novel following the son of a Jewish art dealer in Paris before and following the Nazi occupation of France.  There were parts that absolutely broke my heart and others that had me smiling and joyful.  Wonderful story line and great history on Paris and Nazi looting during WWII.
  36. 1/22 – Heat Rises #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Richard Castle… The third book by fictional author Richard Castle and this one was really great.  It was everything I love in a good mystery novel and, I might add, ties in really well with the TV series.  I’m looking forward to the next one!
  37. 1/28 – America’s Hidden History #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Kenneth C Davis… This was pretty interesting in that it told about history we’ve forgotten as a nation.  That the French wanted to try Washington for war crimes, that the Protestants were as ruthless as the Roman Catholics, and some of America’s greatest and most infamous founders who shaped the young nation.  I thought it was really interesting, even if it seemed a little disjointed at times!
  38. 2/7 – Bruno, Chief of Police #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Martin Walker… I really enjoyed this first novel of the series (and first mystery novel by Martin Walker).  An elderly Algerian man is brutally murdered and it’s up to the local country policeman to help the culprit.
  39. 2/7 – Murder in the Sentier #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cara Black… Another wonderful book by Black around Aimee Leduc, this one focusing on her absent mother.  It gives an interesting background on terrorism in Europe during the 60-70s.
  40. 2/8 – Murder in the Bastille #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cara Black… I literally could not put this one down!  The summary seemed a little unbelievable but Black did a great job tying the story together and making Leduc’s blindness seem realistic and not some crazy plot line.  Loved it.
  41. 2/10 – Murder in Clichy #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cara Black… Not my favorite of the series as I felt like the entire book was pretty much the same thing over and over.
  42. 2/12 – The Dark Vineyard #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Martin Walker… The second Bruno novel from Walker, focusing on the wine industry in the Dordogne.  I was not surprised by who the culprit was but was completely surprised as to why. Great story.
  43. 2/23 - Freakonomics, Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner… I can’t believe I’d never read this before.  It had some interesting tidbits and I really enjoyed it. Great for making you think about economics in today’s world, and whether or not things are really as they seem.
  44. 2/23 – Casanova: The Venetian Years #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Giacomo Casanova… Well, it wasn’t the entire book but it was a good piece.  Always great to read about infamous people in history.
  45. 2/26 – Murder in Montmartre #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cara Black… When Aimee’s police friend is framed for the murder of her partner, Aimee has to help clear her name and stumbles across Corsican Separatist terrorism plots.  I really enjoy the series.
  46. 3/1 – Black Diamond #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Martin Walker… I didn’t realize a black diamond was also the name for a large, expensive black truffle, so was pleased at reading another wonderful mystery about the French truffle industry. Bruno is inspiring as ever and I continue to look forward to the next in the series.
  47. 3/2 – Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis, Cara Black… Aimee solves the murder of a young woman while juggling motherhood. Very sweet and great storyline, I enjoyed this installment of the Aimee Leduc series.
  48. 3/3 – Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, R.A. Scotti… Wonderful writing about the greatest art crime of all time, the vanishing of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. Scotti explains all facets of the story, from the history of the painting, the crime, the suspects, the police work, the reappearance and finally the mastermind’s side of the story. So much I didn’t realize I didn’t know about the work of art.
  49. 3/15 – Murder in the Rue de Paradis #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cara Black… I could tell what was going to happen as soon as the novel started and it was heartbreaking. Another great Aimee Leduc novel.
  50. 3/16 – Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Karen Maezen MillerHand Wash Cold is easily one of my favorite books of the year. Miller is a Zen Buddhist priest and writes about life as laundry, dishes and gardening. Zen is something that has always interested me, but many of the books I’ve tried to read were way beyond what I could comprehend. Hand Wash Cold has enough Zen for me, but I was able to understand and appreciate.
  51. 4/1 – Man’s Search for Meaning #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Victor E. Frankl… One of the heavier books I read this past year, but one of the best. It definitely made me think and consider many things I never had before. Recommended reading.
  52. 4/8 – Murder in the Latin Quarter #18: 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cara Black… Another great Aimee Leduc novel… everything fast forwarded 2 years to the time period after Princess Di’s death. Very good.

 

It seems strange, but I completed reading 52 in 52 seven weeks early, in just 45 short weeks. I’m proud of the fact that I was able to complete it… there were times that it seemed a little insurmountable, even though I really enjoy reading!

 

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