December, 2006

December 1st, 2006, 12:03 a.m. - Whaaaaaat?

It's December already? But it's, like, 60 degrees outside!

December 3rd, 2006, 10:40 p.m. - I'm sure everyone knows why, but still

"Why Amanda is Not a Top Model"

11:23 p.m. - If you can't say anything nice, don't e-mail me. Seriously

"You Say 'Tomato,' I Say 'I Quit'"

December 7th, 2006, 5:58 p.m. - That photo is so my new screensaver

"The Heat is On"

December 10th, 2006, 11:39 p.m. - It's over. Woo

"We Lived in Paris for Two Years!"

December 11th, 2006, 9:31 p.m. - Collect 'em all!

"Why Eugena is Not a Top Model"

"Why Melrose is Not a Top Model"

"Why CariDee IS a Top Model"

December 14th, 2006, 9:33 p.m. - Talk about going down in flames

"More is More"

December 15th, 2006, 10:46 p.m. - Six years later, I'm still not a fan

34. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers)
Overrated. (Sorry.)

Up next: Jesus Land (Julia Scheeres)

December 22nd, 2006, 10:41 p.m. - Yes, I'm five. Which means it's way past my bedtime

Can it be Christmas yet?

December 25th, 2006, 10:14 p.m. - Prezzies! And, of course, the birth of Jesus

Merry Christmas!

December 27th, 2006, 8:34 p.m. - The year in books

I wanted to do this last year, but I couldn't remember all of the books I'd read, which is one of the reasons I started keeping track of them. (I do remember that I was going to pit Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close against his wife Nicole Krauss' The History of Love, and Krauss would have won.) So here are all the books I read over the past 12 months and my takes on some of them:

1. Stiff (Mary Roach)
2. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
3. Company (Max Barry)
4. The Partly Cloudy Patriot (Sarah Vowell)
5. My Fundamentalist Education (Christine Rosen)
6. This Day (edited by Joni B. Cole and others)
7. This Day In the Life (edited by Joni B. Cole and others)
8. The Tenth Circle (Jodi Picoult)
9. You'll Never Nanny in This Town Again (Suzanne Hansen)
10. The Lincoln Lawyer (Michael Connelly)
11. All the Fishes Come Home to Roost (Rachel Manija Brown)
12. Mixed (Angela Nissel)
13. Halfway House (Katharine Noel)
14. Bad Twin ("Gary Troup")
15. Possible Side Effects (Augusten Burroughs)
16. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
17. King Dork (Frank Portman)
18. Julie and Julia (Julie Powell)
19. The Husband (Dean Koontz)
20. The Brief History of the Dead (Kevin Brockmeier)
21. Two Little Girls in Blue (Mary Higgins Clark)
22. American Bee (James Maguire)
23. The City of Ember (Jeanne DuPrau)
24. The People of Sparks (Jeanne DuPrau)
25. The Prophet of Yonwood (Jeanne DuPrau)
26. Triptych (Karin Slaughter)
27. The Ruins (Scott Smith)
28. The End (Lemony Snicket)
29. The Overachievers (Alexandra Robbins)
30. The Book of Fate (Brad Meltzer)
31. My Pet Virus (Shawn Decker)
32. Class 11 (T.J. Waters)
33. Garlic and Sapphires (Ruth Reichl)
34. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers)

The best: Scott Smith's The Ruins, Kevin Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead

The worst: "Gary Troup"'s Bad Twin

Book that Entertainment Weekly named one of the ten best that I disagreed with the most: Frank Portman's King Dork

Best returns to form: Dean Koontz (The Husband), Mary Higgins Clark (Two Little Girls in Blue)

Book that most lived up to its hype: Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees

Book that least lived up to its hype: Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Books I'm most looking forward to in 2007: J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (of course), Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes

December 29th, 2006, 10:43 p.m. - Holy crap! (No pun intended)

35. Jesus Land (Julia Scheeres)
While I was reading the first part of Jesus Land, Scheeres' memoir of life as a teenager in rural Indiana with cold religious parents and two adopted African-American brothers, I kept thinking, "It can't get worse than this." I was wrong. In the second part of the book, Scheeres and her brother David, her closest friend, are sent to a reform school in the Dominican Republic and basically lose all of their freedom. They're inundated with orders and rules, told that Jesus wants this and that, and that everything they did back at home was evil. Their home away from home is no better than their real home, where their parents show no affection and care more for their dog than their children. It's not surprising that Scheeres is no longer a believer - her experiences were enough to make anyone renounce God. It's too bad, though, that her story doesn't have a happy ending after all of her hardships. She really couldn't overcome everything, no matter how hard she fought. She escaped, but without a family, she may not be much better off.

Up next: Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn)

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