Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Top 5's

I've got a few minutes left of the old year. As I looked back over 2007, I decided to make a list of some of some highlights. With little time left, I'll just do my favorite books of the year and my favorite family moments.

Top 5 Books Read in 2007:

"Nerd" Book: Word Myths, by David Wilton
A true delight for all word nerds, this book seeks after the sources of many common word myths and then in "Myth Buster" fashion either proves the myth correct or debunks what we thought we knew. Absolutely fascinating. (No, people's last names were not changed at Ellis Island, regardless of what Aunt Lucy says. People did that on their own later to appear more "American.")

Writing Book: The Writer's Journey, by Christopher Vogler
Out of print but worth finding used, this book has turned my way of looking at plot and character upside down and inside out. In a good way. I think my husband must be tired of me piping up during a movie with, "This is the Ordeal," or, "How much you wanna bet she's a shapeshifter?"

LDS Novel: Tie between In a Dry Land by Elizabeth Petty Bentley and Redemption Road, by Toni Sorensen Brown
I don't consider myself one of those hoity-toity types who can't appreciate genre fiction. On the contrary, I love genre fiction. But somehow these two more literary novels just resonated with me. IADL explores real Latter-day Saints with real problems that have no easy answers. It's a complex and powerful story. In RR, I have one complaint regarding the backstory, something I think could have made the story stronger, but it's a small detail in an otherwise powerful and beautifully-written book. Both of these are books that I'd reread sentences of just because they were so well put together with great imagery.

Young Adult Novel: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling
Okay, so that may sound cliche, but it's true. My husband and I read it aloud in a matter of days (after rereading the whole series earlier this year). I read the parts at the end that got me all teary and choked up and hardly able to speak. A terrific ending to a wonderful series.

National Women's Novel: The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
This is a book I had been told to read many a time and finally got around to cracking open. All I can say is WOW. Kingsolver is a writer who officially intimidates the heck out of me. She's amazing, and this book in particular hit such a chord. I read it weeks ago, yet I still find myself thinking about it, pondering it, wondering about the characters. Very few books stick with me this long. When one does, you can bet it'll be on my favorites list.

Some Top Family Moments for 2007
As I wrote these down, I realized that I could go on and on, so I just stopped when I reached five. This has been a challenging year in some ways, but a wonderful one in many others. Five moments that were bright spots in the year:

1. Having my son ordained a deacon and my second daughter baptized on the same day. Big stuff, wonderful day all around. The only thing missing? Mom and Dad, who couldn't be there, as they were instead on the other side of the planet on a church assignment.

2. My sister nominating me for Utah's Best of State Fiction medal. Then WINNING the medal and going to the Best of State Gala with my husband (in a tux for the first time since our wedding . . . woot, woot) and both of my sisters. Also getting an up-do in my hair on my parents' dime, something they did for me since they couldn't be there in person to celebrate with me.

3) Sending my baby boy off to junior high. Biting my nails over whether the big, mean kids would eat him alive. Watching him thrive instead.

4) Seeing my real baby (who's 5 now . . .) perform in her first dance recital and love every second of it. Seeing her big sister dance at the same recital . . . and no longer look like a little girl trying to dance but look like a DANCER. And easily the best in her class, outshining them all.

5) Watching my other daughter play in the elementary orchestra after picking up the violin for one semester. I've never heard such screeching Christmas carols in my life. But it was MY girl playing with the other violins. It was awesome. I almost cried.

May 2008 bring you and yours a wonderful year!


Julie Wright said...

you've made me want to go get all these books and made me tear up over your cute kids. Happy New Year Annette. You're one of the most beautiful people I know :)

Anonymous said...

I've just been linked to several LDS blogs, including yours, and am thoroughly enjoying reading them. Ah, so little time and so much good stuff out there! I must admit that although I've read dozens of books this year, none are on your list. However, you've given me a couple of ideas that I plan to incorporate into my life: read some of your suggestions and list my own top reads and family events of 2007 on my blog.

P.S. I love the name of the "joint blog"...Writer's in Heels.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Great list, Annette -- and it's fun to hear you brag on your kids. You've got such cute kids and a lot to be proud of.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Sounds like 2007 was a wonderful year for you. Hope 2008 brings even more joy.

Josi said...

Yeah, it really was a great year, wasn't it?

Luisa Perkins said...

Fun stuff! I've been meaning to read The Poisonwood Bible for, like, ever. Happy New Year!

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

Family and writing--oh, and books--what else can make us so grateful to be alive?

Anonymous said...

great list. congrats. you are blessed :) kathleen

Jenna said...

Hey, great list! Wow, I can't believe I beat both you AND Luisa on a book! I read The Poisonwood Bible back years ago when Oprah told me to. Great, great read. But seriously? Go read A Thousand Splendid Suns. Even better.

I loved your favorite moments list too. I have one coming up, similar to yours. My son gets baptized on Saturday, with my older son getting ordained the next day. I'll think of you.

Bobbi said...

You have a great family, Annette! I'm so glad we're related! And I'm going to check out some of your favorite books. :)


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