84. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I really enjoyed this book. The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi at the beginning of the 1960’s. The story is told from the perspective of three women:Skeeter Phelan, a white woman in her early twenties recently returned home from college hoping to embark on a career in journalism; Aibileen, the maid of one of Skeeter’s oldest friends Elizabeth; and Minny, another maid who has difficulty keeping a job due to her penchant for mouthing off at her employers. The plot revolves around Skeeter deciding to write a book on what it is like to be a black maid working for a white family in the South and Aibileen and Minny’s involvement with it. Even more so though, the story is about the complicated, sometimes horrific, but sometimes beautiful relationships between these women and the families they work for. I give it a 9 out of 10.
83. The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
I read this book for one of my book clubs. It was a quick, short read and rather amusing. The whole story is rather absurd, but also at times insightful. It basically revolves around this small town in Florida where the titular Stupidest Angel comes to fulfill the wish of one child. But of course being the stupidest angel things go very awry. I did enjoy the book, but it’s not really my style for the most part, so I probably won’t be picking up any of Moore’s other works. I give it a 6 out of 10.
82. Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard
This book was for one of my book clubs. We were looking for something vaguely Christmas related, and the title Timothy in this book is the character Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol all grown up. As seems to be the curse of this book club we once again picked a book that I didn’t care for. I’m not really sure what the point of having the protagonist of this book be Tiny Tim was as it didn’t really contribute much to the book. The main plot of the book revolves around Timothy getting caught up in some scandal by trying to rescue a ten year old girl who is being prostituted. There’s a whole kind of murder mystery thing going on and frankly I found it all really boring and not-suspenseful. I just really didn’t care about any of it. Every once in awhile there is something thrown in about his Uncle N (i.e. Ebeneezer Scrooge) and his father Bob Cratchit, but really there wasn’t any connection between the main plot and these characters so I again repeat I don’t see the point. It might as well have just been a book set during that same time period. I give it a 3 out of 10.
81. Hometown Proposal by Merrillee Whren
I’m not really reviewing this book since I read it in manuscript form and it’s written by my mother. I just read it to help her edit it, but since I did read it I thought I would add it to my tally for the year.
80. Tippping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
This is the third book by Waters that I have read this year. As I’ve mentioned previously I really enjoyed The Night Watch, so I’ve been hoping some of her other books would be as good. Unfortunately so far they haven’t. This book takes place in Victorian London, although some of the things that happened in the book seemed a little too forward to really haven’t happened then at least in my mind. The story revolves around Nancy Astley who is from a small town on the coast of England known for it’s oysters. She winds up falling in love and running off to London with a performer named Kitty Butler, and ultimately becomes part of her act. She winds up leaving the stage rather abruptly after her tryst with Kitty ends badly. The rest of the book details her downward spiral and life as a prostitute and then her redemption. I found most of it rather boring. I give it a 4 out of 10.
79. Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit by Charles Swindoll
I spent most of the year reading this book a chapter at a time for my bible study. It was a really engaging look at Paul’s life and his contribution to Christianity. I really enjoyed it and found it be a good foundation for discussion in our group. There were any number of times while reading the book that the chapter we were focusing on completely related to something someone in our group was going through at that particular time. I think it would be a good read just on it’s own, but if you’re ever looking for a book to read as a smallgroup I would highly recommend this one. I give it 8 out of 10.