favorite books of 2011

I am a writer of chick-lit novels, but I am also an avid reader. In years past, I probably read about a book a month. In 2011, however, I think I averaged closer to a book a week thanks to receiving a Kindle for my birthday in December, 2010. Reading on a Kindle is just so easy!  While I am not a professional book reviewer, I do post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for all the books I read. As a writer, I know how important these reviews are and I like to give back to my fellow authors by posting positive, yet honest reviews. Anyway, I post a weekly blog on my website and thought I’d dedicate my last blog post of the year to those books I enjoyed the most in 2011.

As a disclaimer, I thoroughly enjoyed way more books than those included on this list. While reading the following books, however, I found myself turning on my Kindle at every available opportunity to find out what happened next: for example, in line for the ATM, riding the elevator to my office and even waiting for the light to change to cross the street! Although I devoured these books like a pint of Ben & Jerrys, I half dreaded reaching the final page. These books had me hooked from the first paragraph and never lost my attention throughout 300 or so pages. And finally, while reading these books, I forgot they were fiction and immersed myself completely in the lives of the characters.

Without further ado, I have listed below my favorite books of 2011:

Skipping a Beat – Sarah Pekkanen. This book tore at my heart strings like no other.

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes – Francine La Sala. This book was like a chick-lit fairytale. I loved it.

Stay: A Novel – Allie Larkin. I couldn’t believe this was Allie’s debut novel. It had the polish of a much more seasoned author.

Pinch Me – Adena Halpern. Halpern consistently makes the preposterous read completely true and she does it with heart and humor.

Save as Draft – Cavanaugh Lee. I think this was my absolute favorite. Who knew a story written entirely in emails and texts could be so poignant?

Already Home – Susan Mallery. Mallery is such a gifted storyteller, I briefly questioned my continued pursuit of a writing career. Quite humbling indeed.

Twenty-eight and a Half wishes – Densise Grover Swank. This fast-paced, gripping mystery/chicklit novel made my 6.5 hour flight from NYC to Seattle significantly less painful than it could have been.

It’s a Waverly Life – Maria Murnane. Classic chick-lit. Even better than the prequel, Perfect on Paper.

Unscripted – Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz. This book had everything I love in a chick-lit book; a relatable protagonist, a charming yet egnimatic love interest and side stories focusing on career and friendship.

And there you have them – my favorite books of 2011. I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings to my Kindle!

Do you agree with my choices? Do you have any to add to my list?

What’s the hurry?

It occurred to me lately that I’m always rushing to be somewhere, do something, etc. I am ALWAYS rushing to get to work by 9:30am which is absurd because a) 9:30am is not that early and b) my commute is a 15 minute walk. It’s not that I can’t wake up in the morning; I get up early almost every day to go to the gym. But getting ready and out the door to work is always a challenge. I either change my outfit three times or can’t resist checking my personal email before leaving my apartment and so, by the time I leave, it’s 9:15. If I’m wearing heels, walking briskly is out of the question and I never fail to miss each and every light on my walk. Regardless of what time I leave, the traffic lights are working against me. Anyway, by the time I get to work (9:29 on a good day), I’m usually out of breath and sweating. I can think of other activities that leave me breathless and sweating and they are immensely more pleasurable than commuting to work. *sigh*.

The holiday season lends itself to more family time and for the last few weekends, I’ve needed to commute by train to my parent’s house. I always leave myself with exactly the amount of time I need to get to Grand Central, purchase my round trip ticket and hop on the train. Unfortunately, my scheduling does not allow for unforeseen circumstances like last week’s city bar crawl which resulted in hundreds of twenty-somethings dressed up like Santa Claus convening in Grand Central, blocking my way to the train track. I pushed, elbowed and cursed my way through the crowd while grunting “I have to make my train. For the love of God, get the f%k out of my way!” and finally made it to my train, yes, breathless and sweating. I vowed to leave myself more time moving forward but I’m going to my parent’s for an early Chanukah dinner today and will most certainly have to rush to make the train.

I find myself rushing to do other things besides commute. For instance, I have written 38 pages of my third novel and am already stressing out over when I’ll finish it. I am not on a deadline so where’s the fire? I have at least ten books on my “to-read” list, including several written by some new Twitter buddies, and am stressing out over when I’ll get to them. Unless you’re reading for work or school, the words “reading” and “stress” should not be in the same sentence but welcome to my world. I’m always rushing to write my weekly blog. Nobody is forcing me to write it on a weekly basis, except me. Christmas is in a week and I haven’t purchased gifts for three of my nieces and nephews. Ok, that deadline cannot be extended so it looks like there will be a last-minute rush to purchase gift cards.

I bragged to my mom that my friend Abbe’s mother let me help cook theThanksgiving dinner. My assistance consisted of peeling the potatoes, peeling the shrimp and opening up bags of lettuce for the salad but I felt useful. I never feel useful at my own family dinners because I am never expected to help out. I am the designated eater. I thought it might be time to contribute being that I’m not ten years old (or 20 or 30). My mother teased me about my lack of cooking experience and so I offered to make a dish for Chanukah dinner. I never expected her to take me seriously so imagine my surprise (and horror) when she left a message on my voicemail Friday asking what I was bringing and expressing her excitement that I would be preparing it with my “own little hands.” First I cursed myself for opening up my big, fat, mouth and then I panicked because I had no idea what to make. I emailed some friends for advice but wound up finding a very simple side dish by searching “very easy side dish recipes” on Google. I had to rush to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients because, no, I don’t keep butter in my apartment.

The point of this blog is…well, I’m not quite sure, but it’s been over a week since my last post and I was in a hurry!

gonna have to face it, you’re addicted…

I currently have several windows open on my computer.  While working in Outlook, I can easily click to Pandora Radio if the co-workers behind me get chatty and I need to drown out the sounds of their giggling.  If I see that I’ve received a new email in my Hotmail account, I can quickly click to see who it’s from.  Since I am constantly making changes to my trademark docketing system, I have the system open for ease of access. 

Just a few moments ago, I also had my Twitter account open, but the number of new tweets being sent by the people I followed continued to tally at a crazy fast speed and I realized I was becoming compulsive about reading each new tweet as it arrived. Not only was I obsessed with reading the tweets of others, but my brain was busy churning out new tweets for me to send – some to promote my book, others to support other authors I follow and whose books I’ve read and enjoyed, others to thank people for following me and others to simply express myself creatively in 140 characters or less.  I found my mouth open in awe at the number of creative tweets sent by my fellow authors, the multitude of conversations being carried on between various twitters, the links attached to tweets advising of new reviews, guest posts etc.  And all I could think about was that I couldn’t possibly keep up.  Not if I wanted to keep my day job, maintain a social life, burn the highly caloric meals I consume every day, keep up on my favorite television shows and, last but not least, write another book.  But I could probably keep my eyes fixed to my Twitter page 24/seven with little effort.  No lie! I can almost feel my eyes glossing over from reading one tweet after another. It’s so damn addictive and I, Meredith Gail Schorr, fear I am on the road to Twitter addiction.  I’m a very addictive person, thankfully not to drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, shopping, overeating or any of the other ____’s anonymous for which meetings are held.  I *dabble* in some, but am not addicted!  But here are some of the things to which I am addicted:

Sushi – My name is Meredith and I am a sush-aholic.  If I go more than a week without it, I get the shakes.   

Hats – they are just so cute and I feel like Mary Tyler Moore whenever I wear one. I buy them.  Often.

Playing with my hair – I can’t stop.  Ask my mom.  Ask my boss.  Ask anyone who has spent significant amounts of time with me. 

Wondering if my ass is too big for the rest of my body.  I’ve been told it’s kind of nice but I think it’s just kind of big. 

Reading chick-lit books.  It would be nice to expand my horizons into another genre, for instance, mystery, crime, romance, literary fiction, graphic novels, erotica.  But each time I go for my Kindle, yup, chick-lit. 

Drinking – oops, didn’t I mention above that I was not addicted to alcohol?  Oops.

Men – You penis-bearing people consume my every thought.  I hate you.  I love you!  I hate you.  I love you.

Television – To those of you who limit the amount of television you watch to one hour a day, why??

Exercise – Like sushi, if I go more than a week without it, I get the shakes.  Except substitute a “week” with a day.

Sleep – I keep hearing from my fellow authors that they get up extra early in the morning to write.  Or they go to sleep super late to write.  No can do.

Music – Everything is better with music.

Between sleeping, wondering if my ass is too big while exercising with my iPod, watching television, eating sushi (with a beer), reading chick-lit books and men, it might explain why it takes me at least a year to write the first draft of a novel!   

I’m off to battle another addiction.  Guess which one.  And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @meredithschorr 🙂