Sunday, December 30, 2012


As the end of 2012 approaches, I 've  re-assessed the books I read throughout the year. 
Some of the books I read were biographies  of  Cleopatra  and  Audrey Hepburn, an
assortment of business books, a  self-help book and a fairy tale about a girl who saves
her eleven brothers.   None of those books is mentioned on this list, however. 
Furthermore, only two of the books on this list were previously reviewed on this blog. 

Lastly, the  list includes Walter Isaacson’s  biography of Steve Jobs.   Though  this blog is
about women authors/subjects, I chose to make an exception of  Steve Jobs as he was 
such a cultural icon—changing all of our lives, including my own.

1.      Ali in Wonderland  by Ali Wentworth—This book  is a candid,  witty,  heartfelt,
at times amusing take on TV/media personality Ali Wentworth’s life (especially when  
she finds herself in absurd situations).  Ali in Wonderland  begins with the author’s
break-up with her fiancé (who had proposed in an Irish castle).  She left him
Imagine her distress when, six weeks later, she discovered a  message on his answering
machine that implied that he’d gotten married and was departing on a trip to the

2.      Married to Bhutan  by Linda Leaming--the author's well-written memoir of a
year-long stay in Bhutan, which is—according to  Leaming--“a tiny Buddhist country”
that borders India and China.  There she taught English, learned and struggled with the
Bhutanese language,  got acquainted with their customs and met and wed her husband.

3.      My Berlin Kitchen  by Luisa Weiss—My complete review may be viewed at

4.      Sempre Susan by Sigrid Nuñez--I really enjoy Sigrid Nuñez' writing.  She has a
thoughtful, cultivated--one might say, intellectual—approach to writing.  She rarely
chooses the obvious word.  I like that.  The night I was reading this book, I had
to look up ungemutlich--although I spent a summer trying to learn beginner-level
German, years ago.  It's a German word for messy or nasty.   So I learned
something new (though I doubt I'll EVER use this word).

Moreover, no one should be put off by the title.  "Sempre" just means always (in
Italian).  That said, the book is a memoir of Nuñez' non-romantic relationship with
author/writer Susan Sontag.  Nuñez was Sontag's personal assistant, even as she
dated/lived with Sontag's son, David.

A well-crafted and bittersweet tale, Sempre Susan is a sort of "All About Eve" for the
literati or literary set.

5.      Steve Jobs  by Walter Isaacson--I'd been a fan of Steve Jobs from the time my
mom bought our first family PC (an Apple).   So when this book was published, I felt
compelled to read it.  I got to re-live Steve Jobs' brilliant meteoric life.  Also, the dark
moments.  Though I did not know him personally, I liked Steve Jobs.   But--as with
every biography I’ve ever read--the subject (Steve Jobs) is revealed as flawed and
imperfect. Nevertheless, I loved this book.

6.      The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin--I read and really liked this book earlier
this year.  My complete review is posted at

--Yolanda  A.  Reid


Copyright  ©   2012-2013 by Y.A.  Reid

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