54. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
The last Harry Potter! Sigh. So sad. I really loved this one. I thought it was the best written and most wrenching of all the books. It was really engrossing, and I really admired how the characters became adults by the end of the book. I'm sad the series is over, but I the Rowling finished it up well.
55. Beyond Good Intentions by Cheri Register
For some reason I am really interested in internation and trans-racial adoption lately. I think it is because it is something that on the surface seems innocent and good, but when you dig deeper you see many different problems and issues with it. Anyway, this is a short book written by the mother of two daughters adopted from Korea. It is basically things not to do, or how parents' good intentions with their internationally adopted children can lead them astray. I thought it was good, intelligently written, and written with a lot of compassion and without the patronizing that could slip into a book like this. If I were a person adopting internationally, I think I would get a lot out of this book.
56. Unveiled: The Hidden Lives of Nuns by Cheryl L. Reed
The story of a journalist traveling around to see different communities of nuns in the US, and to find out why women would join a convent today. I thought this book was pretty simplistic and made sweeping statements without a lot of support. If you would be shocked to hear that all nuns are not the same and that not all of them agree with the Catholic church's teachings, then you should read this book. Otherwise it is not very useful or interesting.
57. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
This book was mentioned on some lists as the best book of 2007, but I didn't really like it. I thought the characters were spoiled, whiny, and self absorbed. Despite that, I still kept reading even though I was annoyed the whole way through.
*An aside: this book did help me crack down on my dissertation, though, as one character was writing a book for years. She was so annoying about it that in my desire to NOT be like her I decided I should work harder on the diss. :)
58. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book was excellent. It is the story of a girl in Nazi Germany who steals books. The book is narrated by Death. It is hard to explain all that goes on, but it is well-written, the characters are interesting and it is a unique way of looking at a story. This is one of the best books I have read in awhile.