31 December 2009

Books Read in 2009

With 2010 arriving tomorrow, it is time to document all 24 of the books I've read in 2009. The following is a complete list (most recently read first). Search the title/author in my blog to see my personal review of each book (all but the last 9 should be available, and the missing 9 are coming soon).

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
Tribulation Force by LaHaye & Jenkins*
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk*,**
Left Behind by LaHaye & Jenkins*
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho**
Breakfast of Champions**
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien*
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button*
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein*,**
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett*
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury**
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson*
The Beach House by Jane Green
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult*
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom*
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger*
1984 by George Orwell
Emma by Jane Austen*
The Dewey Decimal System of Love by Josephine Carr*
New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd*
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

* personal favorite
** East Orlando Twenty-Something Book Club book

Christmas Letter 2009

Merry Christmas!

2009 was an adventurous year for me! Looking back I can see how much I’ve grown and how wonderful the last twelve months have been:

In January, as a sort of graduation gift to myself, I bought a 2009 Honda Fit Sport. When I moved to Orlando, Florida that little car did me well. Even better than the fuel efficiency was the company I had during the trip. My family helped move me into my lovely apartment, which has become home for me and my cat, Ashes; being so far from Indiana isn’t quite so bad with that fur ball around to keep me company.

I moved to Orlando for my new job with Lockheed Martin. I am a systems engineer on the Test Team for the Assured Identity program. Our job is to upgrade the current Lockheed Martin employee badge system to smart cards. My job is to find and report defects in the new system as it’s being developed. Until recently I was on the Test Team full-time. Just last week I began a transition to take on a second role part-time. For this new role I gather and analyze metrics and represent the business area. I’m being challenged, and I really enjoy my job!

Indeed, the weather and nearby beaches are nice, but Orlando has given me so much more for which I am thankful! I’ve made several friends and found a fantastic church. I played on a Lockheed Martin sand volleyball team, and I am catcher for a Lockheed Martin softball team. Also, I joined a gym, a camera club, two running clubs and I even founded a book club!

I love to read and wanted to meet other readers around town, but no existing book clubs I found were working out, so I just started my own: The East Orlando Twenty-Something Book Club. Through the book club I’ve met other bookworms, and we have heaps of fun! We’re a pretty social bunch: trips to Busch Gardens, the beach, book sales, movie nights, bowling, and, of course, the actual book discussions. We read one book a month, but, in addition to that, I usually read another one or two books. The next book on my list is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Here’s the latest on the family: Mom always keeps busy whether she’s gardening, quilting or running. She’s been running up such a storm that, believe it or not, she currently holds the Bennett Family Half-Marathon Record Time! Dad is continually studying his hobbies: photography and weaponry. His Navy background gives him a leg-up on the competition at the shooting range. Chucky has buzzed his hair and is aiming to become a Navy SEAL! With his wrestling history he will go far in that endeavor! Speaking of wrestling, Sam just signed with Northern Illinois University for a wrestling scholarship! I can’t wait to see him wrestle under the lights at State!

I sure do miss my family and friends who are far away, but, lucky for me, I’ve had many visits with them! Here are a few of the year’s highlights: Mom’s visit during Spring Break, running the Indianapolis 500 Mini Half-Marathon with Mom and Dad, Kristin & Aric’s wedding in Iowa and their visit for the Fourth of July, Mom’s summer visit, hanging out with my fellow Boilermakers and my Aunt Joan in nearby Melbourne, Sam’s fall visit, turning 23, Lana & Geof’s wedding, enjoying the Colts’ season with friends, Purdue’s Homecoming and reunion with college friends, all sorts of Halloween fun, and a surprise visit home for Thanksgiving!

That brings us to Christmastime! “And so I’m offering this simple phrase, to kids from one to ninety-two, although it’s been said many times, many ways, a very Merry Christmas to you!”

Amanda Bennett