to read, to celebrate

*still time to send me a christmas photo

here’s a short list of some of the best books i read this past year. this is not a list of favourite sober books (Jason Vale!). this list is regular reading, non-fiction and fiction, though does show my personal bias to food and mysteries… this not my favourite list of ALL TIME (different post?) these are just best books read in 2013 from my growing list of 46 completed books (new personal sober record!).  but this list could also be called “books to buy yourself on amazon (used) because you deserve a treat.”

  • steve jobs biography (walter isaacson)
  • michael ruhlman’s chef books, 3 parts, i particularly liked the first one when he’s a student at the CIA, and The Soul of a Chef
  • the wake of forgiveness (bruce machart), set in 1895 texas. i know, but really, it’s a great great book. drama. young love. and a bunch of violence.
  • girl with the pearl earring (i reread this every couple of years)
  • the first victim (ridley pearson), set in seattle, uncover journalist + cop + stuff = pretty great story…
  • death at la fenice (donna leon), mystery series set in venice, this is book #1, i think i ready 10 of them this year, but this first one was the best.
  • blood, bones, and butter (hamilton), chef memoir that describes the compulsive life required to be high level chef. including dramatic and unusual personal life, and highly successful restaurant …
  • wild (cheryl strayed), non-fiction account of walking in the woods.  ok, not quite, but it’s a hiking, survival, adventure, holy shit did that just happen, kind of book.
  • above suspicion (laplante), british mystery, written by the same chick who wrote the bbc show Prime Suspect. this is book #1 in a series… and holy it’s super great, and grisly and very well written
  • and finally, the interestings (wolitzer), just finished yesterday, sad it’s over


Team 100 update: 488 members as of this morning, welcome to new joiners: En44 (8), Truly Trying (7), Joy (7), Lirpa (8), Alie (7), Jeannie Yogini (53), Macaroon (7), Tennismumsie (6), Lo (7), FM (5), KateF (9), Hollm (4), Kristen (3), Drusty (63), Yellow Bird (4), StevieM (4), MW (6), Dukes (1), Joanna (3).

since i’ve been sick this week, i’ve missed posting a few congratulations:

Happy day 500 to Katherine!

Happy day 200 to Designer Rachel!

Happy day 180 to CHow!

Happy day 180 to Ingrid!

Happy day 180 to Sarita!

Happy day 180 to KC!

Happy day 150 to LD!

Happy day 100 Carolyne!

Happy day 100 MarthaC!

Happy day 50 Debs!

Happy day 50 James!

Happy day 50 Sign_Gurl!

Happy day 50 Challenges!


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Day 25! Wow! Reading sober blogs have been my read list! Need You! Just finished a silly romance Christmas novel that warmed my heart!
    Doing a happy dance cause I survived 2 of the first of many challenging ßocial events Wine free! Yay me!

    • beachgurl1960-rock on, surviving two events is a huge WIN !~! I avoid social events but I get that not everyone can or even wants to so I say :More Power to You: stay the course, you’re doing great.

  • I loved The Girl With the Pearl Earring! Read several Sister Fidelma mysteries this year. They’re set in Ireland, about the 10th century. Reading is something I do to take my mind “away.”

  • And a huge congrats to all 14 of you!!! 500, 200, 180, 100 (Carolyne & MathaC: YOU ROCK), and 50! OMG, you are all kicking ass!!!! You’re inspiring to the rest of us and making it work sober style at probably the very hardest time of the year. I’m sure we are all braving through endless parties, family and work crazies, and the biggest of ALL drunk fests, New Years, is still right around the corner… I strongly suspect Belle will get an amazing amount of new sign ups in the beginning of 2014 as people put down their drinks and embrace the New Year, New You concept. If there are any lurkers gearing up or wondering if they can do it, the answer is join us (and the incredible, wonderful Belle) as soon as you can. This is such a wonderful site and group of supportive cyber sobers; it can be done!!!! Hana

  • Happy Holidaze to everyone! The Night Circus, and Quiet were favorite books this year. Quiet is particularly well written for a non-fiction book and a pretty fascinating look at the value of the introverted person in society, business, etc. So today is Day 60!!!!! and off to play 18 holes of frisbee golf with my stepdad in an hour. Just telling a friend last night that if you want time to slow down try getting sober. (:

  • I am going to check out that chef one. I am a chef, 20 years now, and have let up on my cheffy like readings in the last few years. “The Perfectionist” is one that I loved, although it is sad – a Michelin starred chef who eventually commits suicide (true story). Hospitality, especially the kitchen, is a rough one…lots of substance abuse there.

    Have you read The Shack? That’s a great one – more spiritual, but man, a great one. One of my faves this year.

    Great list – and Happy Holidays!!


    • The three chef books by michael ruhlman are equally as riveting, I wish he’d write more and more… and the blood/bones/butter book is also pretty great… I’ll look up the ones you’ve recommended, too. thanks for being here Paul, always appreciate your wisdom and humour. hugs from me

      • I read one or two of his…I can’t recall at the moment – they were a while back. he’s a great writer.

        thank YOU for you, Belle. You’ve got a groovy thing going on here…love it.

        Big Canadian hugs back 🙂


    • Thanks for all the great reading suggestion lists. I’m a chef too Paul and couldn’t agree more about the substance abuse in the hospitality industry. Ironically, it’s prevalent too in the kitchen of addiction centers. Go figure.

  • I love Wally Lamb, I am waiting for his new one, We Are Water to come out in paperback. I do realize that the hardcover does cost less then a middle of the road nice bottle of wine, but I won’t spend the money on it. Funny what I WOULD spend my money on. The bottle would only last one night, and Wally Lambs books average out at 600 or so pages….
    I digress.
    Charles Martin is a fantastic writer. His books are: Where the River Ends, The Dead Don’t Dance, Maggie, Wrapped in Rain, and a few more. Pick any one, and you will not be able to put it down.
    I am reading Allen Carr, Easy Way to Control Alcohol, mixed in with The Wolf of Wallstreet. Talk about polar opposites!

    • We Are Water is AMAZING! I’m 200 pages in. Wally Lamb is a gifted writer. I’d lend you the hard back, but my pup chewed up the hardcover! Should have waited for the paperback…… 🙂

  • “The Interestings” is on my list to read. I LOVED “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”. Favorite book I read this year.