2012: A Year In Books

Before I became a Mom I used to read on average about 50 books a year. This year I only managed a measly 34, however if the statistics that I read on facebook are correct that’s still 28 more than the average American read this year. I am so above average. 

Here are those 34 in the order that I read them.  Normal people would probably have just updated Goodreads, but I am so above normal, enjoy:

A Monk Swimming

A Monk Swimming, Malachy McCourt ***

Much less maudlin than his brother Frank (for the most part) this book is an autobiography of Malachy’s life and 90% just good fun.

 The Night Circus

Night Circus, Erin Morganstern ***

First selection of our new book club, I enjoyed this book but was somewhat disappointed by the lack of genuine feeling between the main characters

The Glass Castle

 Glass Castle, Jeannette Wells ****

I love Jeannette Wells’ books; she has a seemingly effortless style of writing that makes her very hard to put down.

Scribbling The Cat

Scribbling the Cat, Alexandra Fuller ****

Haunting & disturbing. A few years ago I read Don’t lets go to the Dogs Tonight and I had forgotten how much I loved it until I picked this up. Fuller is a wonderful story teller.

When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man

 When I stop talking you’ll know I’m Dead Jerry Weintraub ** 1/2

I liked this book; it is a great look into Hollywood and the rise of a successful industry powerhouse. I think I would have appreciated it more if I was 30 years older.

 Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1)

The Fall of Giants Ken Follett ****

A compelling read that explains World War I in a way I never understood in school or was able to stay interested in, in other nonfiction works. It’s a 1,000 pages that go by in the blink of an eye.

 Sarah's Key

Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay ***

The saddest book I’ve read in a long time. It’s a story that gives a great look into France during WWII and the atrocity that went on inside Paris. I would highly suggest this book, but only if you are prepared to cry.

Suite Francaise

Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky ***

Another book club selection, I am not sure this is a book I would have picked up on my own, but I am glad I got the chance to read it. Although unfinished it gives a wonderful insight into the minds of the French people and the soldiers during WWII. If you read this I highly recommend reading the afterwards and learning about Irene’s story as well.

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection

This time Together, Carol Burnette **

This book was a little disappointing – while it contained some great stories and antidotes from Carol’s life on screen it ended with huge sadness I was completely unprepared for.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

 Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins ***

The Hunger Games trilogy is just good fun, and while written for teenagers it is deep and poignant enough to hold the attention of adults. Anyone seeking pure entertainment should check these 3 books out.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)

Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins ***

 Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins ***

 Here We Go Again

 Here We go Again, Betty White **

Betty White has a remarkably long and vivid memory; this book details ALL of the particulars of her long and illustrious career. However, I was expecting something funnier and more satirical and this book was simply not that.

lets pretend this never happened

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened, Jenny Lawson*** ½

Very few people make me laugh like Jenny Lawson. I try to never miss her blog The Bloggess. This book would have been perfect except for the middle part full of heartache and loss.

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

Killing Lincoln, Bill O’Reilly***

Despite the author, this was an amazing book. Centered on the events and conspiracy leading up to Lincoln’s death it’s written in a very thrilling format. Anyone wanting to learn more about the end of the civil war, and the assassination of Lincoln should check this out.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

 Hotel on the Corner of bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford***

A sweet novel about a young boy growing up in Seattle during WWII and his struggles with Japanese internment camps. A love story that transcends racism. I liked it, I didn’t love it.

 Taft

 Taft, Anne Patchette ***1/2

Anne Patchette has a wonderful rhythm to her writing. This book sucks you in and keeps you hungry for more. It’s a quiet story of love and hope and racial tension in the south but it’s also a whole lot more than that.

 The Devil's Company (Benjamin Weaver, #3)

The Devil’s Company, David Liss***

Davis Liss can be somewhat wordy and… pedantic but this is the 3rd book of his I read and I think if you can get through all of the details his stories are incredibly complex, interesting and very true to the period that he writes in.

 Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, Alexandra Fuller*** ½

Another great book by Alexandra, this makes 3 I’ve read of hers, she’s going on the list of authors that I stalk for all new books that are due to come out.

Sh*t My Dad Says

 Sh*t My Dad Says, Justin Helpern****

Absolutely hysterical. I laughed out loud several times and enjoyed every word in this book. I even made my husband read it and he hasn’t read anything since Lucy was born.

The Kingdom on the Waves (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #2)

Kingdom of the Waves MT. Anderson **

Ugh. I waited so long to read this after having picked up The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing several years ago. Maybe I had waited too long, I simply could not get into it. In my opinion the best thing M.T. Anderson has done has been Feed which is mind blowing and something everyone should read.

 The Dog Stars

The Dog Stars Peter Heller *** ½

Adding to my love of post-apocalyptic literature, dog stars is a vivid and haunting story of one mans survival in post-apocalyptic America. Heller’s writing is beautiful and a joy to read. I am looking forward to reading more from him.

 Everything is Illuminated

Everything is Illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer ***

This is the first audio book I bought to listen to on my commute to work. I didn’t have a clue what the story was about when selecting the book and perhaps if I had known I would have selected something else, and not because I didn’t enjoy it or didn’t think it was well written but because I feel like I have read enough stories about war this year. I found myself upset when I got to work and often times in tears when I got home. It’s hard sometimes to drive and cry.

How Did You Get This Number

How did you get this number Sloane Crosley ***

I’m not sure that I enjoyed this book as much as her first one I was told there’d be cake but it was a nice light departure from the last two books I read. It’s irreverent and easy to put down and pick up whenever. I think with time and practice Crosley will become an even better humorist.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand 

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand Helen Simonson ***

A cute sleeper novel. It took a long time to get into this book but in the end it redeemed itself. I liked it, I didn’t love it.

Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert ****

I was prepared to really hate this book – as I normally do with huge bestsellers – but it surprised me with its depth and complexity. I listened to this in the car and by the end of the 11th disc I felt intimately close with the author.

The Bookseller of Kabul

The Bookseller of Kabul Åsne Seierstad **

I had high hopes for this book and it both delivered and disappointed. It definitely gave an intimate and real world perspective of Afghanistan and its people, but I also listened to this as an audio book and it seemed like the woman reading it (not the author) hated the people and situations she was reading about that I instantly disliked her and it put a negative slant on the book. My opinion would definitely be to read this old school.

Lit: A Memoir

Lit Mary Karr ****

Mary Karr is an amazing writer; she can create the most amazing metaphors. Her writing is like poetry (not surprising since she started as a poet.) This is the 3rd book of hers and the memoirs of her adult years. I am looking forward to her next publication.

Saving Fish from Drowning

Saving fish from drowning Amy Tan***

I didn’t love or hate this book. It was in interesting story but for some reason the characters never fully resonated with me. I want so much to like Amy Tan’s books, but for some reason they always seem to fall just a little short if my expectations.

The Memory of Running

The memory of running Ron McLarty***1/2

An enjoyable, bittersweet novel with a truly unusual protagonist. I spent the entire book rooting for him even though he never truly rooted for himself. I am definitely putting more Ron McLarty on my reading list for next year.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Is everyone hanging out without me? Mindy Kaling ***1/2

The perfect travel book. I bought this at the airport and it got me ¾ of the way across the country. Funny & irreverent & quick, everything you need to keep you entertained and laughing on an airplane.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession

The man who loved books to much Allison Hoover Bartlett***1/2

I never knew there was such a big problem with rare book thieves – it was a great look into a world I have always been curios about. Any great book lover would enjoy this story.

The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5)

The wind through the keyhole Stephen King ****

For anyone who read King’s dark tower series this is a must read. Not actually part of the story this is a supplemental tale that falls somewhere between book 4 and book 5. It is a story within a story within a story. I loved it.

Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid

Why We Suck Dennis Leary ***1/2

A perfect audio book to listen to while sitting in traffic, it will make you hate yourself and all that you stand for – but who doesn’t a little bit already?

 

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