I love reading, and started compiling lists of the books I devour each year. Here are my lists that have appeared on my previous blog.
Lists from 2013 and onwards are tagged reading.
Calling it early, because I know I won’t be finishing anything before the new year.
- Rumours by Anna Godberson
- Fables: The Mean Seasons by Willingham, Buckingham, et al
- Fables: Homelands by Willingham, Buckingham, et al
- Fables: Arabian Nights (and Days) by Willingham, Buckingham, et al
- Fables: Wolves by Willingham, Buckingham, et al
- Envy by Anna Godbersen
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- Splendor by Anna Godbersen
- The Death Cure by James Dashner (Maybe I should have reread the first two before reading this one, but I didn’t care much for this book.)
- Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs (Again, the perfect mix of information and entertainment. Love this author!)
- The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean (Really enjoyed this book. A little difficult to understand some bits given my limited knowledge of chemistry and physics, but still informative and fun.)
- A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene (Great book and blog!)
- Blood Work by Holly Tucker (Interesting history of the first attempts to perform human blood transfusions. Early medical “science” is fascinating!)
- Fables: Sons of Empire by Willingham, Buckingham, et al
- Fables: The Good Prince by Willingham, Buckingham, et al
- Fables: War and Pieces by Willingham, Buckingham, et al
- Fables: The Dark Ages by Willingham, Buckingham, et al
- Fables: The Great Fables Crossover by Willingham, Sturges, et al
- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (reread)
- Crossed by Ally Condie
- The Lost City of Z by David Grann (This was optioned years ago by Brad Pitt. It will be interesting to see how/if this is translated into a movie)
- The Lost World by Michael Crichton (This is exactly like the movie, in that it is nowhere near as good as the first.)
- The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean (Another fun non-fiction read! Much easier to understand than “Spoon” thanks to the many biology/genetics courses I’ve taken over the years.)
- A Million Suns by Beth Revis (Great follow up to “Across the Universe.” Can’t wait for the final book to come out next year!)
Best Books: So many good ones this year! In the non-fiction category (which I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea) I really enjoyed Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist’s Thumb. Both are great science reads, filled with anecdotes of how elements and genes have changed the course of history. Holly Tucker’s Blood Work delves into the earliest attempts at human blood transfusion, which I was shocked to learn started way earlier than I thought. I also loved The Lost City of Z and The Devil in the White City, both of which are attached to some big league actors for future movie adaptations (Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, respectively).If you prefer fiction, A Million Suns by Beth Revis is just as intriguing as the first novel in her series, Across the Universe. (And as an added bonus, the final novel, Shades of Earth, comes out January 15!) The Luxe series is also a fun, fluffy, historical romance read, which I really enjoyed. (Rumours, Envy, and Splendor are part of this series.) I also still recommend Jurassic Park, the only reread on my list this year.
Worst Books: When I started the Maze Runner trilogy, I really enjoyed it. However, the final novel, The Death Cure, was a big disappointment. The plot didn’t quite make sense, and the conclusion fell flat. To be fair, there was a big gap in time between when I finished book two and started book three, and I had forgotten some plot details. I might give the series another try in the future, but for now I don’t recommend it. Also, skip The Lost World— book and movie.
Looking forward to in 2013: Besides Shades of Earth, I’m excited to finish the Matched series by Ally Condie (Reached is patiently waiting on my bedside table.) The second book started verging a little too much into Twilight territory for my taste, but I have faith that it will end well. I’m currently reading Tales From a Midwife by Jennifer Worth, and need to track down a copy of the BBC series when I’m finished. And speaking of BBC period dramas: the creator of Downton Abbey is developing a series for US television, set in late 1800s New York City. So basically The Luxe, complete with gorgeous gowns, jealousies, and high society intrigue. Just take my money now, Julian Fellowes!
- Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell (More famous than ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in her time, but nobody’s made a movie about her. Sad.)
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (reread)
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (reread)
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (reread)
- Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
- Across the Universe by Beth Revis
- Different Seasons by Stephen King (I only read “Rita Hayworth & the Shawshank Redemption” and “The Body,” but I think it counts as reading a King book. Especially since these were, in my opinion, his two best movies.)
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton (A good graphic novel, but the original is just too complex for this format to do it justice.)
- From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell (I found the chapter notes more intriguing than the actual story. Not a great sign.)
- The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Why do I have to wait until August for the final book? I need to know how this ends NOW!!!)
- All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (reread)
- Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris (So, somehow I skipped the previous book in this series. )
- All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris (OK, I didn’t skip a book. I just have a terrible memory.)
- Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
- Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
- Delirium by Lauren Oliver
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (Interesting beginning to this series. Will definitely be continuing it.)
- Matched by Ally Condie (Yet another series I am anxiously awaiting the next installment of…)
- Specials by Scott Westerfeld (My first borrowed book using my new Australian library card!.)
- Fables: Legends in Exile by Willingham, Medina, Leialoha, & Hamilton
- Fables: Animal Farm by Willingham, Buckingham, & Leialoha
- Enclave by Ann Aguirre
- Fables: Storybook Love by Willingham, Buckingham, & Leialoha
- Luxe by Anna Godberson
- Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Willingham, Buckingham, Hamilton, Leialoha, & Russell
- From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Best Books: I always enjoy Mary Roach, and Packing for Mars is just as funny and interesting as her previous books. I know non-fiction isn’t for everyone, but I definitely recommend her to even the most ardent fiction lovers. Tina Fey’s Bossypants is another humorous gem. All Quiet on the Western Front has always been one of my favorites, but it’s not exactly an uplifting story.
Worst Book: This year’s list doesn’t have any real losers, but there were a couple disappointments. As a Jack the Ripper buff, I was looking forward to reading From Hell. While the story itself was only OK, I found the chapter notes very intriguing and often quite funny. The graphic novel version of Fahrenheit 451 was also a bit disappointing. This is another of my favorite novels, and though the artwork was great, I feel the story is just too complex for this format.
Looking forward to in 2012: As a fan of the Harry Potter series, I know the agony of waiting for the next installment of a series to be published. So you’d think I’d avoid newly published series in order to avoid this, but it seems like I’m drawn to them like Harry to the Mirror of Erised. (Seriously though, is every young adult novel these days part of a series? Sometimes it’s nice to read a book and be finished with the story at the end.) Across the Universe, Delirium, Enclave, Luxe, and Matched all have just released or soon-to-be-released sequels I plan on reading. I also need to read the final installment of The Maze Runner series, and I’ll probably continue with some Sookie Stackhouse books. They are light, entertaining palette cleansers, and vastly more interesting than the True Blood TV series.
While reviewing my reading list of the past year, I made a couple of interesting observations:
1. I didn’t reread a single book this year. This is a little odd since I have favorites that I read very often ( Harry Potter series, Falling Angels, Bridget Jones’s Diary). On the other hand, I’ve been using my library card like crazy, which makes it easy and affordable to read something new.
2. I read way more books this year than I did in the past two. This is very odd, since I was mostly unemployed during those years. I also wasn’t taking classes or establishing myself on Etsy. Strange how a lack of free time has actually made me more productive.
- Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
- 1491 by Charles C. Mann (Wow. Apparently even archeology suffers from partisan politics.)
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Such a great young adult novel! Totally deserving of it’s Newbery award.)
- Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. by Chelsea Handler
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
- We Two: Victoria and Albert by Gillian Gill
- The Dig Tree by Sarah Murgatroyd (To paraphrase Arrested Development, THIS is why you always leave a note.)
- L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
- Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
- Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
- Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (Highly highly recommended! Everyone- especially world leaders- needs to read this book.)
- Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant (Decent book. Somehow I think I’d have liked it better if A.J. Jacobs had spent a year following Oprah’s advice.)
- The Surrogates by Robert Venditti & Brett Weldele
- First Light by Rebecca Stead
- Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
- Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
- Stones into School by Greg Mortenson (Even better than Three Cups of Tea! Truly inspiring!)
- The Sons of Liberty by Alexander Lagos and Joseph Lagos
- Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
- Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
- Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (Who thought science writing could be this funny? Can’t wait until I get her newest book from the library!)
- Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
- Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Extremely funny, even though I’ve heard a few of these before on This American Life)
- Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
- When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (The last chapter made me miss Tokyo. I so need to go back.)
- I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Best Book: Hands down, Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools both by Greg Mortenson were the best books I’ve read in a long time. Mortenson is a true inspiration, and a hero to the thousands of children now receiving an education in Pakistan and Afghanistan thanks to his tireless efforts. Please check out the Central Asia Institute’s website for ways you can help. (Buy the books through their site and a portion of your purchase will benefit the non-profit.)
Worst Book: L.A. Candy. You may be wondering what possessed me to read this book in the first place. The best explanation I can give is that I’ve started to view my library card and Netflix account in the same light: a great way to indulge in guilty pleasures in the privacy of my own home.* So while I’ve come to love some books I might not have otherwise read (i.e., Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series), there inevitably will be stinkers like this one. The weak conflict established in this book is left completely unresolved, and the story presumably picks up in the second and third installments of the series. Maybe if I were a teenager just discovering reruns of Laguna Beach or The Hills, I’d be riveted. But as a 20-something who should have known better in the first place, I will not being staying tuned for the “exciting” conclusion.
Looking Forward to in 2011: I really enjoyed I am Number Four, so I’m looking forward to continuing with that series. Still waiting for a copy of Mary Roach’s latest, Packing for Mars, and will probably continue with Charlaine Harris’ books as well.
* (Seriously, my rental history reads like Kate Hudson’s or Katherine Heigl’s IMDB page. And I don’t particularly care for either of them.)
- Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone by JKR (reread)
- Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by JKR (reread)
- Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban by JKR (reread)
- Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by JKR (reread)
- Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix by JKR (reread)
- Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince by JKR (reread)
- Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by JKR (reread, but only for the second time)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JKR
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (Not as good as Assassination Vacation, but few books are.)
- Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
- My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler (Very funny fluff read)
- The Prestige by Christopher Priest (Waaay creepier than the movie!)
- Forrest Gump by Winston Groom (The movie was so much better.)
- V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
- The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs (Very funny & thought provoking)
- Inside Inside by James Lipton
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (reread)
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
- The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs (Another gem. Can’t wait for A.J.’s next book!)
Best Book: Tie between The Year of Living Biblically and The Unlikely Disciple. Both give some great insights into religious practice and spirituality, in two very different ways.
Worst Book: Forrest Gump. This book is nothing like the movie, which I love. If I had been the movie exec who read this, I never would have optioned it. A rare example of a book being worse than it’s movie companion.
Looking Forward to in 2010: Currently finishing up Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, and 1491 by Charles C. Mann. Looks like another non-fiction heavy year for me.
Also looking forward to the final installment of The Hunger Games series, and getting more use out of my library card.
I love reading, and this year I decided to keep a list of the books I read. It seems that 2008 was the year of non-fiction:
- Elvis Is Titanic by Ian Klaus
- Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
- Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden
- Holes by Louis Sachar (Great movie too!)
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger
- I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert
- The Woman Who Wouldn’t by Gene Wilder
- The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Ugh! Terrible, boring book!)
- Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier (not as good as her previous works)
- The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
- America (The Book) by Jon Stewart & the Daily Show Writers
- The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser
- Living Like Ed by Ed Begley Jr.
- Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (reread)
- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (I really don’t see what the big deal is, but I’ll keep reading- for now)
- New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
- Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer (and now I get a vampire break while Jenny reads Breaking Dawn!)
- Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (One of the best books I’ve ever read; seriously moving, funny, and inspiring.)
- Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
Best Book: Tie between Elvis is Titanic and Born Standing Up. Both were greatly inspiring and challenge the way you see the world (both in very different ways).
Worst Book: “I read Love in the Time of Cholera… More like ‘Love in the Time of Don’t-Bothera.’ ” –Robin, How I Met Your Mother
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Looking forward to in 2009: Just starting re-reading the Harry Potter series for the millionth time, and plan to cap it off with Tales of Beedle the Bard, which I received for Christmas. Then on to The Kite Runner, The Wordy Shipmates, and Inside Inside (maybe not in that order though). Also, still waiting for that movie adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife.