I made it a personal goal for 2013 to read at least 1 book a week for a total of 52 books. I actually said I would read 53 books this year just to up it by one. So far things are looking good with a strong start for January. Granted, I was travelling during this time so I had a little bit of plane time and middle of the night jetlag time to read a bit more than usual, but I have also been lucky enough to find a few good books that kept me interested all the way through which is no small feat for me.
Read = 7 / Nearly done = 3 / Just started = 2
53 – 7 = 46 books to go till 2014
What I Finished
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
A romantic comedy / tragic love story all wrapped up into one. I really loved this book. It sucked me in right from the beginning. Set in England it is the story of Lou who ends up being a caregiver to quadraplegic Will. Yeah, that really sounds pretty romantic and all. Needless to say, it is. Highly recommend.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Bernadette is an eccentric running around Seattle with a genius daughter and a husband who works at Microsoft. I began this book totally wrapped up in it, but my enthusiasm died down around the middle and I abandoned it. I finally went back to finish it and see how Bernadette ends up and cared minimally. It is a pretty fast paced comedy with crazy twists and turns that reads like a beach novel, but somehow I ended up not really caring too much about the characters in the book which made me lose interest. Fun read, but wouldn’t bother reading it again. If you want something light and airy for poolside cocktail reading, then this is a good book.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Moving on from light and airy and straight into North Korea. Not sure why I began a fascination with North Korea this month, but I devoured this book. I like the way the book read from the perspectives of defectors about their lives in NK. It tells of tragedy, hardship and loss but also about families and survival. I enjoyed the growth of the true life characters throughout their years of beginning to see the truth behind the propoganda that leads to their final defection. Also it was interesting to read about their struggles since defecting. Recommend if you are interested in North Korea.
Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You by Alice Munro
Short stories that touch your soul. I hadn’t ever read any Alice Munro, but now I am a huge fan. The first few stories made me cry. She has been hailed as the queen of short stories and I can definitely see why. They are varied in content, but feature heavily in her homeland of Ontario, Canada. Highly recommend.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This was another book that I had started a while ago and then picked up and finally finished. It has been acclaimed as one of the best teen novels of 2012 and I can see why. I think when I first started it, I had trouble connecting with the characters. They are teenagers that wax lyrically and are dying to terminal cancer. I felt that it was a ploy to get me to care and of course there would be some tragedy. It turned me off a bit and I put it down. When I picked it up again, I easily fell back into pace with it and probably had a bit more sympathy for the kids. It turned out to be beautifully written and a tearjerker. Recommend.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I read this in one fell swoop. It totally caught my attention and I literally couldn’t put it down. Thankfully no one had told me any of the plot of the novel so apart from the title, I literally knew nothing about it. I typically don’t try to read too much of a book description or reviews because I don’t want plot giveaways. Kind of like how I don’t watch trailers for movies… I’m glad that I knew nothing because I got to fully enjoy this one. I can’t even write about the plot because I wouldn’t want to give it away to anyone else. Just know that it is a fun, fun read. Highly highly recommend.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Teenage depression is a bitch. I guess depression, even not as a teenager is a bitch. But this book lays it all out there. Kid with tons of pressure and a clear manic depressions ends of checking himself into the loony bin. Imagine the rest. Imagine ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ for teens. Enjoyed. Recommend.
Partially Read (meaning at least 1/2 way through)
Tenth of December by George Saunders
Whoa. Dark, engrossing short stories. I love short stories for the plain and simple fact that I can read other books and keep going back to short story collections. This one is definitely worth it. I am savoring it which is the only reason that I haven’t finished it. Uncomfortable, yet darkly funny. Recommend.
Going Clear Scientology: Hollywood & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright
Scientology is freaky, right? I really didn’t know how fucked up and deluded it was until I started reading this book. Thusfar I have made it through L. Ron Hubbard’s earlier years as a sci-fi writer and into some of his mystiscm phase of things. He has just written Dianetics and the freak flag is about ready to fly. Can’t wait to see how this turns out…(although I guess I already know).
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Needs no introduction. I obviously know the story, but with the movie out I figured I would refresh my brain. Plus I would rather read the book and imagine it than have someone spell out what a hobbit and dwarf are supposed to look like to me.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
Planning to Read
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffembaugh
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain