Archive for the ‘Brief Reading Recap’ Category

2012 in Review

fault

January

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (reread)

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

We, Robots by Sue Lange

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Good Enough to Eat by Stacey Ballis

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

tiger

February

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (reread)

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (reread?)

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day . . . by Pearl Cleage

crazy

March

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (reread)

Dear Dumb Diary: School.  Hasn’t This Gone on Long Enough? by Jim Benton

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (reread)

broke

April

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich (reread)

Timeless by Gail Carriger

The Family Man by Elinor Lipman

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

The Hunger Pains by The Harvard Lampoon

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (reread)

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett (reread)

last report

May

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (reread)

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (reread)

How Beautiful the Ordinary ed. by Michael Cart

My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa

ready

June

Sabriel by Garth Nix (reread)

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman

Entwined by Heather Dixon

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina

The Dearly Departed by Elinor Lipman

Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman

Into Love and Out Again by Elinor Lipman

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (reread)

Dear Dumb Diary: The Super-Nice Are Super-Annoying by Jim Benton

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

neverwhere

July

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (reread)

She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel (reread)

Perla by Carolina De Robertis

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

Holes by Louis Sachar (reread)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman (reread)

postal

August

Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein

I Wish I Had a Red Dress by Pearl Cleage

The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell

Isabel’s Bed by Elinor Lipman

Daughter’s Keeper by Ayelet Waldman

Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

harold

September

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

In the Woods by Tana French

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

woods

October

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift by Elinor Lipman

The Giver by Lois Lowry (reread)

fairyland

November

Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay

wolves

December

Every Day by David Levithan

The Likeness by Tana French

Faithful Place by Tana French

Broken Harbor by Tana French

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (reread)

night

*Note: I gave all the titles in bold a four- or five-star rating on Goodreads.  I gave most of the remaining titles a three.  (edited 1/1/13)

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Look at me, posting this in a semi-timely fashion! I may get out of this blogging funk yet.

Last month I read . . .

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift by Elinor Lipman

The Giver by Lois Lowry (reread)

Miscellaneous stats:

  • one reread . . . sort of (it should be three rereads, but it’s been so long since I read the Patricia C. Wrede books I’m not counting them)
  • read one based on the recommendation of book bloggers (but I can’t remember who) (The Happiness Project)
  • read two for my 5th-8th grade book club (Dealing With Dragons, The Giver)
  • read one for my brand new, in-person book club (Dare Me)
  • read three new-to-me authors (Jenny Lawson, Gretchen Rubin, Megan Abbott)
  • all nine were library books
  • eight paper books; one ebook

Random October Awards:

The Horrifyingly Hilarious Award: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. This is one of those books that is just . . . wrong on so many levels. Wrong in that all the while you’re laughing so hard you can barely breathe you’re thinking, “I really, really shouldn’t be laughing at this.” Neil Gaiman summed it up perfectly: “The Bloggess writes stuff that actually is laugh-out-loud, but you know that really you shouldn’t be laughing and probably you’ll go to hell for laughing, so maybe you shouldn’t read it. That would be safer and wiser” (from the back cover). Not for the easily offended or sensitive.

The Case of the Missing Editor Award: The Mark of Athena. While I am a fan of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series (and think the Heroes of Olympus series vastly improved after the first book), his books are starting to remind me of the later Harry Potter books. I really enjoyed The Mark of Athena, but that sucker could have been about 300 pages shorter. (Seriously, Riordan? 586 pages?)

The Vandalism Award: The Pursuit of Alice Thrift. This is a lovely book, exactly what I’ve come to expect from Elinor Lipman, and it distresses me to give it this award. But someone (I don’t know who) went through this book and scribbled out all of the profanity. This pisses me off for two reasons: one, they defaced library property; and two, I abhor censorship. I get it if you don’t like profanity. But if it bothers you so much you feel compelled to scribble in a book that doesn’t belong to you, then maybe you should read a different book. And if you’re doing this as a public service, try using something other than a blue ballpoint pen as that actually calls more attention to the word, not less. Argh! The one bright spot in all this was that they missed a “son of a b*tch,” which pleased me way more than it probably should have.

And that was October! I have no idea what November will hold; I have such a wide variety of books waiting beside my bed I hardly know where to begin. What about you? What are your reading plans?

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I have a bad habit (as you’ve probably noticed) of falling off the electronic radar whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed, busy, etc. Don’t worry – it’s nothing earth-shattering, just the usual stuff Life likes to throw our way to keep things interesting. If I ever go an entire month without reading, then you can worry.

Enough of all that! On to the books!

In September I read . . .

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

In the Woods by Tana French

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Miscellaneous stats:

  • no rereads
  • read three (I think) based on the recommendations of book bloggers (Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Liar & Spy, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom)
  • read three based on the recommendation of a book blogger/in real life pal (Gone Girl, Bel Canto, In the Woods)
  • read six new-to-me authors (Gillian Flynn, Ann Patchett, Maria Semple, Ron Koertge, Tana French, Christopher Healy)
  • five were library books, two were loaned by a friend
  • all seven were paper books (no ebooks)

Random September Awards:

The WTF Award: Gone Girl. Jennifer of The Literate Housewife warned me. All the same, I was wholly unprepared for the big WTF moment in Gone Girl. (I actually stopped reading so I could go email Jennifer “WTF?!?!?” in very large, very bold letters.) Those moments just keep on comin’ after that and I read the rest of the book with my mouth hanging open in shock. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you really, really need to read the book.

The Flip/Flop Award: Where’d You Go, Bernadette. I honestly don’t remember much about the book, but from what I recall I really liked the first half of the book but the second half was a flop. Too bad.

The Cheers Award: The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. This book was a hoot and a half. It riffs on fairy tales while still paying homage to them, is full of quirky characters (including the four Princes Charming), and includes a random reference to the old TV show Cheers that most kids probably won’t get but I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re looking for a fun afternoon read, this book is the way to go.

How’s everything going in your neck of the woods?

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Folks, I have got the blogging blahs. I don’t know what my problem is, but I hope I snap out of it soon because I am driving myself crazy.

Thanks to a blissfully relaxing ten-day vacation last month, I tore through an usually large number of books. Ahhh, to have ten (paid) days off every month . . .

Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein

I Wish I Had a Red Dress by Pearl Cleage

The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell

Isabel’s Bed by Elinor Lipman

Daughter’s Keeper by Ayelet Waldman

Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Miscellaneous stats:

  • no rereads (first time all year)
  • read six based on the recommendations of book bloggers (Final Jeopardy, I Wish I Had a Red Dress, The Aviary, Dust Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry [too many to list])
  • read one because everyone and their neighbor’s cat has read it and because it’s caused all sorts of controversy and I cannot resist controversial books (Fifty Shades of Grey)
  • read six new-to-me authors (Linda Fairstein, Kathleen O’Dell, Sarah Zettel, Sophie Kinsella, E. L. James, Rachel Joyce)
  • read four familiar authors (Pearl Cleage, Elinor Lipman, Ayelet Waldman, Sara Zarr)
  • all eleven were library books
  • seven were paper books, four were ebooks

Random August Awards:

Worst Book-to-Film Adaptation Award: Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman (read in June). This movie was so atrocious I hardly know what to say. It bore so little resemblance to the book it was appalling. Even viewed independently of the book it was a terrible movie. I think the actors did the best they could, but it felt like they were trying too hard create interesting, complex characters. I never connected with any of them. The plot itself sort of wandered aimlessly about, too, which drove me nuts. Ugh. Helen Hunt and Colin Firth, can we pretend this movie never happened?

The I Can’t Seem to Figure Out Who Wrote This Book Award: I’ve Got Your Number. Seriously, guys. Who wrote this book? I’ve looked all over the cover for the author’s name and I just can’t seem to find it anywhere! Wait . . . I think I might have . . . no, that’s not it . . . Oh! There! There it is! It’s those giant letters that take up HALF THE COVER. Whew, I’m so glad I found it. It was really starting to worry me.

Best Cover of the Month Award: The Aviary. After ranting and raving about covers a few weeks ago, I feel like I should balance things out a little and point out a fantastic cover:

This cover is a much better fit for the book than the covers I discussed earlier, and I just love the sharp contrast between the black silhouettes and the green background. Kudos to Knopf Books.

Did anyone else notice that I read only female authors last month? I didn’t realize I was doing it until August was nearly over and the books sitting on the top of my TBR were also by women. Huh. Interesting. Reading goal for the rest of the year: diversity.

How was your August?

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Before I launch into my usual monthly report, I want to apologize for flooding your Google readers last weekend. What happened was this: on Saturday I updated the tags on several old posts. For some reason Google interpreted these updates to mean that the posts were new. When I logged into my Google reader and saw that The Alcove had 44 unread posts I nearly choked. I don’t know why it did that so I can’t promise that it won’t happen again, but I am really, really sorry.

In July I read . . .

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (reread)

She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel (reread)

Perla by Carolina De Robertis

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

Holes by Louis Sachar (reread)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman (reread)

Miscellaneous stats:

  • reread four books (whoa)
  • read three based on the recommendations of book bloggers (Perla, Please Ignore Vera Dietz x 2, There is No Dog x 2)
  • read one based on the recommendation of an author (Going Postal)
  • read three for workish related reasons (James and the Giant Peach, Holes, Coraline)
  • five were library books and three I already owned
  • all paper books; no ebooks

Random July Awards:

The I May Have Checked the Floor For a Disembodied Hand Award: Coraline. I know Coraline is a creepy book. I’ve read it several times before. But somehow I had forgotten just how deliciously creepy it is . . . until last month when I was reading it late at night. When I got out of bed, I may have first checked the floor for disembodied hands. No, I haven’t pissed off any button-eyed other mothers lately, but you can’t be too careful about these things.

The Caps Lock Award: Going Postal. Usually Excessive Use of Capital Letters Drives Me Crazy. When Used In Titles Or To Drive Home A Point, I Don’t Mind It. Used All The Time, However – Yeesh. No Thanks. But When I Met Mr. Pump, A Character In Going Postal, I Changed My Mind. He Talks Like This And It Just Suited Him So Perfectly I Couldn’t Get Annoyed. I Don’t Think Pratchett Could Have Portrayed His Slow, Deep, And Rumbling Voice Any Other Way. He Was, Hands Down, My Favorite Character In The Book.

The Best Bookish Quote Award: Perla. Here it is: “There’s that feeling that comes when you read something and the lines speak directly to you, and to you only, even though the person who wrote them died long before you were born, or, even if alive, has no idea you exist. The words seep right into your mind. They pour into your secret hollows and take their shape, a perfect fit, like water. And you are slightly less alone in the universe, because you have been witnessed, because you have been filled, because someone once found words for things within you that you couldn’t yourself name – something gesturing not only toward what you are, but what you could become. In that sense, books raise you, in a way your parents can’t. They emancipate you.” (36) Love it. (I had forgotten that nomadreader used the same quote in her Perla review. Hey, great minds do think alike!)

How was your July? No disembodied hands creeping around your house, I hope?

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Okay, raise your hand if you’re tired of this heat wave. Yep, me, too. Good grief, it’s ridiculous out there. We are positively melting here in Virginia. Oh, what a world, what a world.

Last month I read . . .

Sabriel by Garth Nix (reread)

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman

Entwined by Heather Dixon

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina

The Dearly Departed by Elinor Lipman

Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman

Into Love and Out Again by Elinor Lipman

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (reread)

Dear Dumb Diary: The Super-Nice Are Super-Annoying by Jim Benton

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Miscellaneous stats:

  • reread two books
  • read one for a read along (Neverwhere)
  • read one in anticipation of Utah Book Month (Entwined)
  • eight were library books, two I already owned, one I bought at Powell’s Books (Hi, Powell’s, I love you)
  • ten were paper books and one was an ebook

Random June Awards:

The Perfect Plane Book Award: A Girl Named Zippy. In my pre-Nook days I faced a huge book challenge every time I flew out to visit family and/or friends. I needed one single book that was: a) long enough to last me an entire cross-country flight; b) entertaining enough to distract me from the fact that I was on a plane and don’t particularly like planes; c) not so involved that it couldn’t weather constant interruptions, turbulence, and noise without completely losing me; and d) paperback, because a hard cover book is just too heavy to haul around during layovers, etc. The Nook solved all that. Now I could “pack” as many books as I wanted without worrying about weight, length, etc. The problem is that you can’t use electronic devices during take-off and landing, so I still have to pack a book anyway, a fact I completely forgot until right before I left for my friend’s wedding last month. Rather than grab one of the billion books I own and haven’t read, I took Zippy. Because Zippy is the perfect plane book: it’s entertaining, it’s hilarious, and its anecdotal nature allows for constant interruptions. If you’ve never read A Girl Named Zippy, you definitely should.

The Elinor Lipman Award: The Inn at Lake Devine and The Dearly Departed. I didn’t realize just how many Elinor Lipman books I read in June until I looked back over my list and found three (three!) in a row. (And to think my original plan was to read just one of her books a month so I could prolong the enjoyment. Clearly that worked.) Anyway, The Inn and The Dearly Departed were my favorite two this month, although I did enjoy Then She Found Me, too.

The That’s Totally Me Award: Dear Dumb Diary: The Super-Nice Are Super-Annoying. No, not the super-annoying part. This: “Dumb Diary, like most people I hate the alphabet. Mostly because I can’t alphabetize things unless I sing part of the alphabet song in my head when I’m doing it, and people can tell I’m doing that because it makes me bob my head a little” (9). If you’ve spent any time in a library, you’ll know that we’re all about putting things in alphabetical order. You would think by now I would have this down. Nope, still gotta sing the song to myself. So there you go. I have something in common with a fictional middle school girl. Sigh.

How’s everything in your corner of the world? Staying cool?

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