Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012: A Year in Books

I read 34 books last year. Well, "read" is a technical term. I physically read 13 and listened to 21. Audiobooks are a godsend to me in several ways. They allow me to read books I wouldn't normally get to because of time constraints and they keep me entertained during my commutes. They also add an extra depth to a lot of books that just isn't there when I'm reading in my brain.

Anyway, I thought I'd give you a run-down of the books I read this year and let you in on the ones that were the best and the ones that were most disappointing.


Dicey's Song

3 of 5 stars true
Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt


To Kill a Mockingbird
4 of 5 stars true
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
3 of 5 stars true
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson


Bossypants
4 of 5 stars true
Bossypants by Tina Fey


The Blue Castle
3 of 5 stars true
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery


The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
3 of 5 stars true
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
2 of 5 stars true
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer


The Paris Wife
3 of 5 stars true
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain


A Short History of Nearly Everything
4 of 5 stars true
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson


Paper Towns
3 of 5 stars true
Paper Towns by John Green


The Elegance of the Hedgehog
4 of 5 stars true
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery


The Graveyard Book
3 of 5 stars true
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated
4 of 5 stars true
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated
by Alison Arngrim



Outliers: The Story of Success
3 of 5 stars true
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell


The Hour I First Believed
2 of 5 stars true
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb


Slaughterhouse-Five
4 of 5 stars true
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


The Good Earth
3 of 5 stars true
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck


Lord of the Flies
4 of 5 stars true
Lord of the Flies by William Golding


The Maze Runner
3 of 5 stars true
The Maze Runner by James Dashner


The Tipping Point
4 of 5 stars true
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell


What the F*@# Should I Make for Dinner?: The Answers to Life's Everyday Question
3 of 5 stars true
What the F*@# Should I Make for Dinner?: The Answers to Life's Everyday Question by Zach Golden


Ender's Game
4 of 5 stars true
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card


A Walk in the Woods
3 of 5 stars true
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson


Not Taco Bell Material
2 of 5 stars true
Not Taco Bell Material by Adam Carolla


Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality
4 of 5 stars true
Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality by Laura A. Jana


Ender's Shadow
4 of 5 stars true
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card


At Home: A Short History of Private Life
2 of 5 stars true
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson


Notes from a Small Island
1 of 5 stars true
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson


Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea
4 of 5 stars true
Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler


The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5
4 of 5 stars true
The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5
by Jennifer Waldburger


Speaker for the Dead
2 of 5 stars true
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card


The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
3 of 5 stars true
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Sean Covey


Boy: Tales of Childhood
4 of 5 stars true
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl


Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
5 of 5 stars true
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

It may have been the last book I read in 2012, but it was also the best. "Unbroken" really surprised me. I don't typically like war books but this one had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Hardly a dull page in the bunch. It was the only book to garner my coveted 5 star rating this year.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the Ender's Game series. Not much of a sci-fi fan, I found both "Ender's Game" and "Ender's Shadow" very enjoyable. Unfortunately I wasn't quite as enthralled by the sequel, "Speaker for the Dead." I think maybe I'll give the series one more shot to see if I'll continue.

On the autobiography front I did pretty well. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey, "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" by Alison Arngrim, "Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" by Chelsea Handler, and "Boy" by Roald Dahl were all very enjoyable. I was a bit disappointed by "Not Taco Bell Material" by Adam Carolla. I found it depressing (even when he was trying to be funny, which was most of the time) and not nearly as humorous as his previous book, "In 50 Years We'll All Be Chicks."

I'm happy to say I read a few books that taught me a thing or two and made my brain powers increase. My favorite by far was "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. I never thought I'd enjoy learning about sciency stuff like the formation of the Earth and evolution. So kudos to Bryson on that one. Which is good because he didn't do so well with "At Home" or "Notes From a Small Island." "The Tipping Point" and "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell were also worthy of my time.

As far as novels go, there was a lot of mediocrity interspersed with a couple gems and duds. I really liked "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Vonnegut. Not at all what I'd expected from a classic. Vonnegut is so odd and unpredictable I can't help but love him. It was also nice to revisit "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and read the book version (not the movie) of "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding. My least favorite novel of the year was sadly the longest one; "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb was almost unbearable. It started out pretty good but tanked after that. A long drawn out mess. I was also really disappointed by "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer. I still don't understand what all the hype was about with that one.


Well, I think that about covers it. If you want more details on any or all of the books listed above, you're in luck! I wrote a review for each one that you may view on my Goodreads page. And I'm always looking for the next great book so feel free to chime in with your favorites, especially audiobooks. Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

1 comments:

thebluemuse said...

Thanks for a new reading list! Unbroken was one of my favorite books from last year, too. Such a remarkable story, I couldn't put it down. I've also started listening to more books. I find I can be a more patient driver when I have a story playing instead of annoying radio/commercials. :)