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Reading 2012

I read a lot of books this year! Or I just remembered them better thanks to twitter's #fridayreads. It amazed me that I'd forgotten Ender's Game until I looked back over my tweets. That's not exactly a forgettable book. My list may also be longer because I volunteered at the middle school library and therefore came across a lot of good books that only took a day or two to read.

1,2.  Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I didn't like them as much as The City of Bones, etc. books but still good.

3. Looking for Alaska by John Green. I liked this soooo much better than Paper Towns because I actually liked the characters, a lot.

4. The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Marten Troop. (Non Fiction) OK, first of all- the title is totally misleading, but the book itself is HILARIOUS, like  laughing so hard David said, "If your going to wheeze like that you're gonna have to go read in the other room."

5. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. A book every young teen girl should read. Every one.

6. A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. Fascinating and poignant book about synesthesia, which I bet you've never heard of ( I hadn't).

7. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Another book every middle grader, boy or girl, should read though they probably won't really appreciate it until their older.

8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Emily had to read this for class (lucky girl) so I took it with me when we went to Tulum. Loved it just as much as the first time. All that formal, seemingly stilted language and it still just pulls right at the heart. You just feel it right in the heart for poor Darcy. Like Anna Karenina of last year's list, you read it and say, Ah, yes, this is what makes a classic.

9. The Messenger by Lois Lane. Duncan had to read this, the sequel to The Giver, but it's just not the same. Duncan and I both agreed on that. The mythos of the forest, the driving fact of the story, just didn't pan out.

10. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman I loved this!!! Super cool story built around the interesting names of London Tube stops. Em like it too. David not so much.

11. Ananzi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I didn't like this as nearly as much as Neverwhere, but I've never been a fan of the Ananzi legends- just don't think someone who tricks his wife and kids so he can eat all their food is very cool or funny.

12. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, Goosegirl by Shannon Hale,  A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. All part of a YA study. I liked them all. Enjoyable reads every one, but I never felt the urge to read any of their sequels, though I might some day.

13, 14, 15 Hunger Games triology by Suzanne Collins. Exact opposite of the above 3. I'd heard all about these. Knew the story already and wasn't that excited about the premise- children dying violent deaths- no way. But David got HG before the movie came out . He said I should read it, so I did and I loved the whole series, much more than any of my family members. Read the first chapter the other day and almost got sucked into re-reading the whole book. Excellent writing.

16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. The Tale of Hiltop Farm, The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Woods, The Tale of Oatcake Crag, etc. by Susan Wittig Albert These are cozies, not my usual read, so maybe I'm not a good critic of them. I picked up the first at our Church booksale for 1.00 and it was a pleasant find, but over the course of the series, I found the writing repetitive and sometimes, down right annoying. Still, they tell the rather sad tale of Beatrix Potter, (fact and fiction blended) and the inspiration for her books and all that I liked. If you give them a try just be sure and wait a looooong time between each one, that will help. 

22. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. More bad writing and another disappointing sequal. I only kept reading for Nasuada. She rocks.

23. The 13th Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson A sequel that more than lived up to its predecessor. Fun but thoughtful read.

24, 25, 26. LOTR I know, I know. Yes, they were on the list last year, but David and Duncan were gone over seas; and it was summer and Emily and I had a lot of time to read; but I had nothing handy, so I reached for an old favorite. And when I start it, I get sucked right in to the beauty of the story and the writing. And I'm not gonna aplogize because I've found others who read LOTR about once a year just "to be refreshed."

27. Architect of Middle Earth by Daniel Grotta. Fascinating, unauthorized bio of Tolkien. Grotta concentrates more on how LOTR impacted and was impacted by its time. The parts about WWI and what Tolkien, Lewis and their contemporaries lived through and with will just break your heart.

28. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I'd heard so much about this on the internet, but it didn't sound like my thing- too scifi. I got it for Duncan. He loved it. Got David to read it.  They both said I had to read it, so I did somewhat reluctantly. OMG- you cannot put it down and its not just a pageturner. This explores heavy stuff. Should be required reading for all freshmen lit classes.

29, 30. The Prince of Ill Luck, The Wind Witch by Susan Dexter. Heard about these from @AngieBookGirl's retro reads. Prince starts out a little odd- in the POV of a horse, but stick with it, it's good. And Witch is that rare sequel that is actually better than first.

31. Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr.  I know she's a well respected fantasy author, and I was so excited about this book as it's the inspiration for one of my favorite Within Temptation songs, but...I didn't like it. It was actually kinda boring. The song lyrics are better than the actual story. I didn't buy the MC's motivation or feel any of his pain- not sure he really had any. And the love interest's big fall- same thing-too yucky and I just didn't buy it, didn't feel sorry for her or see why she did it. Nope. Just wasn't there, for me. I didn't care about them.

32, 33. 34. Harry Potter. Not sure how I started these up again, but I did and got pulled right in to Rowlings world though I'm taking it slow with months between each book. Its nice to know its waiting for me, when I'm currently out of anything to read.

36, 37. 38. Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier. Reread DoF and loved it all over again. Em read it and loved it too. Having been disappointed in SoS, I gave it another try. (Em said no, preferred to keep end of Daughter as the end and I understood perfectly). However, I liked SoS better this time around. It was just so hard on the first read, for it to compete with my expectations after Daughter. And I will say the ending is still...just not right, not truly believable. Because of that I never read Child. But I saw it at Half Price Books and thought what the heck. I liked it- it's better than Son.

39. Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. Reread this in order to go to my church's bookclub. For someone who never had his own kids, Lewis writes the most delightfully real kids (and grown ups). Reading this aloud with a group of very well-informed Lewis afficianados has been absolute fun.

40. Wesley the Owl by Stacey O'Brien (Non-fiction) Awesome, awesome, awesome!!! Fascinating. Funny. Heartwrenching- and not in the way you think, that way all animal books are.This book will stay with me forever. Thanks, Stacey, you are one of my heroes.This was my favorite book of the year.



susan b. james

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