Oh wow, I haven’t updated my 112 in 2012 in a long time even though I’ve been steadily accomplishing stuff. It’s also been a while since I updated my book reviews. I update on good reads but maintaining the separate book review blog just isn’t happening. Not something I’m completely writing off, but at the moment, too much to maintain. So for now, I’ll post my book updates here. The first eight books of the year are here, but at least this year, I’m going to update the rest here.
A Visit From The Good Squad [Book #9]. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and similarly you shouldn’t judge a book by its super-cool title. Which is what I did. I purchased this book sight unseen because GOON squad! Spoiler alert: No goon squad. Not in the real sense. In the abstract, college lit sense? Sure. But I was anticipating actual goons doing goon-like things and was thus disappointed by this series of short-stories posing as a novel. While well written, good writing cannot cure a weak plot, or in this case, a non-existent one.
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted [Book #10]. Because I like sharing books with others, I don’t buy books on Kindle anymore, but I do read a bit on the device thanks to free classics and e-lending. This was my first kindle-library experience, a beautiful collection of short-stories about women in different phases of their life dealing with weight issues, love, loss, and aging. I’m not a huge fan of short stories, they always leave me wanting more, but somehow Berg wrote these stories in a way that left me satisfied.
The Hacienda [Book #11]. I started off loving this memoir about a girl who at 17 travels to her husband’s Hacienda in the middle of the Andes where instead of the promised land she finds neglect and wretched circumstances. I love her imagery but she never explains why she stays in such wretched circumstances and when she finally does make her daring escape, she doesn’t share. We’re left with her about to flee, but we never see her leave. The story is written in a detatched manner that left me a bit cold. Still, I did love the portrait it painted and the new perspective on a place I’ve never been.
The Good Daughter [Book #12]. In a similar vein to The Hacienda, I loved the details about Iran and the stories of three generations of daughters. My only gripe is the author writes in such a detatched journalistic manner its hard to get close to the characters. She also doesn’t provide a solid ending with closure, perhaps if she had let you into her heart just a touch more this story could have been infinitely better.
The Big Short [Book #13]. This book explains the current housing-financial crash in an easy to explain manner– except I still didn’t really get it. I am not sure if this is the fault of the book or if its the brain cells that haven’t regenerated due to lack of sleep, but whether or not its an interesting book I will give it that its an important one about the situation we are currently in.
A Game Of Thrones Book [Book #14]. I read this book in the same vein I read the first Twilight. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Thankfully this book is no Twilight. While not my typical read, and far too dense, now that I’ve started watching the HBO show version of it, I’ll probably finish the series since watching is more enjoyable having read the book.
The Solitude Of Prime Numbers [Book #15]. I loved this quirky, funny, and heartbreaking Italian novel about two misfits and their quest to live life. They are not the most likeable people, but they are so interesting you keep turning the pages to find out more about their lives.
The Four Agreements [Book #16]. This book deserves a post of its own. The first time I read it, I thought it was fluff. The second time, not bad. The third time, it gripped me by the soul. This is a must read for anyone who is seeking to better their lives. It’s a simple book, but its values are worth remembering.
Self Editing For Fiction Writers [Book #17]. My agent recommended this book and with all the fluffy ‘how to write’ books out there on the market, it was a refreshing read. It’s meant for someone who already has the story down but just want to whittle things down and add more depth and quality to their work.
East is East [Book #18]. I’ve read a few TC Boyle works and while this, his debut novel, is not my favorite of his novels, its a well-written tale with beautifully drawn characters, settings, and a story that makes you both laugh at times, and other times makes you want to sit down and weep. I both love and hate his ability to truly make you connect with the characters because they stay in your mind long after you’re done reading.
The Descendants [Book #19]. Unlike K, I enjoyed the movie version of this book, but the book? Wow. It’s awesome. Love the writing, the plot, and the gobbing heaping amount of heart this book has. I love how this book, unlike a movie, delves into the protagonists head and helps you understand things the movie can’t possibly explain. One of my favorite fiction reads so far.
Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies [Book #20]. Deborah Halverson has been immeasurably beneficial to me as I edit my manuscript so when she recommended her book, I immediately grabbed it. I’m not usually into the “Dummy” books, what with the dummy implication, but this was a surprisingly useful book.
Some Assembly Required [Book #21]. Bummer. I loved her memoir on her first year of her son’s life, Operating Instructions, but this book, on her grandson, while it had good moments, was a big disappointment which stinks because I really wanted to love it. I almost felt like an editor or publisher pushed her to do this since it would be a hit considering her initial memoir [and she acknowledges this to some extent in the book itself].
Born To Run [Book #22]. I don’t run. I hate running. But I sure do love to read about people running. Wow! This book explores the Tarahumara tribe and their super-athletic capabilities that segues into our own basic potential for physical and athletic greatness. This book helped to explain our evolutionary links to running and definitely makes me want to pick up the practice. Again.
Hope it’s helpful! Agree? Disagree? I’ve two more books in the queue and then I’m facing a parched desert in books to read, so more importantly, read anything good lately? Do share! [Also, if you’re on good reads, holler! I love finding suggestions through people I know!]