Sunday, June 17, 2012

(Almost) A Year in Review

It's sad but true. I am almost a year behind in posting! I'd like to chalk it up to being too busy reading, but you know how it goes: Other chores take priority, I've had freelance out the wazoo; or was it simply that I couldn't come up with the perfect thing to say about what I just read? Whatever the reason, I never stopped reading. Well, wait. There was the time in March when I nearly boycotted reading because I was so smitten with Harry Potter. I felt I would be disloyal to all of Wizardom if I jumped into a new book without properly grieving the end of those seven books. Yeah, I was that obsessed. I even joined Pottermore the first day it became available to the public (my screen name is ShadowRain12825 for anyone who wants to friend me!) and haven't stopped thinking about how truly wonderful those books were since March 14, 2012 when Harry sent his own son off to Hogwarts for the first time. I know, I know, I'm way late for that train. But I'm so glad I waited! I don't know how the people who read each book as it was released could handle the wait! I was lucky to read all seven books consecutively over the course of only four months.

OK, fine, enough about Harry (one last word: I love Ron). I've decided that instead of completely stressing myself out about the fact that I need to write TEN overdue posts, I need to just clean the slate. I'll recap the books I've read since last July and move on with my life. The next full post will be about that sicko Christian Gray :)

1. Cutting for Stone  |  Abraham Verghese  |  January 10 - July 17, 2011
It took me a whopping seven months to get through this audiobook. So many times I wanted to give up. I found it to be slow and overly long (I desperately wanted to edit out so much of it). The only thing that kept me going was peer pressure – so many friends held this book in such high esteem. And then one day I suddenly turned a corner and ended up truly enjoying it. Glad I stuck to it.
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2.  Still Alice  |  Lisa Genova  |  August 16 - September 3, 2011
Tough subject matter, but poignant and heartbreaking. Genova has a Ph. D in neuroscience, so the book is written accurately but still has the ability to engage the reader at every turn. Alice's quick decent into Alzheimer's isn't exactly "light reading," but well worth the education for the reader.
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3.  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake  |  Aimee Bender  |  July 18 - August 30, 2011
Anyone recognize this acronym: WTF??? That is exactly what I said when this book ended. WTF??? Her brother became the chair?? Seriously didn't get it. Maybe the biggest strike against the book for me was the author narrated the audiobook and it was probably the worst narration I've ever heard. Monotone, lifeless; she could have read anything and made it sound awful. Sorry, it's just better to have talented narrators...otherwise you lose me. Fast.
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4.  Faith  |  Jennifer Haigh  |  September 3-24, 2011
Funny thing happened the other day. I stopped and got Faith out of the library because a pal had been raving about it and said I just had to read it next. After two chapters I realized that I've already read it! Duh! It was definitely good, so I have no idea why it was so forgettable. An intriguing story about an accused Catholic priest in Boston and how his family deals with the scandal.
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5. I Still Dream About You  |  Fannie Flagg  |  September 24 - October 15, 2011
I adore Fannie Flagg. Her writing is music to my ears. Not being a southern girl myself, Flagg has the ability to paint such a vivid picture, that I feel like I've lived in Alabama my whole life. Even as Maggie Fortenberry contemplates suicide by creating a list of 16 reasons why she should and only 2 why she should not, I couldn't help laughing at the charm brought in every page of this book.
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6. A Discovery of Witches  |  Deborah Harness  |  September 1 - October 8, 2011
I wouldn't say I'm a fan of Fantasy or Sci-fi, but I love, love, love witches. Add in a 1500-year old vampire and you've got a real winner. I couldn't get enough of this book, and was actually quite satisfied with the somewhat untidy (not wrapped up in a bow) ending. Then I found out it was the first in a trilogy. Hooray! Shadow of Night comes out next month. I can't wait!
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7. One Day  |  David Nicholls  |  October 20 - December 29, 2011
Hilariously funny in parts with an unforeseen, shocking ending. Dexter and Emma meet on July 15, 1988 and the book follows them on that same day each year after for 20 years. Nicholls' ability with character development had me on an emotional roller coaster. Except I didn't get sick on this one.
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8. This is Where I Leave You  |  Jonathan Tropper  |  January 10 - March 8, 2012
Judd and his dysfunctional family reluctantly sit Shiva for his father. His wife is cheating on him with his boss. Sounds like hard stuff, but this novel is funny and fresh. It was a great one to listen to while sitting in traffic after work. Made the commute not so bad.
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9. Harry Potter  |  J.K. Rowling  |  November 20, 2011 - March 14, 2012
These seven books really deserve their own post, but what could I say that hasn't been said before? I resisted for so long, for no real reason, but was finally convinced to give them a try. I felt like I was living at Hogwarts for four months. I can't say enough good things about this series, and I'm sure no one needs convincing – I'm probably the last person on earth to read them.
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10. The Night Circus  |  Erin Morgenstern  | March 19 - May 28, 2012
To be fair, this book never stood a chance. As the first one to be read after Harry, I couldn't focus on a single word. I would go days without reading it; in turn taking me 2-plus months to get through it. Once my focus started to return, I became quite interested in the characters. But even though I'm not a fan of a big bow at the end, I found myself saying out loud, "Was the whole damn thing really a dream?!"
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And there you have it. Some of my highest ratings in a long time...maybe that can be another excuse for not posting!