Category Archives: Books

My 2013 Reading List

In my Belated New Years post, I mentioned that I fell short of my goal to read an average of 2 books a month in 2012.  This realization came after tallying up the list I was (apparently not-so-accurately) keeping over the year and the number came to 23.  That’s right.  Just one book shy of my goal.

But then just moments ago, as I was typing up the list in this post, I realized I had forgotten one book: Of Monsters And Men.  Which brings me to 24 books.  Which means I did accomplish my goal of reading 2 books a month.

Hurray!  Go me!

In case you’re curious, here are my 2012 Reads:

Bossypants by Tina Fey
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Room by Emma Donoghue
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Legend by Marie Lu
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom by Amy Hua
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (audio book)
Once Upon A Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy And It’s Aftermath by Mimi Alford
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Allow me to share my thoughts on this lineup.  First, I can’t help but notice that a majority of the books are YA (Young Adult) and many of which are of the dystopian variety.  No surprise there.  YA Dystopian is definitely “in” these days (*cough* The Hunger Games *cough*).  Also I share a Kindle account with my sister, Mikala, who is currently writing a YA book and keeps inundating our account with YA reads as a means of “research.”  Of her recommendations, I’d say the book that most stood out for me was Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  This book is a new take on the classic fairytale Cinderella.  As opposed to a being set in a “kingdom far, far away,” this one takes place in New Beijing, a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world where people are currently battling a deadly plague.  “Cinder” is a cyborg and a mechanic who lives with her evil stepmother and suddenly finds herself interacting with the Prince.  Not your typical fairytale, but this book is fun to read and original.  Like a lot of YA books, this is the first in a series and the second book, Scarlet, is expected to be released next month.

In addition to YA books, I also noticed that a number of my reads (6 of them) from 2012 were surprisingly nonfiction and all of them were written by women.  Although I don’t know if you could really count the Pioneer Woman’s book about meeting her husband your typical nonfiction book.  I actually highly recommend all of the nonfiction books that I read this year – especially Bossypants by Tina Fey if you’re looking for a laugh and an insider’s scoop into the worlds of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock and what it’s like to be a comedic writer/actress.  If you’re looking for something a bit more serious, I was blown away by Once Upon A Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy And It’s Aftermath by Mimi Alford (I will never look at JFK the same!) and Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, which offers testimonies from people who have escaped North Korea and gives a glimpse into the bizarre lifestyle existing inside the country and the difficulties of starting a new life on the other side.

Examining the list closely, I’d say the book I was most disappointed with was probably The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.  I know a lot of people love this series, and I did enjoy The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to a certain degree, but I found this one to be a bit too convoluted and I really have a hard time liking the main characters.  I was also not impressed with Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.  Again, everyone is obsessing over this series right now, but I just don’t get it…

On the whole, the books that stand out most for me (in addition to Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick) are probably Divergent by Veronica Roth and The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (both YA literature).  If you haven’t read Divergent, I recommend doing so now.  It’s the next “big” series next to the Hunger Games and Twilight and filming for a movie version is scheduled to begin here in Chicago around April.  The Ask and the Answer is the second book in the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness.  All three books in this series are unpredictable and very well written, but I liked The Ask and the Answer the best because I think you really get a sense of the complexity of the characters and the story takes an  interesting turn.  The plot would be very difficult to explain in a few sentences, so if you’re curious, feel free to read my review of the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Now moving along to 2013…

There are a number of books I started in 2012 that I did not get to finish (a combination of a lack of time and my library loan ending) that I would like to complete in 2013:

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (So far I’ve read half of A Game of Thrones – mostly because I am obsessed with the TV series and I want to find out what happens beyond the 2nd season)
Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey

Also high on my reading list for 2013:

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Murial Barbery
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

And finally, YA books magically appearing on my Kindle thanks to Mikala that I also need to read at some point:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Any other books you recommend?