Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Books of 2012

I read 21 books last year. Not too shabby.
The * denotes books read for book group. 

Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry
This is the first western I've ever read, and I loved it. Character development was awesome, the plot was great, and I was genuinely sucked in to the story. After I read it (and told Barry all about it along the way) we checked out the made-for-tv-movie from the library and watched that too. Obviously, the book was better, but the movie (on several VHS tapes) was good.

*The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
I suggested our group read this one, because I really wanted to reread it before the movie came out. Love it.

Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult
I liked this book but it didn't go where I thought it would. It has some pretty interesting perspectives on fertility issues, fidelity, homosexual relationships, and family. Overall, a pretty good read.

Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins

Mocking Jay- Suzanne Collins
Because I couldn't leave the series incomplete.

*A Gift of Grace - Amy Clipston
This book is the first one in a series about an Amish community. The story was pretty good, fairly predictable, but enjoyable. However, the writing was a bit lame. The author used the phrase, "dead panned" two or three times in the first few chapters. Annoying.

The Invention of Hugo Cabaret - Brian Selznick
I enjoyed the way the illustrations told pieces of the story without words. A quick, fun read.

*Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians - Brandon Sanderson
A very fun, silly book. The main character is a kid named Alcatraz Smedry who finds out that he has a special talent and that this world is not what it seems. I really liked this story and should read the rest of the series.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Sometimes, I just need a quick escape into Narnia. Don't you?

*Rabbit-Proof Fence - Doris Pilkington
A true story about natives in Australia. I'm glad I read this book, since I know almost nothing of Australian history, and it gives a heartbreaking perspective you don't find in history books. I just wish I knew about the glossary of Aboriginal terms at the back of the book before I finished reading the whole story. Duh.

Stonewords: A Ghost Story - Pam Conrad
This is a book I read as a kid and happen to own. Honestly, ghosts freak me out, but all ends well in this story, so I can handle it. Still, it's a little creepy and I'm surprised I read it as a child and liked it enough to buy it.

Home Front - Kristin Hannah
I read Kristin Hannah's books to get easily and swiftly sucked into dramatic stories about relationships. This one was no exception. The main character is a wife, mother, and soldier. She is always remarkably strong for others, but she faces a serious trial, falls apart, and nearly loses everything. It's a good read to be reminded of the frailties of the human spirit and relationships.

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
I read this in high school but the only thing I remembered from it was the big faded billboard with a picture of glasses. Not a lot to go on, right? Well, it's going to be a Baz Luhrmann film, so I wanted to reread the book in preparation for the movie. The book was interesting. The movie is going to be awesome. 

*Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption - Laura Hillenbrand
This is an incredible, non-fiction tale about a man who survived Japanese prison camps during WWII. Holy cow. I was shocked by what he endured, what it did to his spirit, and what a war can do to civilized people. How does anyone survive what this man went through? I can't help but wonder if Louis Zamperini embellished his stories, just a little bit.

*The Spy Wore Red - Aline Griffith
Another non-fiction book, this time an autobiography about the author's time as a spy in high-society Spain during WWII. This was a really fun, interesting read. 

*Before My Heart Stops: A Memoir - Paul Cardall
The author is an LDS musician who was born with an abnormal heart. Most people with this condition don't live to adulthood without having a transplant. This book journals his experiences, in his 30s, during the year that he waited on the list for a heart transplant. This guy's life was on the line so many times that he developed a lot of faith.  It was a very spiritually uplifting book. 

Alice In Wonderland & Through the Lookin Glass - Lewis Carroll
I had never read these stories before. They're odd, but fun. That being said, I don't think I need to read them again.

Cheaper By The Dozen - Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey 
I have a confession... I didn't actually finish this book! Having two kids (and one extra, several days a week!) slows down my reading process, and I had to return the book to the library before I was through it all. Excuses aside, I liked this story a lot. It's non-fiction, hilarious, and wonderful. I need to borrow it again so I can get to the end...

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
I finally read this book and am so glad that I did. I want to read it again. And again. I hate that such racism and inequality is a fact of this world, but I love the way the author captured it so truthfully.


There were countless children's books read during the year as well, but I really haven't kept track of those. I can say that I think Mo Willems is a fantastic author and I could read all of his books over and over to my kids.

So, what was your favorite read of 2012?

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