Category Archives: 2012 Books

2012 Pop Culture Resolutions

Books:

1) Read The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2/2) (completed November 9)

2) Read at least one classic childhood series (1/1) (completed March 14)

3) Read at least 12 nonfiction books (12/12) (completed July 17)

Movies: (completed July 8)

1) Watch all 2012 Oscar Best Picture nominees (The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse) (9/9) (completed July 8)

2) Watch AFI’s 10 best movies from 2011 list (10/10) (completed May 10)

3) Watch the 2012 Best Picture winners from Golden Globes (The Descendents), Independent Spirit Awards (The Artist), Screen Actors’ Guild (The Help), Critics’ Choice (The Artist) and BAFTA awards (The Artist) (5/5) (completed July 8)

TV (completed March 8):

1) Watch an episode from each of AFI’s 10 best shows for 2011 (10/10) (completed Feb. 17)

2) Finally watch Lost (completed March 8)

3) Watch at least half of AFI Best 10 Shows lists from 2001-2010. (10/10) (completed Feb. 10)

2012: The Books

January:

1) Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan* (1) (2012)

2) The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker* (2) (2012)

3) The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi* (3) (2012)

4) Start Shooting by Charlie Newton* (4) (2012)

5) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot*** (5)

6) Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler** (6) (2012)

7) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (7) (2012)

8) A Million Suns by Beth Revis (8) (2012)

9) More Than Words Can Say by Robert Barclay* (9)

10) The Starlite Drive-In by Marjorie Reynolds* (10)

11) Stealing Magic by Marianne Malone* (11) (2012)

12) The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe* (12) (2012)

13) The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey* (13) (2012)

14) Destiny and Deception by Shannon Delany* (14) (2012)

15) Pretty Little Secrets by Sara Shepard** (15) (2012)

16) The 7th Month by Lisa Gardner** (16) (2012)

17) Never to Sleep by Rachel Vincent** (17) (2012)

18) Lenobia’s Vow by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast* (18) (2012)

19) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck** (19)

20) Spin by Catherine McKenzie* (20)

21) Stiff by Mary Roach*** (21)

22) What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook (22)

23) Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook** (23) (2012)

24) Unpredictable by Eileen Cook (24)

25) Do or Di by Eileen Cook** (25) (2012)

26) Fourth Grade Fairy by Eileen Cook** (26)

27) Inside Out and Back Again by Tianha Lai** (27) (2012)

28) Wishes For Beginners by Eileen Cook** (28)

29) Gnome Invasion by Eileen Cook** (29)

30) Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill** (30)

31) Still by Lauren F. Winner** (31) (2012)

February:

1) Home Front by Kristin Hannah** (32) (2012)

2) This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers* (33) (2012)

3) Griffin’s Fire by Darby Karchut* (34) (2012)

4) Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall** (34)

5) Catch Me by Lisa Gardner** (35) (2012)

6) The Lying Game: Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard** (36) (2012)

7) Defending Jacob by William Landay** (37) (2012)

8) MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche** (38)

9) Wonder by R.J. Palacio** (39) (2012)

10) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie** (40)

11) Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin** (41)

12) Trafficked by Kim Purcell** (42) (2012)

13) Torn by Amanda Hocking* (43)

14) The Night She Disappeared by April Henry* (44) (2012)

15) Ascend by Amanda Hocking* (45)

16) Fever by Lauren DeStefano** (46) (2012)

17) See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles* (47) (2012)

18) Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby* (48) (2012)

19) Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker* (49) (2012)

20) Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker** (50)

21) Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace (51)

22) Betsy and Tacy go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace (52)

23) Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult** (53) (2012)

March:

1) Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver** (54) (2012)

2) Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace (55)

3) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (56)

4) Boy21 by Matthew Quick* (57) (2012)

5) Rock On by Denise Vega* (58) (2012)

6) Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn (59)

7) Winona’s Pony Cart by Maud Hart Lovelace** (60)

8) Hana by Lauren Oliver** (61) (2012)

9) The Glass Case by Kristin Hannah** (62)

10) Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace (63)

11) Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace (64)

12) Betsy Was a Junior by Maud Hart Lovelace (65)

13) Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace (66)

14) Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace (67)

15) Betsy’s Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace (68)

16) Arcadia by Lauren Groff * ** (69) (21012)

17) Carney’s House Party by Maud Hart Lovelace** (70)

18) Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace** (71)

19) Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale* (72) (2012)

20) Purity by Jackson Pearce* ** (73) (2012)

21) Stay Close by Harlan Coben** (74) (2012)

22) Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins* (75) (2012)

23) Forgiven by Jana Oliver* (76) (2012)

24) I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga* ** (77) (2012)

25) Dead to You by Lisa McMann** (78) (2012)

26) Slide by Jill Hathaway** (79) (2012)

27) Bloom by Kelle Hampton* (80) (2012)

April:

1) Pawnee: the Greatest Town in America by Leslie Knope (81)

2) The List by Siobhan Vivian** (82) (2012)

3) First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci** (83)

4) Belles by Jen Calonita* ** (84) (2012)

5) Taken at Dusk by C.C. Hunter * (85) (2012)

6) Room by Emma Donoghue** *** (86)

7) Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher** (87)

8) 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad* ** (88)

9) Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs ** (89) (2012)

10) Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin** (90) (2012)

11) The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa* ** (91) (2012)

12) Revived by Cat Patrick * ** (92) (2012)

13) Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi* (93)

14) The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi* ** (94) (2012)

15) Jackie After O by Tina Cassidy* (95) (2012)

16) The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh* (96)

17) Arranged by Catherine McKenzie* (97)

18) The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King** **** (98) (2012)

19) Thumped by Megan McCafferty** (99) (2012)

20) The Selection by Kiera Cass** (100) (2012)

21) Entice by Carrie Jones** (101)

22) Endure by Carrie Jones* ** (102) (2012)

23) Gilt by Katherine Longshore* ** (103) (2012)

24) The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March* (104) (2012)

May:

1) Insurgent by Veronica Roth** (105) (2012)

2) The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford** (106) (2012)

3) Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore** (107) (2012)

4) Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready** (108) (2012)

5) Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready** (109) (2012)

6) Throttle by Stephen King and Joe Hill** (110)

7) Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson** (111) (2012)

8) In Honor by Jessi Kirby** (112) (2012)

9) City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare** (113) (2012)

10) Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers** (114) (2012)

11) Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann** (115)

12) The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young** (116)

13) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee*** (117)

14) Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes* (118) (2012)

15) So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore* ** (119) (2012)

16) A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger* ** (120) (2012)

17) Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan* ** (121) (2012)

18) Transcendence by CJ Omolulu* ** (122) (2012)

19) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn* ** (123) (2012)

20) Dream School by Blake Nelson** (124)

21) Hourglass by Myra McEntire** (125)

22) Timepiece by Myra McEntire* ** (126) (2012)

23) I Suck At Girls by Justin Halpert* (127) (2012)

24) Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus* ** (128) (2012)

25) Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti* ** (129) (2012)

26) Rapture by Lauren Kate* ** (130) (2012)

27) One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf* ** (131) (2012)

June:

1) Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch** (132) (2012)

2) Something Like Normal by Trish Doller* ** (133) (2012)

3) No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz** (134) (2012)

4) A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry** (135)

5) Stunning by Sara Shepard** (136) (2012)

6) Burn Mark by Laura Powell* ** (137) (2012)

7) America, You Sexy Bitch by Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain* (138) (2012)

8) One Moment by Kristina McBride* ** (139) (2012)

9) The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead** (140) (2012)

10) The Demands by Mark Billingham* (141) (2012)

11) The 500 by Matthew Quirk* (142) (2012)

12) The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugeneides*** (143)

13) I Couldn’t Love You More by Jillian Medoff* ** (144) (2012)

14) The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner* ** (145) (2012)

15) The White Glove War by Katie Crouch* ** (146) (2012)

16) Merits of Mischief: The Bad Apple by T.R. Burns* (147) (2012)

17) Gold Medal Summer by Donna Freitas* (148) (2012)

18) Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner* (149)

19) Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon* ** (150) (2012)

20) Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown* ** (151) (2012)

21) Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer** (152) (2012)

22) Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent** (153) (2012)

23) The Lost Girls by Ann Kelley* ** (154) (2012)

24) The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon* ** (155) (2012)

25) Capture the Flag by Kate Messner* (156) (2012)

July:

1) The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen* (156) (2012)

2) Finding Emma by Steena Holmes* (157) (2012)

3) Choke by Diana Lopez* (158) (2012)

4) Abandon by Meg Cabot** (159)

5) Underworld by Meg Cabot* (160) (2012)

6) Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan* (161) (2012)

7) Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough* (162) (2012)

8) Only One Life by Sara Blaedel* (163)

9) Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian* ** (164) (2012)

10) Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer* ** (165) (2012)

11) Gold by Chris Cleave* (166) (2012)

12) The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker* (167) (2012)

13) Look Again Because You Can by Neile Jones-Batie (168)

14) Unsaid by Neil Abramson* (169)

15) The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce* (170) (2012)

16) Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann* (171) (2012)

17) The Haunted Mask by R.L. Stine* (172) (2012)

18) A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein* (173) (2012)

19) Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson* (174) (2012)

20) Pushing the Limit by Katie McGarry* ** (175) (2012)

21) Miss Me When I’m Gone by Emily Arsenault* ** (176) (2012)

22) Ten Girls to Watch by Charity Shumway* ** (177) (2012)

23) The Other by Thomas Tryon* ** (178)

24) The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson* (179) (2012)

25) The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway* (180) (2012)

26) Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead* ** (181) (2012)

27) Dare Me by Megan Abbott* (182) (2012)

28) The Prophet by Michael Koryta* (183) (2012)

29) Glitch by Heather Anastasiu* (184) (2012)

30) Rivals and Retribution by Shannon Delany* (185) (2012)

August:

1) Wake by Amanda Hocking* (186) (2012)

2) Between You and Me by Marisa Calin* ** (187) (2012)

3) The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer* (188) (2012)

4) Four Secrets by Margaret Willey* (189) (2012)

5) Skylark by Meagan Spooner* (190) (2012)

6) When it Happens to You by Molly Ringwald* (191) (2012)

7) After Eli by Rebecca Rupp* ** (192) (2012)

8) The Devil I Know by Jackie Barrett* (193) (2012)

9) Rape Girl by Alina Klein* ** (194) (2012)

10) Heartburn by Nora Ephron*** (195)

11) Rather Outspoken by Dan Rather* (196) (2012)

12) The Curiosities by Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff* (197) (2012)

13) The Sweet Life by Francine Pascal** (198) (2012)

14) Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake** (199) (2012)

15) Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks* ** (200) (2012)

16) And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman** (201) (2012)

17) A Mutiny In Time by James Dashner* (202) (2012)

18) The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano* (203) (2012)

19) Drama by Raina Telgemeier* (204) (2012)

September:

1) The Cutting Season by Attica Locke* (205) (2012)

2) Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr* (206) (2012)

3) The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty** (207) (2012)

4) The Ninth Step by Grant Jerkins** (208) (2012)

5) 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues** (209) (2012)

6) Audition & Subtraction by Amy Fellner Dominy (210) (2012)

7) Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub* (211) (2012)

8) Adaptation by Malinda Lo* ** (212) (2012)

9) Tilt by Ellen Hopkins** (213) (2012)

10) Envy by Elizabeth Miles** (214) (2012)

11) Hide and Seek by Sara Shepard** (215) (2012)

12) Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff* (216) (2012)

13) The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver* ** (217) (2012)

14) October Mourning by Leslea Newman* ** (218) (2012)

15) Ten by Gretchen McNeil** (219) (2012)

16) Seconds Away by Harlan Coben** (220) (2012)

17) Butter by Erin Jade Lange* ** (221) (2012)

18) Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate* (222) (2012)

19) Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian* (223) (2012)

20) The Diviners by Libba Bray* (224) (2012)

21) Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt* ** (225) (2012)

22) What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang* (226) (2012)

23) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater* (227) (2012)

24) Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed and Larkin Reed* (228) (2012)

October:

1) Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth* (229)

2) Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel* (230)

3) The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton* (231) (2012)

4) The Burning House by Foster Huntington* (232) (2012)

5) Not Young, Still Restless by Jeanne Cooper* (233) (2012)

6) Skinny by Donna Cooner* (234) (2012)

7) Son by Lois Lowry* (235) (2012)

8) Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo** (236) (2012)

9) Live By Night by Dennis Lehane* (237) (2012)

10) Planet of the Lawn Gnomes by R.L. Stine* ** (238)

11) The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa* ** (239) (2012)

12) Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea** (240)

13) Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea* ** (241) (2012)

14) Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay** (242)

15) Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay* ** (243) (2012)

16) Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone* (244) (2012)

17) Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie* ** (245) (2012)

18) Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl** (246) (2012)

19) Beta by Rachel Cohn* ** (247) (2012)

20) Zom-B by Darren Shan* (248) (2012)

21) The Innocents by Lili Peloquin* (249) (2012)

22) Collateral by Ellen Hopkins* (250) (2012)

23) Endangered by Eliot Schrefer* (251) (2012)

November:

1) Eternally Yours by Cate Tiernan* (252) (2012)

2) The Safe Man by Michael Connelly** (253) (2012)

3) The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson** (254)

4) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson** (255)

5) In Need of a Good Wife by Kelly O’Connor McNees** (256) (2012)

6) Forget Me Not by Carolee Dean** (257) (2012)

7) A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans** (258) (2012)

8) Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm** (259) (2012)

9) The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm** (260) (2012)

10) Judging a Book by its Lover by Lauren Leto* (261) (2012)

11) Farewell to Freedom* by Sara Blaedel* (262) (2012)

12) The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe** (263) (2012)

13) Reached by Ally Condie** (264) (3012)

14) Lullaby by Amanda Hocking* (265) (2012)

15) Thumbprint by Joe Hill** (266) (2012)

16) Infinity Ring 2 by Carrie Ryan* ** (267) (2012)

17) Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott**** (268) (2012)

18) The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin** (269) (2012)

19) The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories 2 by Joseph Gordon-Levitt* (270) (2012)

20) Griffin’s Storm by Darby Karchut* (271) (2012)

21) The Black Box by Michael Connelly** (272) (2012)

22) The Books They Gave Me by Jen Adams** (273) (2012)

23) Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler* ** (274) (2012)

24) Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller** (275) (2012)

December:

1) Black City by Elizabeth Richards* (276) (2012)

2) Tempest by Julie Cross* (277) (2012)

3) Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill* ** (278) (2012)

4) Everyone’s Reading Bastard by Nick Hornby** (279) (2012)

5) The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook** (280) (2012)

6) Burned by Sara Shepard** (281) (2012)

7) The Believing Game by Eireann Corrigan* ** (282) (2012)

8) Because I Said So! by Ken Jennings* ** (283) (2012)

9) The Farm by Emily McKay* (284) (2012)

10) My Beautiful Failure by Janet Ruth Young** (285) (2012)

11) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews** (286) (2012)

12) Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham** (287) (2012)

13) Foretold by Jana Oliver** (288) (2012)

14) Hot Dogs and Hamburgers by Rob Shindler* ** (289) (2012)

15) Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes* (290) (2012)

16) Dream More by Dolly Parton** (291) (2012)

17) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes* ** (292) (2012)

18) Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster* ** (293)

19) A Walk in the Park by Jane Green** (294) (2012)

20) The First Lie by Sara Shepard** (295) (2012)

21) Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz* ** (296) (2012)

22) Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans**** (297)

23) The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick** (298)

24) Becoming by Lindsey Kay (299) (2012)

25) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky** (300)

26) A Name Like Thunder by Lee Goff** (301)

27) Catherine by April Lindner* ** (302)

28) The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis** (303) (2012)

29) Return to Me by Justina Chen* ** (304)

30) Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans* (305)

31) Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt* (306)

* = copy sent for review

** = read as ebook

*** = read for book club

**** = read as audiobook

Look For Me In 2013!

So I have been on a reading kick lately and I have finished several amazing books this year…which means that they aren’t technically eligible for my Best of 2013 list, even though that’s when they’ll show up on this blog.

So please consider looking for these books in 2013.

1) A Name Like Thunder by Lee Goff. Holy crap, this book. I finished it a week ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my head. My review is up tomorrow morning, but suffice it to say that while it starts slow, it sure doesn’t end that way. And it has the creepiest villain (Kirkland) ever. Because you guys, it’s not even so much that he has no remorse…it’s that he really, REALLY likes killing people. It’s sort of his wheelhouse.

2) Catherine by April Lindner. This is a retelling of Wuthering Heights. It’s sweet and has a fantastic mystery. And it will likely make you want to read (or re-read) Wuthering Heights.

3) Return To Me by Justina Chen. Just as amazing as North of Beautiful. It’s just wonderful and is about a family in crisis.

4) Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans. I will go on record as saying that this will be THE YA Debut of the year. It would almost have been guaranteed a spot at the top of my 2013 best of list, except that I couldn’t wait anymore to read it. Out January 15.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix-tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.”

If you look on the Goodreads reviews of this book, you see a lot one or two star reviews and a lot of four and five star reviews.  I didn’t look at every single rating, but I didn’t see any three star picks.  This is basically one of those books that it’s impossible to feel neutral about.  You either completely love it or you think, “Oh my GOD, Charlie, QUIT WHINING.  Because if you don’t, I will RUN YOU OVER WITH MY CAR.  And quit smoking.  It’s gross.”

Given my complete adoration of the movie, I was a little nervous about reading the book.  It’s not that I didn’t think it would be good, but I wasn’t sure about how it would transfer.  The book is obviously a lot more in Charlie’s head, and so while we do see a lot of Patrick and Sam (oh, Sam) and Mary Elizabeth, we spend a lot more time with Charlie.  And I think movie Charlie is easier to take than book Charlie.

All that aside, though, I loved this book.  I see and understand a lot of the criticism (Charlie is one morose guy) but as someone who skews toward the melancholy, I kind of appreciate that.  Relentlessly cheerful people annoy the crap out of me for the most part, and I don’t understand how people who live in this world can be all sunshine and rainbows and glitter.

But one of the things I love most are things that are about books and friendship, and this is about both.  Between the books his teacher gives him and his new friendships with Patrick, Sam, Mary Elizabeth and Alice (poor, mostly ignored Alice), Charlie gets pulled out of his head and almost forced to experience the world.  I know that’s paradoxical given the fact that books are part of the transformation, but he’s a guy who basically just didn’t interact with anyone outside of his family or anything, really, so I think it counts.

I also love the book (and movie) because it has the most true quote ever.  Charlie is talking to his English teacher, Bill, and telling him about his sister, who is dating this guy even though he hit her.  And he doesn’t understand why people stay in relationships, even if they’re horrible.

And Bill says, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

I don’t think I need to even discuss that further, do I?  Because it’s one of those things that’s so true, it should be capitalized and underlined and bolded and probably even in 400-size font.  Like TRUE.  (I hope you appreciate that I just made it red instead of making it this giant thing that took up half a screen.)

Love this book. :)  Highly recommended.

The Silver Linings Playbook

Finished The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.

Pat has recently been released from “the bad place,” the mental institution where he was committed after an unspecified incident (at least initially).  Now that he’s free, he wants to get back together with his wife, Nikki…even though everyone in his life seems to be less than optimistic about this.  But Pat knows that his life is like a movie, which means that the happy ending is just around the corner.

This is Matthew Quick’s first novel (I loved the other two and am ridiculously excited to read his new one, which is out in the spring) and I wanted to wait and see the movie before reading this.

In case you haven’t seen the movie, it’s fantastic (Bradley Cooper plays Pat and Jennifer Lawrence plays Tiffany, a similarly damaged person who is Pat’s friend’s sister-in-law) and the book is even better.  (As is generally the case.)

Tiffany is a much bigger part of the movie than she is in the book (at least at first; she starts to play a bigger role later) and in the book, much more attention is paid to Pat (and every male member of his family)’s love with the Eagles.

The movie is incredibly funny, but also very serious in parts.  All Pat wants in the world is to get back together with Nikki, and he spends most of the book completely unwilling to accept the fact that their “apart time” is not going to end.  He works out obsessively because she’s unhappy with his weight gain (which is anywhere between an extra 10-70 pounds, Pat tells us) and he starts to read the books that she teaches her high school English students, even though he finds most of them pretty depressing and awful.  (Which is pretty understandable, really, given that it IS a high school English class.)

In case you’ve missed this book too, you should absolutely pick it up and then read his other two novels.  And see the movie, too; it’s fantastic.

 

Evolving In Monkey Town

Finished Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans.

Earlier this year (in fact, just last month), I read her other book, The Year of Biblical Womanhood.  This one is even better, because it’s not based on a gimmick.  (Note: don’t take that to mean that I didn’t love The Year of Biblical Womanhood, because I did.  But it’s hard to compare the two, because they’re very different.)

With this book, Rachel Held Evans discusses her faith and how she reconciles the idea of a loving God with the idea that you can only get into heaven if you believe some very specific things.  (As in, how can you believe in a loving God if He’s also a God that would send Anne Frank, for example, to hell for not believing in Jesus?)

And as someone who went to religious schools—including a Bible college—that isn’t a good place to be.  In fact, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be.  It’s a scary thing when one of the things that you absolutely considered to be unshakeable turns out to be…well, very shakeable.

But Evans manages to work through it, and her rationale is very simple.  I’m paraphrasing but the general gist is that we have to believe that God is better than we are.  She quotes C.S. Lewis, who says something about how the way to God is through Jesus and that’s in the Bible.  But what isn’t in the Bible is whether you have to KNOW Jesus for Him to save you.  (She explains it better.)

But it touches on something that I often think about, which is that you can’t really judge God based on our own thoughts of what He must be like.  Because while, yes, the Bible was used to justify all kinds of horrible things, that’s not really God’s fault.  We interpret everything through the lens of our own experiences.

Highly recommended.

 

Teeth

Finished Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. I received a copy from the publisher on Edelweiss.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.”

This was a very, very strange book.  For one, the island where Rudy and his family move is essentially magic.  It has a reputation (but only for those in the know) of being able to cure essentially anything.  And it works—Rudy’s brother Dylan is getting better.  But then Rudy’s relationships with Diana and Teeth are just beyond bizarre.

The book isn’t bad, not at all.  But it sort of feels like a fever dream where it’s a little hard to tell exactly what’s real and what isn’t.  But it’s also very entertaining and I would like to read more of a straight contemporary (I think I actually have her Invincible Summer novel); this was almost more of a paranormal, between the setting and Teeth.

But again, this is a fun book and it’s very easy to keep reading.

Everyone’s Reading Bastard

Finished Everyone’s Reading Bastard by Nick Hornby. (Note: I can loan this book to one person; first person to ask gets it.)

Charlie and Elaine are getting a divorce.  This would be a pretty stressful time no matter what, but Charlie is about to learn one of the great truths of life: don’t piss off a newspaper columnist.

Now Elaine is writing a weekly column called, appropriately enough “BASTARD!”  And, as the title of this story would lead you to believe, it’s a big hit.

I’ve been a Nick Hornby fan for years, since I read High Fidelity after seeing the movie.  He doesn’t release books very often (and I accidently read Fever Pitch, not realizing that it was nonfiction and about football—or soccer, as we call it here) so I was very excited to hear about this Kindle single.

Yes, this is a short story (29 pages, according to Goodreads) but beggars can’t be choosers and Nick Hornby hasn’t released a novel in what feels like forever.

If you’re already a fan of his, I think you’ll love this story.  It’s very smart and has a ton of great lines.  (Example:  “That’s what family stories were—amusing accounts of the messes and the fuckups.  Take away the love and the laughter, narrate the stories as if the characters had acted with malice and self-absorption and everybody was in a bleak independent film about alcoholism and schizophrenia and child abuse.”)

This story (as with most of Hornby’s books, especially my personal favorite, About a Boy) is intended for those with a dark sense of humor.  If you have that, you’ll find this incredibly funny.  Otherwise, you’ll probably read this with furrowed brow and wondering exactly how anyone could ever laugh at any of this.

Needless to say, I thought it was hilarious.  And very true.

Recommended.

Things I’m Obsessed With

Welcome to the latest Things I’m Obsessed With!

Life:

Today is day eight of an eight day work-week.  I am so ready for my weekend!  And as an added bonus, I’m off for the next few days, which is so needed, I can’t even tell you.

Movies:

I just saw Les Miserables and it is WONDERFUL.  If you’re a fan of musicals or movies or anything that’s amazing, you need to see this movie.  I can’t imagine that it won’t be nominated for Best Picture and if Anne Hathaway doesn’t win Best Supporting Actress, I will throw things at the TV.

Books:

I am so excited for 2013!  There are some great books coming out soon, and I’m looking forward to so many of them!  New Year’s Day is when Lisa Schroeder’s new book (Falling For You) comes out, and that’s what I want the most.  But I also want Just One Day (Gayle Forman), The Lost Art of Mixing (Erica Bauermeister), Level 2 (Lenore Appelhaus), and Return to Me (Justina Chen).

Stephen King Re-Read:

January’s picks:  Carrie, In the Tall Grass (short story), The Tommyknockers, Gerald’s Game, A Face in the Crowd (short story), Faithful, Dreamcatcher, Firestarter, From a Buick 8, Blockade Billy, Danse Macabre, Storm of the Century, Blockade Billy (short story) and On Writing.  (Yes, there’s a lot, but these are mostly really short and this is the most I’ll be reading in any given month, I think.)

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Best of 2012: Contemporary YA

This was seriously the hardest category to pick!

10) Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler. I discovered her books because of a would-be censor. It’s so awful to say, but I am grateful to that crazy man. Her books are amazing and this one is no exception. (Emphasis on the sweet, not the bitter.)

9) I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. This book was ridiculously insane and over-the-top scary. I can’t wait to read the sequel in April!

8) Purity by Jackson Pearce. This reminded me of the similarly-named and themed Pure. That’s high praise. :)

7) Boy21 by Matthew Quick. Matthew Quick is one of the most underrated authors around. His books are clever and funny and rip your heart out sad in parts. I cannot recommend him highly enough.

6) In Honor by Jessi Kirby. I discovered Jessi Kirby last year; this book has cemented her on my “favorites” list.

5) Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. Almost as good as Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour! I love her books so much.

4) Unraveling Isobel and The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook. Impossible to pick, so I choose both. :) (Read her backlist, too!)

3) Tilt by Ellen Hopkins. Another heartbreaking book but so amazingly good.

2) Skinny by Donna Cooner. I loved this book beyond all reason. I bet you will, too.

1) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Obviously.