Category Archives: 2012

2012: The Movies

January:

1) Rise of the Planet of the Apes

2) Midnight in Paris

3) Shark Night

4) Contagion

5) Tree of Life

6) Moneyball

7) The Help

8) The Ides of March

February:

1) The Descendants (9)

2) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (10)

3) A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (11)

4) Midnight in Paris (12)

5) J. Edgar (13)

6) Shutter (14)

7) Lake Mungo (15)

8) Insidious (16)

March:

1) Hugo (17)

2) Game Change (18)

3) Anne Frank (19)

4) Flowers in the Attic (20)

5) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (21)

6) I Am Nancy (22)

7) The Muppets (23)

8) Carnage (24)

9) The Hunger Games (25)

10) Bambi (26)

11) Step Brothers (27)

12) Final Destination 5 (28)

April:

1) Soldier’s Girl (29)

2) Wordplay (30)

3) Four Weddings and a Funeral (31)

4) Forrest Gump (32)

5) Quiz Show (33)

6) Pulp Fiction (34)

7) The Shawshank Redemption (35)

8) The Amityville Haunting (36)

9) Elf (37)

May:

1) The Faculty (38)

2) War Horse (39)

3) The River Wild (40)

4) The Vow (41)

5) The Devil Inside (42)

6) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (43)

7) Freddy’s Dead (44)

8) Stepfather 3 (45)

9) Fear (46)

10) Glee in Concert (47)

June:

1) Father of the Bride 2 (48)

2) Piranha 3DD (49)

3) Father of the Bride (50)

4) Jeff Who Lives at Home (51)

5) Fright Night (52)

6) Love Never Dies (53)

7) The Devil’s Playground (54)

July:

1) Playing by Heart (55)

2) Strangers on a Train (56)

3) Marnie (57)

4) Children of the Corn (58)

5) The Artist (59)

6) American Reunion (60)

7) Torn Curtain (61)

8) Freddy vs. Jason (62)

9) Beyond the Mat (63)

10) Children of the Corn 2 (64)

11) Valmont (65)

12) Rebecca (66)

13) The Dark Knight Rises (67)

14) North By Northwest (68)

15) Young at Heart (69)

16) Ghostbusters (70)

August:

1) Contact (71)

2) Little Man Tate (72)

3) Sleepless in Seattle (73)

4) Hard Candy (74)

5) Shattered Glass (75)

6) An Affair to Remember (76)

7) Bridesmaids (77)

8) The Way We Were (78)

9) Casablanca (79)

10) United 93 (80)

11) The Lucky One (81)

12) To Kill a Mockingbird (82)

13) Airplane (83)

14) Monster (84)

15) It Happened One Night (85)

September:

1) The Hours (86)

2) The Usual Suspects (87)

3) Insidious (88)

4) Longford (89)

5) Cabin in the Woods (90)

6) Disturbing Behavior (91)

7) Halloween Extended Edition (92)

8) Tommy Boy (93)

9) The Omen (94)

10) Scream (95)

11) A Nightmare on Elm Street (96)

12) Popcorn (97)

13) Never Sleep Again (98)

14) Paranormal Activity (99)

15) Paranormal Activity 2 (100)

16) Paranormal Activity 3 (101)

17) Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (102)

October:

1) The Wizard of Oz (103)

2) Critters (104)

3) Argo (105)

4) The Funhouse (106)

5) The Woman in Black (107)

6) The Descent (108)

7) Taken (109)

8) Taken 2 (110)

9) Halloween III (111)

10) Halloween 4 (112)

11) [Rec] (113)

12) H20 (114)

13) Heathers (115)

November:

1) Cinderella (116)

2) This is Spinal Tap (117)

3) Mrs. Doubtfire (118)

4) City Slickers (119)

5) Skyfall (120)

6) The Silver Linings Playbook (121)

December:

1) The Perks of Being a Wallflower (122)

2) The Godfather (123)

3) Flight (124)

4) Lincoln (125)

5) Moonrise Kingdom (126)

6) Les Miserables (127)

7) Zero Dark Thirty (128)

8) This is 40 (129)

9) Ted (130)

10) The Guilt Trip (131)

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

BEA Recap

I’m going to do this recap a little differently this year. Each day of my BEA trip will have (a) my original plan going in, (b) what really ended up happening and (c) the day’s highlight.

SUNDAY:

The plan: Arrive, check in, dinner and a play (Silence! the musical) with my birthmom and her boyfriend.

What actually happened: all went according to plan.

The highlight: All of it. :) I always love seeing my birthmom, I really like her boyfriend and the play was awesome. I am still smiling.

MONDAY:

The plan: Register for BEA, attend Bloggercon, run back to the hotel to drop off stuff, go to parties at Scholastic and Harper Collins. Try super hard not to get lost.

What actually happened: Ducked out of bloggercon early. It was okay (loved keynote) but didn’t seem geared to more experienced bloggers. AND I started to feel sick. (up since 4:30am). Went to Scholastic party, which ended too late for me to go to Harper.

The highlight: Jennifer Weiner’s keynote. I got a lot of good advice on finding my voice and plugging what I love during that speech. We’ll see but I hope my blog gets better. The Scholastic party was ridiculously fun (cotton candy! James Dashner! Maggie Stiefvater! Great books!).

TUESDAY:

The plan: Get to BEA by 7:30 a.m., visit the booths multiple times (and hopefully get a ticket for the third and final Ally Condie book), go to signings for Michael Connelly, RL Stine, Justin Cronin, Maria Semple, Gretchen McNeil, Matthew Quirk, Donna Cooner, Chris Bohjalian, Lauren Oliver, Ally Condie, Melissa Marr, Dennis Lehane, Maggie Stiefvater, Molly Ringwald, Kat Zhang and go to event for Apocalypsies. Drop things off at the hotel, then dinner with my biological grandparents. This was a very ambitious plan.

What actually happened: Ally Condie did not sign Reached, so skipped that signing. Should be getting ARCs of Skinny and The Raven Boys, so skipped those signings. Michael Connelly is signing Wednesday. Missed maybe half the signings but got a lot of great books. (no RL Stine, Justin Cronin, Maria Semple, Gretchen McNeil, Chris Bohjalian, Lauren Oliver or Kat Zhang. Should get Donna Cooner and Maggie Stiefvater in the mail. Got the rest.)

The highlight: Dinner with my grandparents, meeting Ann Patchett by mistake.

WEDNESDAY:

The plan: BEA by 8 for YA breakfast, visit the booths multiple times, signings for Becca Fitzpatrick, Jessica Khoury, Megan Abbott, RL Stine (if it falls through Tuesday), Marie Lu, Gennifer Albin, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Ian Black, Libba Bray, Rachel Cohn and Kate Bornstein. See panel for Mystery Authors (including Michael Connelly and Michael Koryta, who I love).

What actually happened: Becca Fitzpatrick was NOT signing Finale; skipped that signing. Already got books for Rachel Cohn, Libba Bray and Marie Lu; skipped those signings. Michael Connelly was signing earlier book; skipped that signing. Got Megan Abbott, RL Stine, Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Ian Black. Got a copy of Kate Bornstein’s book.

The highlight: I met RL Stine!!!

THURSDAY:

The plan: Get up very early to get to Soho by 8 for breakfast with Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff and Meagan Spooner. Try not to embarrass self in front of same. Go back to BEA, visit the booths and go to signings for Alexandra Bratton and Michael Koryta (if possible, given that they are early), Jenny Han, Jackson Pearce, Mary Higgins Clark, Dan Rather and Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Meagan Spooner. Run back to hotel; leave city by 1:30 p.m. Go back to Mom’s house and hope Sam doesn’t hate me (and that I can walk).

What actually happened: skipped most signings because I got ARCs early. I made it to breakfast and went to Javits, where I met Dan Rather! :)

The highlight: Breakfast. Also, meeting Dan Rather. (and, obviously, seeing Sam again)

BEA was, as always, incredibly fun and equally insane. It helped that I had a friend to team up with (thank you, Kathy!) which made it easier to get things and made waiting in line fun.

I have almost recovered and caught up on sleep but am still glad to have an extra recovery day before heading back to work tomorrow.

And the countdown is on for next year!

Interviewing Eileen Cook

You may have noticed the name Eileen Cook popping up a lot lately on my blog (you can read her blog here).  I’ve read most of her books over the course of the past week (the two I’ve missed were read late last year instead) and it’s been an absolute delight.  She graciously agreed to be interviewed, so let’s get to it. :)

As I noted in many of the reviews, a lot of her books are linked to classic tales.  What Would Emma Do? is sort of an updated Crucible and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood is an updated Count of Monte Cristo. 

“I’ve always been a huge reader.  My undergrad degree was in English so I’ve read all these classics and loved quite a few of them.  I liked the idea of taking the core of these stories and having the chance to play with them and see how the themes and conflicts play out in a modern world.  If my books inspired anyone to read the classics, I’d be thrilled,” Cook said.

One of the coolest things about her books is that they’re for different audiences.  There’s a middle-grade trilogy about a girl who comes from a line of fairy godmothers, four incredibly fun YA novels and two of the absolute funniest “chick lit” books I have ever read, ever.

“I am one of those people who has idea ADD, but so far no picture books.  I am interested in so many different things and I tend to follow those interests wherever (and for whatever audience) they lead me.  I hope that if I’m interested in that topic or character other people will be as well.  It may be `smarter’ to focus in on one area, but I think if the writer is really excited and passionate about an idea that can be felt by the reader.  I’m hoping readers will decide they like me and be willing to follow me. I also believe the line between books is also blurring. Tons of adults read YA and teens have always read adult titles.  Middle grade was a bit more of a stretch for me- but I loved the idea too much to let it go.  I think this is my way of saying if I get a brilliant picture book idea I’ll most likely try it out,” Cook said.

Her characters are also not perfect (to put it mildly).  It’s true in the middle-grade and YA series, but it’s especially true of the characters in her adult novels.  The best example is probably Sophie in Unpredictable.  She stalks her ex and even pretends to be a psychic to break them up!  It’s easy to condemn her as being a creepy stalker, but she’s also obviously sweet and lovable.  It’s also a very cathartic thing to see a character do something that we’d probably all love to do but are too scared (or sane) to do it.

“I love flawed characters, after all who likes perfect people? I enjoy taking a character and putting them into a normal situation (a boyfriend leaves them, two best friends fight etc) and then have them go to bizarre lengths to try and get them out of the situation.  I think most of us daydream of how we might respond, we know we would never do it, but we like to imagine it.  The best part of fiction is you can have characters try those things,” Cook said.

One of the most interesting parts of being a novelist is probably doing research.

“I LOVE doing research. I have to be careful not to get too focused on it.  My next book is about a teen con artist. I read several books about con artists and had a meeting with a local police officer who specializes in trying to catch cons.  I would have loved to have found a real con artist to interview, but strangely not too many people are willing to come forward on that topic.  In general, people love to talk about their experiences and you can find out the most interesting things. Those small details are what makes a book feel real to the reader.”
 
Since I am now out of her books, I was hoping a new one would come out soon.  Like, say, TOMORROW.
 
“Alas, tomorrow might be a smidge quick for me.  I do have a new book that will be out in December. It’s called THE ALMOST TRUTH.  It’s about Sadie, a teenage con artist. When she realizes that she looks like the age enhanced photo on a missing child poster decides to pull the ultimate con, until she begins to suspect she might actually be the missing girl.  I just started a new book, so I promise to keep them coming as long as people are willing to read them,” she said.
 
Like everyone I’ve talked to so far, Cook is a huge reader.
 
“I am a huge reader. I read everything from thrillers to mystery, to non-fiction, to contemporary YA, to paranormal, to women’s fiction and even some science fiction. I’m one of those people who is always carting around a giant stack of books.  Every so often I vow I am not going to buy another book until I read everything I already have. (feel free to laugh out loud here)  I’m never able to keep that promise.  It’s even worse now that I have an e-reader because I can download something instantly.  Oooh instant book gratification!   I recently had a chance to read an advance copy of Denise Jaden’s new YA called NEVER ENOUGH.  It comes out in July and trust me, you’ll want to get your hands on this one.”
 
Then I asked the obligatory questions:  first, what book should be mandatory reading?
 
“Well, first I would make everyone buy at least one of my books, preferably two.  I’m not cruel or anything, I would let them choose whatever one they want.  However, that answer feels like cheating (and also a bit self serving).  If people had to read one book I would make it Charlotte’s Web.  That is one of my favorite books as a child and I think it still holds up as an awesome book. Considering I hate spiders that’s pretty impressive.” 
 
It sounds self-serving at first, but honestly, she’s doing you a favor.  Her books are incredibly fun and I would recommend any of them.  (or, even better, ALL OF THEM.)
 
And then I asked the hardest question ever.  Five favorite authors?
 
“AH! This is always my least favorite question because I could spend hours and hours debating which authors and books.  I’m going to freely admit that this will change depending on what time you ask me and why kind of mood I’m in.  For today I’m going to go with John Irving, Mary Roach, Kate Morton, Maureen Johnson and Judy Blume.”
 
Thank you so much, Eileen! 
 
(And if you haven’t read her books, get one nownownownownow. They’re wonderful.)

Unpredictable

Finished Unpredictable by Eileen Cook.

When Sophie’s boyfriend breaks up with her, she doesn’t take it well.  (Understatement of the year.)  She plays small pranks (using a spare set of keys to move his car from one parking spot to another; breaking into his apartment building to go down to the laundry room and steal his socks) and then gets the best idea EVER.  She’ll pretend to be psychic and tell his new girlfriend to back off because he really belongs with his last girlfriend.

(Did I mention that this isn’t YA and Sophie is a grownup?)

Yes, it’s tempting to say that Sophie is completely insane, but that’s doing her a disservice.  (I mean, yes, she is, but who hasn’t been devastated by a breakup?  And who hasn’t wanted to do these things?  Live vicariously through Sophie!)

Unpredictable is an absolute delight.  Sophie may be a little crazy post-breakup (or have what Liz Lemon would call sexually transmitted crazy mouth) but she’s also laugh-out-loud funny and a very endearing heroine.

I think it’s also very easy to relate to Sophie, because we’ve all wanted to do this post-breakup.  It’s just that most of us talk ourselves out of it (and for good reason).  Sophie just lacks that filter.  And the scenes where she’s pretending to be psychic are hilarious (but also sad).  On the plus side, she does realize that what most people want is hope, and while we can debate the ehtics of lying to people for a good cause, she does at least give them that. 

And that’s basically the moral, you know?  We all just want hope.

Eileen Cook has written another wonderful book (and unfortunately, I am now down to one more adult fiction title and three middle grades.  I hope a new book  is coming out soon).

Interviewing Daisy Whitney

If you have even a passing familiarity with this blog, you know that Daisy Whitney is one of my favorite authors.  She’s written The Mockingbirds, its sequel The Rivals, and has a third book coming out early next year (When You Were Here).  Which is awesome news except that I have to wait until NEXT YEAR to read it.  *choked sob*

A sequel to The Mockingbirds was always in the cards. 

“Little Brown bought The Mockingbirds in a two-book deal and my editor expressed interest in a sequel immediately. So I always had it in mind  to do one and had broadly sketched out the trajectory before the deal was done,” she said.

The Mockingbirds is very black-and-white (it’s about date rape) but The Rivals is more about shades of gray and nuance.  That’s very much intentional.

“There is much more to the Mockingbirds, as a secret society, than meets the eye in the first book,” she said.

Unfortunately, this is probably the last we’ll see of Alex or Themis Academy.

“I don’t have any plans to write a third Mockingbirds book. I’m quite enjoying spending time with new characters that I think my readers will enjoy when they meet them in time! But I will say that Alex does have a vital cameo in another contemporary novel I’ve written. My agent and I haven’t tried to sell that book yet, but we plan to, and if the scene remains, then yes, readers will know a bit more about Alex after Themis. (How’s that for a maybe-sorta-someday?)”

I think The Mockingbirds and The Rivals would make a great movie (or, even better, a TV show—because you know there are so many stories that could be told about a vigilante group like that!).  Daisy put on her casting director hat and picked Troian Bellisario for Alex and Josh Hutcherson as Martin.  (She’d also pick him for the main character in her third book.  “I think he’s a total hottie.”)

But it’s hard to be too sad about no more Themis.  Her next book sounds amazing and well worth the wait (again—not out for over a YEAR.)

“After The Rivals, Little Brown will publish WHEN YOU WERE HERE in Spring 2013. It’s a standalone young adult novel and it was pitched as Lost in Translation meets Where She Went. It’s narrated by an 18-year-old California boy who’s travels to Tokyo to uncover secrets surrounding the death of his mother all while trying to hold onto and let go of the girl he’s been in love with his whole life. It’s about big loss and big love and I hope it makes you cry!”

One of the best things about following Daisy on Facebook or Twitter is that she seriously always has the best book recommendations.  She’s currently in love with Holly Black’s Curse Workers series.  “I have a hole in
my heart that can only be filled by Cassel Sharpe. I am dying for Black Heart!”

Other great books?

“I also loved THE DISENCHANTMENTS by Nina LaCour – it’s thoroughly beautiful and heartachey and lovely. I also
adored FRENCH LESSONS by Ellen Sussman. It’s a fantastically sexy novel. HOTHOUSE by Chris Lynch. He is just the bomb. BOY TOY by Barry Lyga. Brilliantly told.”

So if you haven’t read The Mockingbirds and/or The Rivals yet, hurry up and change that!  It’ll help ease the pain of waiting until next spring to read When You Were Here.

Stiff

Finished Stiff by Mary Roach.  This is for book club.

First, a caveat.  If you haven’t read this and you’re at all squeamish, do not read this book.  I have been watching horror movies since I was little and have been known to eat popcorn (or dinner!) during them with no problem.  I felt a little ill during parts (read: Chapter 10 EAT ME: Medicinal cannibalism and the case of the human dumpling). 

This is a well-written, interesting and entertaining book.  It’s also one I didn’t particularly care for.  I think part of it is that while I learned many things, I didn’t want to know them.

On the plus side, there were chapters I did enjoy reading.  The chapter on plane crashes was good, and I liked the one about how cadavers are used in accident simulations.

I’m not sure what the big hangup is. 

Actually, that’s not true.  I totally know what it is.

I’m not a believer that death is this sacred experience and that dead bodies need to be treated reverently (although it would be nice; don’t play soccer with severed heads; it’s not nice) but I do know a lot of people who have since died, and it was hard not to picture them while reading this.  It was not a particularly pleasant experience.

That said, I do still recommend this book for people who (a) have strong stomachs and (b) still have all parents, grandparents, friends, etc. among the living.

Things I’m Obsessed With

Welcome to the latest installment of Things I’m Obsessed With!

Books:

As you know, I’m on vacation.  I’m also on book vacation for a couple weeks and I’ve decided to make a specific goal.  You know how I read a new author and love them and then buy all their books and then don’t read them?  This is Backlist Book Vacation!  I have Eileen Cook, Duane Swierczynski, Maggie Stiefvater, Maureen Johnson and Andrea Cremer.  I won’t get to them all, but that’s okay.  I will make a dent!  (I also brought Every Other Day, because I told Steph I would.)  In a perfect world, I will be able to read one author’s backlist a month, but since that probably won’t happen, maybe I can at least get to some of them here.

(Note: Most of these authors only have one or two books that I haven’t read, so it’s not as large a collection as it seems like.  And some are e-books.)

Oscars:

I love that it is now Oscar season.  Few things make me happier than discussing whether the right movie won Best Picture in any given year (most years, the answer is no, although most years the winning movie is good enough that I think we can let it slide).  For whatever reason, I enjoy separating movies from “my favorites” to “the best.”  Sometimes there’s correlation (Casablanca, Gone With the Wind) but usually not.  (I love Rocky; that entire series is a Horcrux of mine, but it shouldn’t have beaten Taxi Driver for Best Picture.  Taxi Driver—which, incidentally, I HATE—is a better movie.) 

TV:

The AFI/Oscar project continues to go well, but so far this year, I’ve made more headway on the TV aspect of the project.  (This is kind of okay with me, because there are far fewer TV lists, and there are a lot of repeats.  I’m sure next year, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, etc. will be on the list and I will have ticked those off by the end of this year.)  I’m going to work on achieving a better balance.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Of Mice and Men

Finished Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

I’m probably the last person who hasn’t read this, right?  But in case you haven’t read it either…

George and Lennie are…well, not best friends, exactly, but they’ve known each other forever.  Lennie’s a lot slower than most people (mentally) and he’s also a lot bigger than most people.  Add the two and it’s sort of a bad situation waiting to happen.  Lennie kills small animals all the time.  Not on purpose, really, but he pets them and then they die.  And because he likes to touch soft, pretty things he also tends to get in trouble because he will pet ladies and they don’t like it very much.  At all.  So George and Lennie move from town to town pretty frequently.  They’re working their last job to save up so they can buy a place of their own (where Lennie can tend the rabbits) and…well, it goes about as well as you’d expect.

I’d never read this before, as I said, but after reading Gae Polisner’s outstanding novel The Pull of Gravity, I knew I had to.  Of Mice and Men is all over that novel, and now I want to re-read it so I can fully appreciate it.

This book is sweet and heartbreakingly sad.  You know the whole way through that things won’t go well for poor, sweet, dumb Lennie and I already knew the ending, but even so, I was hoping that things would go better.  (Obviously, they did not.)

It also makes me so angry because everyone is so mean to Lennie because the general assumption is that because he’s slow, he has no feelings.  So, for example, a coworker of theirs will try to freak Lennie out (“You know George isn’t coming back, right?  He’s totally going to ditch you.  You know that, right?”) because it’s fun. 

But mostly, just really sad. And the ending?  Absolutely devastating.