Books I Read in 2012, Part Two
January 8, 2013
- The Long Walk by Stephen King, 384 pages
Considering a resolution to never read Stephen King again. I was glued to the story all the way through, and yet again, was disappointed by the ending. King fans will surely say I’m just not getting it, but if that’s the case, then I don’t see why I should keep trying. I don’t enjoy being engrossed in a story only to be disappointed in the ending. It’s so frustrating because I’m so into it all the way through; I love the characters, I love the plot, the story is engrossing, the writing is good…and then the ending just blows it for me. On the other hand, I must disclose that I loved The Green Mile, The Dead Zone was pretty good, and I’ve previously stated my devotion to The Eyes of the Dragon. So maybe he gets one more chance. Maybe.
- Black & Blue by Anna Quindlen, 320 pages
Meh. Soap opera-esque story of a woman who suffers from domestic abuse who finally decides to break free from her abuser. The ending was different than the way most of these stories end, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by the story at any time. Just so-so.
- The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett, 288 pages
This was a really interesting book that showed me a whole world I didn’t know existed — the world of rare book collectors. If you think you love books, like I do, you’ll be surprised to see there is a whole other level out there! If I had the means I would enter that world in a heartbeat.
- From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden by Amy Stewart, 272 pages
I loved this book. It was both charming and informative. I literally laughed and cried while reading it. Stewart talks about a lot of things related to gardening that I never thought I would be interested in doing more research on and possibly implementing in my own garden, like a worm farm, and she weaves that into a narrative about her life that makes this a captivating read.
- Spider-Man: Blue by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale, 168 pages
My husband suggested I read this after we went to see The Amazing Spider-Man and I had a million questions about Gwen Stacy versus Mary Jane Watson. (Like, “Gwen Stacy is so much BETTER, why doesn’t he stay with her instead of marrying stupid Mary Jane?!” “Because she’s dead…you should read this book.”) I must admit my prejudices towards Mary Jane probably stem from liking Emma Stone so much more than Kiki Dunst, since I’ve never read a Spider-Man comic…until now! I still think the only thing MJ has going for her is that gorgeous red hair.
- Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins, 272 pages
This was a nice little YA novel about an awkward but smart and funny girl in love with her best friend who is forced to spend a summer in India with her family (her mother was adopted from India by American parents). *Spoilers* While there, of course, she grows and matures and learns to love herself for who she is, finally tells her friend that she loves him, and he, of course, loves her right back. Completely unrealistic, but it’s a reality I would wish for for my hypothetical future daughters, so I’ll be keeping this book on the shelf for them, for when they, inevitably, are awkward tweens.
- The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, 304 pages
I remembered loving this movie as a kid, which probably was mostly to do with the pretty, hyper-feminized unicorn than anything else, as I found the story to be way above a six-year-old’s comprehension. It was sad, depressing, frightening, depressing, and sad. Seriously, there was kind of a semi-happy ending, I suppose, if you looked at it through rose-colored glasses, but it was overall a big fat bummer. But one worth reading. The story is beautiful—it’s just not for kids. Damn you, Rankin/Bass! (Does anyone remember The Flight of the Dragons? I’ve got to get my hands on a copy of that.)
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, 311 pages
This was one of those frustrating books in which the narrative is set in some kind of dystopian future, but it’s never fully explained exactly what happened. It’s hinted at, and you can put the pieces together once the book is finished, but throughout the reading process, I really wanted to know what happened. The story is fascinating though, about a future society where sex is only for reproduction, men and women are kept separate and dressed in specific outfits to reflect their class: officers, workers, law enforcement, wives, daughters, handmaids (women who are forced to bear children for the wives), and various female workers. I enjoyed reading it, though it was also pretty depressing.
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 432 pages
My favorite of the year. I’m glad I started reading this on our honeymoon, because I could not put it down. Every chapter leaves you needing to find out what happens next. I distinctly remember talking to my husband about the early parts of the story and my thoughts, and then just a few chapters later finding out I was so completely and utterly wrong I couldn’t even believe it. This was a fantastic read. I would highly recommend that if you want to read it, don’t let anyone who has read it before you tell you anything about the plot. Not one tiny detail. You need to go into it completely unknowing to get the true experience of what this book can be.
- Bossypants by Tina Fey, 304 pages
I really enjoyed this book. It’s light and comedic, but Ms. Fey has a lot of thought-provoking things to say about women in comedy and women in general. I would definitely read this again.
- Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) by Cheryl Strayed, 336 pages
My second favorite. I love these kinds of books, that document one person’s trek into the wilderness (A Walk in the Woods, Into the Wild, Into Thin Air), and Ms. Strayed’s story was riveting. It was a story about finding yourself and healing yourself as much as conquering and communing with nature; all things which I find myself consistently interested in learning about.
- A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson, 352 pages
Loved this one too. A mystery within a story about family, this was sweet and heart-wrenching and enthralling all at the same time.
- A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin, 807 pages
And so it begins. I found the first book to be 70% exposition, but it’s all interesting. You’re getting to know the characters and the world they live in, and when you least expect it, the world gets turned upside down. A few times.
- A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin, 969 pages
Again, mainly lots of exposition, and I think not even as much action as in the first one, which was not a whole lot. But the story is great, and you want to keep reading to find out what’s going to happen to your favorites, whomever they may be.
- A Storm of Swords by George R R Martin, 754/1128 pages read in 2012
This is easily the best book of the first three. I can’t speak for the whole series, since clearly I haven’t finished it (indeed, the author hasn’t even finished it), but based on the strength of this book alone I would recommend getting started. I hope the rest of the books live up to the promise of this one!