Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2013 Books

It's only the second week of January and I'm already posting about what I read last year! (Here's my 2012 list) I read a lost less than I did in 2012, so now I'm ready to hunker down with my Kindle and read a ton in 2014.

1. The Girls by Lori Lansens 
I just liked this book. It took me the first half to really get into it at all, but by then there were a lot of allusions made but never any payoff. I understand that in life things don't get wrapped up in tidy packages, but in works of fiction I usually think they should. I did really love the main characters, they were all so fleshed out and rich (especially the aunt and uncle).

2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Dark and gritty and nightmarish. I pretty much saw where it was going from the beginning, but I couldn't put it down. For what it's worth I want Amanda Seyfried to de-age 10 years and play Amma in a movie version of this.

3. Let The Great World Spin by Collum McCann 
Another one I just had a hard time getting into. A lot of people loved this, and there were parts I loved too, but quite honestly the parts about the tight rope walker - the parts that tied all the stories together - could have actually been cut out completely. I skimmed a lot of that.

4. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
My dad recommended this. I need to stop taking his recommendations, I think. He thought it was hilarious. I thought it was just meh.

5. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
I think this was my favorite Flynn novel. It was definitely dark and probably more gory than the other two. I couldn't read it before bed or I woke up in the night convinced someone was in my house with an axe, but, uh, I loved it. The story was complex and engrossing, and I loved the way it wove together the present and the past. The main character reminded me a bit of Lisbeth Salander, and at first the story reminded me a little of something Chuck Palahniuk would write, but it was definitely Flynn.

6. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Light, quick, chic-lit. But also made me think. I enjoyed it. Had a satisfying ending.

7. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
I really loved this, but I'm having a hard time remembering why, so maybe that's a strike against it. I was worried it would be all about baseball, but it's not at all. 

8. Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman
Such a perfect read while I was pregnant with my second baby. She writes to and about her children and about becoming a mother the way I only wish I could. I copied down many passages and have reread them again and again.

9. Where'd you go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Another quick, light, chic-lit read. 

10. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
Am I the only one who was underwhelmed by this? The problem is that I will compare everything Sittenfeld writes to the perfection that was Prep and this does not measure up, mainly because I found Kate to be unrelatable (the complete opposite from the main character in Prep).

I didn't really get engrossed until halfway through and then all the action really happens in the last 15% of the book and it felt so rushed. It felt like that entire 15% of the book was written in the manner of an epilogue.

11. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
So poignant. I only wish I could think and write like Strayed. Another one I copied passages from to reread later. 

12. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 
Loved it, just like every other female on the planet. 

13. Divergent, 14. Insurgent, 15. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I had heard people say they thought these books were even better than Hunger Games. I whole-heartedly disagree. One thing I loved about Hunger Games was that each book could kind of stand on its own. The Divergent series was just one long (reeeeealllly looooong, each book was much longer than it really needed to be [see also: Twilight]) story. By the middle of Allegiant I was pretty sick of the Tris/Tobias love story. They had a few moments of hot and heavy and I'm supposed to believe they are "meant to be"? They spent more time "off" than "on," and I was not at all invested in their romance. I felt like I really had to power through Allegiant. Perhaps it's because I read them all back to back, but there was so much information and so many characters I thought that would help me to remember what was going on. I also didn't like how Roth wrote from two character's perspectives in the last book which she hadn't done previously. It was quite confusing, especially since (to me) they didn't have clear, separate voices. I do look forward to seeing the movie though, so it's not that I didn't like these books (obviously, I read all 3), I just enjoyed Hunger Games more. 

16. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Loved it even more than E & P. Rowell just writes so perfectly about first love. It took me right back to my college dorm room with my college boyfriend. Cath was quite a frustrating character, but I'm sure I was at 18 too.