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I Like Big Books

January 14, 2013

Perhaps you recall that I set the goal of reading 26 books in 2012, and I had read 32 by mid-July. Well, by the end of the year I had read 64 books.

That’s a lot of books. I found some new favorites and some that didn’t live up to the hype and some that intimidated the hell of me as a writer and some that made me wonder why I bother at all if crap like THAT can get published. And honestly, I didn’t do a lot of writing in 2012. But that is another post altogether.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

33. I Am Not Myself These Days – this is a memoir. By a drag queen. I don’t remember much about it and this seems like the kind of book a person ought to remember.

34. This is How – Oh how I love Augusten Burroughs. Yep, you should read this. Funny and true and honest and real.

35. The Night Circus – Yes yes yes yes I loved this book. I know that not everyone did and that’s ok. But I loved it. Lush and big and intimate all at the same time.

36. The Unwanteds – Dystopian Light. I previewed it for my dystopian-loving daughter. It was a little young for her. Definitely not YA, but not bad.

37. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened – funny. Oh so funny. Not just a rehash of the blog ( which I appreciated.

38. Bird By Bird – Writing advice from Anne Lamott. Excellent. Write your shitty first draft. You just…have to.

39. Under an Orange Sky Some Days are Blue – strange trip into a grieving parent’s mind. I’m not sure this is a book you “like” – it is one that will stir up some feelings for you if you have kids, have or known someone who has lost a child, fear the loss of a child, or…you know… have a heart. Tread carefully.

40. We Are Absolutely Not OK – a collection of short stories by troubled youth. Holy shit, y’all. Adolescence is just as hard as it always was, only with more drugs/sex/bullying/cyber-everything. I am very afraid of middle school now.

41. Ketchup is a Vegetable – mommy-memoir. Meh. Everyone’s kid poops/says funny stuff/does something embarrassing/dresses wildly inappropriately.

42. The Light Between Oceans – I loved this book. So…sad and poignant and hopeful and…oh yes. Loved.

43. City of Women -I also loved this book. WWII, affair between Nazi Officer’s wife and Jewish guy. What could go wrong?

44. Shadow of Night – Um. I loved A Discovery of Witches and so I hope this book just has  “middle of the trilogy drag”  like almost every 2/3 book has.

45. Hypocrite in a Poufy White Dress – I may be getting over my obsession with memoirs. Grew up in the south, rebel tomboy, blah blah blah.

46. The Glass Castle – OK THIS was a memoir. Beautiful, aching, stunning. Read it, if you haven’t already. I think this book had the best line of the year – “One thing about whoring – it put a chicken on the table.”

47. I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl – Addiction memoir. I don’t remember much from it.

48. Sharp Objects – by the same woman who wrote Gone Girl. Excellent. I loved this book too. Maybe in 2013 I will work up the courage to read Dark Places.

49.  Water for Elephants – After starting and abandoning this book countless times I finally finished it. It was good…but it did not steal my heart the way Night Circus did. Still worth a read.

50.  The Winter Sea – not bad. I like the sea in winter so it resonated. Some plot devices a LEEEEETLE too convenient but if they WEREN’T there wouldn’t be a story. So.

51. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty – “if you liked 50 shades you’ll LOVE this.” I did not LOVE this, so maybe I also didn’t like 50 Shades. A little too much for me.

52. Alison Wonderland – another one I started several time then finally finished. Pretty good. I liked it.

53. Beauty’s Punishment – “No really, just keep reading.” – Eh. Two was enough for me.

54.  Blackberry Winter – I liked this book. Very sweet ending. Set in Seattle, so what’s not to love?

55.  A Grown Up Kind of Pretty – LOVED. I love everything by Joshilyn Jackson, and this was no exception. Deep southern gothic modern.

56. Loose Girl – another memoir, this one about a girl who has sex with a lot of guys. Very interesting. Good read.

57. Wonder – Middle grades book, my kid’s teacher read it to the class. My kid fell in love. I bought it. She read it. The other kid read it and loved it. I read it and saw why they loved it. My kid is now required to read a NEW book between readings of Wonder. If you have a late elementary school aged kid, definitely get this for them.

58. Out of My Mind – another middle grade – hoping the kid who LOVES Wonder will give this one a shot. Very nicely done.

59. The Aqua Net Diaries – maybe a memoir isn’t as interesting if you have lived the same time/fashion/circumstances as are in the memoir?

60. Growing Up Amish – I think this is an example of “writing is cheaper than therapy.” Interesting but not COMPELLING.

61. The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks – Oh my. If you take advantage of ANY modern medicine AT ALL, you need to read this book. It was wonderful.

62. The Fault in Our Stars – I cannot stress enough how quickly you need to download this book. SERIOUSLY. It’s YA but it is just…perfect. Amazing. Sad. Honest. relatable. Beautifully written. Star-crossed.

63. Poser – This was aight. Nothing would have been awesome after TFIOS. In fact I started and put down many books between these two, because nothing really grabbed me – I was still dwelling in TFIOS. But this book was interesting and made me think about the PERFECT MOTHERHOOD we are all supposed to be having. (Hint: NO ONE IS HAVING THIS.)

64. Happier at Home – this was pretty good. Not as good as The Happiness Project, but good.

So – my best books of 2012? (In no particular order)

The Help

The Happiness Project

The Hour I First Believed

Gone Girl

Divergent/Insurgent (WHEN IS #3 coming outttttt?)

The Night Circus

City of Women

The Light Between Oceans

A Grown Up Kind of Pretty

The Glass Castle

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Fault In Our Stars

Wonder (because the kids loved it so much)


I have already read 2 books for 2013 – my goal is 70, with half being non-fiction (though not necessarily memoirs!)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2013 4:30 pm

    loose girl is one of my fave books and I’m not majorly into memoirs.

    • January 14, 2013 4:32 pm

      I thought her approach was great! Very courageous of her to put it all on paper!!

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