Tag Archives: books

My 2012 Reading List

I wanted to share some of the books I read during 2012.  A lot of these I actually listened to during my many long car rides.   It’s funny, typically my genre of choice is fantasy, but this year I only read/listened to one fantasy book.  The primary reason for that would be that my favorite fantasy authors haven’t published any more of their series this year!  I’d love to hear from you about your favorite books of the year.

The most influential books I’ve read are some nutrition books and so I will start with those.

Nutrition

Super Immunity, Joel Fuhrman (audio)

Do you want to live a healthy life through good nutrition?  Then this is your book!

 The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan (audio)

This book is an interesting look at how we omnivore’s go through the process of selecting what to eat.  It looks at the choices we make, both good and bad.  The author doesn’t preach or try to steer the reader into making any one particular choice.  He simply presents the options and the facts.

 The China Study, T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M Campbell II. MD

A must read for anyone who wants to live a healthy life.  A fascinating review of the available research on nutrition and disease, and a report on why this information isn’t more well-known.

Non Fiction

The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement, David Brooks (audio)

This book is a  study of human nature.  But rather than present the material in a dull, text-book type of way, he follows the lives of two fictitious characters as they learn, develop their different personalities, fall in love and  achieve success in their careers and lives.

 Fantasy

Dances with Dragons, George R.R. Martin

What can I say.  I love the Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) series.  As I started reading these books years and years ago, before I started the newest book, Dances with Dragons, I had to reread the preceding books which I did last year.  While I love the series, this book seemed to go on and on.  The author introduced tons of new characters and a whole new world of people, events, political systems and religions.  I really hope he brings it all together SOON!

Fiction

The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand (audio)

Last year I listened to Atlas Shrugged and I loved it, so I wanted to read (or listen to) some more of Ayn Rand’s writings.  I enjoyed The Fountainhead, but not as much as Atlas Shrugged.

 I See You Everywhere, Julia Glass (audio)

I thoroughly enjoyed Julia Glass’ novel, Three Junes and so I thought I’d listen to some of her other books.  I See You Everywhere was OK, but not great.

 The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway (audio)

Uggh, boring!  I had read For Whom the Bell Tolls in high school and remembered that I didn’t like it.  But after reading The Paris Wife (which chronicles Ernest Hemingway and his first wife’s life during their marriage as he was writing The Sun Also Rises) I thought I’d give it a try.  I didn’t like it.  I listened to this book and perhaps it was the dry, slow read of the narrator, or simply the dry slow style of Hemingway!

 Locked On, Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney (audio)

Tom Clancy never disappoints!  Locked On was as exciting and as his earlier books.

 Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese

An interesting and enjoyable book.  If I had just read the back cover, I never would have picked it up.  But the book came highly recommended and so I read it.  I really enjoyed the characters, the story and the author’s writing style.

Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter (audio)

I loved this book.  The author wove the story in a beautiful way through different times and locations; from a small harbor town in Italy in the early 1960’s to Hollywood of today.  A great book.

 Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness

This was book 2 of the All Souls Trilogy.  As is typical with the middle book of a trilogy, this was a bridge between the wonderful book 1, A Discovery of Witches, and what I hope will be a fabulous book 3!  A Discovery of Witches is one of my all time favorite books.  Shadow of Night was good, but not spectacular.  However I have high hopes for book 3 as I enjoy the story and Deborah Harkness’ writing.

 The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowlings

This was a very different book for the author of the Harry Potter books.  There were no wizards, magic or cheery endings.  It is set in a small town in England, and the story revolves around the lives of the adults and adolescent children of the town.  It depicts how the life and death of one town officer affects the lives of everyone in that small town.   I really enjoyed the book.

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell

I picked up this book after seeing the movie.  I totally enjoyed the movie, but was left with the feeling that I was missing something, so I turned to the book.  After reading Cloud Atlas, I can honestly say that the movie did a terrific job portraying the message of the book.  I think this is the only time I can honestly say I enjoyed the movie more than the book!  I highly recommend the movie!!

 Book Club Books

The House at Riverton, Kate Morton

I wouldn’t have ordinarily picked it up, but I enjoyed this story.  I guess that is one of the benefits of a book club.  You get to read books that you would ordinarily never have looked at!

 August Gale: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Into the Storm, Barbara Walsh

A great book.  Barbara Walsh tells the story of the deadly 1935 hurricane that took the lives of many Newfoundland fishermen including her great-grandfather.  She weaves the story of the lives of these fishermen with her father’s childhood in this country, and his struggle to come to terms with his own father who abandoned him as a child — an interesting and exciting story.  I even had the opportunity to hear the author at a local bookshop.

 Back When We Were Grownups, Anne Tyler

There really wasn’t much to this book.  The characters were underdeveloped and had odd nicknames so it was hard to relate to them and keep them straight.  The book had a lot more potential.  Quite a while back I had read Anne Tyler’s book Breathing Lessons, and I vaguely remember feeling like that book could have offered more as well.

 The Book of Fate, Brad Meltzer

An interesting story, but somewhat farfetched.  It made a half-hearted attempt to drag the Freemasons into a conspiracy plot… Not a memorable book.

 The Fifty Shades Trilogy,  RL James

I had to read this as it was assigned by my book club!  I obviously enjoyed parts of it, but it actually got boring!  All right already, move on….  The writing was repetitive and bad, the plot was somewhat interesting as we moved into book 2 and 3, and the ending was ridiculously far-fetched (in my opinion)!

 Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

I enjoyed this book as I was reading it, but I hated the ending, as did my entire book club!  Did anyone like the ending????

 What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty

This story starts with a high-powered, do it all, hover mom in her 40’s hitting her head and blacking out.  When she wakes up, she thinks it is about 15 years earlier.  She thinks she is pregnant with her first child and that she is madly in love with her husband.  In reality, she has 3 children and is in the midst of  a bitter divorce.  She struggles with remembering her life and with the realization that her present self has grown and changed (in many cases for the worse) from the old self she remembers.  I enjoyed how the author worked through Alice’s struggle to remember  how she got to her current jaded, hard and high pressure life and while remembering the current Alice, bring some of the carefree, funny and loving “old Alice” to the present.

History/Historical Fiction

Killing Lincoln, Bill O’Reilly (audio)

Interesting, a quick read (or listen).

 The Paris Wife, Paula McLain

I totally loved this book.  It told the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife.  It offered a glimpse into their life and the life of the American writers in Paris during the 20’s, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein.  I picked up the book after seeing Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris

 The Constant Princess, Philippa Gregory and The Boleyn Inheritance, Philippa Gregory (both audio)

I decided to read through (actually listen to) Philippa Gregory’s series on the Tudor queens–Interesting stories, great for long drives.   I had to take a break, but I’ll get back to them!

In the new year, I plan to continue reading and listening to book, but I hope to get back to my favorite genre of fantasy.  I have a long list of new fantasy series to delve into and hopefully we will have more from Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicles, and according to Dragonmount blog, the final book in The Wheel of Time Series is due out next week!

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Looking for a Good Book?

 I saw this list on  Lavender Parking (thank you Amy).   It is Newsweek’s list of the top 100 books ever written. It looks like a good list from which to pick some reading material until my fantasy authors decide to put out more books in their series (yes I’m currently in the midst of 3 fantasy series!)

I am starting with 22 of these already read.  How many can I get through in 2012? 

1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (I’m not starting with this one, I won’t get through the rest!)

2. 1984 by George Orwell 

3. Ulysses by James Joyce

4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (I’ve read Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, very good!)

5. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

6. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

7. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

8. The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

10. Divine Comedy by Dante

11. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

12. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathon Swift

13. Middlemarch by George Eliot

14. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

15. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (I can’t believe I never read this!)

16. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (movies don’t count)

17. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

18. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

19. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

20. Beloved by Toni Morrison
 
21. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

22. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

23. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

24. Mrs. Dalloway by Virgina Woolf (2 books by Virginia Woolf??)

25. Native Son by Richard Wright

26. Democracy in America by Alexis DeTocqueville

27. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

28. The Histories by Herodotus

29. The Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau

30. Das Kapital by Karl Marx

31. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

32. Confessions by St. Augustine

33. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

34. The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

35. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (A fantasy trilogy, of course I read this one!)

36. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

37. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

38. A Passage to India by E.M. Forester

39. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

40. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

41. The Holy Bible  (Yup I made it through the whole thing, Old and New testaments)

42. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

43. Light in August by William Faulkner

44. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois

45. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

46. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

47. Paradise Lost by John Milton

48. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

49. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

50. King Lear by William Shakespeare

51. Othello by William Shakespeare

52. Sonnets by William Shakespeare

53. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

54. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

55. Kim by Rudyard Kipling

57. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

57. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

58. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

59. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

60. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

61. Animal Farm by George Orwell

62. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

63. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

64. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

65. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust

66. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

67. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

68. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway  (hmm, I may have read this but since I don’t remember it’s on the list

69. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

70. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

71. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

72. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

73. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

74. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

75. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

76. Night by Elie Wiesel

77. Rabbit, Run by John Updike

78. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

79. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth (really?  one of the top 100 greatest books?)

80. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

81. The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

82. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

83. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammett

84. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

85. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

86. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud

87. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams

88. Quotations from Chairman Mao by Mao Zedong

89. The Varieties of Religious Experience: Varieties in Human Nature by William James

90. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

91. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

92. The General Theory of Employment, History and Money by John Maynard Keynes

93. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

94. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves

95. The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith

96. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

97. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X

98. Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey

99. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

100. The Second World War (The Gathering Storm; Their Finest Hour; The Grand Alliance; The Hinge of Fate) by Winston Churchill

Time to get reading…As soon as I finish A Dance with Dragons