Sunday, January 13, 2013

books: my two cents

I'm watching the Golden Globes right now, so my Books of 2012 recap is bound to get a little awards-showy. Sadly, the internet hasn't created a Mel Gibson's Face During Jodie Foster's Speech gif, otherwise I would have pasted that here. Can someone get on that?

I don't know that you could really compare the two books that I read about presidents and their assassinations. 11/22/63 is a Stephen King epic time travel novel; The Destiny of the Republic is a non-fiction account of President Garfield's life and the life of his assassin. Oh, and Alexander Graham Bell.  I was a fan of both!

Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles

 I have a notebook where I write quotes that I love from books that I'm reading. I never really understood why I did this, and then I read an interview with David Sedaris in the New York Times, where he put it into words better than I ever could:

"whenever I read a passage that moves me, I transcribe it in my diaryhoping my fingers might learn what excellence feels like."

4 entire pages of my little notebook are filled with gems from Rules of Civility, a Gatsby-esque 1920s New York City story. I heard the author speak recently - he's a principal at an investment firm who has always wanted to write a book... so he did. And I loved it.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

I read this book in January and haven't stopped thinking about it or recommending it to anyone who asks. Do yourself a favor and don't read anything about Louis Zamperini -- Olympic hopeful, WWII hero and the subject of Unbroken -- before you read this. It will just add to the suspense.

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

As someone living in a new city, this book (which we read for book club back in Shreveport) is always in the back of my head. Rachel Bertsche, living across the country from all of her best friends, takes on the challenge of finding a new best friend by going on one "friend-date" per week. What she learns and encounters along the way, while not life-altering or anything, has definitely made me braver when it comes to making friends. 

The Tiger's Wife had a chance to save the day. I was on my way to Boston, my Nook loaded up with books. Once we reached our cruising altitude, I turned on my Nook... and it was "locked". I still don't know what that means, but I couldn't access any of my books. I was beyond angry. 

With nothing to distract me from my hatred of flying except for my irrational anger, I whined to Y until we landed at our layover and I headed straight for the bookstore. Buying a new book is a treat for me, as I usually either borrow from the library or download e-books from the library. So I chose carefully, and came out with The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obrecht, which I had seen nothing but high praise for. 

But I just didn't get it. It didn't do anything for me. And basically my trip to Boston was ruined. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Kline

I was prepared to not be into this book, since it was about virtual reality and video games, which aren't exactly my thing. HOWEVER, I was wrong. 

Other notable positives:

The Innocents, Francesca Segal
This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper
Maine, Courtney Sullivan
Divergent, Veronica Roth
Spoiled, THE FUG GIRLS, if only for the Chanandler Bong reference.

Other notable negatives:

Night Road, Kristin Hannah (I cried though an entire plane ride to Amsterdam and hated every minute of it)
If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, Kelly Cutrone (sorry Natalie!)

Big fat mehs:
State of Wonder, Anne Patchett
The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
Turn of Mind, Alice LaPlante
Wild, Cheryl Strayed


  1. These all look so good! My MIL recently read Unbroken and also really liked it. And...I'm officially logged into my account at the library, putting books on hold. :)

  2. I'll be pinning this list... for when I finally get around to reading more books ::shakes head shamefully::

  3. Jenny!! Haha...yeah we are creepers. I love your blog though. Thanks for this list, my resolution this year is to read 52 books, so I will need lots of suggestions of what to read and what not to read. Also, we totally could gone on a friend-date if we lived closer!!

    1. aww! Our first meeting was totally a friend date - you guys passed ;) ! I want to hear what you end up reading! Are you on Goodreads?

  4. Hi! Anne Taite here from :)
    I LOVED Rules of Civility as well. I hadn't even heard of it when my book club suggested it, but it wasn't long before I was under its spell. I finished last month, and I honestly miss the characters. I heard it was just optioned for a movie. Can you imagine who would play all those scrumptious characters??

    1. you just made my day!! I can't wait to find out who will be in it. I learned at the signing that if you sign up for Amor Towles's mailing list, that he will send a short story he's writing about Eve!

  5. Book award show - I love it! When I try to pick notables from the year it's always hard because there are so many, so I like adding new categories beyond fiction/nonfiction... I found MWF Seeking BFF inspiring too. And definitely had biggest letdown: The Night Circus.