Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What I liked and what I didn't in 2012

I'm late.
2012 ended two days ago.
But here are my bookish reflections on the 50 books I read in 2012 (Goodreads says I read 52 -- my own list says only 50 -- not sure where I'm off -- oh well).
Favorite classicTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston -- how I missed reading this in high school or college is a mystery -- my comments at the time "Thank you for the privilege of marveling over your brilliant words."   5 stars.
Favorite Mother/Daughter book club selectionThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine -- wow -- this one hit home -- a fictional account of two friends, one white, one black, who are confronted with racism and the closing of the public schools in LR.  5 stars.
Made me laugh out loudThe Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett -- if you are a royalist like me -- this was a witty, delightful reimagining of what Queen Elizabeth would be like if she was a bibliophile.  Loved it (except for the one sexual reference -- so unnecessary).   4 stars.
Favorite book club pick & epicSomeone Knows my Name by Lawrence Hill -- what I said at the time:  "If you want to get lost in a difficult story and life of an incredible woman, open your soul to Aminata.  You’ll be glad you know her name."  5 stars.
Favorite juvenile fictionThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate -- my thoughts at the time:  "Ms. Applegate has given us a glorious example that our animal friends might know more about endurance, hope, and faith than their caregivers do. And Ivan is the one and only one to help them all."  5 stars.

Favorite YA fictionBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys -- I love WWII historical fiction and this was no exception.  My thoughts:  "In harrowing detail author, Ruta Sepetys, brings to life the forgotten story of Stalin’s obliteration of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, & Lithuania) during WWII. This was an illuminating account of what happened to nearly 20 million Russians, primarily doctors, authors, professors and other intellectual and political dissidents, who were shipped to Siberia under Stalin’s fascist regime."   4 stars (and not to be confused with the OTHER gray book!)

I hated but everyone else lovedThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce -- I thought it was so bad I didn't even review it. 

Favorite memoirCall the Midwife by Jennifer Worth -- the PBS miniseries of the same name is based on Mrs. Worth's memoirs -- I loved this book!  My thoughts:  "This was a glorious book. Her storytelling was superb. I was immediately transported to post-War London, walking foggy streets, among ramshackle buildings and immense poverty. But among the ruins, is a group of midwives, The Sisters of St. Raymond Nonnatus, who care for the greater population of women of the East End."  5 stars

Biggest let downThe Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian -- I had such HIGH HOPES for this book!  But alas, "for me, this was a huge disappointment."  2 stars

Overall favorite of 2012Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein -- when a writer can make me audibly respond while reading -- you know it's good -- "It is fretful from the first page to the last. I even audibly GASPED during 'Verity’s' graphic narrative. Be patient in the beginning. It’s not an easy book to read, and the 1st person/3rd person narration is a bit tricky – but it is well worth it."  5 stars

So there you have it.  My winners and losers of 2012.

Goals for 2013
  • I gave up on Challenges last year -- it was such a liberating experience!  I will never do one again!
  • Read 52 books -- one a week.  I'm not as prolific as most bloggers -- but I do what I can do.
  • Read because I want to read.
  • Get caught up on my last 3 "review requests." 
  • Keep Mother/Daughter book club in tact!
Finally --

Keep calm and read a great book!


Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

The only book I've read from your list is Someone Knows My Name, which I also gave 5 stars. I have Code Name Verity sitting on my shelf and hope to get to it this year.

I hope 2013 is another great reading year for you.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Great list! I haven't read any books on your list but several are on my must-reads list including Code Name Verity.

Joanne said...

Sounds like a great plan for 2013! Reading and blogging should be fun and not a chore, and I totally agree with keeping obligations and challenges to a minimum. Hope you have a wonderful year of reading ahead! :)

Booksnyc said...

I think a book a week sounds pretty good - I have never counted but am fairly sure I don't finish a book every week. I am always amazed when I see what some people can achieve but alas we all do what we can! Happy New Year!

Amused said...

The Uncommon Reader sounds like a book I would love! If it's any consolation, I didn't like The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harold Fry either :)

Joanne said...

I, too, wish I could read more books each year, but family life is busy (as you well know). Reading for me is fun and relaxing, so I take it one book at a time.....

Hope your 2013 is wonderful!

mpartyka said...

I love this post. I like you have given up on challenges and being socially active in the book blogging community (as default of not participating). It's important to read what I want to and what interests me vs deadlines, and balance is important.

I haven't even looked at what I did in 2012 but I know I didn't blog about what I read much. That's okay, most of my reads were books I purchased and I have been reading a lot of self exploration (fitness, self help french, travel essays). I wonder if people want me to share this stuff?

Cheers to 2013!