Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of the Year Books

It's no secret that I slacked off with my reading the last quarter of this year. My Goodreads goal was to read 125 books, but I only finished 92. Since I wasn't reading much, I stopped posting my monthly reviews. I don't know how my reading habits will change in 2014, but I might write quarterly posts if I don't read as much as usual. Here's a round-up of the handful of books I read at the end of this year.


SEPTEMBER
Canary by Rachele Alpine. I've known Rachele in the blog world for a long while now, and I thought I knew her writing style pretty well. Boy was I wrong! Canary blew me away. This book is utterly fantastic. The story itself reads like poetry, but the blog that Kate writes is absolutely gorgeous and unique. I usually love raving about books, sharing the plot and trying to hook any potential readers, but in this case, all I can say is you MUST read it. Pronto!

Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman. While writing at Spin, Klosterman is sent on an "epic" assignment of his choice. He decides to road trip around the United States, visiting places where rock stars have met their ends. As usual, Klosterman's obscure music knowledge is incredibly interesting to read about - learning lots of assorted trivia without having to seek it out on your own. I loved that this book also included an inspection of his own relationships, including the "deaths" of two of them. Klosterman has a great way of writing intimately about himself, but somehow taking himself out of it. I think he gives out just enough personal information to leave the reader to complete the story, without exploiting those he knows by spilling his guts across the page.

OCTOBER
Nine Inches by Tom Perrotta. Perrotta is the master of character development. I loved getting inside the lives and minds of all the people he made up. I don't like his short stories as much as I love his novels, because I love his plots as well, but this was a good book to tide me over until his next full novel comes out.

Naked by David Sedaris. Originally read and reviewed in November 2011. Just as funny as the first time. I felt like his essays were more developed than some others, perhaps the later volumes. Many are long with more narrative than humor, which works really well.

NOVEMBER
The Stud Book by Monica Drake. I love when books tell the story from different points of view, and that's what The Stud Book does. It gives a greater understanding to each character, especially those you might write off as "the bad guy" or not identify with. The story itself was very interesting, about four women who have been friends since college and have all taken drastically different paths while staying close. Sarah researches the mating habits of animals in the zoo, while trying desperately to have a baby with her husband. Georgie just had a baby, and her husband is coping by spending all his time in a bar. Nyla is facing a new pregnancy of her own, even while her daughter is about to leave the nest. Dulcet has never had nor wanted children, and is living the wild life. The stories intertwine nicely, and there is suspense and humor to keep you reading. The ending was pretty lackluster, but I suppose it leaves room for a sequel, which might be interesting.

The Time Between by Karen White. Eleanor works full-time in client services at a law firm, but her job doesn't end when she gets home. She cares for her older sister Eve, who is in a wheelchair, as well as their aging mother. Eve's husband helps out as much as he can, but there are unresolved feelings between him and Eleanor that make it difficult for the two to be together. When Eleanor's boss asks her to be a caretaker for his ill, ninety-year-old great-aunt, Eleanor thinks it's a great opportunity for her to break out of the shell her home life has forced her into. As a bonus, the great-aunt lives on Edisto, the island where Eleanor and her sister grew up. Being back at her favorite place helps Eleanor come to terms with many issues in her life, and learning about the great-aunt's history helps her see the bigger picture.

DECEMBER
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Originally read September 2011. I wanted to re-read this book after seeing Bryson speak in person in October. This book was just as informative and hilarious the second time around. Still made me want to get out there and start hiking and see what adventures I could have. As an added bonus, I convinced my boy to read along with me!

6 comments:

  1. Oh wow, you definitely didn't read as many as I've seen you read in the past! 92 is still amazing. I'm about to finish my last book of the year which will be book 85, the most I've ever read in a year. hehe.
    +Victoria+

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    1. It's funny how meeting someone you want to spend all your time with can distract you! Thankfully he's a reader too, so I should be back on track this year.

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  2. I like how slacking off is reading 92 books, ha! You're a machine! Very intrigued by your endorsement of Canary. Will have to check that out. Happy, happy new year dear Allison! xo

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    1. It felt like slacking - going from 8 a month to 2! I've toned down my goal for next year so I won't feel like a failure if I miss. Canary was great; I think you'll like it! Happy new year to you and your lovely expanding family!

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  3. I'm jealous of how much you read! And love that you liked CANARY! Thanks for reading it! : ) (And following my blog, even if I've been a total slacker on it!).

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  4. i can't fathom reading that many books. were some of them pop up books because I am good at reading those.

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