05 January 2012

Reading is FUNdamental: Book Roll 2011

Another year gone by, another batch of books read. Similar to my 2010 list, I figured I would break a few things down for 2011.

I didn't read as much as I would have liked...I have no good excuse, really. With addition of Kindle books to Overdrive (the best app ever), hopefully I'll be better in 2012!

  • Inside a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz
    A really interesting examination into life as a dog -- what they like, don't like, smells, etc. Who knows how much is accurate -- until they can talk, we'll never know -- but did make remember sometimes to just let Luca be a dog.

  • Like Water for Elephants, Sarah Gruen
    This has been on my Amazon recommendation list for a long time, and finally it was available at the library. I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at a circus (and, this just confirms my lack of desire to ever go to a circus, ever). The storyline/ending was a little predictable, and a little bit of a cop-out at the end, but overall a good, captivating read.
(not sure what happened to February & March...did I just boycott?)
  • April: Mary Ann in Autumn, Armistead Maupin
    In what I am assuming is the last of the Tales of the City series, Mary Ann comes home. Maupin wrapped up a lot of loose ends in this book -- some unnecessarily-- but if you are a fan of TotC, this is a must read. How I wish they would continue the movies...I miss Laura Linney's Mary Ann & Olympia Dukakis's Mrs. Madrigal!

  • Less than Zero, Bret Ellis Easton
    Like so many of Easton's books, Less than Zero is an examination of privilege in the 80s (or lack thereof). I have seen this heartbreaking movie several times, and so perhaps my mind was tainted with those faces & characters that I know so well. I had a rough time getting into the book. A good read, but I kept waiting for things (from the movie) to happen that never did.

  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
    A definite classic, and deservingly so. Somehow, despite my English degree, there are many classics which I never read (probably on purpose)...this was one of them. This is not a quick read, and is one that, at times, is hard to follow, but is worth it! If anything, I now understand some random literary references that I never before understood.
  • My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, Chelsea Handler
    Ok, I totally did not get through this one. Read about 1/2, and after that, it just seemed like the same thing over and over again. I get it, she was a crazy youth (and probably continues to be a little bit so), but a lot of this book seemed like it was written for shock value.
  • Look at Me, Jennifer Egan
    I read this one a long time ago, and it's been one of my favorite since. But I couldn't remember why, so thought it was a good time to check it out. A story of lives getting turned upside down, first love, and the complexity of people. Egan puts it all together so beautifully, you feel empathy for even the most horrid of characters.
  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
    Still have not made it through this one. Fingers crossed that it will happen in 2012.

  • The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, & Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
    Or, as I like to call it...3 days of my life, gone.
  • Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel, Gary Shteyngart
    I really tried with this one...but couldn't do it.

  • The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman
    Intertwining tales of the staff at a failing Roman newsletter. I really didn't want this one to end, as there were a few stories where I just needed more closure. I loved reading about Rome so soon after being there, and loved the passage of time I experienced during the book.
  • One Day, David Nicholls
    This movie looked horrible, but I had read the book was good. And it was...it was a fun read about a complicated relationship, even though I wanted to smack the shit out of the two main characters several times.

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
    By far one of my favorite books of the year. (I should have known, I consistently enjoy reading Egan novels) Here, Goon Squad refers to time, and the book explores the passage of it. It is a series of vignettes that, at first, I wasn't too sure about, but as it went on, and the stories twined together more and more, I didn't want to put it down. Time, it is indeed a Goon.
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Helen Simonson
    Another one that was on my Amazon recommended for a long time...and I am glad I finally read it! It's a story of love in your later years -- can you find it? Is it still appropriate? Does what used to matter to you still matter? And, does new love take away from what you felt from those that are no longer with us? And...do you care? Perhaps because I could identify with a lot of it (from a 3rd party point of view), but I really liked reading this one.

  • Born to Run, Christopher McDougall
    Since reading this book, I have totally changed my thinking about running. I now run with a joy (even when it is painful, or boring) knowing that it is what my body was born to do. This is something I have never been very convinced about...after all, I am short and rather squatty, and I used to only seem to bulk up when I run, rather than slim down like everyone else. However, this book argues that the human body of all shapes and sizes were meant to run, that we were able to survive as a species due to our ability to run longer than our prey. I am not sold on the barefoot running aspect, but do believe we tend to overcorrect problems that perhaps aren't really there. (this is how, I am convinced, I was in serious pain throughout the summer and until very recently...the foot doc put me in orthotics and shoes for overpronators, and that totally messed everything up. Since taking out the orthotics and going back to my old shoes, the pain has disappeared)
  • Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson
    A must-read for any fan of Apple or innovation in general. I remember when so much of this happened, and it was fun to see everything that went behind bringing us personal computers...and also Jobs's belief that people don't know what they want until you show them something they must have. Also, Jobs was kind of a jerk. 

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