Monday, November 21, 2011

Books of 2011

Last year (can I say that, even though it was yesterday?) I read someone's Facebook status, about how  her goal was to read 75 books before the year was over. Being the overachiever I am, I shaved that down to 25, and set it as my goal. I have no idea how many books I read the year before, but I don't think it was anywhere close to 25, giving me a bit of a challenge. Libraries have been part of my life since I was very little, and I had no problems in finding books I felt I'd like to read. The problem was reading them. And of 25, I read 24. (And started #25.) I'm okay with that. Close enough.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

Fair Game - Valerie Plame
Valerie Plame was a spy for the C.I.A., until her identity was leaked by the government, most notably Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney. Sort of an interesting book, as she wrote it, and then had to send it to the C.I.A. in order to get it reviewed to be published, and a good amount of the book was blocked. This meant some words being blocked out, or even pages and pages. Made for some good imagination time. 

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Love this book. I read it twice. Does that count?

Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
A bit long, but it's a classic. Didn't like the ending. Overall, I liked the point that the book had to make: Life is hard, but not impossible. 

Dead End Gene Pool - Wendy Burden
Legitimately a great book. It was funny and honest and full of stories that made me feel bad for Wendy, all while being amazed that she survived, or that the stories of her opulent youth with her insane family members actually happened. I imagine it's wildly entertaining to anyone who hasn't lived that life.

How Starbucks Saved My Life - Michael Gates Gill
This was a feel good story. A book about a man who was a advertising executive, making more than enough money but not grateful, enjoying, or happy in his life. When he got fired, he found a job at Starbucks. What he first thought was "below" him he found out that it was the best thing that ever happened to him, despite losing the six-figure salary. 

Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin
I read this so I could see the movie. I liked the book better, despite loving John Krasinski.

Mother Tongue - Bill Bryson
A very funny book about the English language. Ironically enough, I read it in Germany. That meant I had to do double the appreciation, there were few English speakers around who I could tell things to.

Moonwalking with Einstein - Joshua Foer
I wish I could say I read this book for something other than the cover. Idioms exist for a reason, (right?) but the book was just a cool as the cover made it look. Probably one of the most interesting books I've ever read.

In the Lake of the Woods - Tim O'Brien
You know those books that make you mad at the end because it didn't end how it should have and you, despite having no training as a professional writer, could have finished it much better? This was one of those. I was confused several times during this, but I think it was a large metaphor. Maybe.

This Is Where I Leave You - Johnathan Tropper
I would say that this book is one of those that people will understand because it's so similar to real life, but my life differs somewhat. a) I'm not Jewish. b) I haven't been made to stay in my house as an adult to mourn a dead parent. c) My family life at home is no where near as funny as the main characters. Great book.

The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin
A woman's quest to become happy over the course of the year. She sets each month with a theme, and does certain things each month which she believes will make her happier. Even after writing the book, she now runs a blog based on the concept.

How To Read Literature Like A Professor - Thomas Foster

Two Kisses for Maddy - Matt Logelin
Wrote about it here.

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Ishmael - Daniel Quinn

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
I'm on the fence whether the book or the movie was better. The movie was a bit long, but I love Emma Stone. Book is definitely worth reading. And the movie is worth seeing. Anything with Emma Stone in it is worth seeing.

The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
To say this book is a metaphor is a large understatement. It is completely an allegory, and not the boring kind. I read this probably at 10, and I can't say that it meant that much to me then. There are a lot of things to get, it's quite punny.

Scott Fitzgerald - Andrew Turnbull
I'm a person who loves biographies, and this was an extremely well written one. After reading this, I got four Fitzgerald books from the library. 

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
I may have given up hope on whoever coins novels as "classics." This is a "novella", so should it not even be counted? I did not like this one bit. But a classic it will stay.

The Awakening - Kate Chopin
Again with the classics. I found this to be one of those books in which you either love or hate the main character. I loved her, until the end. Then I disliked her greatly. Overall, a book that changed a lot of things within literature, and I liked it.

Official Book Club Selection - Kathy Griffin
Again, you either love or hate Kathy Griffin. If you don't like her, don't read this book. But if you do, read it. It's a calm look into her life. And if you know anything about Kathy Griffin, she is very rarely calm.

The GatekeepersJacques Steinberg
A book about how to get into college. Or, how to try to get into colleges like Harvard and Yale, and why you won't get it, because of something called chance. It gave me that feeling of knowing things I shouldn't, and who doesn't like that?

The Accidental Billionaires - Ben Mezrich
The book that the movie The Social Network. Basically, if you've seen the movie, the book is similar. Told from different perspectives, and misses the entire Jesse-Eisenberg-in-the-courtroom-talking-way-too-fast-while-making-intelligent-jokes. That might be the best part of the movie.

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