Friday, January 3, 2014

Books of 2013

This time when I typed 2013 it was right, unlike the other times I've typed it and it was wrong. It's going to take some training of my left hand to get the 14 right and not the 13. I even have to use different fingers. This could take a while.

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
I'd never read it before, and it seemed short enough. I didn't love it, Holden was a bit whiny for me. I do, however, like the name Holden. I took at least three pictures of different paragraphs from the book and still have them on my phone. Salinger did good work and I want to remember that. (Though some of those things were a little too sophisticated for Holden to come up with, if you ask me.)

Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
Have you seen the movie? If you haven't, go watch it and then come back. I really, really liked that movie. The movie was not adapted exactly from the book, there were several changes, and possibly because I saw the movie first, I liked it better than the book. Maybe because of the Jennifer Lawrence part, maybe because of the smaller role that football played in the movie.

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
Second time reading this one, so not sure if it counts, but I run this thing and so I say it does. It's being made into a movie, as it should be. From what I've been able to gather, the author, John Green, is pleased with the movie so far, so that makes me happy. We'll see though, in June, how it actually stacks up.

The Circuit - Francisco Jiménez
A very interesting look at a part of America culture that many people don't usually think, talk or read about. Told from the perspective of Jiménez as a young boy, the stories can make you sad, happy and amazed at what this country has done and can do to its migrants.

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
I did it backwards this time, I watched the movie first. The next day I started reading the book. I can't say which I liked better, each have their strengths. Jennifer Lawrence and good writing can't be compared, can they?

Citizen 13660 - Miné Okubo
A story of Japanese immigrants who came to America in the 1940s, and endured internment camps. It's an interesting way of telling a story, almost like a comic book, there are several pages with hand-drawn depictions of life within the camps, life at home, and her friends and family.

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
I watched the movie before I read the book. (See a pattern? I'm getting really good at this.) Though to my defense I'm pretty sure I watched it AT LEAST a year ago, and I definitely shouldn't be held responsible for remembering what happened in a movie a year ago. So I can't help you out on differences of the movie and the book, I know that's why you came here and I'm sorry. But what I can tell you is that it's a very good book. Complete with book club questions at the back of the book.

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
I did something right! I read the book before the movie. We don't have to talk about the fact that the movie wasn't out when I read the book, but it wasn't and I still read the book. And I'm not picking favorites again, I liked them both. Finished the last page of this book and then went on a wild hunt for ...

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
I had to wait a day to get my hands on the book and that was awful. I wasn't thrilled with how the series ended (but I am thrilled to see both of the movies that they're turning this book into, and that means I did a good thing again and read the book first!) but overall I was very thrilled just in general. Note the repetition in order to show that I was actually happy. I read the first book and literally could not come up with anything that the second or third books would be about, so snaps for anyone more clever than me and especially Suz. That's what I call her.

One Day - David Nicholls
Summer of 2011 I was in Germany and many people were very enthusiastic about this book, as were airport newsstands. So naturally when it came out as a movie in August of 2011. (I just typed 2013 and that was a failure for my fingers because it wasn't even either kind of right. Sigh.) The book was just like the movie, just less devastating. I wasn't a really big fan of Anne Hathaway's somewhat less-than-realistic English accent so I redid the movie in my head with a much better accent while reading the book.

Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar - Kelly Oxford
I read this book on my phone and it probably took me two days. One, because I always have my phone with me, and two, because it was hysterical and I never wanted to stop reading. Kelly Oxford has a Twitter that you should probably follow and also an Instagram that you should also probably follow, if you like humor and funny things. She's cool and so are her kids and she has cool friends that she interacts with on social media but I'm also pretty sure she interacts with non-cool-awesome people and I want to be her. Also tumblr.

The Rules of Inheritance - Claire Bidwell Smith
I had heard a lot about this book through Kelle Hampton, who has the same literary agent as Claire Bidwell Smith, and this book was mentioned everywhere it seemed. Or maybe her agent was just doing some fantastic work. I'm really into autobiographies and the amount of detail she went into was amazing, not many people will open up that much about anything, much less their life-long grief.

East of Eden - John Steinbeck
Last year, I came up with this list. Note numbers 9 and 12. And I did it, it being both of them. East of Eden was a book that I had to read while taking notes. I didn't care that it was long and longer, because there were some amazing gems in there that made me think. I was even pleased with the ending, something that I couldn't say for the only other Steinbeck book I've read, Grapes of Wrath.

You Are Not So Smart - David McRaney
Having taken an interest in the brain and thinking and that sort of thing, I knew a lot of the information in this book, but that didn't make it any less interesting. If you're into nonfiction like I am (and I am) this is a good book for you.

The Pleasure of My Company - Steve Martin
I've read other Steve Martin books and have always been pleasantly surprised. What can he not do? A book about a obsessive man who lives in LA whose entire life is severely affected by his obsessions makes us feel a lot of sympathy and other warm feelings for him when he works his best at human interaction and relationships. That's my best effort at a book summary.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything - Janelle Brown
I finished this one today (1.3.14) so don't tell anyone. Books like this make me wonder how the author knows so much about certain topics, how much of it is research and how much of it is personal experience. It took me much too long to finish it, but it was worth it and the ending pleased me marginally, and if that's all I can ask for, I'm happy.

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