Thursday, January 17, 2013

Books I Read in 2012

In 2012, I read 23 books. In 2011 it was 28 and in 2010 it was 32. I'm sensing an unfortunate trend here. Part of the problem was that I started quite a few books on the Kindle and lost interest. I either had to force myself to finish them or else I didn't finish them at all. So what did I manage to read?

My Agatha Christie shelf.

Agatha Christie. I may have had trouble reading new books this year but even when I can't read anything else, I can always read a Christie mystery. I read eight of her books, all Poirot (except for one short story in Christmas Pudding that was Marple).

Evil Under the Sun is probably my favorite of the novels - it takes place on a private island resort off the south coast of England and I love when Poirot goes on vacation. My favorite short story was the title story in the collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, in which Poirot goes to a country house for Christmas to find a missing ruby. Reading it each Christmas is probably going to become a tradition for me.

A Song of Ice and Fire Books 1-4 by George RR Martin.
Fantasy. One of the books on my "Books I Want to Read in 2012" list that I actually read; I then went on to read the next three very quickly. I got book five for Christmas but have not cracked it open yet.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.
A YA supernatural/fantasy book about a girl who's imaginary friend turns out to be real. I liked the writing style and the humor but plot wasn't as good as it could have been. I don't think I'll be reading the sequel.

Libromancer by Jim C. Hines.
Fantasy. A guy has magic that allows him to pull objects out of books which he uses to fight the bad things that escape from books (like sparkly vampires). I was sure I would like this one but I ended up having to force myself to finish it.

Charlotte Street: A Novel by Danny Wallace.
Literary? Humor? I usually find it pretentious when a novel has "A Novel" in the title, but I love Danny so I let it slide. I ordered this from the UK because I couldn't wait for the US publishers to get off their butts and print it. Thankfully it was worth the bother as I was in giggle fits for much of the book. I've said it before, I love Danny's writing style and would love to be as funny a writer as he is.

Redshirts by John Scalzi.
Science fiction. Another one on my "Books I Want to Read List." I reviewed this book back in June - you'll find my thoughts on it here.

The Wicked by Michael Wallace.
Mystery/Thriller. The third book on my "Want to Read" list that I finished. No relation to Danny Wallace (above), but still a great writer. This is the third of the Righteous books, which are mysteries/thrillers set in a modern-day polygamist community.

The rest, which are all non-fiction, in no particular order:
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (Audiobook).
    • So I didn't technically "read" it since it was an audiobook, but it was expensive so I'm going to count it. I love Mindy on The Office. The audiobook was funny and it was cool to learn about her odd path to Hollywood.
  • Elephant Bucks: An Insider's Guide to Writing for TV Sitcoms by Sheldon Bull.
    • This was one of those I got 2/3 through and had to force myself to finish. It was understandable, though, because I was really only interested in the advice from a writing standpoint. When he got around to talking about finding an agent or getting along with coworkers in a writer's room, I kind of tuned out.
  • The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard.
    • What can I say? I loved this movie to pieces and had to have every bit of it I could until it came out on DVD. It got me to put pen to paper during a major writing drought. Even though the result was only fan fiction, finishing it gave me the confidence I need to tackle my screenplay.
  • Mormon Diaries by Sophia L. Stone.
    • I heard about this one on Big Al's Books and Pals. It was a short but very interesting story about one woman's struggle with her religion.
  • A Pocket Guide to Amish Life by Mindy Starns Clark, Tales of the Gypsy Dressmaker by Thelma Madine and Secrets and Wives by Sanjiv Bhattacharya.
    • I read these three books for research. I've got an idea for a fantasy book about an insular community so I thought I'd do a little reading about real-life communities that exist within but apart from the rest of society.
      • Secrets and Wives is about fundamentalist LDS (Mormon) polygamists. It was probably the best of the three books - entertaining while also informative, pretty fairly balanced on a touchy subject (though FLDS members might disagree) and it gave me a new perspective on my home town of Salt Lake City.
      • Tales of the Gypsy Dressmaker is written by the star of a UK reality show, Thelma Madine. Her claim to fame is making outrageously huge dresses for Traveller (aka gypsy) women to wear at weddings etc. The book was good but it was mostly about Thelma and didn't contain as much insight into the Traveller life as I had hoped.
      • A Pocket Guide to Amish Life was kind of a waste of money. It was short to begin with and then had a huge index at the back that accounted for 28% of the book! Most of the information in it was stuff I could've easily found for free online; the only advantage of the book was that it was all in one place.

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