The 55 books I've read this year and my thoughts.
Ratings 1-5, 1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest.
1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith - 1
I like zombies, but not Jane Austen. Other people like Jane Austen and don't think zombies are good enough to be in her novels. It seems to me that the only people who gave this book good ratings are people who like both. It was a funny and original thought, but no amount of zombie mayhem made this book fun for me.
2. The Passage by Justin Cronin - 5
This book was written for me. Major accident with top secret government labs, the end of the world, vampires, and the generation of survivors after the world ends. It's like The Stand, except better. I loved this book. It was well written and believable.
3. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzche - 2
I enjoy philosophy, but not his. Some of it was good and made me go "ah, that's brilliant." But for the most part, I didn't like this guy. I didn't like how he felt about women. And trust me, I'm not a feminist who looks for the tiniest speck of injustice in a person's words, but it did bother me.
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - 4
Not my typical genre at all, but it was recommended and given to me by a friend and I heard it was amazing. So I read it and agreed. I loved the complexity of the story. One of the most well written crime type novels I've ever read.
5. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan - 5
I really enjoyed this fantasy novel. Because I knew it was the first book in a long series, I expected it to be a bit slow. It didn't bother me and the end was worth it.
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - 5
This book was given to me by a friend and I loved it. The format was cool, letters to a person, yet written more like a journal. Being a bit of a wallflower myself, I could identify with how he looked at the world. I think this book is awesome.
7. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan - 5
The second book in the Wheel of Time series. I enjoyed this one was well. I rated it a 5, but I didn't know what I now know... I thought it was slow, but the end made it worth it, just like the first one.
8. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan - 3
Here's what I know now. Robert Jordan's books are all slow. And even though the endings are always awesome, I'm tired of waiting for action. After 3 long ass books, I expected more. No wonder the series is forever long. All the great writing and character building could have been appreciated if 3/4 of the book wasn't walking to the next BIG adventure. Ugh. I was done after this. I even own the 4th book, but I can't open them anymore. And now that I know about the beauty of George R. R. Martin... sorry Jordan, I just can't do it.
9. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - 4
I gave this a 4 because every once in awhile, I enjoy a light read. I had high hopes for this book. Witches, vampires, supernatural... everything I love. Unfortunately, it was a beach read. It wasn't profound or mystical or dark. Just quirky and light. I still gave it a 4, but I was disappointed.
10. The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson -5
I thought the first book was awesome, but this book was even better. I don't have many words for how much I enjoyed this book. It was just brilliant.
11. Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud - 4
I like Freud. Especially when he's talking about religion. I don't always agree with Freud, but I can appreciate his views and I like the way he writes. I enjoyed this book a lot.
12. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson -5
This book sort of wrapped up the second book and I thought of it as a continuation of book 2, whereas book 2 was NOT a continuation of book 1, but a new adventure with the same characters. This book closed up loose ends and I enjoyed it.
13. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - 5
Extremely well written. I never knew what to expect next, but it was smooth and not dramatic for the sake of drama. One of the best books I've read lately. Very well done!
I started reading after watching a few episodes of the HBO show Game of Thrones. The book was better, though the show was extremely well done in terms of staying true to dialogue and events. I enjoyed the detail and the way Martin writes. A lot of fantasy novels end up being dry or slow, and this book is neither. I noticed Robert Jordan praising this novel on the back cover and I laughed aloud because, though Jordan had a wonderful series, it was the slowest series I've ever read and I ended up stopping because it was so painful to continue. Martin has wrote the best fantasy novel I have read: an intriguing idea and well executed.(copied from my goodreads review)
14. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris- 5
These are the True Blood books. I loved this one.
15. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris- 4
Since I read all these, and there's a lot, I'll just do a wrap up on the last book instead...
16. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris- 4
17. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris- 4
18. Dead as a Doornail -4
19. Definitely Dead - 4
20. All Together Dead - 4
21. From Dead to Worse- 5
22. Dead and Gone - 4
23. Dead in the Family-3
24. Dead Reckoning -5
The books are better than the show. Some books weren't as good as others, especially Dead in the Family, because it was just bland, but the last one that came out was one of my favorites. I enjoyed Sookie's journey and struggles and mishaps with the supernatural community. I wish the show stayed with the books because Sookie is likeable and in the show, she kind of sucks. And the best aspect of the books: Bill is knocked down a few pegs and Tara doesn't matter.
25. The Golden by Lucius Shepard -4
This book was recommended by a friend who enjoys horror novels and it was his favorite vampire novel. I liked it. It was dark and gothic and complex, which is exactly how vampires should be.
26. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin -5
This one might be my favorite. I don't know. I just know I love Martin.
27. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins -4
I started a book club with online friends and this was the first book I picked. I can't remember why, but I'm glad I picked it. I thought it was awesome. This is when I discovered how great YA fiction is these days. It's complex. Plus, it's dystopian, which is always great in my opinion.
28. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin- 5
Maybe this one is my favorite. I can't even give this a worthy review because it was just so epic, I can't talk.
29. Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas -5
This book was recommended by my husband. As a 90's kid, I loved it. It was sort of Perks of Being a Wallflower, but a bit different. I don't know. Inner teen struggle, personal reflection, coming of age... I loved it
30. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry -4
When the first book in this "series" was the Giver, it's hard to be as good as that... but this was alright. Obviously, I knew where it was going having read The Giver. Not nearly as good, but worth reading.
31. Paradise Lost by John Milton -2
I read this. I even liked some parts. I think it needs to be read, especially when understanding religion. It's even kind of cool to realize that most of the things that people believe about Christianity had its origins in Milton. I liked the fall of Satan. I don't know if it was purposeful, but you almost sympathize with Satan. I think he's the most likeable character in this book, but perhaps that's because he's so imperfect and that's what humanity is all about. Being imperfect. But as far as epic poems go, I think I'll stick to greek ones.
32. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin -4
The title, as with the previous ones, is true. It is a feast for crows. Almost makes me go... Jesus, how could it have gotten this out of hand? I missed my favorite characters, but I liked this addition to the series.
33. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins- 4
I remember thinking after finishing book 1 that I wished the author would have touched on more on the government and the struggle and the dystopian aspects of everything. In this installment, she did. Even better than the first. I loved it.
34. The Age of Chivalry by Thomas Bulfinch -3
I read this because I enjoyed the Age of Fable so much and I thought i was unfamiliar with the whole King Arthur stories. As it turns out, I wasn't unfamilar. I know all these, I just didn't realize it. And as much as I love fantasy and knights, I don't really like King Arthur and his stories and his heroic knights. I much prefer the complexity of the greek stories. But before I sound to harsh, I have to give it to Bulfinch for his easy to read and organized way of repeating the stories we used to have to decipher in English we don't use anymore. So thanks, Thomas.
35. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer -4
I love the movie and saw this book at the used book store. I think it was my first purchase there. It was well written, as it should be from a guy who writes "adventure" stories. My favorite aspect about this book is it doesn't exalt Christopher the way the movie did. It's very real and that's what I wanted.
36. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger- 3
I was torn on this review. I loved this book, but I also hated it some of the time. I thought it was well written, but I'm not quite sure it had a point. As a navy wife, I related to Clare as far as how she felt about waiting for Henry. I liked the art and music and literature references, and unlike some of the other reviewers, it didn't bother me. I knew upon purchasing that this wasn't going to be a science fiction time travel novel, but more about love and art. But again, I wonder what the point was.
So I shot for the middle and gave it 3 stars. I may read it again on some rainy day.
37. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins- 4
I loved this book. It was my favorite in the series. I thought the main character would screw it all up and forget who she was and what she stood for, but she did exactly what I wanted her to do, in every way. I am so glad I could end this series with the utmost respect for Katniss.
38. A Dance with Dragons- George R.R. Martin -4
Hmmm...I am too involved with this series to stop. But seriously? You call a breif encounter with a dragon a dance with dragons? All his other titles were perfect. I am so tired of the dragon queen. But besides that, I enjoyed the other characters. Especially Jon Snow. I'm just waiting for the winds of winter. THERE BETTER BE SOME WINDS... since there certainly wasn't any dancing in this one. But I can't be too harsh, I know he felt stuck and we all just read him try to unstick himself. I can sympathize.
39. The Book Theif by Mark Zusak. -5
I love this book. It belongs with other WW2 and Holocaust books. The narrator was amazing. The story was intriguing. I even teared up in some parts. Outstanding.
40. The Map of Time by Felix J Palma - 4
This book was fun, interesting, and thought provoking. It made me buy The Time Machine by HG Wells. It made me ponder time travel. I liked it.
41. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury -5
I have read this book before, but I really wanted to read it again. I love this book. Everytime I watch "reality shows" on TV, I am reminded of the parlor walls. It is a book that everyone should read.
42. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley -4
Despite my love of weird government novels, I have never read this before. I enjoyed it, though it was a little difficult to keep track of the narrative. And I thought it was kind of predictable, but fun and thought provoking, nonetheless.
43. The Wolf's Hour by Rovert McCammon -4
This was recommended by a friend. I enjoyed it. It was very Stephen King-ish. I loved the writing.
44. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien -5
I LOVED this book. It was so funny and fun and well written... I can't believe I've never read it before.
45. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman -5
I saw this at the bookstore and it spoke to me. I read the back and saw it was The Jungle Book with a graveyard and ghosts instead of a jungle and animals. How dark and twisted and intriguing. And it didn't disappoint. I really enjoyed it.
46. Life of Pi by Yann Martel- 2
I could go on and on and on about this stupid book. I hated it. But I liked it, sometimes. Ugh. It's one of those books I wish everyone would read so we could all discuss it. The beginning was pretentious. It read like an essay, like a person trying to prove his intelligence and how worldy he is and I just kept thinking it was very arrogant of the author to write this way. And then comes the shipwreck and survival, all which sounded plausible. No, I didn't expect a true story, nor do I think a child can survive on a life raft with a tiger, but come on? When I got to the end, I think I threw the book. Only an idiot would say that the story with animals was better than a story with people. Has he not read stories about survival with people? Like the Donner Party? Is that not amazing, adding in the social aspects of people and the angst and the frustration? It's only "better' with animals because you spend 48374897605 pages describing it and 2 with a stupid short unimaginitve one with people. It's not the lies in the story, it's THE WAY YOU TELL IT and as an author, you should know that. (as you can see, I'm still bent out of shape, especially when he used that whole better story angle in regards to religion and said this book will make you believe in god. There are much better books out there if that's what you're looking for.)
47. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kasey -5
I thought the Game of Thrones show was the best adaption from a novel I've ever seen. This movie may be a tie. The book was awesome an detailed and I enjoyed readfing from Chief's point of view, but the movie was so good, you almost don't have to read the book. I did, and I'm glad, and impressed.
48. I Hope they serve beer in hell by tucker max - 2
I couldn't give this book a 1, because I laughed and laughed hard. But, this book served as a serious reminder that people are terrible. This book is every reason I'm not a partier and why I feel out of place in bars. It's probably a good bathroom book to pick up and read every so often, a book you might lend to a friend for a good laugh, but it got old reading ridiculous stories. I don't know, it was super funny, but if I think about it like I think about most books and try to analyze it, it really is a terrible thing. A terrible excerpt of how people are, how they can be, how doomed the world really is. It's barely even a book, and definitely not a piece of literature.
49. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson- 5
I'm glad some schools added this book to the required reading list. It's amazing.
50. White Oleander by Janet Fitch - 5
I've seen the movie many times, but never read the book. The book is very good. More detailed, more poetic, and more haunting than the movie. I enjoyed it.
51. Living By Fiction by Annie Dillard -5
This book was a present from a friend. She saw it and thought of me, and I must admit, she must know me pretty well. Dillard talks about styles of fiction and narrative and combines it with philisophy. It was a criticism of literature, but very well written and thought provoking. I am looking forward to reading more of her works.
52. The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike -2
Not my genre, not my style. I didn't enjoy it. I have known about the movie, saw it was coming on soon on tv, and saw this book for 50 cents at the used bookstore, so I thought, why not? I thought it would be as the back cover described, but it wasn't. Updike is a great writer, I'm sure, but I find it extremely difficult to care about this book. I didn't care about the characters at all. I realize the dialogue was meant to give insight to the types of people they are, but it was boring to me.
53. Sometimes A Great Notion by Ken Kesey-4
I enjoyed this book, depsite not really likng any of the characters. The way Kesey tells a story is amazing.
54. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls- 5
I can't believe this is a memoir. I can't even describe it. Some of the other reviews are low because of the lack of emotion the writer inflected in her story, but I enjoyed that aspect. It made me draw my own conclusions without reading her bias. Besides, I imagine she would have been more sympathetic than horrified if she put emotion into it, and I would have probably been somewhat disgusted and horrified if that was the case. I liked the simplicity of the writing and the entire story itself.
55. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells -4
I loved it. I had no idea what to expect, other than time travel, but it was amazing. Wells is descriptive and detailed and adventurous. It was well written and fun.
Labels: Review, Survey