Things got a little crazy at the end of last year, and I forgot to update my “bookshelf” posting, with the books that I finished reading at the end of the year. Now, I’m not 100% certain which book was the last book of 2012 for me. Nevertheless, I’ve made a best guess by indicating the end-of-2012 books with asterisks. Then, I’ve soldiered on in the face of adversity and listed my books, so far, for 2013 As always, the most recent are at the top of the list.
- At Home, by Bill Bryson. I mentioned to a friend that I love non-fiction on “small” topics (e.g., “the pencil”, “the lobster”, “salt”, etc.), and she gave me this book. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few weeks beginning sentences with the phrase, “According to Bill Bryson…” I really enjoyed the storytelling as this book spun out and gathered in all its many threads.
- People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks. This book had been on my to-be-read shelf for ages. I loved the back-and-forth between modern times and different historical periods. The gradual “reveals” of the story worked well, and the language of the novel was beautiful.
- Prophecy, by Ellen Oh. This YA novel draws on a lot of Korean folklore, which was almost completely unknown to me when I started reading the story. I think this novel would be enjoyed by many older MG readers, although there is some violence.
- Born Wicked, by Jessica Spotswood. I’d heard a lot of raves for this YA alternate history romance, but I put off reading it. Now, I wish I’d delayed a little longer — so that there wouldn’t be as long a wait for the sequel to come out! I *loved* the characters in this, and a twist at the end caught me completely by surprise. Also, the cover is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen, with its pearlized pink/purple/gold.
- The Princess of Egypt Must Die, by Stephanie Dray. A short story, this work initially made me feel “meh” because of the title. I was a fool, though — I should have trusted to Dray’s storytelling and historical details. In relatively few pages, she creates a wonderful character — and she fully justified the title, in ways I didn’t foresee.
- The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. There’s a reason that a book has over 2500 reviews on Amazon, and more than 2100 of them are five stars. This book devastated me, because I will never, ever write this well.
- Adaptation, by Malinda Lo. When I first read the teaser for this novel, I knew I was going to read it. The set-up is awesome — a girl and her debate partner are returning from a debate tournament when their car is attacked by birds, causing a crash. They awaken in a hospital and find that … something … is different. Ultimately, I figured out what was going on earlier than I wanted to — but I still think that the set-up is one of the best I’ve read in a long time!
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan. I loved this book — loved, loved, loved it — from its quirky characters to its fantastic plot to its super-secret society. It’s a one-of-a-kind novel, but it’s part of a tradition of intelligent books-about-books that I’ve always adored.
- Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.* Sometimes, the books that get all the buzz get it for a reason. This is an incredible page-turner that made me love and hate all of the characters — sometimes at the same time.
- A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal, by Meredith Duran.* A light historical romance, not anything that changed my life, but I enjoyed the characters and Duran’s depiction of the times (along with glimpses into the terrible poverty survived by so many people, who weren’t the landed gentry we most often read about).
- Ascendant, by Diana Peterfreund.* This is a sequel to Rampant — I adore the concept of this series (that unicorns are actually bloodthirsty beasts, and only virgin warriors can defeat them). I’m saddened that the third book in this series is unlikely to be written or published. Silly publishers!
- The Cloud Roads, by Martha Wells.* It’s been a long time since I’ve read a secondary-word fantasy, where there are no human characters and everything is world-built. I enjoyed this one, especially as the main character discovers truths about himself and his society, as we readers are all carried along.
- Act One, by Nancy Kress.* I’ve always loved Kress’s short stories and novellas, and this one is no exception — she brings her characters to life with very few words, then puts them in really difficult places, with complex moral decisions.
- Death at la Fenice, by Donna Leon.* This is the first of the Commissario Brunetti mysteries, and part of the fun was seeing Guido in an earlier stage than I’d ever seen him before. I love the details of life in Venice, and the throw-away comments about society, language, and expectations among all the characters.
- Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.* This book was recommended to me by Angie Talley, an amazing bookseller at The Country Bookshop, in Southern Pines, NC. I’d never heard of the book when she put it into my hands, but I bought it anyway — and I wasn’t disappointed. (Of course, now I’ve heard of it — it was the basis for a major motion picture during the holiday season.) I really liked the tone of the male narrator, and even as he told a story that would be classified by many as a romance. I also liked the descriptions of magical power, and how they were interwoven with the “magic” of history, including the incredible power still held by the Civil War in many parts of the country.
Mirrored from Mindy Klasky, Author.