book list 2012

7 Nov

If I ever had to choose between only watching television or only reading books for the rest of my life, there is no question that I would choose books.

Hands down.

Every time.

Even though it would mean I’d never get to watch West Wing for the rest of my life. Which would be so tragic I would be forever changed.

Then again, I’ve seen each episode at least seven times, so if I really wanted to watch it, but couldn’t because for whatever reason I’d been forced to give up those moving pictures, I could just replay them all in my head. I could read the scripts while I did so for better accuracy on the fast talking and walking conversations that Aaron Sorkin made so popular.

That’s all beside the point. The point is that it’s time for the annual recap of the McPolish book list! And also I just signed up for Amazon Prime, so if you think I haven’t been on a damn West Wing bender for the past three weeks you’re so wrong!

What?

Anyway.

If you’re looking for something to read, take a gander at this list, complete with my own personal thoughts on the books, which are honest and my own. No one paid me or threatened me to say nice things about the books that I enjoyed.

Any suggestions for what I should read next? What books have you loved recently? (Or ever?)

Happy reading, Interwebers!

Books read between November 10, 2011 and November 9, 2012

  1. The Midnight Show Murders—Al Roker. (Yeah, that’s right. Al Roker, YEAR TWO. And a slightly better book than the first one, I must admit.)
  2.  Royal Blood—Rhys Bowen (A continuation of the Royal Spyness Mysteries. I love them the more and more I read them.)
  3. The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death—Laurie Notaro* (Excellent, very funny essays, particularly the ones toward the end of the book. I will admit, this book of essays took a little bit longer for me to get into than previous ones, but I don’t think that’s Notaro’s fault, I think that’s my own issues. Fair warning: There’s an essay about her dog dying. If you have any soul at all you will cry. Again, just warning you. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.)
  4. A Visit from the Good Squad—Jennifer Egan* (Very engaging, I love stories like this, that are somehow linked from one character to the next and crawl across years of time. Really, a great read, and a terrific ending. I think sometimes these kinds of books can be hard to end, but Egan does a great job, brings things full circle without being over-trying or dumb.)
  5. Naughty in Nice—Rhys Bowen* (The latest in the Royal Spyness series. Possibly the most entertaining, as well, but clearly there was just not enough Darcy, in my opinion.)
  6. The Leftovers—Tom Perrotta* (A book club read, and a good one, too! I’d recommend, even though I was disappointed in the ending. Hmmm…maybe disappointed isn’t really the right word. I’m not really sure what I was. Most of the ending was fine, there was, I guess, really just one part, one character’s ending that I really just didn’t jibe with. But in general and on the whole—how’s that for redundant?—I really liked this book, and want to read more by this author.)
  7. I Never Fancied Him Anyway—Claudia Carroll (Eh, it was okay. The premise is good—a psychic who gets blocked every time the man of her dreams comes around, but it could have been so much….more. Easy read for a weekend, though, and I liked it enough to finish it.)
  8. With This Ring, I’m Confused—Kristin Billerbeck (I didn’t realize that this was a Christian chick-lit novel when I picked it up, so I was surprised when I realized it was. A good story, light and fluffy, though I felt the pacing was off in quite a few places, like things got wrapped up too neatly at times, even for chick-lit. And the Christian aspect of it seemed a bit thrust in there at times like the author suddenly remembered, “Oh, yeah, my audience is Christian readers, let’s insert something about Jesus….here.” rather than it flowing in with the text and seeming more natural. Also, this is a book in a series, and clearly not the first book, but you can pick up well enough on the story line that I don’t think you’re missing or confused about any major plot points.)
  9. The Imperfectionists—Tom Rachman* (Really enjoyed this book, and the way each of the motley members of the newspaper has their own story chapter. I did NOT however, like the last chapter. It was depressing, first of all, and frankly, kind of dull, IMHO. Kind of a weak character to end on [which I realize may have been the point], which was kind of a let down for an otherwise very, very strong book. And the ending aside, I would certainly recommend it.)
  10. Runaway Mistress—Robyn Carr (I read one of her books, Virgin River, for the first book club meeting I went to a year ago. It was better than this one. That’s all.)
  11. Spooky Little Girl—Laurie Notaro* (I liked this second book of Notaro’s fiction much better than the first. It was absolutely hilarious, IMHO, and a good, fast read. Very much recommend.)
  12. Hunger Games—Suzanne Collins (Yes, I realize I’m about three years behind the rest of the country in reading this book. That’s par for the course, actually. It was a good, quick read, but I wasn’t blown away by it as many people seem to be. But I liked it enough to want to read the next book.)
  13. The Book of Joe—Jonathan Tropper* (Great read. Like in “This is Where I Leave You,” Tropper is great with dialogue. The story from beginning to end is pretty solid, and I can’t wait to read more by this author. He is definitely on my favorite authors list. I can’t get enough.)
  14. The Alchemy of Stone—Ekaterina Sedia* (The first “steampunk” novel I’ve ever read, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. [I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t, but there you go.] Read this for book club, and I enjoyed reading this story from the point of view of Mattie, an automaton. [And, for the record, I really like saying the word ‘automaton.’] I was a little confused as to what all the warfare was about, to be honest, but overall this was a good read, and I’m glad I’ve been introduced to a new genre.)
  15. Turning Tables—Heather & Rose Macdowell* (A nice easy chick lit read, great for the beach, particularly if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant)
  16. Catching Fire—Suzanne Collins* (I actually think I liked this better than I liked the first book, though it took awhile to get going. But definitely more intriguing plot line, and unlike going from book 1 to book 2, I’m actually looking forward to reading book 3. Not that I wasn’t looking forward to book 2, it was just more like, “Eh, I guess I’ll keep reading.” But now I want to see how it ends.)
  17. Mockingjay—Suzanne Collins* (The third and final book in the Hunger Games series. It was pretty good, if not incredibly violent and gory and TOTALLY gave me bad dreams [though to be honest, it’s really not hard to give me bad dreams. Note to self, don’t read books like this before going to bed.]. But I often found myself just sort of whipping through pages, skimming over the writing in favor of just knowing how it all turns out. And I haven’t decided if I like the turnout or not. A little bit of both, I think.)
  18. The Future of Us—Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler* (A YA book, and a good, quick read. A little heavy-handed with the 90s references, but then again, if your target audience is tweens, they have no idea what a discman is or the like. And an interesting premise—seeing their lives through Facebook 15 years in the future—considering these kids would be my age now. But I would have liked to see a couple more of the threads that they plot out tied up a little neater. But that’s just me, and me liking a happy ending and/or knowing a definite outcome, good or bad. Overall, a good read for YA and adults alike.)
  19. Lessons in Laughing Out Loud—Rowan Coleman* (A good read, solid plot and follow through.)
  20. Sloppy Firsts—Megan McCafferty* (It took me a little bit to get into the book, and I didn’t really “get it” at first, but once I did, I couldn’t stop reading. Jessica Darling’s voice is clear and strong and hilarious. She’s hyperobservant and moody and hilarious and a teenager. I’m excited to read the next book.)
  21. Murphy’s Law—Rhys Bowen* (The first in the Molly Murphy series of mysteries. A nice, easy read, good(ish) plot, and nice insight into immigrant life in the early 1900s New York.)
  22. Second Helpings—Megan McCafferty* (The second book of the Jessica Darling series, and it’s entirely possible that it’s even funnier than the first. I’m excited to read the third book!)
  23. The Death of Riley—Rhys Bowen* (The second book in the Molly Murphy mystery series. A good, fun read that keeps you guessing until the end. Well, at least, it kept me guessing, and I like the descriptions of life at the turn of the century in a big city.)
  24.  Shockaholic—Carrie Fisher* (I don’t know why, but I was shocked [no pun intended] at what a talented writer/essayist Carrie Fisher is. And absolutely hysterical. The book is punctuated with pictures of her and her family and other people she mentions in her writings. Definitely give this a read if you like essays, and it’s a terribly interesting perspective into someone’s life who was raised in the Hollywood spotlight, battles manic depression, has abused all sorts of booze and alcohol, and lived to tell the tale—in a very well-written and funny, self-deprecating but insightful way. I’m excited to read Wishful Drinking.)
  25. Charmed Thirds—Megan McCafferty* (The third book in the Jessica Darling series. Pretty good, definitely more of a “growth” book for the main character, and not AS funny as the first two books, though still funny, of course.)
  26. The Next Big Thing—Johanna Edwards (Eh. It was an okay, quick read. The character development was lacking, IMHO.)
  27. The Perils of Pursuing a Prince—Julia London* (I think there’s a book before this in the trilogy, but whatever. It’s a terrific romance novel, and the writing is solid. Julia London is on par with Julia Quinn [What’s with all the Julias in the romance industry?] though Quinn’s books struck me as a bit wittier? Is that the word I’m looking for? Either way, Julia London’s book is great, a definite read if you like romance novels.)
  28. Olive Kitteridge—Elizabeth Strout* (Amazing. Simply a fucking amazing book, and so beautifully written it hurts.)
  29. In Dublin’s Fair City—Rhys Bowen* (Another in the Molly Murphy series, though I think I totally skipped a couple in between the last one I read. Silly library, not having it on the shelf… Anyway, pretty good. A little lacking on the whole actual murder-mystery part I think because she was trying to work in stuff about the Irish revolution and whatnot. It kind of worked but…eh. We’ll see if she continues the thread with the next book.)
  30. The Lost Duke of Wyndham—Julia Quinn* (Love. LOVE! Has she written anything I don’t like? Not that I’ve read so far.)
  31. The Lady Most Likely—Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Connie Brockway* (A novel in three parts written by three of the top romance novel novelists in the industry. Terrific idea, and such a fun book. )
  32. Ten Things I Love About You—Julia Quinn* (Yes, another one. Stop judging me. When I find an author I like, I go with it until I can’t go no more.)
  33. Drop Dead, Gorgeous—MaryJanice Davidson* (The second book in the Drop Dead Series, and while I know I’ve read the first one, I only sort of remember it. Thankfully, you don’t really need to read the first one to understand this one. It’s a fast read, almost TOO fast at points, and could use a little more development, but in general, if you’re looking for a book you REALLY don’t have to think about, and you can overlook some wildly reaching/jumping plot points, then give this a go.)
  34. Frenemies—Megan Crane (Eh. It was okay. It started out kind of weak, and I really didn’t care for the main character—I thought she was whiny and crazy [not in a good way] and just too…too much of a caricature, almost. But it got a little better as it went along. Good enough that I finished it, and didn’t regret reading it by the end, and was kind of glad that I did read it, as it ended up being a good read. Just started out not so good, I guess.)
  35. State of Wonder—Ann Patchett* (Whoa. I just…you should just…I mean. READ IT. Amazing book, simply stunningly written and a compelling story. Patchett is just a magnificent storyteller and I absolutely loved this book, and could not put it down.)
  36. Size 12 and Ready to Rock—Meg Cabot* (The latest book in the Heather Wells series, and it seemed a little meatier—no pun intended—than previous books. Definitely a good, quick read, certainly funny at parts, quippy inner dialogue.)
  37. True Confections—Katharine Weber* (Part candy history, part family history, you’re never quite sure if you find truth in what the main character is telling us about her story, or if she’s just a complete wackadoo. Either way, once I got into the story I was in, and loved all the details of how to make candy and how to sell candy, and the history of this candy company, paralleled against the family’s history, and Alice’s own history, and how all of that mixed into a big batch of life.)
  38. The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever—Julia Quinn (In truth, I liked this story more as it went on, but overall it is not my favorite Julia Quinn novel. I’m not sure what, exactly, I didn’t really like about it, but it just wasn’t as awesome as her other books are. Kind of disappointing, really.)
  39. For the Love of Mike—Rhys Bowen* (Another in the Molly Murphy series, and of all that I’ve read, I found this one to be the most suspenseful! Definitely a good read, and I love seeing turn-of-the-century New York through this tough girl’s eyes. And Captain Daniel Sullivan ain’t bad on the eyes, either. J Well, in my mind, at least.)
  40. The Dirty Parts of the Bible—A Novel—Sam Torode (I’m think I liked this novel. I think so. I’m honestly really not sure. It’s a retelling of the story of Tobit and Sara from the Bible. I read the whole thing quite quickly, so that’s a bonus, and there were certainly parts I found amusing, but there were also quite a few times when I found the writing to be very juvenile and kind of boring, as if this were a first draft of a novel that the writer was going to come back and flesh out later, but never got the chance because he got published. So overall, it was kind of meh. And it all wrapped up a little too nicely and easily. Eh.)

*Recommended (In case you couldn’t tell by the positive review.)

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  1. book list 2013 | McPolish.com - November 13, 2013

    […] the OTHER duke’s  POV. However, I think too much time had passed since I read the first book [see last year’s list] so while I’m sure it was clever when you knew other things were happening to the other two main […]

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