2011: My Year in Reading!

Friends, here is my 2011 year in reading! (Not counting all of the children’s books I read when I was a nanny,  various zines, magazines, newspapers, online articles, and blogs I read.)  I wanted to write a blog for every book I read in 2011 but that didn’t exactly happen. Out of the 31 (almost 32!) books I read this year, I only wrote blogs for 13 or 14 of them…  Better luck next year I suppose.  I had hoped to read more like 36 to 40 books in 2011, but that’s okay. In 2012,  I am setting my goal at reading 35 books, with the knowledge that I will be in school and will not have as much time to read for pleasure.  Also in 2012, I would like to broaden my reading spectrum and include more non-fiction books and more classics, as the majority of what I read this past year was either young adult or contemporary fiction. So friends, here is my year in books broken up by category. In color is my favorite book I read in 2011 from that genre, followed by a brief synopsis. Oh, and I also tried to include the month I read the book, (although the months may not be entirely accurate…)  Oh, and I made a section for all the LGBT books I read this year even though the books are listed by other genres as well.  Enjoy! And feel free to ask me questions about any of these!

Young Adult Fiction

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (July)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (February)

Forever and Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (February)

Crank by Ellen Hopkins (March)

Catching Fire, Hunger Games, Mockingjay (series) by Suzanne Collins (April and May)

Amazing! Highly rated by many “best of” 2011 book lists and not without cause.  Many people that I spoke to about these books had to run right out and get the next book after finishing the first one.  These books are set in a dystopian society in the future where kids are picked from each family to fight against each other to the death in a giant arena filled with traps. It’s the government’s fucked up way of keeping control of the people.  We follow the heroine, Katniss, as she is chosen to be one of those who fights in the arena and how she comes to win “the games” as they are called.  Thrilling and a must read if you are into young adult fiction or dystopian fiction. Disclaimer: The third book isn’t quite as good as the first two.

Uglies/Pretties trilogy (series) by Scott Westerfeld (April-July)

Matched by Allie Condie (December)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (August)

Empress of The World (March)

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A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Rebecca Solnit’s writing is wild, wandering, wondering, free, luminous and full of the bittersweet ache of nostalgia.  Her descriptions and stories in this book are fragile, intricate, and determined.

She talks about the feeling of being lost and says:

Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing….

While reading this work I found myself lost in her words and in the feelings they evoked within me.  She describes things in such a beautiful and nostalgic way, and her words pack a punch of feeling that made me ache.  I felt myself wandering through a harsh but beautiful word climate, much like the physical desert that Solnit describes so wonderfully in this book. Read the rest of this entry »

The Geography of Bliss

So I just moved to Portland 5 months ago and am in a very broke place in life.  Every day I apply for jobs but moneys are very low and it’s stressful.  I look forward to the day when I can buy a cup of coffee without thinking of the  financial repercussions.  As a result of my desperate financial state,  I’m always looking for ways to supplement my income.

I saw an ad on craigslist about being paid to take part in a research study about depression.  I have had depression in the past but am actually happy lately in spite of my financial stress.  So I decided to try and fake being depressed.  I made it through the initial screening process and came in for the next appointment where I was asked a series of questions to evaluate my mood.   I tried my best to sound depressed  but after the evaluation, the psychiatrist looked over my answers and said I did not qualify for the study.

So I got kicked out of the study for not actually being depressed.  Oh man, and American psychology is so weird!  He said something like: “Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you’re not depressed.  Just not depressed enough for this study.” Ha ha, oh man!  Even though I was not able to participate in the study and would receive no moneys, I went home and felt happy all day about not being depressed.  It felt like a small victory. Definitely one of the stranger ways I’ve tried to make money! Read the rest of this entry »