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)

Read the rest of this entry »

Pretties (Book 2 in the Uglies series)

“Everyone in the world was programmed by the place they were born, hemmed in by their beliefs, but you had to at least try to grow your own brain.”- Scott Westerfeld (Pretties)

Pretties is book 2 of the Uglies series written by Scott Westerfeld.  (Find out more about Uglies through my blogpost here.)

I found this book entertaining although not terrible emotionally or intellectually dense.  However, it’s a fun read and is a great story  full of creative ideas about what a dystopian society might look like.  It’s a young adult book and something that I think teenagers who are into sci-fi (and adults who love YA or teen sci-fi!) would be really into.

Pretties start out with Tally Youngblood, our heroine from the Uglies, having had the operation to turn “pretty” and now living in Prettytown.  It seems she has no memory of her life before the operation and the new pretty Tally isn’t concerned about her friend Shay, whom she decided to become Pretty in order to save.  She also doesn’t seem concerned about or even able to remember clearly her time in the Smoke and her friends there.  This is because the operation to turn Pretty also causes brain lesions which makes Pretties sort of vapid and easy to control.  As a result, Tally’s main concerns now seem to be partying, breaking into a new clique, (the Crims),  and deciding what to wear to the next party and how to cure her hangover. Read the rest of this entry »

February Book Club: Judy Blume-“Are You There God, It’s Me, Maragaret” and “Forever”

Aw, Judy B… She holds a sentimental place in my heart as I’m sure she does in the hearts of many who have read her books.  Who understands being a teenager quite like Judy Blume?  My Adult Young Adult Book Club decided to have a “Judy Blume” theme for the month of February and read Forever and Are You there God? It’s Me, Margaret.

I am going to talk more about Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret but wanted to give a shout out to Forever and just say that for me it was very accurate about the experience of first love and “first time” experiences.  I also really appreciate that Judy B wrote a book in which teenagers were sexually active but were being safe about it and even went to Planned Parenthood.  I think that’s a really great example for sexually active teens. Read the rest of this entry »

The Graveyard Book

What I love about Neil Gaiman is that the books of his I have read, Coraline and The Graveyard Book, seem to be books for children or young adults but actually have much darker and more complex elements than most books for young people. You may know what I’m talking about if you have seen the movie version of Coraline.  Not exactly kid’s stuff.

Same with The Graveyard Book. A boy’s family is murdered when he is just a baby but the boy manages to escape and crawls away to a graveyard.  He is received by ghosts who name him Nobody or “Bod” for short.  The ghosts decide they will raise him and keep him in the graveyard, safe from the man Jack who killed his family.  Two ghosts, Mr. and Mrs. Owens become his parents while a man called Silas becomes his guardian.  Bod is given the “Freedom of the Graveyard” and learns such skills as Fading, Dreamwalking, and Sliding.  He also learns about different varieties of the dead, such as Hounds of God, ghouls, and night gaunts.  However, he can’t stay in the graveyard forever and eventually must leave his beloved ghosts and join the world of the living.  This book was a lovely read, both enchanting and exciting. Read the rest of this entry »

Uglies! (January book club book)

Uglies is the book we decided to read for the Adult Young Adult Book Club in January.  We decided on a dystopia theme for January and compared Uglies to The Giver (which I did not get around to).  It’s a young adult book and is the first of a series  known as the Uglies or Pretties series.  It follows Tally Youngblood who lives in a futuristic society where people have an operation to become “pretty” when they turn 16.  Between the ages of 12 and 16 a person lives in a dorm along with other “uglies” while they wait for the operation.

The idea behind the operation is to equalize everyone so there are no more disagreements because people look different.  However, the operation has a side affect that could be very controversial if found out… (I won’t spoil the surprise toward the end of the book!).  Not everyone in this society is so happy about becoming pretty though and some people decide to escape and create their own society away from the cities.  The people who live outside the cities have never had the operation so they actually age and are “ugly.”  The first time Tally travels to this place, she is horrified to see someone who has actually aged and looks 40. The horror! Read the rest of this entry »