2012 Reading List

In 2012, I'm taking a break from marathon reading lists. This year, I'm reading for pleasure; there will be no racing to the last page, no skimming paragraphs to log impressive numbers of chapters per day. If it takes me two months to get through a good book, so be it. No stress. Here's a list of what I read:

The Night Circus -- Erin Morganstern
My Sister's Keeper -- Jodi Piccoult
The Dovekeepers -- Alice Hoffman
Bird by Bird -- Ann Lamott
Gone Girl -- Gillian Flynn
The DaVinci Code -- Dan Brown

Currently Reading -- In the Woods -- Tana French

~~~~~~~ (2011 Below) ~~~~~~~

My Reading Challenge for 2011 is waayyyy more conservative than my 2010 challenge was.  Last year, I attempted 50 books in 52 weeks.  Not only did I fall far short (32 books), but I found myself racing to the ends of some books.  Not my idea of the ideal reading experience.

This year, I pledge to read 25 books in 2011.

This page will document the books I finish, and include links to the Amazon book page and my personal recommendations.

Here's how I arrive at a book's rating:

Excellent story, tightly written, OMG couldn't put it down! 
Very entertaining, strong characters, just a few things I could nitpick
Good story, but I had issues with characters or plot
Redeeming values, but too many problems pulling me out of the story
Bleh.  Wish I hadn't bothered read it.
½  <-- Until I can find a working icon for a half-star! 

Books I Read in 2011

1.  Virals -- by Kathy Reichs. -- I'm a big Kathy Reichs fan.  Her writing is fluid, concise, and suspenseful.  This particular story was entertaining and fast-paced.  The setting was one I'm familiar with, and it was fun to picture the Charleston, SC locales.  There are lots of exciting twists to this story, though I didn't enjoy it as much as I liked some from her Bones series.  

2.  Dark Places -- by Gillian Flynn -- LOVED this book!  It has it all: Unique voice, literary quality yet concise, poetic, descriptive writing, intrigue, twists.  And for a writer, it is a masterfully executed novel illustrating how an author peels back the layers of each character, unraveling the tightly wound perceptions of each until the reader is so absorbed in their stories they can't put the book down.  I loved how the themes and events of this book resurface throughout as the story jumps back and forth between two distinct timelines.  This is definitely on my Favorite Literary Things list!  

3.   The Maze Runner -- by James Dashner -- Heart-pounding, high tension, masterfully woven plot. This was a fantastic read that I blew through in four days.  The characters and plot unfold with perfect pacing and the circumstances these teenagers find themselves in squeezed my heart.  Can't wait to start the sequel, The Scorch Trials, and then the third book in the series, The Death Cure (release in Nov. 2011) +½

4. The Hatchet -- by Gary Paulsen -- Fantastic MG book about a 13 yo boy how survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness.  This story of survival and the evolution of a young boy into a man will pull you in and hold on to the very end.  Paulsen captures Brian Robeson's voice with masterful precision.  I couldn't put this one down.  The Hatchet is said to be the survival story against which all others have been compared since it burst on the scene in 1987.  

5. The Scorch Trials -- by James Dashner -- Everything you want in a sequel! A real page-turner. Can't wait for The Death Cure, releasing later this year.

6. The Sneaky Red Sock -- by Ali Murdoch

7. Bright Shiny Morning -- James Frey

8. Across the Universe -- Beth Revis

9. The Lipstick Laws -- Amy Holder

10.  The Magicians -- by Lev Grossman

11.  101 Success Secrets For Gifted Children -- by Christine Fonseca

12.  Haywire Heck (unpublished) -- by Elle Strauss

13.  Shadow Hills -- by Anastasia Hopcus

14. String Bridge -- by Jessica Bell

15.  Twisted Velvet Chains -- by Jessica Bell

16.  Sundred -- Shannon Mayer

17.  Hourglass -- Myra McEntire

18.  Supernaturally -- Kiersten White

19.  The Death Cure -- James Dashner

I'm Currently Reading: Magik -- by Angela Sage
The Hating Game -- by Talli Roland

Top Titles on My To-Read Pile: 

Sharp Objects -- by Gillian Flynn
SCRAWL -- by Mark Schulman
The Final Testament of the Holy Bible -- James Frey