Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books Read in 2015

Another year in the books (hahaha)! I managed to finish 60* this year—2 fewer than 2014, but, as in 2014, several of them were Very Easy Reading, so that 60 deserves an asterisk.

I was lucky enough to meet a couple of great authors this year—Rainbow Rowell and Lois Lowry;  read a great author for the first time this year—Kurt Vonnegut; and "discover" some new-to-me authors I look forward to reading again—Sarah Vowell, Andy Weir, and Paula Hawkins.

These are the books I finished in 2015. You can follow the links to their journal entries on BookCrossing; those books without a link were either borrowed, or are in my permanent collection for the moment. (E) indicates they were read on my Kindle/Nook/iPod Touch; (A) means they were audiobooks; (L) means I borrowed them from my local library; (R) means I re-read some old friends.

My favorites this year? "Grave Surprise," "An Ice Cold Grave," and "Grave Secret," by Charlaine Harris; The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein; The Martian, by Andy Weir; and Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell.

1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, by Matthew Quick (A)
2. One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson (E) (L)
3. Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (A)
4. The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer
5. Top Secret Twenty-One, by Janet Evanovich (E) (L)
6. The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams (R)
7. How to Care for Your Monster, by Norman Bridwell (R)  

8. Looking for Alaska, by John Green (E) (L)
9. Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins (E) (L)
10. Journey Into Narnia, by Kathryn Lindskoog
11. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling (E) (L)
12. Dark Summer, by Iris Johansen  

13. Misery, by Stephen King
14. Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
15. Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham (E) (L)
16. Grave Surprise, by Charlaine Harris
17. The Kalahari Typing School for Men, by Alexander McCall Smith
18. Orange Is The New Black, by Piper Kerman
19. Pete's A Pizza, by William Steig  

20. The Great Train Robbery, by Michael Crichton
21. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce (E)
22. We Were Tired Of Living In A House, by Liesel Moak Skorpen (R)
23. Celestial Land and Sea, by Amy McLean (E)
24. An Ice Cold Grave, by Charlaine Harris  

25. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (A) (L)
26. Third Girl, by Agatha Christie
27. Argo, by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio (A) (L)
28. Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn
29. Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, by Christopher Moore
30. The Beginner's Goodbye, by Anne Tyler (A) (L)
31. Every Seventh Wave, by Daniel Glattauer  

32. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
33. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney
34. Grave Secret, by Charlaine Harris (E)
35. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel, by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
36. The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick  

37. Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks (A)
38. Charleston, by John Jakes
39. Thumbelina, by Hans Christian Andersen
40. The Moon Lake, by Ivan Gantschev
41. The Happy Prince and Other Stories, by Oscar Wilde
42. A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson (A)
43. The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy, by Mary Street
44. Happiness Is A Warm Puppy, by Charles M. Schulz  

45. The Outsider, by Jimmy Connors (A) (L)
46. Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman (E) (L)
47. Slow Decay, by Andy Lane
48. Emma: A Modern Retelling, by Alexander McCall Smith (E) (L)
49. The Martian, by Andy Weir  

50. Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis (R)
51. I Am The Messenger, by Markus Zusak
52. Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell (E) (L)  

53. Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell (E) (L)
54. Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell (A) (L)
55. Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala  

56. The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins (E) (L)
57. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut  

58. Prosecco & Paparazzi, by Celia Kennedy (E)
59. Tremors In The Cloister: A Memoir, by Allan Spiegler
60. Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own, by Doreen Orion

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Prosecco & Paparazzi, by Celia Kennedy

LibraryThing Early ReviewersReceived from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in October 2015.

It has been a long time since I read a romance, so when I read the description of this book, "a contemporary romantic comedy about what happens when the paths of a celebrity god and a mere mortal collide," I was interested. Who doesn't wonder about what would happen if they met their ultimate celebrity crush?

It started off well. A cute meet. A dream of a night. But then it took a really weird turn that it never quite recovered from. There were too many inconsistencies in character and plot that kept distracting me from the story. I  enjoyed the glamorous settings—the French Alps, New York, London, Ireland, the French Riviera, Rome, Barbados—and the glamorous people, but I was looking for that one real thing that would make me care about these characters and I just didn't find it. I was interested in Charlotte's romance, but she was cheated by having to share her story with too many characters who were too obviously being set up for their own stories, as this is Book One in The Passport Series.

All in all, Prosecco & Paparazzi could have benefited greatly from a couple more rounds of editing. There were too many insignificant details, too much uncontrollable laughter, too much prosecco, and not enough paparazzi.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

Borrowed Kindle version from my local library. Finished reading this morning because I'm going to see/hear Rainbow Rowell tonight.

"Fangirl" is a coming-of-age story about a painfully shy and awkward fanfic internet star. The book is full of dualities like that—first, with the main character, Cath, being an identical twin, then with her being reclusive but famous, weak but strong, intellectually smart but socially dumb, having an old boyfriend and new boyfriend, making good and bad decisions, and finally, with hearing both Cath's story and Simon's story.

I can remember working through some of those dualities in myself at that age, so I could definitely relate to Cath as a character. If I had read this book 30 years ago, I think it would be one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

Borrowed Kindle version from my library because I'm going to see Rainbow Rowell when she comes to town and I thought I probably should read more than one of her books (Eleanor & Park) before I did/do.

I liked this "adult" book. I especially liked the time it was set in—the months before Y2K when half the world was convinced that the world would be ending on January 1, 2000. Oh, those children. I liked the characters, the situations, the humor, and the writing. I will definitely be reading more Rainbow Rowell in the future.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Emma: A Modern Retelling, by Alexander McCall Smith

Borrowed Kindle version from my local library.

Alexander McCall Smith's style is well suited to this modern retelling of Jane Austen's Emma. I find his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books soothing, even when there are dangerous situations, and I felt the same level of comfort with "Emma." A tweak here, a tweak there, but never straying too far from the core of the original.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman

Borrowed Kindle version from my local library.

These are great stories: I love Neil Gaiman's voice, even when he's not reading to me (although I will be adding his audio version to my wishlist). From his lengthy introduction to his explanations of each story's origins to the stories themselves, this is Neil Gaiman in top form. Even though the stories were written over a long period of time and for many different reasons, they fit together nicely. And, as a bonus, I get to mark off the top right corner of my BINGO card. Thanks, Neil Gaiman.

The Outsider, by Jimmy Connors

Borrowed audio version from my local library. Read by Rich Orlow.

I love tennis. Watching it, not playing it. I grew up with the Connors-McEnroe rivalry in the early 1980s, or so I thought. Turns out that McEnroe was on his way up while Connors was at the top of his game and it was more a Connors-Borg rivalry in the 1970s. I loved hearing about the "early" days of competitive tennis and Jimmy Connors' role in bring tennis to the masses by exploding out of the stuffy confines of the country club sets. He loved being the bad boy of tennis and he admits to all his "assholery" (his word) with few regrets.

For the most part, Rich Orlow did a really great job reading this memoir. I have only two complaints: 1) he almost always pronounces "Wimbledon" as "Wimbleton," and 2) he pronounces "Vitas Gerulaitis" as "Vitas Jerulaitis." (Either he is wrong on that, or all the sportscasters and newscasters from his era are.) Other than that, his energy, tone, and inflections were spot on.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Catch #250!

This catch is exciting for two reasons: 1) It's a milestone—number 250! *confetti* *cheering* *fireworks* and 2) It's my first catch from the Little Free Library that I have been filling for the past year. Thank you, melissaharris, for using the LFL and journalling this book. I hope it's the first of many. Enjoy!