Monday, May 11, 2015

1st Quarter Reading (well, 1st Quarter plus April and a bit of May)

Why yes, I read a lot.  And YES, I consider listening to audiobooks "reading".  (Holly, I'm looking at you). HOWEVER, I will tell you that after several months of ONLY listening to audiobooks, I am really missing the touch, feel, focus, and more total immersion I can get with a physical book, so I have several "real" books on a real "to read" pile on my nightstand.  Should I submit this to the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks? 

It's a real thing.  And it's hilarious.  Check it out.

So far this year I have been in a pretty completely psychological thriller kick.  Again, I blame Holly. Holly is my cousin.  We grew up spending a lot of time on our grandparent's farm together and she, being WAY more adventurous and brave than me, has always challenged me to try to not be such a wimpy nerd.  She makes me get out of my comfort zone - from when we were kids and she was dragging me though woods on a three-wheeler, to now when she forces me to take photography classes and (*gasp*) try to "exercise", she has pushed me and I appreciate it. Sometimes she leads me astray, but usually only into things like a psychological thriller reading kick rather than into something like smoking crack, so I forgive her.

Plus she abhors crappy writing and storytelling as much as I do so we usually agree on books.

Most times we try to read the same things at about the same time.  The great thing about reading psychological thrillers with Holly is that in her "real job" she is a licensed clinical counselor AND an ER nurse, and she knows her stuff about mental issues.  She can unravel and diagnose allllll the nut jobs in the books we are reading.  It's like having my own on-call psychological consultant. It's awesome.

So here's the list - too long for an in-depth description of each.  If you want more info on a particular book, I highly recommend this amazing thing I found called "the Google", or

Really though, I use Goodreads pretty much exclusively, though I am behind on updating it as much as I am behind on anything else on my life.  Which is a lot.  So, whatever.  Here's the list so far, complete with length of audiobook and date of purchase:

1>    Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy - Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance         Jeff VanderMeer - 26 hrs and 14 mins - 12/31/2014
2>    Dept. of Speculation Jenny Offill - 3 hrs and 10 mins       - 1/11/2015
3>    The Paying Guests Sarah Waters - 21 hrs and 28 mins - 1/12/2015
4>    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage - Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (translator)      10 hrs and 9 mins - 1/17/2015
5>    The Girl on the Train: A Novel Paula Hawkins - 10 hrs and 59 mins - 1/25/2015
6>    The Long Road to Freedom           Nelson Mandela - 27 hrs and 44 mins - 1/25/2015
7>    Into the Wild Jon Krakauer - 7 hrs and 9 mins - 1/25/2015
8>    Don't Let Me Go Catherine Ryan Hyde - 11 hrs and 17 mins - 2/19/2015
9>    Crash & Burn Lisa Gardner - 13 hrs and 27 mins - 3/3/2015
10> Descent Tim Johnston - 11 hrs and 31 mins - 3/11/2015
11> Six Years Harlan Coben - 10 hrs and 37 mins - 3/19/2015
12> Gilead Marilynne Robinson          - 8 hrs and 59 mins - 3/22/2015
13> The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America's Most Powerful Trial Lawyer     Curtis Wilkie - 13 hrs and 45 mins - 3/26/2015
14> The Stranger Harlan Coben - 9 hrs and 43 mins - 3/29/2015
15> The Good Girl Mary Kubica - 10 hrs and 38 mins - 4/1/2015
16> The Silent Sister Diane Chamberlain - 11 hrs and 39 mins - 4/5/2015
17> The Hypnotist's Love Story          Liane Moriarty - 13 hrs and 6 mins - 4/7/2015
18> Wolf in White Van           John Darnielle - 5 hrs and 22 mins - 9/28/2015
19> The Girl with All the Gifts M. R. Carey - 13 hrs and 4 mins - 4/10/2015
20> The Room: A Novel Jonas Karlsson         - 3 hrs and 27 mins - 4/12/2015
21> The Kind Worth Killing Peter Swanson - 10 hrs and 18 mins - 4/14/2015
22> What You Left Behind Samantha Hayes - 10 hrs and 17 mins - 4/20/2015
23> The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro - 8 hrs and 13 mins - 4/23/2015
24> The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Leslye Walton - 8 hrs and 32 mins - 4/29/2015
25> Bird Box: A Novel            Josh Malerman- - 9 hrs and 8 mins - 5/1/2015
26> Bitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness, and Multiple Murder      Jerry Bledsoe --20 hrs and 8 mins -     5/3/2015

My favorites of this bunch were the Mandela Autobiography and Wolf in White Van, which is a great, disturbing but weirdly hopeful novel about a guy who just happens to be a game nerd.  You may love it even if you AREN'T a game nerd. The Bird Box and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender are also both really great.  And both kind of depressing.

Ooops - End of 2014 Reading

Uhhh..... yeah I forgot to finish the 2014 list, so let me do that before I post 2015.

Where were we.....

73> was The Boy Who Could See Demons...but apparently I put the 1st list of 2014 in reverse chronological order some some bizarre reason, so #73 was actually Fourth of July Creek

74> The Luminaries- Eleanor Catton: I actually liked this one way more than I thought I would.  

75> World War Z -  Max Brooks: Sooooooooo much better than the movie.  So much more about the politics of a worldwide crisis.  

76>  Faithful Place - Tana French:  I really so enjoy her books.  Sort-of mysteries/ psychology studies, and well written.  

77> Apocalypse Z - Manel Loureiro:  I like a good apocalypse zombie story.  I won't apologize.  

78>  We Were Liars - E. Lockhart:  a young adult novel that is just WOW.  

79>;  All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr: It was ok.  Well written, but the story just was a little too Davinci Code for me, I guess.  

80>: Stone Mattress - Margaret Atwood:  I usually LOVE Margaret Atwood, but this one just didn't stick with me. Perhaps I will revisit it later.  

81>; Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel: I love a good Apocalypse story of pretty much any kind.  

82>; The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton:  If I had never read and Neal Stephenson, I would have loved this book.  I did still really like it, though.  

83>; Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguru: Meh.  Story just didn't sit right with me.  Too "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet", and I liked that better.  

84>; Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes: Too "Hannibal, the TV show".  

85>; Yes, Please - Amy Poeler: Way better and more interesting than I expected.  

86>; Already Dead - Charlie Huston: Zombies are fun.  

87>; To Rise Again At A Decent Hour- Joshua Farris: Liked it

88>; The Vacationers- Emma Straub: Good story about a marriage and a family.  I liked it.  

89>; The Martian - Andy Weir: Never ask your scientist husband to read a book you liked.  He will point out every flaw.  

90>; Bossy Pants - Tina Fey: Also way better and more interesting than I expected.  

91>; Slouching Toward Bethlehem - Joan Didian:  Meh

92> Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng: It was just ok, although that may have had something to do with the fact that I was deeply engrossed in the SERIAL podcast at the time I read it. There are some similarities between the stories, but Serial, being TRUE and ON-GOING, was/is way more fascinating.  

OK so that's it for 2014.  92 books.  Not a record, but no too shabby, I think?  The most important (and surprising) thing to ME, anyway, is that I actually remember reading them haha.  There were only a couple of books in 2014 that I started and just could not complete.  Both involved animal cruelty and I just cannot even.  Those were:  Salvage the Bones, and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.  They both got great reviews and my opinions should not count against them.  I just can't read those kinds of things.  The horror of them gets stuck in my brain and plays on a loop for eternity.  And LAWD, I don't need to add to the things already on the loop.