When New Year's Eve rolled along and once again resolutions were being tossed around, I decided to challenge myself to read more in 2012. I was looking to renew my passion for reading and give it a kick-start of some kind. This was a golden opportunity to get back in action and spend more time with a good book.
But you know me. Just a universal read-more resolution wouldn't do. No sense just dipping your toes in the water when you can jump right into the deep end and make a big splash!
I dared myself -- even double-dog-dared -- to read fifty books within the year. Gulp!
And the result is folks... I did it!!! I completed the fiftieth book on December 27th. (Insert bells, whistles and fireworks here!) In fact, by December 31st I read 52 books and six short stories. Whoop! Whoop!
It was a year of some very interesting reading. A few thrills, a couple of chills, some lessons learned, secrets exposed, stories worth hearing again, and then alas... some not so captivating choices (oh-my-god-what-have-I-picked) have made my list. But, I read them all. From cover to cover. Even when the going was drop dead boring, I slogged through and made it.
I read my books in three forms - an actual book in my hands, the E-reader and audiobooks. There are times I prefer one over the other. For example, I listen to audiobooks when I walk, I use the E-reader in the car and when I am sitting in the big, comfy chair with the perfect reading light behind it, then I like to hold a hard (or soft) cover novel.
I am going to share my completed list with you in no particular order; certainly not the order in which I read the books. I do not mean to write a review or be a critic - good or bad. Maybe you might choose to pick your next read from somewhere on the list. Maybe you won't and you'll just admire me and my list from over there. I'm proud of my accomplishment and thrilled to be back in love with reading.
If you want to ask me about any particular book then please leave a comment and I'll get back to you.
1. Cockeyed - Ryan Knighton
I first heard about this book a few years ago from a couple of my sister-in-laws as the author's sister was seriously dating our nephew (they are married now). I filed the title away in the back of my mind as something I wanted to check out.
2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
3. Falling Backwards: A Memoir - Jann Arden
When I finished Jann's book I tweeted the following to her: "Seems we had some kind of doppelganger parallel province existence. There is comfort in knowing now that I wasn't alone then."
4. Look Me in the Eye - John Elder Robison
The author's life with Asperger syndrome and tough times growing up.
5. Playing With Fire - Theoren Fleury, Kirstie McLellan Day
A book so honest that at times it's very hard to like the guy. You will be amazed at his story, his lows and in fact, just why the heck he even is still alive.
6. Room - Emma Donoghue
Room is a 12 foot by 12 foot shed somewhere, where Old Nick has kept an imprisoned Ma for seven years; the book’s narrator, Jack, was born five years ago. Ma has done her best to turn Room into a survivable world for her and Jack.
7. Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
The true story of a boy whose mother gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead-ringer for Santa and the reigning king lunatic in a family of fully dysfunctional nut-jobs. Side note: This author is a brother to the author of Look Me in the Eye.
8. Seriously... I'm Kidding - Ellen DeGeneres
9. A Stolen Life - Jaycee Dugard
"I don’t think of myself as a victim. I survived. A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it."
10. The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven - Kevin Malarkey
11. Curses! - J.A. Kazimer
Definitely not for baby's bedtime reading, this take on classic fairy tales combines humor, mystery, and characters only a fairy godmother could love.
12. Cemetery Girl - David Bell
13. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
14. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
15. Mocking Jay - Suzanne Collins
16. The Descendants - Kaui Hart Hemmings
17. The Book of Useless Information - Noel Botham
One person's useless information could prove invaluable to someone else. Then again, maybe not. Did you know that peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite? Good to know in that Cliff Clavin kind of way.
18. My Mother Was Nuts - Penny Marshall
19. Here Comes Trouble - Michael Moore
I am a fan of documentary film-maker, Michael Moore. I appreciate his observations and sense of sarcastic humour. I also love that he loves Canada a lot! This man has truly lead a Forrest Gump-esque life. Once, when lost, he was found by Bobbie Kennedy. Another time, he learned how to perform his own exorcism when he was attending seminary to become a priest. Just the tip of the iceberg.
20. Unbearable Lightness - Portia de Rossi
21. I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had - My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High - Tony Danza
This is Tony Danza's account of his year spent teaching tenth-grade English at Northeast High in 2009.
22. Wild - Cheryl Strayed
An honest memoir about an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again. At twenty-two, the author made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker. But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.This is the telling of the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
23. Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven & Back - Todd Burpo & Lynn Vincent
24. Just Kids - Patti Smith
25. Escape From Camp 14 - Blaine Harden
26. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Deborah Moggach
27. Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) - Jenny Lawson
A.k.a. The Blogess writes about the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened— and reveals they are in fact the ones that define us.
28. Unlikely Friendships: 50 Remarkable Stories From then Animal Kingdom - Jennifer S. Holland
29. Might As Well Laugh About It now - Marie Osmond
30. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island, an abandoned orphanage and a strange collection of very curious, haunting vintage photographs. A fantasy read for anyone that enjoys a mix of fiction and photography.
31. Welcome to the Departure Lounge (Adventures in Mothering Mother) - Meg Federico
An amusing yet heartbreaking look at taking care of one's elderly parents. I think we are like band-aids. We are working full-time, nurturing and providing for our children, while at the same time we struggle to care and watch out for our aging parents. We are stretched to the limit trying to cover it all and hope that it all turns out okay.
32. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling
33. The Ten, Make that Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make that Ten. - Steve Martin
34. We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver
35. Why I Didn't Say Anything - Sheldon Kennedy
36. Townie: A Memoir - Andre Dubus III
37. We Bought a Zoo - Benjamin Mee
38. The Time-Keeper - Mitch Albom
39. Going Bovine - Libba Bray
A friend of mine likes to post a Facebook status of "Regarding the current book you are reading, who are you and where are you?" A comment on the post lead me to check out the story of a 16-year-old slacker with a diagnosis of "mad cow" disease. The heart of the story, though, is a hallucinatory—or is it?—quest with many parallels to the hopeless but inspirational efforts of Don Quixote.
40. The Devil in Pew Number Seven - Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
41. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James
I wouldn't be the only one not 'fessing up if I said I didn't read the book everyone (and no one) was talking about. Subject closed.
42. 90 Minutes in Heaven - Don Piper
43. Alone in the Classroom - Elizabeth Hay
44. For One More Day - Mitch Albom
45. Up the Down Staircase - Bel Kaufman
A perfect marriage. A marriage made in hell. The wife has been kidnapped. The wife has been murdered. The husband did it. The husband was set up. This is a book where you hate all the characters but still can't stop reading.
47. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
48. Stories I Tell My Friends - Rob Lowe
49. She Walks in Beauty: A Women's Journey Through Poems - Caroline Kennedy
50. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption - Laura Hillenbrand
From Hitler's Olympics to a Japanese prisoner of war camp to the bottle, this is the amazing life story of Louis Zamperini. I can't begin to summarize this book and do it any kind of justice. All I can say is that you can't... you won't... be able to look at your life the same way anymore. If you are going to read only one book, make it this one.
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