Sunday Salon: 2012 Favorites

sunday salonI wasn’t sure if I was going to write a post today but after reading just a few posts, I wanted to write a “favorite books of 2012” post too. You guys are adding so many books to my tbr lists. I love reading your excitement over some of your favorite books.

2012 wasn’t a great year for blogging (or reading). I knew I wouldn’t be able to read as many books this year as I did last and I was right. My stats along with my favorite books read this year are listed below. My favorite books aren’t always books that were published this year, but they are books that I will re-read and buy if I don’t already have them.

248: the number of books I’ve read so far this year. That’s down from the 325 books I read in 2011.

55: the number of books I gave a 5-star rating to.

120: the number of books read that received a 4- star rating.

649: the number of pages that A Game of Thrones contained. It was the longest book I read.

Favorite fictional reads:

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  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. What a quiet and beautiful book about the friendship between a housekeeper, her son, and the professor she worked for.
  • No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. In my review of this book, I called it a “celebration of the written word and one man’s dedication to it.”
  • Alcestis by Katharine Beutner. A “fleshing-out” of the Greek myth of Alcestis, a wife who took her husband’s place when Death came from him. I like the book when I first read it and it’s grown on me since.
  • Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung. Another quiet and beautiful tale set in the United States and Korea about family. I love the descriptions of Korea. The book was realistic and I will definitely read Chung’s next book.
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan. This was my time reading a novel by Lanagan but it definitely won’t be the last. The Brides of Rollrock Island is a book that once you’ve finished reading it, you want to immediately start re-reading.
  • There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff. I enjoyed reading this exploration of God as a horny seventeen year old. It reminded me a lot of Douglas Adams’ A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

Favorite non-fiction reads:

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  • How Children Succeed by Paul Tough. It’s a book that I enjoyed so much that I won’t review it until I reread it a second time. Tough shows readers that it’s character traits such as grit, perseverance, and creativity that will help our children succeed, not just academically but in most aspects of life.
  • How Georgia Became O’Keefe by Karen Karbo. This is a book I loved so much. Karbo is a wonderful writer. Her style reminds me a lot of Michael Lee West. When you read their non-fiction, it’s not like you’re reading a book but more like you’re having a conversation with a new friend. You can sit there for hours and just listen.

Favorite children’s books:

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  • Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman
  • Neville by Norton Juster
  • Bink and Gollie, Two for One by Kate DiCamillo
  • Blackout by John Rocco
  • Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Favorite Graphic Novels:

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  • Ichiro by Ryan Inzama
  • Hades: Lord of the Dead by George O’Connor
  • Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Favorite Cookbook:

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Favorite book of poetry:

  • B by Sarah Kay.

Printed books that proved that e-books can’t do everything:

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  • Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony. Chopsticks tells the story of two teens from very different worlds who are in love. Every page is a collage that’s made out of various papers and objects.
  • Nox by Anne Carson. Nox is an elegy that Carson wrote to her older brother, a person who was never really in her life. It’s an accordion book in a box that’s just lovely to hold.

How was your reading this year?

Looking forward to August

Every month I write about how I can’t believe it’s the start of a new month, and it’s no different for August. I don’t think I’m ever going to get over how fast the past two years have gone by. It seems like if you just sneeze, September will be here.

July was a month that started out pretty good with me quitting my summer math class. My reading took off with a bang since I had so much free time. I joined the High Summer Read-a-thon but failed miserably and spent the past week and a half plagued by migraines. I’m still not migraine-free so my reading will probably slow down a lot this month.

In July, I read a total of 28 books. My favorites (and 5/5 reads) ended up being:

  • Every Day by David Levithan
  •  Nox by Anne Carson
  • No Crystal Stairby Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
  • Bad Island by Dough TenNapel
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island  by Margo Lanagan
  • Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Every Day and The Brides of Rollrock Island won’t be out for a few more months but I really recommend you putting them on your tbr lists now.

Lately, I’ve been in a mood to read non-fiction so I ignored my library ban to check out a few books including:

  • Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution by Jennifer Cockrall-King
  • The Wisdom of the Radish: and Other Lessons Learned on a Small Farm by Lynda Hopkins
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky. I plan on reading it with Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken.
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman. It’s one of Kim’s (Sophisticated Dorkiness) favorite books and I never hesitate to put books she recommend on my tbr list.
  • Multiplication is for White People: Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit. I saw Frances (Nonsuch Book) put it on her tbr list.

I also joined Photo-a-Day July which was hosted by Chantelle (Fat Mum Slim). That was another project I failed at but will try again with Photo-a-Day August.

That’s my reading plan for August. What books are you hoping to read in August? 

July: Looking at the month ahead

Picture by plastAnka

We’re passed the halfway mark for the year! I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. The kids’ last day of school was just a few weeks ago and I’m already looking ahead at back-to-school sales! *sigh* I’m also at a crossroads right now. I have the opportunity to take my first break in three years from school next semester but I have no idea how I want to spend that time. So while I’m trying to figure it out before the start of the new semester next month, I decide to reflect on my reading so far this year and also what I want to read this month.

My stats:

So far this year I’ve read 165 books which translates to 18, 755 pages.

Half of the books I read were children’s books which graphic novels coming in at second.

47 of the books I read this year  received a 5 out of 5 rating from me.

My longest read was American Gods by Neil Gaiman at 672 pages.

Five of my favorite reads of the year include Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin, Fables vol. 15: Rose Red by Bill Willingham, Walking on Water by Derrick Jensen (non-fiction), Flossie and the Fox by Patricia McKissack, and Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.  Looking at those five makes me realize that I haven’t reviewed any of them yet. That’s another thing to add to my to-do list.

There’s so much going on this month that I’m thinking about participating in a few events including:

Orange July. Every January and July Jill celebrates the Orange Prize by hosting Orange January/July. I have two books that were nominated for the prize so I’m in.

NetGalley Month. Emily over at Red House Books is declaring July Netgalley Month. She’s trying to get participants to read as many unread books in their NetGalley queue as possible.

NaBloPoMo. National Blog Posting Month goes on every month and every month I swear I’m going to join but haven’t. I’m jumping in! I’m really going to try my best to post something every day this month, which is why this post is going up so late in the day.

Last but not least: what I’m hoping to read this month. As usual, the stack is a little unbelievable but if I can read most of the books then that’s one shelf of tbr books read.

  •  House Made of Dawn – M. Scott Momaday
  • Bird in a Box – Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • Trail of Crumbs – Kim Sunee
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Shoneyin
  • Culture is Our Weapon – Patrick Neate and Damian Platt
  • A Man and a Woman and a Man – Savyon Liebrecht
  • A Reason to Believe -Deval Patrick
  • The Greatest Music Stories Never Told – Rick Beyer
  • French Leave – Anna Gavalda
  • The Realm of Hungry Spirits – Lorraine Lopez
  • Sugar in My Bowl – Erica Jong
  • Quarantine by Rahul Mehta
  • Redeemers by Enrique Krauze

  • The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee
  • Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones (re-read)
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  • Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton
  • Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
  • Transparency by Frances Hwang
  • The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
  • Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon
  • The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
  • The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow
  • The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
  • The Heart of a Samurai by Margo Preus

Insane right? My stacks are a great combination of ARCs, books I’ve received as gifts, library reads, and impulse buys that I really should read. I think I can do it but I can’t slack off. I need a challenge right now so my summer geography class, reading this stack, and blogging every day will be  it.

What are your plans for July?