Books read in January 2012

There was a lot of reading this month, but it’s January in Portland, Oregon. This means cold and rainy. Scrolling through, I see that there were several YA selections, some of them quite good. Quite good YA selections can be read in a 24 hour period easily. Would you like to read a very good YA book? Pick up The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. You won’t be sorry.

Sophie Flack.
This was a moderately interesting novel about a NYC ballerina. I wasn’t in love with the story, but the insider information was interesting. It did not, however, solve the ballet mystery I’ve had for years which is: why do dancers wear their tights on the outside of the leotards when rehearsing? This makes no sense to me.
Ursula K. LeGuin
Poems, she means. But I think the title is a play on age too. Some good ones, some of which will be appearing soon on my poetry post.
The Disciples
James Mollison
I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. Just when you think there is nothing new anyone can do in photography, along comes Mollison, who decided to take portraits of people attending concerts–in London, in the US, in Italy. Then he chose 10 representative images from each concert and knitted them into a panorama of concert goers. The Lady Gaga goers were particularly gaga-eque, and the Katie Perry fans were brightly colored, but I have to say my favorite was the Rod Steward layout, with ten 55-plus men with spiky blonde hair and a good bit of fat on them. It’s an incredibly delightful book to page through, but I found it even more fun when I read the synopsis of the photo shoots, found in the back of the book, and then looked at the pictures. This book is highly recommended. If your library doesn’t have this, seek it out in the bookstore or even purchase it for yourself. It is that good!
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Rachel Cohen and David Levithan
Matt and I read aloud.
I think “David Levithan, read aloud” is even more delightful than “David Levithan read to oneself.” I went on a campaign this holiday season recommending this book to people as a very good holiday read, but alas, only Matt experienced its holiday charms. Perhaps you could put it on your calendar for next year…
The Order of the Stick: Snips, Snails and Dragon’s Tales
Rich Burlew
Matt and I read aloud
Tales unrelated to the OOTS story, but still fun. We even got an OOTS version of Hamlet, just after we read and viewed the play.
50 Miles from Tomorrow
William Iggiagruck Hensley
Read for Kenton Book Club
I enjoyed the detail of the author’s early years in his small Alaskan village. I was less interested in his fight to retain native lands as Alaska became a state, though I do think it was a very important thing. The natives of Alaska came out a lot better than the natives of the lower 48 states. Overall, an interesting read.
The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
When I was a young teenager, I went though a phase of reading books where horrible things happened to protagonists: going blind, getting cancer, father’s diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease, boyfriends dying, etc. I suspect that reading these “cancer books” about other teenagers going through really awful things helped me navigate my own adolescence. After all, everything around and including me might be changing, but at least I still had my sight, health and a fully mentally functioning father. So “cancer books” have a dear place in my heart. I myself have had the luck to never have anyone close to me battle cancer (knock on wood) so I can still freely read books about cancer and enjoy them without bringing my own experience to them.
I found this to be a (this word seems wrong, but it isn’t) delightful “cancer book” full of much humor, interesting insight and just the right amount of tugging on heartstrings. John Green has written yet another wonderful book on many levels. The NPR review mentioned that Green “writes for youth rather than to them and the difference is palpable.” Well said. Are you a young adult? You’ve probably already read it? Are you a Nerdfighter? I know you’ve read it. Are you an adult? Put it on you list.
Lips Touch Three Times
Laini Taylor
This is about the grapic novel-to-text ratio I appreciate. Taylor’s fascination with female-centered mystical Eastern European-esqe settings appeal to me and I gobbled up these stories.
What Now?
Ann Patchett
Friend Kelly hooked me up with this book!
Five stars for the text, which was an adaptation of a graduation speech Patchett gave at her alma mater. You might think that you don’t want to read a graduation speech, but you would be wrong.
Two stars for the copious amounts of photos inserted into the text. I understand that they were fleshing things out, but I could have done with out the double turning of pages necessitated by two page photo spreads. I also found the photos incredibly cliched. But the writing was magical. I read the whole thing in about an hour or so, which means you should grab and read.
Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List
Rachel Cohen & David Levithan
Mostly because the Naomi character was incredibly annoying (what’s up with all her wingdings in place of actual words? Not cool and hip. Nuh-uh!) I did not really like this book. Ely was a bit better, but not much.
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
Heidi Durrow
Read for Kenton Book Club
Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads Selection 2012
I drank this novel–set in Portland–down quickly and greatly enjoyed the city-specific details. It wasn’t the weightiest book, but I thought it particularly compelling when discussing issues of biculturalism.
I am Number Four
Pittacus Lore
YA Sci-Fi that was apparently made into a movie so horrible that Roger Ebert’s review is actually quite funny to read. This book was compelling enough that I put off the planned evening activities to finish it. It had good themes: retaining cultural identity when living within another culture; growing into you powers (in this case the character actually had powers, being from another planet); fitting in and putting down roots. It had teen romance without being sappy and an adult character who was helpful, not harmful. I’ve already got the next book on reserve.
Started and Did Not Finish
Some books this month, but I neglected to write them down. So sorry.

One thought on “Books read in January 2012”

  1. Yay for YA!!!! Now I have Dash and Lily, I don't even need to go hunting for it when I give it a read! THANK YOU for my bibliophile birthday! I <3 it! I'm not quite reading for FiOS. I'm nervous about the sad cancerness. It is one of my major triggers for crying like Dances with Wolves crazy! It is coming soon though…I play a day off and a dig in!

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