Saturday, January 5, 2013

#68 - Part Three - 235 Books in 2012

The past year didn't hold as much time as I had hope to work on my DayZero goals; however, I did still carve out time to read regularly.  In fact, sometimes knowing that I could go home and immerse myself in another world was what got me through my workdays.  Here are some of the titles that stand out for me in some way when I look back over my 2012 reading list.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger - This book interested me less in a personal reading light than in a professional one.  It's a great boy book - perfect for that hard-to-recommend-for upper-elementary age boy that's starting to lose interest in reading in favor of other activities (or, regrettably, because they think reading is no longer cool).  Mix Star Wars, the eternal hope of kids to be seen as cool not odd, and some origami ... it will bring you to this funny start of a series.

Theft of Swords (first of a trilogy) by Michael J. Sullivan - I read a great deal of science fiction and fantasy, but this trilogy was one this year that I just couldn't put down.  It was great to tag along as two thieves get caught up in the turmoil of kingdoms rising and falling.  A very classic epic fantasy that proves the point that small press books can be among the very best out there ... they just get less publicity.

A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor - What objects would you choose to illustrate all of history?  Even limiting himself to the collection of the British Museum, the author faced a daunting task in just choosing which 100 objects to write about.  However, somehow these 100 things all get tied together to show the story of humanity as it encompasses thousands of years.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn - I did read some very good books full of recipes in the past year.  This book caught my attention less because of the recipes and more because of the concept.  A chef who is willing to teach her practical skills to others - not fancy cooking, but what you can (and should) do every day.  I believe that everyone over the age of 25 should know how to cook at least one company meal and half a dozen other meals that they are willing to eat on a regular basis.  This title shows a chef that takes a similar belief and makes it into reality.

Quiet! the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain - This was the book that was most talked about in my library this summer.  Introverts (I include myself in this category) LOVE it because it points out our strengths.  Extroverts find that it makes so many things clearer about how their introverted friends, spouses, children, etc react to things that they say and do.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I like fairy tales, young adult literature, science fiction, and strong female characters.  This title (the first of a projected series) brings all of these elements together into a futuristic world that reminded me of young Anakin's workshop on Tattoine. 

Below Stairs by Margaret Powell - If you have been caught in the recent Downton Abbey craze, this book is for you.  A memoir of an actual kitchen maid around the turn of the last century that describes the grueling physical work that went on behind the scenes in large manor houses along with the quirks of some of her employers ... ironed shoelaces, anyone?

 Skating around the Law by Joelle Charbonneau - My new popcorn reading series.  This book reads very similar to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, but I found it more enjoyable due to the smaller town setting and the quirky descriptions of running a failing rollerskating rink.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - I didn't read this book when it first was published because I was so tired of reading about the Tudors.  But when the sequel (Bring Up the Bodies) came out this year, I decided to read them both.  It is obvious that much research went into these titles.  Yet, they still managed to bring Cromwell - and his fictional hopes and fears - to life.  I found the portrayal of his relationship to Cardinal Woolsey and how it kept haunting him later especially interesting.

Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown - If you are a Star Wars fan, give yourself ten minutes some day to read this book and get a giggle or two.

Steamdrunks by Chris-Rachael Oseland - It works as a Victorian drink recipe book for Dickens recreators.  It works as a humor book.  And it definitely works if you are looking to mix up some drinks for fellow steampunk lovers.

Trafficked by Kim Purcell - Do you think that human trafficking doesn't happen in the U.S.?  Do you think it doesn't happen in suburban neighborhoods?  Do you think that it only involves the sex trade?  Think again.  A sobering read.

Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You to Know by Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson - I know many of these dogs; you probably do too.  Here they answer your questions and let you know how a dog's mind works.  Axlerod is my favorite "author".

Cold Days by Jim Butcher - I was worried about this series.  I didn't want to abandon Harry Dresden, but the last couple of books were moving in a direction that I didn't particularly care for.  I'm happy to say that this one restored my faith in the series and made me long to read the next chapter.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold - I waited literally years for this book.  Patrons at the library have been known to tease me about it.  I know, I know ... Miles is the guy that makes the series possible, but Ivan is the one I wanted to read about.  Thank you, Lois, it didn't disappoint and I loved hearing more about Simon as well.