Wednesday, January 8, 2014

52 Weeks of Books in 2013

  I read a lot of books this past year, 57 to be exact. I was doing the 52 book challenge for the second year in a row, the challenge is basically to read 1 book a week for the entirety of the year. I read some stunners and some that were just so-so. I traveled through history, across the galaxy, lived two life times in South East Asia, grew up with some characters, went to Japan, got chased by a killer, and chased some conspiracies. It was a wild ride for sure!

Here are the books I read this year, and then I'll say a little about a few of the stand-outs afterwards.

1.)  Best American Non-Req Reading 2012, Edited by Dave Eggers
2.) HHhH by Laurent Binet
3.) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
4.) The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman
5.) The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
6.) after dark by Haruki Murakami
7.) Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
8.) It Feels so Good When I Stop by Joe Pernice
9.) The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
10.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
11.) Girl Walks into a Bar... by Rachel Dratch
12.) Lost at Sea - The Jon Ronson Mysteries by Jon Ronson
13.) The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
14.) The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin
15.) Life, The Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
16.) So Long, And Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams
17.) 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
18.) Shopgirl by Steve Martin
19.) The Magicians by Lev Grossman
20.) To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
21.) The Little Bookstore of Bigstone Gap by Wendy Welch
22.) Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
23.) When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
24.) Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
25.) Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
26.) Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
27.) Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
28.) The Writer Who Stayed by William Zissner
29.) The False Friend by Myla Goldberg
30.) Joyland by Stephen King
31.) Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
32.) Something to Remember You By, Gene Wilder
33.) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
34.) Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
35.) Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty
36.) Fearless by Cornelia Funke
37.) Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
38.) I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman
39.) A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
40.) Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen
41.) Damned by Chuck Palahniuk
42.) The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
43.) Call for the Dead by John Le Carré
44.) Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
45.) How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
46.) Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
47.) Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
48.) Runaway by Alice Munro
49.) Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner
50.) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
51.) The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
52.) Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon
53.) A Monster Calls Patrick Ness
54.) The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
55.) Love, Dishonor, Marry, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff
56.) Imagination in Place by Wendell Berry
57.)The Humanity Project by Jean Thompson

                                                HHhH   by Laurent Binet

                              HHhH or Himmlers Hirn Heisst Heydrich, which translates to "Himmler's brain is Heydrich", is a novel about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during WW II. It is a book about history, about the author's process of writing, and a commentary on how history is perceived and recorded. I thoroughly enjoyed and was moved by this one.

                                      A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

                         A beautifully/uniquely illustrated book that looks at nightmares, stories and impending loss. Short, powerful and never pulls a punch.

                                 I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman

                     Klosterman, a writer who previously looked at entertainment and pop culture such as The Real World and showed how it was a metaphor for society, now takes on Evil. Klosterman sets out in this essay collection to answer two questions: a) what is the nature/benefit of doing evil? b) Is he, Chuck Klosterman, evil? I really like this one, he makes some good points and talks about good and evil using pop culture and a real life vigilante that maybe wasn't very heroic at all.

                                The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

             Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I was very excited about this new novel. It is short, not even two hundred pages. Gaiman is indeed a master story teller, this is a modern fairy tale, a coming of age story and scary.

                              Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer

          This book has it all, and by all I mean astronauts, a woman with alopecia, autism, a love story and well...I guess that's about it, but I mean don't those sound like disparate things to all be in the same book? You should read it to find how they fit together!

                                  Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

     Maria Semple wrote one of the funniest books that I read this year, which is not surprising since she is a former writer for Arrested Development. A book about an increasingly agoraphobic mother, a daughter who just wants to go to Antarctica and an oblivious father concerned with his project at Microsoft.

                                   To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

           The best book about time travel and strict Victorian society that you will ever read. And the dog is probably the best character!
                           Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

            The Shambling Guide was one of my favorite books I read this summer. A woman gets an editing job, the problem is she is the only human at a work place of the undead. Now you might be thinking, but I don't want to read Twilight! Good, I don't either. Mur Lafferty writes a book that makes you want to travel, makes you wan to see New York City and takes modern fantasy seriously. Where do out of town zombies stay? What's the best succubus bar in town?

                                   Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon

                   The time is early 2001, our protagonist is a mother of two with a decertified Fraud investigation business and a separated husband sets out to make sense of more than a few conspiracies after the collapse of the Dot-Com bubble. In spite of a novel that features 9/11 this is Pynchon at his most optimistic I would say. Dizzying with mysteries and full of pop culture references, I never thought I would see Thomas Pynchon mention Dragon Ball Z in a book.

I enjoyed almost all of the books this year, but that's just an idea of some of what I read. You'll just have to check out the others on your own. Also gonna put out my best music of 2013 later this week. Stay tuned!