Book Log Review – 2013

Books read in 2004: 21
Books read in 2005: 28
Books read in 2006: 40
Books read in 2007: 30
Books read in 2008: 41
Books read in 2009: 22
Books read in 2010: 44
Books read in 2011: 28
Books read in 2012: 31
Books read in 2013: 8

Eight. 8. A paltry ocho books.

And I didn’t even log 6 of those in a timely manner.

Perhaps it’s out of embarrassment at the poor showing, quantity-wise, of literature consumed this year.  Was it the new job?  Financial turbulence?  What on earth was wrong with me this year?

Am I becoming a… a non-reader?

Maybe it was poor choices.  My bookshelf has 8 or 9 books that I acquired and then just went… bleh.

Money Ball?  What on earth besides the $3 price tag at the Decatur Book Festival led me to think I would want to read about baseball?  Even the statistics of baseball?

World War Z?  I never had an interest in zombies.  To make matters worse, I actually bought this book when it first came out, when I was in an airport.  I read a few chapters, wasn’t impressed, and then lost it before I got home.  For some reason, I impulse bought it again this year at a Barnes and Noble only because I had lost it, not because I actually wanted to read it.  And so it sits, on the Not Read Yet shelf, waiting for the “zombie mood” to strike.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris?  This one is almost read.  I’ve read everything David Sedaris has written, and most of it multiple times.  But, for some reason, I can’t get into this one.  Am I burned out on Sedaris?  I never thought I’d see the day.

But, stepping back, the best we can do is pull up our socks, look ourselves squarely in the mirror and say, “2014.  That’s going to be the good one.”

On the positive front, most of what I did read, I enjoyed very much.  Looking at it objectively, there is a lot that is, shall we say, below my reading level.  But I am not ashamed.  I am not afraid to say I am entertained by the simpler things in life. Much.

The first couple I posted about individually, the rest I’ll note my comments here, in the yearly round up…

1. Wintersmith (Discworld), by Terry Pratchett

A fine Discworld/Tiffany Aching novel.  I haven’t been able to drum up interest in these with the kids.  Not sure why.

2. The Beggar King: A Hangman’s Daughter Tale by Oliver Potzsch

This may be the book that put me off my game.  I borrowed it from the Amazon Lending Library, and for some reason read it all the way through.  I can’t fathom why now.  Maybe it was all I had handy?  Maybe I was drunk?  There’s no telling.

But it is telling that this is the last book that I wrote an individual post about.  After that, I just … stopped.  Which is a shame, because the rest of the stuff I dove into was pretty good.

3. The Complete Wizard of Oz Collection (With Active Table of Contents), by Baum, L. Frank (purchased March 16, 2013 – Kindle)

I won’t claim to have read all of these. But I knocked out quite a few.  They are interesting in the fact that you get sucked in, but when the story ends, I kind of go… what was the point of all that?  What just happened?  And why?

There is also a lot of time and detail spent describing the process and decoration of celebrating random things in Oz.  Every story ended with a celebration, and the preparations for the celebration and everyone congratulating themselves for pages and pages.

But I am not the target market, so I shall give them a pass.

4. Dodger by Pratchett, Terry (purchased June 9, 2013 – Kindle)

This is a nice little imagined story of a “real” Artful Dodger, who inspires Charles Dickens to write the well-known character.  Like everything Pratchett writes, it’s a delightful and engaging story that doesn’t tax the brain overmuch.  A nice departure from his Discworld books.

5. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld) by Pratchett, Terry (purchased July 14, 2013 – Kindle)

I enjoyed this young adult Discworld saga about some Rats of Nimh style rats and a likewise-enhanced cat.  Also, a dumb kid who isn’t necessarily so dumb.

I tried to read it aloud to my two young adults, but they sort of lost interest. I don’t think it works very well as a read-aloud book, but it’s as witty as any of the other Discworld stories.

6. Off to Be the Wizard by Meyer, Scott (purchased August 16, 2013 – Kindle)

This one is what I’ll call my surprise hit of 2013… I’ll admit I bought it sort-of out of sympathy/support for the author of one of the Webcomics I follow (Basic Instructions). It’s a funny webcomic, but I didn’t really expect that he could necessarily make the leap to full blown novel.

But, man, was I wrong. I won’t give much away when I say in the first chapter, an amateur hacker discovers a file on the website of a major corporation that has information about him. If he changes some of the information, the changes translate to real life. A simple, amusing premise, that is then well-executed into a fun and rollicking story. I would love to actually see another in a series.

Worth your time, I say.

7. What I’d Say to the Martians: And Other Veiled Threats by Handey, Jack (purchased September 24, 2013 – Kindle)

I did not know Jack Handey of Saturday Night Live was a real person. Turns out he is, and he writes really funny essay/stories. Check it out.

8. The True Meaning of Smekday by Rex, Adam – In process (library book)

This was a nice end of the year discovery.  It’s a book for the younger set, ideally in the 7-13 age group, I think, but I really enjoyed it.  It’s well written, funny, and has a strong 11 year old female protagonist.

The kids and I read a bit each night for weeks, and we all enjoyed it quite a bit.

The premise is that our narrator/heroine Gratuity (or Tip to her friends) is writing an essay on The True Meaning of Smekday.  Smekday is what they renamed Christmas after the alien invasion of the Boov.  And so it goes from there.

This book was hard to find.  It was never in stock in any brick-and-mortar store I went into, and I couldn’t even special order it at my favorite brick-and-mortar, Little Shop of Stories.  In the end, I got it from the library.  After the kids and I read it, we immediately ordered it from Amazon as a Smekday present for my son’s friend, who will surely appreciate it.

It was originally recommended by one of my Facebook acquaintances, and I can’t thank him enough.  In fact, I need to thank him *at all*.

If you have a kid in that age range, or know one that you like a lot, especially a girl but not excluding boys, find a way to get a copy of this book in their hands.

We’re in the middle of reading the Adam Rex “Cold Cereal” trilogy, which is just as brilliant and well written.