2012 Books: Year in Review–Part 2

By Bahia Simons-Lane
©2012 Bahia Portfolio

Sorry for the delay in getting part 2 posted.  I have been traveling almost non-stop for the past month!  Hopefully I will be back to posting more regularly from here on out.

Young Adult

Cover of "The Graveyard Book"

Cover of The Graveyard Book

30. Keturah and Lord Death, Leavitt, Martine 3/5
31. The Graveyard Book, Gaiman, Neil 4/5
32. Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1), Blake, Kendare 4/5
33. Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2), Kendare Blake 3/5
34. Island of the Blue Dolphins, O’Dell, Scott 4/5
 

Young-Adult is a genre I haven’t read much of since I was actually a young adult, but in recent years it has really broadened its appeal.  Ever since Harry Potter (or at least that is when I noticed the trend) YA has gained traction among people of all ages and I think the quality rose to the challenge.  That being said, Island of the Blue Dolphins, which I hadn’t read since junior high school, was as good as I remembered it.

I already reviewed a few of these this year.  For my review on Keturah and Lord Death click here.  For my review on Anna Dressed in Blood and The Graveyard Book click here.

Memoirs

Cover of "Lucky Man: A Memoir"

Cover of Lucky Man: A Memoir

35. Lucky Man: A Memoir, Fox, Michael J. 5/5
36. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend, Bertsche, Rachel 4/5
37. Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, Caldwell, Gail 5/5
 

Lucky Man is Michael J. Fox’s first memoir about discovering that he had Parkinson’s Disease at a young age.  Previously he had a bit of a rock and roll lifestyle and was, well, a bit of a jerk.  After he was diagnosed, his life was transformed–he says for the better.

MWF Seeking BBF was based on a blog (that is still going: click here) about a young, married woman who realized that even after a few years living in Chicago she didn’t really have that many close female friends.  So she starts a calculated search for a new BFF.  If you’ve read the blog, you might find the book repetitive, but I actually enjoyed the more seamless presentation and I had missed some of the posts so it wasn’t all material I had read before.  After reading this book and her blog, it gave me the courage to chat with a girl in my pilates class who is now a member of my writer’s group.

Let’s Take the Long Way Home is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read (as long as you’re not afraid of tears).  Check out my review here.

Non-fiction

Cover of "The Long Tail: Why the Future o...

Cover via Amazon

38. The Lights in the Tunnel, Ford, Martin 3/5
39. The Ecology of Commerce, Hawken, Paul 4/5
40. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Anderson, Chris 3/5
41. School And Society, Feinberg, Walter 4/5
42. Democracy and Education, Dewey, John 3/5
43. Comparative and International Education: An Introduction to Theory, Method, and Practice, Phillips, David 4/5
44. How to Write About Japan, Our Man in Abiko 3/5

I’m not going to say much about these.  Most of them I read for work or school.  The Lights in the Tunnel explores the economic impact of automation.  The Ecology of Commerce talks about business and sustainability and tries to point us in the right direction by making the case that sustainability can be good for business, even as it saves our world.  The Long Tail is about the movement from the mainstream to the niche.  School and Society review important issues in contemporary schooling and the theories that inform them.  Democracy and Education is a seminal text on Western education.  Comparative and International Education is a good primer for anyone interested in the field. The last one, How to Write About Japan, is a humorous long essay that is amusing if you’ve read many books written by non-Japanese people about Japan.

Science Fiction

 
45. Marvin Plotnik and the Sandy Rivers Hilltop Ranch for Wayward Youth, Juveniles, and Young Adults , Thornton, D.S. 4/5
46. UR, King, Stephen 4/5

Marvin Plotnik is a great Y-A sci-fi novel written by my aunt.  If you like Douglas Adams and/or Terry Pratchett you will probably enjoy it.  My review is here.

UR is a short story/novella that King wrote right after the Kindle came out and a Kindle features prominently in the story.  It’s not his best, but it’s pretty classic King so if you’re a fan of his work you’ll probably like it.

Mystery

Cover of "Hallowe'en Party (The Agatha Ch...

Cover via Amazon

47. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #4) , Doyle, Arthur Conan 4/5
48. Hallowe’en Party (Hercule Poirot #36) , Christie, Agatha 3/5

I’ve been working through the Sherlock Holmes compilations and they are always a treat.  Hallowe’en Party was one of my least favorite Agatha Christie books I’ve read.  Unless you’re a big fan I would give it a miss.

Fiction

Cover of "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sis...

Cover via Amazon

49. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood , Wells, Rebecca 5/5

This book was an unexpected contender on my favorite books read this year list.  Rebecca Wells is a really talented writer.  She made a book about a woman and her strained relationship with her mother into commentary on female relationships in general.  I really loved this book and can’t wait to dig into another by Wells.

If you missed Part 1 just click here to read it!

There you have it!  I came one book shy of my annual goal of 50, but I’m pretty happy. 2012 was a busy year, but I still managed to make time for reading.  I’m definitely pleased with that.

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