Category: books

2012 Books

After being an avid reader for most of my life, I finally started documenting the books I read every year, beginning with 2010, when I tried to read 100 books in one year.

2010 was a personal book challenge, so I read many more books than normal (78 books).  I think that maybe I burned myself out in 2010 because I hardly picked up a book in 2011 (12 books).  2012 was almost a normal reading year for me.  I didn’t read any books from January thru April, but when I finally started reading again, I picked up about four books at a time and never stopped.  I got my groove back and read 21 books in 8 months.

Two of those books are 800 pages long and took a while to get through, so those took up the time I would have had to read at least two or three more books, but I’m not mad about it.  Those two books have me completely involved in George R. R. Martin’s world of the Seven Kingdoms and it’s a very captivating world to be in.  Martin’s midieval tale isn’t the kind where the prince falls for the pauper’s daughter every time and that’s what I love about it.  It’s cruel and complex and full of battles and sex and lies.  All the shit I love in a story.

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My favorite book of 2012 is The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.  It’s funny and touching and I can’t wait to see the movie.

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Number Two on my favorites list is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky because I underlined so many quotes in the book that I could outline my entire life with them.  One of my favorites:

Standing on the fringes of life… offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

– Stephen Chbosky “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Here is the full list of books I read in 2012:

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  2. Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles
  3. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
  4. Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James
  5. Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James
  6. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  7. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
  8. Bared to You by Sylvia Day
  9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  10. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
  11. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  12. As the Sycamore Grows by Jennie Miller Helderman
  13. Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
  14. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  15. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
  16. Burn Down the Ground by Kambri Crews
  17. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  18. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  19. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
  20. Witch World by Christopher Pike
  21. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

If you are obsessed with the circus, as I am, read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I always imagined that, if I wrote a book, it would be about the circus and it would be dark, sexy, and magical.  Erin Morgenstern beat me to the punch and made it much darker, sexier, and more magical than I would have ever have imagined.

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I didn’t really read any bad books this year, which is a blessing after reading so many books I hated in 2010.  With the spark of Fifty Shades, I added more S&M books than normal (Bared to You, Gabriel’s Inferno).  Those are always fun reads, but I noticed that the story lines are almost exactly like Fifty Shades and I got tired of the same story line over and over.

Here’s to good readings in 2013!!

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Dear Kevin McFadden

Dear Kevin,

I finally have an opportunity to write a letter to my most favorite author of all time, whose books I have poured into my head over and over for 20 years, and I have no idea what to say.  How do I fold 20 years of memories and emotions into one page?  I am living the life of a 33 year old teenager and I have you to thank for that.  I have developed many theories as to why you have made no appearances throughout your career and I am glad that Christopher Pike isn’t just a name that many authors use to ghost write under.  I have been afraid that you will stop writing without finishing some of your open series, but I am glad to find out that you are as passionate about writing and finishing your series as I am about reading them.  Do you think you could post some or all of the outtakes from Witch World?  I don’t think it would spoil the effect of the book.  Also, I love your idea for the website for writers.  Please make it happen!!  I am trying to keep this short, but this is my 6th version.  They get infinitely longer when I begin telling you what your stories have done for me in good times and bad.  Just know that those versions exist and I mean every word in them.  Thank you for signing my books and for the opportunity to write you.

Infinitely yours,

Pa Chomp (except I used my real name)

P. S. Please come to Teeny, TX!!  (except I used my real hometown)

So that’s the letter.  I seriously cut out about 3 times that, so that’s why it ended up being a little jumpy.  It’s really hard keeping a letter like that so short.  He said he will sign two old books for every new book you send him because he’s trying to promote the new book.  So I’m sending him 3 copies of his new book, Witch World, and 6 older books that are part of a series he began in the 90’s and still writes to today.

Here are the books I’m sending:

Dear Kevin McFadden

And here is part of my collection of Pike books.

Dear Kevin McFadden

If you ever write a letter to somebody you have admired for two thirds of your life, please tell me about it so I won’t feel like such a loser.

Hawkinsville Country Market

Here are some pictures from my latest visit to the Hawkinsville Country Market. 

The last picture is of my loot.  With the peaches, I made an amazing Peaches ‘n Cream Pie.  I have a ton of cookbooks and I love ones created by local groups, like the one on the left from a local school.  The deodorant looking container on the bottom left is a foot balm made of beeswax, farmed and made locally (Bimini Balms), and it is excellent.  Next to that is a jar of pickled jalapenos made locally by Sargent Freedom Fest and it was excellent topped on some cream cheese and served with crackers.  My coworkers tore it up.

I Only Thought I was a Failure

You probably don’t remember, but I challenged myself to read 100 books in 2010.  I only read 78 books and posted that I was a complete failure and I cried my way through a drawn out post about the awful books I put myself through trying to reach my goal.  Theeeeen I committed to read 100 books in 2011.  Well, I fucking didn’t, okay?  Don’t ask why.  I just didn’t.

I thought I would let you guess how many books I read and then give the worst book to the winner, but neither of you are going to get it right, so I’ll just tell you.

12. 

Yup. 

Twelve. 

That is 66 less books than in 2010.

I only thought I was a failure back then.

So there are no more reading commitments to save myself from further heartache.

See the 12 books I read in 2011 below….

 

2011 Books

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
2. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
3. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
4. The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
5. The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper
6. Phantom by Christopher Pike
7. Fire by Kristin Cashore
8. Dancing Aztecs by Donald E. Westlake
9. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
10. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
11. One Day by David Nicholls
12. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Long Live the Queens!

I am a part of a book club.  Sort of.

When do we meet?  We don’t.

What do we read?  Whatever.

Where do we gather?  On Facebook.

What do we discuss?  Everybody.
 
Why is it called a book club?  Because we came together for the love of books.

And for that, they will always be my Book Club Girls.  They make Teeny, TX bearable and interesting.  There is a special little room inside my heart and they will be there whenever I need them. 

Anyways, this is just a statement for my own future reference about the weird secret little club that I belong to and love.

Come One, Come All!!

Mom:  “Ducky, if you ever get to be in the circus, what are you going to do?  Train the elephants?”

Ducky:  “No.”

Mom:  “Train the bears?”

Ducky:  “Nope.”

Mom:  “Then, tell me, what do you want to do?”

Ducky:  “The girls!!”

Then he lays back with a grin, crosses his legs, rests his hands behind his head, looks dreamily at the ceiling, and says, “I’m doing the girls.”
If you know me, you know I like LOVE to read.  If I make you read my blog, you will also know that I planned a Book/Movie Combo thing in January to gear up for Water for Elephants the movie.  I love the movie.  I love the book.  I love my book club girls.  It was a great night.
This post isn’t a movie or book review, though.  It’s a life review.  Kind of.
Because of Water for Elephants, my life has changed a wee bit.  Every time I see something about the circus or about elephants, I stop to see what’s up.  I even did a double take in the hallway earlier because I saw a bowl of peanuts on a filing cabinet.  I’ve been on high alert for circus whatnot since I read the book two years ago.  Now my interest is heightened since I read the book the second time and finally got to see the movie. 

When my Mom told me that her and Mama Gee wanted to take Ducky, Fiata, and one of Mama Gee’s relatives to the circus, my heart grew warm and my eyes lit up.  When I realized it was the same day as Buzz Fest, which is an all day music festival that we already had tickets for, my heart sank and grew another thorn on the side that pokes into my lung.

However, I did get to enjoy some pictures and lots of stories of the Most Spectacular Show on Earth.
Ducky said the clowns and the bears rode motorcycles.
He said there were a hundred elephants and they stood on their front legs with their back legs in the air all at the same time. 
He also said a baby bear walked on his front paws across the stage and down steps without falling.
Fiata covered Ducky’s eyes every time the pretty girls came out.
I loved the pictures of the kids, but the next picture touched me the most because two of the main characters in Water for Elephants is a blond female performer named Marlena and an elephant named Rosie. 
In the book/movie, Rosie is very clever.  I have a soft spot for clever girls.
I don’t want to miss the circus the next time they come.  I know I’ll be looking for the differences between illusion and reality, which is a main theme of the book.  I’ll watch the dwarf clowns and performers.  I’ll look for the horse trainer and roustabouts.  Hell, I’ll probably even keep an eye out for the Coochie Tent.  
If you still haven’t read Water for Elephants, I recommend it.  I recommend watching the movie afterward, also.  I’m not saying it will change your life even a wee bit, but it certainly affected mine.

Book/Movie Combo

Two of my besties (Nana and Angie) and I did a Book/Movie Combo thing this time last year.  We picked a book to read that had an upcoming movie and then we planned a movie date together.

We read and watched The Lovely Bones.  It was decent, but it would have been so much better if Marky Mark would have had his shirt off in the movie.  I’m just sayin. 

Click me, Ladies.
Actually, I picked The Lovely Bones (I’m to blame) and I will admit that, if I had it to do all over again, I would have picked a different book/movie, but Step Up 3D didn’t have a book to go with it.  WTF?!

So anyways, I’m going to do a Book/Movie Combo again and if you would like to join me, DO IT!!  I’m staring down and pointing a finger my book club girls as I type this because they might actually do it, but you can do it, too, even though I won’t believe it until I see it.

I’m sorry I have so little faith in non-readers.  Hey, you’re reading this, aren’t you?  I really should give you more credit because I know boring blogs when I write them.


DON’T BE AFRAID OF A BOOK
WHEN YOU BREAK IT DOWN,
IT’S JUST LETTERS
THAT MAKE WORDS
THAT FORM SENTENCES
THAT CREATE A BOOK

I ramble too much.  Back to my story…
Let me tell you about the book I picked.  This time I put a little more thought into my decision.  Like two seconds more, but still.

Since my book club girls are Rob Pattinson fans, I decided to read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and then watch the movie coming out April 22, starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. 

 
I read the book a few years ago and I’d love to read it again.  It’s about an old man thinking back to when he was a vet for a traveling circus and all the crap that happened to him.

So this is my Book/Movie Combo choice for this year and if you’d like to read along with me, that would be great.  If you’d just like to go to the movie with me, that would be great, too.  I’m leaving it all up to you.  I’m reading/watching it either way.

I have an idea!  Maybe you could make it your New Year’s resolution to read one book this year and this could be that book.  Challenge yourself!  Challenging, yet a lot more realistic than resolving to work out more and eat better.


TIP: Each of those pictures above is linked if you’re bored enough to click on them.  It only takes me about thirty minutes to write a blog, but it takes me about two hours to research and add all the pictures and links.

TIP:  It honestly took this entire entry for me to realize what a huge nerd I am.  No, I didn’t even realize it when I made this list.

I’m a Failure!!

In February 2010, I decided to read 100 books before the New Year. 
 
I FAILED MISERABLY.
 
Well, sort of… I read 78 books.
 
When I read, I block out all other signs of life.  By the time I finish a book at night, Ducky is playing in the street and Babafa is still waiting on me to tell him what I want for dinner.  In the mean time, I’m fighting for my life as I run through a forest with only my bow and arrow while in a love triangle with Gale and Peeta. 
That scenario is actually from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  It’s the first book in a three book series and I rank all three better than the other 75 books I read this year.  They are Young Adult books, but you would enjoy them no matter what age or gender you are.  (Now go out and read them then let’s have coffee!!)
 
Book #4 on my “Best Of 2010” list would be This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.  The humor from it has stayed with me since I read the book and I might even read it again this year.  It’s an adult read with very adult material, which was very welcome after all the very smut books I put in my head over the year.
Speaking of smut…I read a lot of smut books.  I made a vow to read any and everything that crosses my path and I know a lot of awesome people that read mostly vampire and teen drama. 
 
I’m going to keep the same rule with 2011.  I accept all book suggestions and I really do try to find and read every book that is recommended to me.
 
The top two books on my “Worst of 2010” list would be Guilty Pleasures and The Laughing Corpse, both by Laurell K. Hamilton.  I’m not sure how I got through them, but I kept telling myself that if I made the painstaking journey through the Lord of the Rings series without gouging my eyes out successfully, I can get through at least two books in Hamilton’s 20 (and counting) book series.  Ewe.
 
DON’T JUDGE ME BY THE BOOKS I READ.
 
I have already begun my new commitment of reading 100 books in 2011.  It should be easier now that I got a Nook for my birthday last month.  (Thanks Bud and Mom!)  Here’s to a New Year and a new quota of 100 books!!  Wish me luck!
 

See the 100… I mean…. 78 books I read in 2010 below….

Love At First Bite

Let me set up the story a bit:

So all I do is read these days.  A few months ago, I decided I could read any book, no matter what the subject.  As long as I’m reading, I am content.  This raised a major veil in my way of thinking and turned out to be perfect timing because a vampire book club was created in my hometown the next week so I decided to join even though I’m not big on vamp books, but at least I could talk to more people about books (aside from Nana, who is my best book-loving friend forever).  Now I’ve been reading my ass off for my own pleasure and to keep up with my book club.

Nana and PaChomp BFFF

One of mine and Nana’s favorite authors from when we were in high school is Christopher Pike.  Christopher Pike is the Master of Horror.  Plus his Young Adult pocket books have very adult material so we felt more mature just for knowing about his books and, quite frankly, just for being the awesome people we are.

I have grown more fond of vamp subjects and characters since I joined the book club, which is appropriately named the “Love At First Bite” Book Club, by the way, and I have even added a few vamp reading choices to my list outside of the required book club readings.

That’s the setup!  Here’s the story!

A week ago, I started reading a series of books, called The Last Vampire, by Christopher Pike.  I am in my room, lights out, book light only, it’s pouring down rain outside, and the house is quiet inside.  Ducky fell asleep hours ago.  I can hear Babafa dreaming beside me.  The main character is female and ruthless and confident and has killed thousands the past five thousand years of her existence.  I’m so into the history of how she became a vampire and the blood and gore of it all and then I go to turn the page and, out my peripheral view, I see a black figure in the corner of the room and it grows bigger and bigger.  I jump out of my skin and pop off a big scream as I whip my head around to see what the black figure is.  I’m in a state of panic and I feel cardiac arrest coming on when I realize my book light cast a shadow of my thumb on the wall and it appeared to grow as I moved to turn the page.  You can stop being alarmed.  I’m only afraid of my shadow, that’s all.  I felt like the Cowardly Lion when he screams and says, “Someone’s pulling on my tail!!!”, and he is told that he is holding his own tail.  I forced a nervous laugh at myself and picked up a Chelsea Handler book to read myself to sleep.  After a laugh the next day, Babafa got a lamp to put on my side of the bed.  No more monsters and no more heart attacks.

On a side note….

This story is as equally humiliating as the time I was reading Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief with Ducky’s Shrek flashlight and he came into my room and confiscated it from me because I told him to go to bed.  If he had to go to bed, he was going to make damn sure I went to bed too!  Babafa bought me my very own book light after that laugh.  And now you know how the book light story turned about.