In the first of two year recaps, this post is about books I’ve read. I like to review my year in reading. It doesn’t quite reflect my mood or anything in particular, but it does remind me of how I grew in a unique way.
I discovered audiobooks in a big way this year. Since I signed up for a lot of races, I had to put in a lot of time training at the gym and instead of podcasts I listened to books which were often more engaging. The selection of books I listened to in audible format is most eclectic and divergent from my usual taste but I consider that extra eye-opening.
- My first two Stephen King novels: UR and On Writing, neither of which are “classic” Stephen King novels since the former is a humourous sci-fi short story and the latter is a memoir.
- Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek, read by Wil himself; it’s a heart-wrenching autobiography of finding oneself; after finishing this book, I felt a personal interest in his life and finally started following his blog and Twitter feed.
- Steig Larson’s Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest; after listening to the first novel, I was able to watch the 2011 Daniel Craig/Rooney Mara movie; murder mystery and hacker thriller is not my kind of novel really but really fun to take in audiobook version.
- Kathryn Stockett’s The Help – historical fiction/chick lit is also not my thing but the novel was really successful and the story and storytelling was going to be fun junk for my mind; then I could watch the 2011 movie with Emma Stone and Octavia Spencer.
- Carmen Aguirre’s Something Fierce – this memoir won Canada Reads 2012 and I had to wait from the winning announcement in February to July to hear it read by the author; at first I favoured the hockey memoir to win but was persuaded to root for this memoir through the week of debates.
- Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Ubervilles – long on my classics to read, I listened to an LibriVox version that was quite good.
- Terry Fallis’ Up and Down, read by the author himself and can be download from his website; Fallis made politics funny and accessible through satire and when he turned his focus onto PR (which we might all feel we “know”), it’s even funnier; I can’t wait to see what he writes next.
- Yann Martel’s Life of Pi – it seemed like this is a “good book to read” but I know I don’t have the patience to sit still and read this. My incentive to read this book was increased upon seeing the movie trailer although it is unlikely I will watch the movie in theaters or even within a year.
Books I read myself were a little more focused to my usual style and taste (e.g., sci-fi and other interests)
- Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy: Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay – I had vaguely registered seeing these novels at the bookstore when they were new but it was at a NaNoWriMo meeting in 2011 that I heard these writing nerds geek out over it but I still didn’t bite; I checked out their other recommendation, Ender’s Game, even less my style. But around the time the Hunger Games trailer came out I also learned it’s a sci-fi/dystopian novel for the kids (cf. the fantasy genre of Harry Potter and vampire love story of Twilight), I was game; after I read it, I convinced NPY (who doesn’t really read) and my sister (who stayed up all night) to read them!
- Robert J. Sawyer’s Flash Forward – three years after the short-lived television series, I finally read the short story the series was based on.
- Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh – I’ve attempted reading some spiritual books to “find myself” and this is the only one I managed to finish.
- Ami McKay’s Virgin Cure – because I was so swept away by her debut novel, The Birth House, I took a detour to read this intriguingly named novel; it’s the first book in this list so far I read as a physical novel.
Summer was super productive in retrospect because it was the time I managed to travel, study and read a lot of the following “Asian-American” novels, all of which I blogged about at The Catch Star Girl Blog
- First book in Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee series, The Water Rat of Wan Chai
- Ai Mi’s Under the Hawthorn Tree
- Annie Wang’s The People’s Republic of Desire
- Grace Lin’s Pacy trilogy including The Year of the Dog, The Year of the Rat and Dumpling Days
- Two Paul Yee works: Chinatown and Money Boy
- MariNaomi’s graphic novel Kiss & Tell
- Bonnie Tsui’s American Chinatown