reading in 2012

Last year was a pretty good year, reading wise. All things considered. A huge improvement on 2011 when I read so few books that I almost felt that I'd lost the pleasure of reading. Ah, the pleasures of a half hour here and a half hour year. Reading in the lunch room, in waiting rooms, when I should be doing something else, in bed, on the tram. Highlights? Definitely the Harry Potter series. Why did I wait so long? I thought Grace was ready for it but not quite. But me, I slurped them up. Books and movies. I also made a mistake when buying the last two books and bought two of one and missed another. So I read the Half Blood Prince on my kindle and discovered that I actually do like reading on the kindle. And I can read in bed much easier on the kindle, and without glasses. And it's much easier to carry around than a great big book. Other highlights were The Secret River and the Stieg Larsson books.

At the moment I'm reading the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey and I started off quite liking the stilted prose and slow moving and somewhat predictable story lines. I was going to read the whole series but now I'm not so sure. Maybe there's a reason I didn't also read these back when I was reading the Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley in the 80s. Maybe I'll read something else when I finish this one and see.
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Books read in 2012
The Chronicles of Pern, Anne McCaffrey 1993
Light Christmas reading. Dragons, new planet, space settlement. pedestrian writing. I don't know why I bother but it is strangely soothing. Back to mum.

Eragon, Christopher Paollini, 2004
Pretty standard quest book but with dragon. OK. Back to opshop.

Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel, 2009
I tried to like this, really I did. But I just couldn't get a lock on the characters. I loved watching the Tudors on TV and I really wanted to read something a bit more literary about them. Perhaps my lack of knowledge of the Tudor period let me down. Opshop/clothes swap.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling, 1997
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling, 1998
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban J.K. Rowling, 1998
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K Rowling, 2000
Harry Potter and the Order the Phoenix,  J.K. Rowling,2003
Harry Potter and the Half Blood prince, J.K. Rowling (on the kindle)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling, 2007
Oh the Harry Potter series! I lived and breathed Harry Potter for a good period of time in 2012. It was sufficiently engrossing to read at work during lunch time. Each time I finished a book, I watched the movie. I think my favourite book was the Order of the Phoenix but my favourite movie was the last one. So not the ending I expected. Grace is a little young for most of the movies and they don't hold her interest anyway. I'm thinking of somehow procuring (library?) the Stephen Fry cds and listening to them together - perhaps this winter.

Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver, 2000
Enjoyed this, a bit slow in parts, but the sections come together in a satisfying way. Pass on to mum.

A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snickett, 1999
Another kids book that I really enjoyed. It's a bit stated and genre-ie but I quite liked how bad things kept happening to the children and how they tried somewhat unsuccessfully to overcome these things. Looking forward to reading more. I also like the drawings and the presentation of the book. Very cool. One for Grace when she is a little bit older so I'll put it in her bookcase to discover when she is ready.

The Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson 2007
I didn't think I would like this as much as the first, but I did. I think I also read the final book in the series during 2012 too. Total page turners and about as gory as I can handle. Actually maybe a bit over my comfort threshold. I tried to watch the Swedish movie and it was too scary for me, even though I knew what was going to happen.

The Secret River, Kate Grenville, 2005
Thought this was brilliant. I could imagine coming to Australia as a convict and then the life as a free man with family on the Hawkesbury. Hope I come across the sequel at the opshop. Might lend to mum.

On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder 1958
Loved this. As thrilling as when I first read it, actually maybe even more horrifying and rewarding as an adult. Can't wait to read all the others. Keep in the hope Grace will enjoy.

The Almost Moon, Alice Sebold, 2007
A dour but strangely compelling little book about a woman who accidentally (maybe) kills her mother. Opshop.

The High Cost of Living, Marge Piercy, 1978
Pacy, feminist, gender bendy or as the moderns would say - intersectionality. Might keep.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski, 2008
A great big book about a deaf mute boy on a farm who is unable to call for help when his father dies and what happens to his family subsequently.Pretty good but back to opshop.

Rowan and the Travellers, Emily Rodda, 1994
Love reading these kids books. Need to hide in Grace's bookshelf so she can discover it herself.

Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain, 2012
I bought this after watching this TED talk and being very moved by it. I've always felt that maybe there was something a bit wrong with me even though I know it's OK to be an introvert. What was great for me about this book is that it places a value on introversion. I'll be keeping this one.

Truth & Beauty, Anne Patchett, 2004
This was pretty good. Autobiographical account of a complex friendship. Pass on to mum.

Miss Smilla's feeling for snow, Peter Hoeg, 1992
I did enjoy this although I found it a bit slow moving in parts. I'm sure there were cultural references and subtleties about the Greenlanders that I didn't get. Back to the opshop.

The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver, 2009
Another one I couldn't finish. It should have been great given the subject matter but I just couldn't engage with it. Opshop.

People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks, 2008
This was beautiful and I even liked the way it jumped around. Dad got a copy for Christmas. Back to the person I borrowed it off (see I can return books).

The Colour of Water, James McBride 1997
About someone growing up poor and black, with a mum who was white but wouldn't admit it. Interesting. All about family, race, poverty and getting through school. Might pass on to my mum.

The White Earth, Andrew McGahan, 2004
01/11 The best book I have read in a long while. I love the way the story unfolds and is quite different at the end to what you think it might be in the beginning. The sense of place, of entitlement, of ownership and how that is overlaid with history and complication and savage wrongdoing. Awesome. A keeper. Although I would lend it out I suppose.

A place called Lantern Light, Ellen Miller, 1975
01/11 Bought at the Camperdown opshop because I liked the cover with its outback landscape and because it was about traveling from Lake St Clair in Tasmania up to Western Australia by car before the Nullabor was sealed. I loved this book and read it in a day. The story was a bit stated but the descriptions of traveling resonated. As did the relationships. One for the history/oz lit shelf.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, 2002
01/11 - I struggled to get into this book at first. Maybe because we were camping. But something had me persist and midway through I was hooked and searching out time to read. But the ending puzzled and disappointed me, I thought I must have missed something between Gen and Roxanne in my haste to get to the end. Maybe I'll read it again. Maybe not. It wasn't that great. Good but not great. From the opshop - might pass on to mum or clothes swap.

3 comments:

  1. I've got quite a few Anne McCaffreys on my shelf. I can't give them up even though they're pretty awful. I never got into the Pern series at all, though. But I did like the harper ones - I think it's Dragonsinger and Masterharper of Pern. I would mildly recommend them, and also the 'the ship who...' series, although to be honest I haven't read those since I was a teen, they're probably awful after a feminist awakening.

    I'm trying to get my reading mojo back this year. I really miss it. It's taking a bit of work, I find, to find time and space to get my brain in the right pace after being full of work and stuff. But definitely worth it.

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  2. I love your reading list. I'm a bit of a slacker reading these last few years. I tend to pick books up to read for a litle and then I forget about them. Mst of the time it's not because I lose interest in the book, but in the actual act of reading itself. My eyes have deteriorated quite a bit the last few years so I expect the hassle of putting my glasses on has a lot to do with it.

    Bt today I bought Grace Coddington's memoir, and I'm at the beginning of Kaffe Fassett's autobiography AND I'm wearing my glasses so perhaps 2013 can be the year of the book for me too. I've decided that a book a month is achievable.

    If you want to read a good Kingsolver, her memoir on starting up sustainable eating in the Appalachians is brilliant. It's called Animal Vegetable Miracle and is such a good read. And you'll want to expand your vegetable garden immediately ;)

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  3. We listen to the HP on cd every summer - Only the Stephen Fry version. We're up to HP7 now - started in about Nov. Its so great - No TV - just lots of activity with this going on in the background. (prob easier for me with grown up teens - we can all come in and out and pick it up wherever its at having done this at least 3 or 4 times now!)I get them from libraries (I have to go to a few different ones as not all have the whole series!)Number 3 is my favourite although 4 is starting to take over.
    Oh you are lucky to have that journey ahead with your little one - enjoy x

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