#20: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

There is something to be said for reading a book at the exact time you need to be reading it. At the precise hour that my fourteen and a half anxieties were coming to a peak, I picked up this book. In one day I consumed it, it spoke to my every worry in a way that it couldn’t have a month ago, and it wouldn’t be able to in two weeks. For that temporal perfection, I am grateful.

#17: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Alice(of Wonderland fame)’s great great great great granddaughter has to go to Wonderland to save her family from a curse that’s been haunting the female’s of the Liddel line for years. A bit of a love triangle. That classic “turning the fairy tale on its toes” thing, but not in a hackneyed way. Some interesting twists. Some complicated plot lines. It was good. I enjoyed it. Some light, fun YA lit that I needed.

#4: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Music+dragons+intellectual, cute prince+bad ass heroine=what’s not to love?

The author was a cellist when she was younger, and the book is filled with little music jokes, and has a great crabby but kind court composer as a secondary character. Couldn’t get enough of the supportive orchestra Seraphina conducts.

The whole world was cozy and quaint, as every dragon book should be, while still intermingling politics and prejudice that added authenticity to it.

Seraphina and Kiggs fell in love by quoting obscure foreign philosophers to each other. He has a secret tower in the castle that is just a special library for himself. And he admires her in the most wonderful of ways. Perfect man? I think yes.

9/10: Stellar writing, endlessly loveable characters, and an original story line. Yay!

#1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Cheating slightly, cause I started it along ago, but I read the last 300 pages of it this year, and finishing that tome deserves commendation, damn it! :)

I’ve discussed it to death already, so I’ve got little more to say. It was stock full of French charm and wit, which is impossible to resist. Twas a long and arduous process, but I’m glad I put myself through it. I have much respect for M. Hugo.

Edit: Damn you, why were you in the queue, post? I finished you two weeks ago. :P

#15: Confessions of An Economic Hitman by John Perkins

I’ve never really been up to date on current events. And politics just seems like a lot of hot air for nothing. But hooray for new perspectives! I really enjoyed this one. It taught me a lot about global economy, and uncovered a lot of things that I had been suspicious about. I’m still pretty skeptical, but I think that was the value of this book. “Don’t believe anything anyone says. Do your own digging. And if you think its corrupt, it totally is, and has been for a really long time." 

#11: UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

Mmm, I love me a good dystopian novel. Especially one that wasn’t written during like, the Cold War. There need to be more modern ones like this, because reading about modern problems is awesome. The futile fight over abortion(because it’ll inevitably end in a law allowing 13 year olds to be torn apart and used as parts), the problems of giving privilege to a minority(do the Nazi’s sound familiar?), and the laws of ethics(hmm…if a person is made completely of other people…he or it?)….so expertly explored. Just so damn good.

#9: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m not a zombie apocalypse novel kind of girl. And if someone had told me before I read it that love was going to cure all the zombies and save the world, I never would have cracked the front cover.

But the book does not fulfill its stereotype, nor its precedent. R is an intellectual zombie caught in a community of grunters and moaners, and he just wants to have a real conversation, damn it! As…odd as his plight is, how can you resist the zombie who spends his time wondering if there’s more to life than being Dead?

At parts, I’ll admit that it reads like a well written but poorly constructed fanfiction. But it really is a solid read. And besides, who said fanficiton was a bad thing?

#3: Winter of the World by Ken Follett

I have a lot of things to say about this books, but most importantly, damn, Follett can write a book. Witty and intriguing, perfectly intertwining politics with jokes, mass shootings with sweet romance. He knows how wrap an audience around his finger, and after he’s manipulated the heart strings and minds of his readers, they applaud him.

I’ve respected Follet for a long time, as has everyone since Pillars came out. He’s got a solid readership of historical nerds, and he’s an experienced writer. But it’s getting cheap. I mean, good lord, how many different ways can he describe a blow job? And seriously, five illegitimate children? Five? He gets away with it, because his political stuff is genius, but this isn’t a Latina telenovela for crying out loud!

What surprised me most of the whole book was the passion for politics that he infuses into the writing, and into his readers. Every political move by a massive international power is humanized and dissected, and it’s amazing how accessible it all becomes.

And on top of that, I experienced a feeling that I have never, ever felt before, and for that, I will forever be grateful to this book. As I was lying in my bed finishing this during the last few days, I was filled with an insatiable pride for being an American. That’s right. I was feeling freaking patriotic. We shrug off our freedoms and liberties so quickly. We shrug off our wealth like it’s nothing.

There was a moment when a top Red Intelligence agent is let out of the country on a top secret mission to the US. He is there for one week, and of all the things that impressed him, there were two that he couldn’t stop thinking about. The first was that on a train from NYC to Albuquerque, his passport was not checked once. He was able to travel freely, anywhere he wished, without giving a reason or waiting on a six month waiting list. And the second was a Sear’s catalogue, stocked with affordable dresses and toasters that his Russian neighbors would never even be able to comprehend. We are so lucky to have been graced with a nation of democracy and fairness. So lucky.

Overall, I say 6.5/10. Excellent, but verging on cheap, in a sad way. But I never felt cheated; it was a solid bit of writing, and I loved reading it.

(Soo….this book was over 1,000 pages long. Jeezuz christ, I better stop choosing doorstop tomes if I’m going to reach a respectable number this year.) :)