05 January 2013

Books I read in 2012

Inspired by one of my favorite writer/artists David Malki !, I submit to you a short list of the books I read in 2012. This list does not include books I started and did not finish, though it may include books that I finished that I started in 2011 or previously. So, for example, Dracula will have to appear on my 2013 list, since I started it in October 2012 but didn't finish it until today. On the other hand, The Essays of E.B. White gets a place on the 2012 list, even though I started reading it back in 2008.

Following Malki !'s lead, I will note how I obtained the book and the format I read it in, for the sake of mild interest. The books on the list appear in the order in which I finished them.

Castle Waiting, Volume 1 by Linda Medley
Format: Hardcover received as a gift
Not so much a graphic novel as a graphic anthology of stories centered around the castle named in the title. The book was a pleasant surprise--it started out as a somewhat stereotypical fairy tale and turned into a platform for telling genre-breaking stories of all shapes and sizes. The running theme throughout the book was friendship--how relying on one another makes us stronger individually and as a whole. I definitely recommend.

Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke
Format: Hardcover borrowed from scrumpestuous
I enjoyed Cooke's first graphic adaptation of Parker (The Hunter) more overall, but this volume was still good. Of particular note are the various heist sequences. They're broken out and explained with all the quirky charm of Soderbergh's Ocean's 11, and he uses different, creative formats to describe each one. Really creative stuff.

Essays of E.B. White by E.B. White
Format: Paperback purchased used from Capitol Hill Books
I took a while to read this, coming back to it here and there to read another essay. The entire collection is worth reading, though as you may expect some essays are better than others. A few of the more notable pieces:
  • Death of a Pig
  • Bedfellows
  • Here Is New York
  • On a Florida Key
  • Once More to the Lake
  • Will Strunk

Ronin by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
Format: Paperback borrowed from scrumpestuous
This is one of Frank Miller's classics, but I didn't love it. The concept was interesting and kept me reading, but in the end I was a little confused and didn't feel quite satisfied. Maybe it was supposed to be that way. Maybe that doesn't help.

Batman: Ego and Other Tales by Darwyn Cooke
Format: Paperback borrowed from scrumpestuous
Another small anthology of comics, all Batman or Batman character stories. The best by far in the collection is "Selina's Big Score," which reads a lot like one of Cooke's Parker comics. Gritty and noir, it's a crime story about a big heist, and Cooke doesn't pull punches. Recommended reading.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clayson
Format: Paperback borrowed from my brother
This should be a required text for all individuals who are beginning to earn their own money. The eastern parable format was a little tedious at times, but the principles contained in them are sound, and should be learned from an early age. This book is a good place to start for anyone who wants to shape or reshape their financial behavior. Highly recommended.

Some Buried Caesar (Nero Wolfe #6) by Rex Stout
Format: Paperback borrowed from my mom
Any Wolfe novel that gets the titular character out of the reclusive comforts of his Manhattan brownstone is sure to please. This is one of the better Wolfe books I've read so far (and I've read six of them--I'm going in order). I love a good mystery.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Format: Paperback purchased at retail
There's not a lot I can say about any of these books that hasn't already been said, other than that I personally enjoyed them. I jumped on the bandwagon after I saw the movie and I rushed through all three in a matter of weeks.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Format: Hardcover purchased used

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Format: Hardcover purchased at retail
I'll add one more thing here--a lot of people seem to be disappointed or even angry with how the saga ended. I am an outlier--I thought Collins' ending was brilliant and true to her story and characters. I hold her in high regard for having the guts to end her story the way she did. I look forward to finding out what else she'll give us in the future.

Juicy Work: Finding and Following Your Passion by Sandra Mobley
Format: Paperback received as a gift from the author
Sandy is a good friend of my sister's and she gave me a copy of her book when I attended the launch party at her house. I've struggled with trying to figure out what I want to do as a career all of my life, and I know that a significant portion of my peers are in the same boat. This is a good book for creating a frame of reference for figuring out what you want from a career and beginning to plan for how to get it. Definitely recommended, especially to anyone who is trying to figure out how to get more enjoyment out of their professional life.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Format: Hardcover purchased at retail
This is definitely my book of the year. I cannot say enough good things about Rebecca Skloot's master work here. Please obtain a copy through purchase or legal borrowing and read it. Then call me so we can talk about it.

Year Zero by Rob Reid
Format: Hardcover purchased at retail
A fun and relevant read. It's a science fiction farce about how ridiculous and broad-reaching America's copyright and licensing laws are--the ridiculousness is only slightly augmented by the far-fetched but entertaining plot. Assuming the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe (and assuming that they have good taste), the book becomes plausible. Entertaining and recommended.

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
Format: Paperback purchased at retail
As I said in my review on Goodreads: "Annie Dillard could write a manual on networked servers and I would get lost in the beauty of her writing." So her writing on writing definitely swept me away. For anyone who writes, or likes to read about writing, or who loves transcendent prose.

2 comments:

Becca Anderson said...

I am hosting a book club this month on Henrietta Lacks and I loved it too! So much to talk about! Being married to a scientist/doctor I was very slow to judge scientists and doctors, which I'm scared many will do at our discussion.

Club Narwhal said...

Excellent! I am adding some of these to my waitlist. I'll let you know how it goes!