Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Lately: A History of Extraordinary Objects - Stephanie LaCava, The Travel Almanac, NW - Zadie Smith1Q84 - Haruki MurakamiGrace - Grace Coddington, New York Drawings - Adrian Tomine, The Family Meal - Ferran Andria, Coco 

As inspired by my lovely, world-traveler friend Rachel who always writes up the best reading lists:

Books Read* in 2012

1. Tonoharu Part 2 - Lars Martinson
Cute, but kind of a Debbie Downer this guy.

2. Gilded Lilies - Gillian Tamaki
I like her drawings, especially the one of her old classmates and the way that their portraits coincide with her memories of them.

3. Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim - David Sedaris
Sedaris is always an entertaining read but I liked When You Are Engulfed in Flames more than this one.

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling   
I really like Mindy Kaling and I'm even trudging through The Mindy Project which is much like this book - inconsistent and not as funny as I thought it would be but some great bits that keep you coming back.

5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larsson
But really doe, I was on vacation.

6. Game of Thrones - George R. Martin
There are so many people.

7. Room - Emma Donogue
Good read, not amazing yet manages to give me the heebie jeebs a little thinking about it.
8. Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart  
This was really irritating at times but still a good story, very eerie and set in the not so far future.

9. Vaclav & Lena - Haley Tanner       
Great beginning but I felt that the end was rushed and a lot of the Russian stuff seemed very stereotypical. The love story was sweet though - not amazing but an okay read.

10. Bonjour Tristesse - Francoise Sagan        
An easy breezy read. I empathized with her meanness and the way in which she tested her power. Teens!

11. Man Walks Into a Room - Nicole Krauss     
As always Krauss's phrasing was gorgeous but the story was meh - there was a big lead-up where you think it'll be great but then it just gets questionable.

12. The Sisters Brothers - Patrick DeWitt     

Really enjoyed! Quick read, funny Western about 2 killer bros.

13. Slouching Toward Bethlehem - Joan Didion 
J Diddy writing the best essays as always. A good feel for the 60s in this one, loved the one on the Santa Ana winds.  

14. Jerusalem - Guy Delisle       
Always a fan of his travel illustrations and little observations, this was great and my favourite of his work so far.

15. The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbech       
I felt like there was so much hype for this one that it was impossible to live up to, but it was a good story with some flaws and okay enough that the baseball in it was tolerable! (I barely know anything about baseball)

16. The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes       
Also pretty hyped but a tricky little enjoyable read.

17. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green       
Well, I love YA Fiction so this was an easy sell for me - really sad & really wonderful. If I was a 17 year old this would be My Book.

18. The Defining Decade - Meg Jay        

Okay but VERY conservative and about a specific bougie section of 20-something society, still some good points but nothing new or drastic.

19. Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother - Amy Chua       
This was funny, she's obviously super nuts but knows it - more self deprecating than I thought it would be but sort of hard to argue with because her kid went to Harvard and put on a concert at Carnegie Hall.

20. The Family Fang - Kevin Wilson       
Great concept - parents who incorporate (force) their kids into their performance art pieces and the effect that this has on the kids as grown-ups, but it gets a little goofy towards the end and the conclusion is a let down. A good read up until that point, though - plus I'm a sucker for art fiction.

21. Tree of Codes - Jonathan Safran Foer       
More like a long poem rather than a story, interesting and disarming to read because of the cut-outs - liked the idea of it though.

22. Habibi - Craig Thompson       
Really beautiful illustration work as always but I found it offensive. The girl is ALWAYS naked and being raped, basically.

23. Was She Pretty? - Leanne Shapton       
I loved it. Short little book of illustrations and anecdotes (sentences really) about people & their exes.

24. The Ask - Sam Lipyste       
Ugh, what a bummer. I can't believe that people are nuts for this book but maybe you have to be in a super cynical, sarcastic mood. I like satire but I felt like this dude just whined about everything and kind of deserved what came to him? The unlikable protagonist thing was done so much better in Super Sad True Love Story.

25. The Native Trees of Canada - Leanne Shapton       
This is a book of Shapton’s paintings of Canadian trees and I loved it.

26. Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry - Leanne Shapton       
I loved this book. Great concept, done well without being too cheesy or saccharine. Super romantic and bittersweet. One of my favourites of the year.

27. The Flame Alphabet - Ben Marcus       
Mixed feelings - amazing idea (speech becomes toxic to everyone except children) but the execution was meh and the writing was so muddled at times. So much potential to be a great book, but in the end I felt let down.

28. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn       
It was "thrilling" but not a life changer though it will forever hold a special place in my heart because I read it during #SSI2012

29. Swimming Studies - Leanne Shapton
I’m such a fan of Shapton’s work now, loved the shapes of the paintings of pools that she’d swam in (seeing a pattern of using the word "love" whilst describing Shapton's books).

30. The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
This left me a little cold - the whole novel was like one big description of a circus which is cool if you REALLY LOVE the circus, maybe not so cool if you like a plot/storyline to be coherent. Tons of style, not much substance.

31. The Adults - Alison Espach       
Good parts but confusing writing style, she jumps back and forth through time which can be a good & funny device sometimes/utterly lacking in sense other times - also, not much character development though the protagonist is a good combo of snarky/innocent.

32. Martha & Hanwell - Zadie Smith       
Two short stories - both good but nothing amazing, the subtleties in the first one were nice and the 2nd seems to tie into NW** which I'm reading now, so that's a bonus.

33. How Should a Person Be? -  Shiela Heti       
I liked this a lot, though it’s definitely not for everyone - there isn't really a plot and it is quite experimental in form but I was a fan.

34. Shoplifting From American Apparel - Tao Lin       
I get it I GUESS but that doesn't mean that I have to like it (I didn't really like it).

35. It Chooses You - Miranda July       

You know, I wasn't sold on Miranda July but after this I like her. Really nice study (& quick read) on procrastination, art, what it means to be in a relationship, voyeurism & curiosity. I think this was a case of reading a book that really went well with how I was feeling at the time.

36. This Is How You Lose Her - Junot Diaz       

Short (stories) & sweet (but not really), liked it even more than The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I really liked.

37. The Nao of Brown - Glyn Dillon       
Really nice illustrations but the story was only okay for me.

38. Forget Sorrow - Belle Yang       
Better story but super confusing illustrations, had to double back to keep track of who she was talking about a few times.

*/viewed - admittedly, some of these are essentially picture or illustrated books

**having such a tough time getting through NW even though I really want to because Zadie Smith is excellent/brilliant/etc. but ... it's tough

Reading Goals for 2013

1. Read one book a week

2. Read all of the books gathering dust on my shelves (hefty Franzens, I'm looking at you) & then sell/give away said books in hopes of achieving a (mostly) clutter-free 2013

3. Cajole someone into getting me some reading accessories from Book/Shop therefore nullifying #2


  1. You are so cute! I wish I could read as fast as you!

    1. RAP-T I started number9dream today because of you!

  2. Thanks so much for doing this! I always feel indulgent writing out my book lists but I loved reading yours, so hopefully people feel the same about mine :)

    1. I love them! You're totally my ~*blogspiration*~ (seriously!)