Only one goal for 2012

Last year, I made two sets of goals: one on my birthday and one on the new year. That’s a lot of goals. I just don’t think I have it in me this year to do two full lists of goals. So I just have one New Year’s Resolution and it’s from our friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

And that is what I shall try to do.

Happy New Year!


The Great Review Catch-Up of 2011

I’ve never reviewed every book I read in a year. For whatever reason, today, I got the idea that this should be the year! There’s a small hitch in my plan though. I think I reviewed half of the books I’ve read this year and there’s only one week left in the year! Whatever shall I do?

Why, I know! Review them all in one post at once.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: Technically I sort of reviewed this at BookRiot, but I didn’t really feel like I had much to add to the conversation about this book back in January. It was great! You will like it.

The Dirty Girl’s Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: This is so not what I usually read, so I didn’t really have a lot to say about it. It was cute; I enjoyed it!


The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood: I have read 3 Margaret Atwood books since I started this blog and I have reviewed none of them. I loved this book so much, but I didn’t have a lot to say about it at the time.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Ditto.


The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale: This book was pretty good. I had this whole post planned about how Kyle XY and The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore are basically the same story, but I never got around to writing it.

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea: Another one I totally loved! Read it, it’s good.

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry: I gushed about this one on Twitter. Loved the food, loved that the main character was Autistic, loved a lot about it, but it wasn’t perfect.

The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna: Meh. This was interesting, but I just really didn’t care about it.


Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan: Guys! I totally should have reviewed this one. I adored it.


The Immortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare: Sure, this was good. I won’t be recommending it on Crossover Appeal anytime soon, but I enjoyed reading it for the most part. It’s definitely problematic, but it was perfect for the beach.

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright: I thought this book was beautiful. You should read it.

My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopolous: This was just… okay. I liked it, but nothing about it screamed REVIEW ME!


The Magicians by Lev Grossman: I liked this one, but I haven’t really found the energy to pick up the sequel. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, just liked it.

The Illumination by Kevin Brokmeier: I adored the beginning and felt so-so on the end. I was disappointed, because this was almost a favorite of the year.


Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind: Good lord, this book was long. It was good, though. Epic fantasy at its epickiest.

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan: This was good, but didn’t hold a candle to Maine. Seemed like it was trying too hard most of the time. The ending also left me angry. Really angry.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides: YAWN. I really was not a fan of this book. Most everyone loved it and I couldn’t articulately express why I disliked this so, so I just left it. Maybe I’ll revisit it.


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: I continue to not get Neil Gaiman.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: Loved the plot! Hated the stupid writing mistakes that easily could have been fixed with some editing.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe: I like to call this PhD fan fiction. Mary Sues all over the dang place. However – I did not stop reading it.

Habibi by Craig Thompson: Yes! Beautiful!

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: No, we don’t. This was the worst-written book I read in 2011.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brogsol: This was cute! I liked it.


America Pacifica by Anna North: Meh.

And those, my friends, are the books I read and never reviewed. There are still more books read in November and December that I plan on reviewing soon. I promise I’ll do a better job of reviewing than I did in October. That’s just sad! Though I do kind of like the two sentence (or one word) reviews. That was fun! Coming up next week: my favorite reads of 2011!

Books I Need to Read in 2012

So, I’ve got this really philosophical post waiting in the wings about lots of things, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to post that just yet. Instead I’m going to announce the great TBR Challenge of 2012. You see, up until I moved away from my hometown, I was a library fiend. I read and checked out books like it was my job. In that time frame the amount of books I owned also grew. And grew. And grew. Yet, I still rarely read the books I own.

It’s a familiar story, yes? So familiar that there are TWO TBR Challenges going on right now. I haven’t participated in a challenge in a while, but this is one that I was planning on doing anyway, so why not participate in both? Is that allowed? I say it is. One is the 2012 To Be Read Pile Challenge over at Roof Beam Reader and the other is the TBR Double Dare over at Ready When You Are, CB. The rules are slightly different, so it’s safe to say I’ll have two different lists for each challenge. In the mean time, I’ll get all these books read and then cleaned off my shelves! Unless, of course, they’re too good and I have to keep the to myself.

I’ll be honest. I’m entirely freaked out by how many books are on this list. I decided to record all the books I have on my shelves right this moment. The rest are still packed away at my parents house from when I moved. This is not even a quarter of my books, not even close. How did I acquire so many?! It’s going to take me YEARS to read them all! Before book blogging I owned zero books that I hadn’t read, because I would go to the store, buy books, come home, read. Now look at me!

I’d like to read this entire list in 2012. That’s it. None of the books from home, just these. I’m sure I won’t get through all of them. I know me. I’d really like to try, though. Since I usually read around 100 books a year, give or take a few, that will still give me 35 books, give or take a few, to read outside of this list. I might get a head start on some of them, too.

I want to start 2012 out with a good one. Anything from this list that blew your mind?

Books for the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge

(Must be published before 2011, 12 books total)

1. Proust Was A Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer
2. The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
3. Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
4. Tokyo Cancelled  by Rana Dasgupta
5. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
6. The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor
7. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
8. The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric
9. Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
10. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
11. Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson
12. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell


1. Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
2. Moby Dick by Herman Melvill

Books for the TBR Double Dare

(Only read books on already on your shelf before 1/1/12, except for exceptions. My exceptions: any book clubs, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, possibly all the books on this list.)

1.  What You See in the Dark by Manuel Muñoz
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
5. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
6. Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier
7. The Pattern in the Carpet  by Margaret Drabble
8. Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst
9. Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
10. Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
11. The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré
12. Memorial by Bruce Wagner
13. A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias
14. City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell
15. 13 edited by James Howe
16. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
17. I Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson
18. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
19. The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead
20. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs
21. Truth & Beauty by Anne Patchett
22. The Best of It by Kay Ryan
23. Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
24. The Beekeeper’s Lament by Hannah Nordhaus
25. So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
26. Emma by Jane Austen
27. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
28. Imaginary Homelands by Salman Rushdie
29. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
30. A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
31.  Lions of the West by Robert Morgan
32. A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz
33. Escape on the Pearl by Mary Kay Ricks
34. Listening Is an Act of Love by Dave Isay & StoryCorps
35. Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose
36. An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy
37. The Best American Comics 2011 edited by Alison Bechdel
38. Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter
39. Evening is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan
40. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
41. Matterhorn  by Karl Marlentes
42. A Death in the Family by James Agee
43. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
44. Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon
45. Possesion by AS Byatt
46. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
47. Exley by Brock Clarke
48. Vita Nova by Louise Glück
49. The Seven Ages by Louise Glück
50. Averno by Louise Glück
51. Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia by Blake Butler
52. The Wrong Blood by Manuel De Lope
53. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger
54. On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad
55. Native Speaker by Chang Rae Lee