Wednesday, December 29, 2010

52 Book Year: Part One

Instead of a year in review, I'm working up a year in books.  Not bestsellers (necessarily), but just whatever it was that I read.  It's perhaps not the best way to catalog the year ... but then again maybe it is.  Best or not, it's certainly appropriate for me and this blog.

Dating the Rebel Tycoon (Harlequin Romance)1. The first book I read in 2010 was Dating the Rebel Tycoon, Ally Blake.  Does that sound like a Harlequin title? Because it is.  Not entirely sure what the story was here.  As in I can't remember the book or the reason why I read it.  I think my selection may have had a lot to do with a feeling of rebellion against the academy and a claiming of my vacation reading as my own and therefore something that academia didn't "like."

Baby Bonanza (Harlequin Desire)2. Baby Bonanza, Maureen Child. For Christmas 2009, I got an iPod touch--which is an iPhone without the Phone capabilities.  I downloaded apps.  I got Kindle for iPod and went out in search of free books to see if I could stand reading on the tiny little device.  Baby Bonanza was free and--better yet--short.  It seemed like a better idea for testing out the readability of an iPod than, say, The Three Musketeers or something where I wouldn't be able to tell if it was the screen or the prose making me sleepy. Turns out that I like reading on the iPod best at night, in bed, when the iPod is the only light source.  Otherwise it just seems like a strain.  A year later, this remains the only book I've read in full on the iPod.

Playing with Fire (Silver Dragons, Book 1)3. Playing with Fire, Katie MacAlister.  I'd read Katie MacAlister's previous series set in the same world.  This one was ... okay by comparison.  This is book one of the Silver Dragons series, but the Aisling Grey, Guardian series which starts with You Slay Me, is more interesting.  Still these books are a witty continuation of the world.

4. Up in Smoke, Katie MacAlister.  Book two in the Silver Dragons series.

Time Off for Good Behavior5.  Time off for Good Behavior, Lani Diane Rich.  Picking up this book was all about homage to the first NaNoWriMo participant to get her NaNo novel published.  Rich has since gone on to publish several novels but Time Off is cute even if it does shove too much plot into its pages.

6. Emily Hamilton, Sukey Vickery.  An early American epistolary novel that I really quite liked.  It's been recently "rediscovered" so to speak.  If you like Austen then you'll like Vickery.  Vickery writes this novel just a few years before Austen publishes her first novel on the other side of the pond.

Me and My Shadow (Silver Dragons, Book 3)7.  Me and My Shadow, Katie MacAlister. And with this book the Silver Dragons series ends.

8. Herland, Charolette Perkins Gilman. Oh feminist dystopias of the late-nineteenth early-twentieth centuries.  As early science fiction this holds interest.

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)9. Soulless, Gail Carriger.  Number nine is a rereading of Soulless which I'd come across the fall previous and loved, loved, loved.  

10.  When Darkness Comes, Alexandra Ivy.  This book is utterly forgettable.  Proof: I can't remember it.  I think it's about a vampire and a girl.  I think it opens with the girl breaking a vase, the vampire teasing her, and then the girl's employer roasting to a crisp.  But that might very well be another book.  I think I gave away my copy of this book, or if I haven't then I mean to before I move next time.

11. Queene of Light, Jennifer Armintrout.  I remember buying this book because the store was selling autographed copies.  Apparently Armintrout lives somewhere in the area and had signed a bunch of stock for the bookseller.  There were fairies, there were fallen angels, there were shady, seedy humans, royal intrigue and assassination, and all of it took place in the sewers beneath the "real world."  I did not go buy the sequel.

The Long Road of Woman's Memory12.  The Long Road of Woman's Memory, Jane Addams.  I remember the most interesting thing being that she talks about the rumors of the Devil Baby of Hull House.  And she postulates a theory that would go against Jung's "collective unconscious" by talking about the "collective memory" of a society.  Therefore it's not our fears that stimulate myth, but our shared experiences and our explanations of those experiences.  

Vision in White (The Bride Quartet, Book 1)13.  Vision in White, Nora Roberts.  I was in the public library just a few minutes before closing.  I grabbed randomly (almost randomly) off the shelves.  I walked off with six books, this one included, because they had pretty covers and didn't sound too boring.  Of the six, this was the one I loved.  If you're at all interested in wedding reality TV then this may be of interest to you.  The four main female characters in the series are a team of wedding planners/designers.  Vision in White, the first in the series, follows Mac, the photographer.

14.  Three Weddings and a Kiss (anthology).  Another item that I pulled randomly off the library shelves at closing time.  Can't say I liked it or remember it much.

Bed of Roses (The Bride Quartet, Book 2)15.  Bed of Roses, Nora Roberts.  The second book in Robert's Bridal Quartet, this one was also loads of fun.  It follows the florist of the wedding planning company and really expands the world/cast of characters in a way that couldn't happen in the first novel.

16.  Mystic Guardian, Patricia Rice.  Another "quick pick" off the library shelves that made me glad it was a library book and not one I'd spent money on.

17.  Waiting for Nick, Nora Roberts.  Having lost my Nora-Roberts-virginity with Vision in White, I started picking up other Nora books.  The empire fascinates me.  The other thing I can tell about her is that over the decades her craft skills become better and more refined in a way they weren't when she started publishing in the 70s.

Irish Thoroughbred (Silhouette Language of Love #1)18.  Irish Thoroughbred, Nora Roberts.  This one is Nora Roberts' first published novel--and clear proof of what I mentioned above: she refined her craft as time went on.  Although it also gave me an idea for a scholarly paper I plan to write.

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate)19.  Changeless, Gail Carriger.  When the sequel to Soulless came out, I rushed to the bookstore and grabbed my copy and read it in a day.  Still interesting and amazingly witty (like the first book), but not nearly as good as the first book.  I might have put down the entire series if not for the twist at the end of this novel which sets up the subsequent novels.

Highly Recommended