Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Books Read in 2013

It's been awhile since I've done any type of book review on here. Which is sad because I read a lot last year. I actually wished I had created a Books Read in 2012 shelf on Goodreads, but I didn't. I did do this for 2013 though.

You can follow me on Goodreads here.

Here's my list so far for 2013:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read and I really liked the time period that the book was set it. It was also interesting to learn about the Island and what they went through during the war - though it is historical fiction. The book is written in the form of letters which I know some people either love or hate. It was actually really easy to keep track of the letters and who was writing to who.

Flowers for Algernon

With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance--until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

While this one isn't one that I would say run out and read this, it is a book I think everyone should read if you haven't already. I really enjoyed watching Charlie's progression after his procedure. I also think it was interesting to see how mental disabilities were perceived during the 50's. Again, just one of those classics everyone should have on their I've Read This List.

The Shoemaker's Wife

The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.

Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.

From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.

Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.

I really enjoyed this story and it was another I couldn't put down sometimes. I couldn't wait to see how the characters would finally meet, and how their stories remained intertwined even when they both traveled separately across the world. It is a love story, but in the end I think it was tied up a little too nicely. The book took it's time for about 3/4 of it (not in a bad way at all) and then kept jumping just so it could get to the nice little bow at the end. Still a very good read.

Dark Places

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details—proof they hope may free Ben—Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club...and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members—including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

I had read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and could barely set it down. I just couldn't wait to see what happened. I wasn't surprised when I had the same problem with Dark Places. I read all 343 pages in 2 days. I figured out the "Who dunnit" piece pretty quickly but it was still interesting to see how it all came together. The book is written in present day and then also goes back to recap the day of the murder. It's very easy to follow along and keeps you riveted throughout the entire book.

Here's what my Book Club is reading for 2013:

January - Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
February - The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
March - Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
April - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
May - Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
June - Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
July - Two Books: The fault in Our Stars by John Green AND Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu
August - The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
September - Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham
October - The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
November - The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
December - A Christmas themed book

Here's what I hope to fit in here and there:

Room - Emma Donoghue
A Reliable Wife - Robert Goolrick
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
The Leftover's - Tom Perrota
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling

What's on your reading list for this year?


  1. I want to read Dark Places! Gone Girl was fantastic.

    1. It was so good! I'm so tempted to start Sharp Objects but want to give myself something to look forward to if I get into a slump.

  2. Replies
    1. You're welcome! Hope you find something you enjoy. I always love seeing what others are reading!


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