Books of 2012

11:30 AM

I wanted to share my list of books I've read this year. I don't read a lot but when I do I like to make it count. I pick them carefully and try to have a healthy mix of new reads as well as classics. I suppose I feel like there are so many classics I still haven't read that I want to be careful in regards to the new books I read. It's often hard to tell with new books whether they'll stand the test of time, whereas classics already have. 

The Catcher In The Rye - I've been meaning to read this book for years but could never quite get to it. I was surprised by how much I loved it. I found myself laughing out loud often and it has stuck with me for reasons that I'm not aware of yet. More than anything it was interesting to delve deep into the mind of a teenager, to remember the way we used to think and see the world. But there are also lines and passages that are just so brilliant and really sum up our human experience, young or old. 

A Book of Common Prayer - This was an interesting one. Obviously, I've been on a Joan Didion kick and I've been reading everything of hers I could get my hands on. This book however, was very different from any of her other ones. It was strange and somewhat difficult to get into but once I did I couldn't put it down. It was one of those books where I stayed up at night worrying about what the characters were up to, their world totally sucked me in. This is also one of the books I missed the most when I was done. It was understated but powerful. 

The Bell Jar - Husby has been telling me to read this since we met and this spring I finally did. And I was sad to say I was underwhelmed. My connection with the author or characters means a lot and I suppose in the end I just felt like if I met Esther I would not like her. I know this is probably really strange sounding and even blasphemous but it just wasn't for me. And trust me it's not that I don't respect the plight of women at that time, I just feel like other authors have done a better job of communicating that. In fact, I told husby after I read it that I much more enjoyed the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman on the same topic. He read it with his high schoolers and they all loved it!

Blue Nights - It probably was not the best idea to read this while pregnant and yet at the same time it made me think about this child in a different way than I have before. It made me think of motherhood and our time here on earth. To me no one describes our complex and conflicting human emotions better than Didion. It was a heartbreaking book but also a book that made me even more passionate about cherishing every single tiny moment we have here. To take a mental image of every hug, every rain drop, every kiss, every smile and every tear. Because it seems that there is nothing more painful than regrets at the end of your life. I never want to think I didn't love enough, laugh enough, care enough or live enough. 

Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Another Joan Didion book. This however, was a collection of short stories. Each of them were so different from the others and absolutely fantastic. The subject matter varied but in the end it was Joan doing what she does best - truly making you walk in someone else's shoes so you could really experience what it felt like to be them (even if it was only for a few pages). I found "Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream" especially poignant and relevant since it deals with a family in Southern California (something I know all too well). 

The Namesake - A book by another one of my favorite female authors, Jhumpa Lahiri. I was actually a bit nervous about this one since I adored all of her short stories but worried how she would translate her voice into a novel. Turns out she did it just as brilliant as anything else. For someone married to an Indian (well, half Indian, husby's mum is Irish-American and his dad is Indian) this book is a must. We practically read it together and it helped us understand a lot about his family, his childhood and our relationship with his parents. I feel like we both grew a lot thanks to this book. Once again I was completely involved with the characters while reading and I basically sobbed through the last five pages. Apart from all of that, this the book was peppered with observations on human nature that transcend all cultures and time. 

So there you have it! If you have any further questions about any of these books let me know (for example I know that some of these Didion books are hard to track down). Also, I would love to hear about any books that you read and loved this year! I'm on the search for something new!

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3 notes

  1. "The Yellow Wallpaper" is one of my favorite short stories! I still have a few literature books from college and love going back over them.

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  2. I absolutely LOVE Catcher in the Rye.
    I remember I used to HATE reading books in school but when we had to read that one, I loved it! :) I should think about a re-read!
    Have a great day :)

    Jessica
    www.cinnamonandspiceblog.blogspot.com

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  3. Sara Grace - That's so awesome! I don't know of a lot of people that have read it and it's a shame because it's SO good!

    Jessica - Ah! Another CITR fan! Yes! Same to you my dear! xo

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