Sweet, sweet books. People often see me reading a different one every few weeks and ask me for recommendations. Well, you’re all in luck! It just so happens that I keep a detailed list of every book I read because I am insane. Here is a list of what I read in 2012 and whether or not YOU should read it.
A Clash of Kings – George R.R. Martin
A Storm of Swords – George R.R. Martin
A Feast for Crows – George R.R. Martin
These are books 2 through 4, respectively, in the series “A Song of Fire and Ice” – the first one being (of course) Game of Thrones. I’ve had to physically stop myself from buying the fifth one, A Dance With Dragons, until it comes out on paperback because, hi, these books are all over 1000 pages. Fuck a hardcover. Read these if you a) really love the Game of Thrones television series and can’t wait to see what happens next and b) you really love reading. You have to invest a serious amount of time and energy into the narrative but gawd DAMMIT it is worth every second.
The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson
This was an entertaining read. Two souls traveling over different time periods, finding each other again and again. If you don’t believe in that kinda shit, then maybe it isn’t for you. But hey, the main character is a crude atheist and a former porn star who gets badly burned in a car crash. He didn’t believe either. I’m just saying.
Just Kids – Patti Smith
ALL HAIL QUEEN PATTI. This memoir details her early life and subsequent relationship with the renowned photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. If you are drawn to photography, art, New York, the 60s/70s, good music or ALL OF THEM, COMBINED, ALWAYS – then this is a book for you.
Innocent Erendira: And Other Stories – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabo is my favourite author, period. He does the most delicious things with language and touches my heart in ways no one else ever has. That is all.
Strange Pilgrims – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
I wish I had read these books before I saw the movie. They actually weren’t too bad, considering they’re “teen fiction.” Not good enough for me to pick up the third one, but still. I really like dystopian science-fiction,
even ESPECIALLY when it involves children fighting to the death.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Classic. I read this back in school but had a whole new appreciation for it upon reading again, decades later. I thoroughly suggest you do the same. (Also, could I be more excited for the movie coming out this Christmas? Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby? Jay-Z doing the musical score? SEE YA.)
This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Also a classic. I enjoyed this one in a very different way than I did Gatsby. There were some paragraphs I just read over and over. Recommended especially if you’re into the mentalities of post-war generations.
Imagine – Jonah Lehrer
This fucking guy. Okay. So Jonah Lehrer has written more than a few books and contributes regularly to my favourite podcast of all time, Radiolab. So imagine my delight upon realizing he has published a book about ~CrEaTiViTy~ right? The book itself was great, repetitive in some places, but overall it really got me thinking about my own creative process and work environment, blah blah. Super. TURNS OUT… this guy fabricated more than one quote from Bob Dylan in the book. Fabricated, as in, faked. Quotes. From BOB. DYLAN. The book was taken off shelves (I wonder if mine will one day be worth anything??) and resigned from his post at The New Yorker. Not cool, Jonah. You were my hero! How could you do this to me?! Still though, if you feel like you’re in a creative slump, it might be worth reading. If you can find a copy. You can’t borrow mine, sorry.
When She Woke – Hillary Jordan
More dystopian teen science-fiction. Criminals have their entire bodies dyed a certain colour to reflect their crime. This girl gets dyed completely red, from head to toe, for having an abortion (aka “murder” which is funny because SO MANY PLACES ACTUALLY THINK THIS RIGHT NOW, LIKE IN 2013). One of those books you can’t put down, even if you want to. Worth it.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
Amazing. Heart warming. Heartbreaking. Will probably read it again this year.
How Should a Person Be? – Sheila Heti
So good. Almost a painfully relevant book for me at this point in my life. I read this book ignorant to the fact that the narrator (aka the author) and her best friend/muse Margaux ARE REAL PEOPLE WHO EXIST IN LIFE and not only that, they’re from the city I live in. Mind blown. I must stop myself from stalking them on a regular basis. Although I totally read a blog that Margaux contributes to on a regular basis. That’s not stalking, right? If it is… you are all in so much trouble right now.
Bossypants – Tina Fey
I don’t even need to write anything here. Tina is funnier than you will ever be. Deal with it.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling
Not as good as Tina’s book, but totally worth it.
Nymphs of the Valley – Khalil Gibran
If you’re a fan of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, I highly recommend you read this as well. It’s short and sweet, but filled with more spirit and soul than probably anything else on my bookshelf.
The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides
Author of The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex (both amazing, go read right now) Jeffrey Eugenides is really turning out to be one of my favourites. I really enjoy the way he writes and the way he puts a plot together. This novel deals with love and manic depressive disorder and it is equal parts fascinating and heartbreaking.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Dave Eggers, man. I read McSweeney’s Internet Tendency all the time (McSweeney’s is the publishing house that Dave Eggers founded) and I can’t believe it took me this long to begin diving into his novels. This one, though… shit. This is a memoir of his childhood and adolescence and let’s just put it out there — Dave Eggers had a REALLY fucked up childhood and adolescence. It’s a bit of a tough read, if you’re not used to his style… but it’s gut-wrenching and hilarious and so good.
THAT’S IT! Go! Be merry! Read books! Tell me what you think! (And just for curiosity’s sake, right now I’m reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell who wrote one of my favourite books of 2010, The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet. I even bought that bitch in hardcover.)