I read some books last year! Some of them were really good, and some were just ok. And for those of you who need the details on my favorites, I’m happy to tell you all about them.
A friend recommended this memoir last year and it might be the
best book recommendation I’ve ever received. The author tells the story of her childhood growing up in Rhodesia, and that alone would have been an interesting enough tale what with the political unrest and exotic locale. Add to that her family dynamics, and it made for a book I couldn’t put down. Loved it so much I read two other books by Fuller, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness and Falling: The Story of a Marriage, in quick succession.
Living in Santa Barbara I always wondered about the huge estate by the bird sanctuary near East Beach. This book tells the fascinating story of the owner of that estate, Huguette Clark, and how she came to be a fantastically wealthy recluse. Read it, but be advised that you may get sick to your stomach if you are nauseated by people who have more money than they know what to do with.
This book has been on my to-read list for years and I finally got to it. So great, and so creepy, it almost seems plausible. And isn’t that what makes great dystpian fiction? Reading this spurred me to read the MaddAddam trilogy as well. It was great, but couldn’t match the Handmaid’s Tale. The Year of the Flood was the best of the three.
Another dystopian fiction novel, this one is set in San Diego during the “slowing”, when the earth begins to slow its rotation due to climate change. The story explores how people cope, and how society and culture changes, to adapt to longer days and longer nights. Super unsettling, and even more than The Handmaid’s Tale, seems like it could actually happen.
Another great one from Barbara Kingsolver, who so rarely lets me down (I’m looking at you Lacuna). She so perfectly captures small towns and the people that populate them, and I just can’t help but root for Dellarobia, despite her shortcomings. And I definitely keep rooting for the butterflies.
I should note that I read a ton of Young Adult fiction this year, and there are a few standouts:
The Kid read this with her fifth grade class and told me I HAD to read it. If my 10 year old, who isn’t much of a reader, tells me she loves a book I know it must be something great. And it is. Pick it up and read it, you can probably finish it in two days, and its two days well spent.
These books were quite enjoyable. Almost as good as The Hunger Games series, but not quite. The concept is a world where society is divided into factions based on personality or virtue, and the factions together form a functioning society. Of course it doesn’t work smoothly, or it wouldn’t be dystopian fiction… I can’t say I loved the ending, but the series as a whole is worth reading.
The rest of the books I read in 2013 are listed here, and if you want to check out my reads from previous years, click away.