12.28.10 Personal

Good Reads : Hunger Games + The Imperfectionists

Every year I make the decision to take December slow. Realllllllllllly slow. I intentionally leave blank days on my calendar and feel my soul replenishing itself. Much of my time has been occupied by reading and I've come across some amazing books. On my favorite evenings, you'll find me laying on the sofa--just after dinner--with Polo curled on my belly and JD at the opposite end of the sofa, almost like our feet our kissing. I become wrapped up in each book and the characters shape my view of the world...I love it.


Here are a few books I recently finished, some of which you may also enjoy...
* Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Okay, so where do I begin with this book? Firstly, WHERE HAS IT BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! Yes, I'm dramatic. In all honesty, when I saw this book (in the teen book section, no less!) I immediately second guessed my purchase. I mean, it was a sci-fi teen thriller of a courageous girl thrusted into leadership. Sci-fi isn't really my thing, ya know? I waited a few days before diving in...then remained submerged until I was losing sleep and sneaking the book when we went out to dinner. I was obsessed. Hunger Games is the first in Collins' trilogy, so by the time I was ready to read Catching Fire and Mocking Jay, I was shopping at Barnes&Noble at 10:30pm challenging a teenager to step in my way of buy them. Do yourself a favor and become obsessed too. I give the series *****/*****

* Then We Came to an End by Joshua Ferris - I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although at times it was a little thick to get through. Ferris sure loves building his story. The beauty of the book is that it's written entirely in first-person plural, which is so compelling and immediately draws you in, like you're a co-worker in the office in which the book was written. It's layered, well-written and humorous...best of all, Ferris accomplishes a true feat using a unique narrative and I appreciated it. I give it ****/*****

* The Great House by Nicole Krauss - I've been a huge, huge fan of Kruass' ever since stumbling across The History of Love a few years back, and it still remains one of my favorites to this day. She's an impeccable writer and uses words like a paintbrush. Krauss is truly a master. I had high expectations for Great House and it lived up to them for the most part. The book documents the history of a desk and the stories of each owner and how the desk impacted their lives. Some stories are richer than others, but each section is beautiful and ripe. I give it a ****/*****

* The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman - I ordered this book, it arrived, but I never opened the box (cut me some slack...it was during the busy season for me!). A couple weeks ago I cleaned out a desk drawer and discovered it. Much like a nugget of gold, this book was a true surprise. It's a series of connected short stories about the lives of people who work for an international newspaper in Rome. It's extraordinarily well written and Rachman is brilliant at character development via action, instead of words. He's so good! The story ended a little flat for me, but--then again--I like a let's-win-the-lottery-and-ride-off-into-the-sunset kind of reader, so take what I say lightly. I give it a ****/*****

Happy Tuesday!
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Kris F - I recently discovered your blog and I've made it a point to read EVERY SINGLE POST. Imagine my surprise when I get to this post and I see that you read Ferris’, “Then We Came To An End”. I just had to comment. I’m reading the book at the moment and so far, it is laugh out loud. Love it! I also love your hilarious blog posts.. thanks for K.I.R. :)  09.02.11 - 1:02pm
shayne tanaka - I love your kokeshi doll bookends where did you get those from? Thank U shayne  02.19.11 - 4:16pm
Brandi - The Hunger Games was soooooo good!!! This would definitely make it on my top 10 reading list of all time! :)  01.03.11 - 2:10pm
Katie - I'm just about to start the Hunger Games - I'm so excited and have heard nothing but amazing things about it. I've just been tied up with the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich - my kindle app has been a lifesaver when reading until 4 am and I need the next one. haha   01.01.11 - 9:10am
Anne - I'm so happy you gave your opinion about Nicole Krauss! I have wanted to read "The History of Love" and our book club is reading it for the Love month (feb) :)! Thank you! Much appreciated!  12.31.10 - 9:56pm
Karen (Mikols) Bonar - Oh, if you've not read "the story of edgar sawtelle" .... you totally need to. It's large, but I listended to it on CD when I edited. :)  12.30.10 - 11:26am
Karen (Mikols) Bonar - Oh yes, the Hunger Games series ROOOOCKS! Be glad you started it after they were all out and could read them back to back! Before reading, I didn't raelize they were "sci fi" ... but whatever. They rock!!!  12.30.10 - 11:26am
Mary-Beth - The Hunger Games Trilogy was AMAZING! i'm so glad I finally read it, and like you, I couldn't stop scrambling for the last two books after finishing the first! thanks for the recommendations! keep 'em coming!:)  12.30.10 - 6:10am
Krysta - I love to read. I read a decent amount this year. (Sixteen books is kind of meager for me.) Next year I am reading all of Shakespeare and it will be totally fun! I've been looking forward to this for a couple of years. Yay for books and people who love them. PS. I love the collage of news clips on the wall. I'm about to do that with some magazine clippings to my own wall. lol.  12.29.10 - 10:36pm
Matt - What is with that wall paper? That is so cool!  12.29.10 - 11:12am
Marissa Nicole - Thanks for the post. I am always looking for really good book recommendations. I will deffinately be checking out Ferris & Krauss. I am currently reading Lipstick Jungle. Not posed for a literary award or anything, but entertaining.   12.29.10 - 9:53am
erin - hunger games = my obsession for weeks while reading them. and then pimping katniss out to all my friends becuase i wanted to share the tweenage book love.  12.29.10 - 8:30am
Jorge - Last days of year it's time of relax, I'm amazing with the book " Courir" from Jean Echenoz.  12.29.10 - 7:12am
Alicia - LOVE the Hunger Games Trilogy!! I try to force everyone around me to read it. So amazing.  12.29.10 - 6:26am
susan jennings - Oh, I love this, there is nothing as wonderful as reading. One of my favorite activities is heading to the Library and getting so many books that they let me check out the cool cloth library book bag!! Nate informs me ever time that I am silly. But I am okay with that. Have a blessed new year!  12.29.10 - 3:16am
Suzanne - (It's really hard to stop this from sounding like a spam comment but I assure you it's not) I was wasting time on StumbleUpon the other day and it brought up this site. I instantly thought of you as I remember you posting about reading a while back and asking for recommendations. Not sure how good it is - but might be worth a try? http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/  12.29.10 - 2:58am
Harmony Loves - I love Katniss Everdeen!  12.28.10 - 11:34pm
Tina - Jasmine! Not quite in the same league of the books above, but I've loved me some Maeve Binchy since...forever! Maybe start with Scarlett Feather and go on to Tara Road? And if you love cheese, try "The Wedding" by Nicholas Sparks - haha and make JD read it, too, so he can nab some pointers (although he already sounds quite fabulous! :)  12.28.10 - 9:38pm
Jessica Hunt - Jasmine ! If you want an amazing adventure that will deffinately be out of your norm of reading, read Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Just a suggestion if you want to take a leap of faith and read something you normally wouldn't, since you said the Hunger Games wasn't your norm. :) Enjoy !  12.28.10 - 8:48pm
Jenny - I'm a middle school librarian, so the fact that you mentioned Hunger Games sets my heart a flutter. It's fabulous. I recommend it to everyone no matter what the age. Another excellent one that is teen lit is Matched. I can't think of the author, but the girl on the front is in a bubble. It's so good.  12.28.10 - 8:17pm
Kelly - Haha! These all look like Gail recommendations! Gotta love her! Give her some blog post props, girl - I'm sure she'd LOVE new book geek friends!  12.28.10 - 8:16pm
Abby - I got the Hunger Games for Christmas and read them in less than 48 hours. I couldn't put them down! It was nice to read something for fun instead of nursing textbooks about poo and vomit (Seriously, in the Scrubs episode when they sing the song "Everything Comes Down to Poo", they weren't kidding). Anyway, I was sooo torn between Gale and Peeta for the longest time! Katniss kept leading both of them on. Seriously girl, spread the love. Don't hog all the good men.  12.28.10 - 7:44pm
Lisa Rajt - With the exception of Great House, I've read all of those in the past few months. Similarly obsessed with Katniss/all things Hunger Games.  12.28.10 - 7:42pm
Victoria O'Connor - I just got the Great House for Christmas and am now even more excited to read it! If you're looking for another great read and haven't already read it, I just finished Sarah's Key (by Tatiana De Rosnay) and adored it ...  12.28.10 - 7:41pm
anda - nicole krauss is my girl crush forever. plus, she is married to jonathan safron foer. she is kinda totally my biggest hero. and you've convinced me to try hunger games now!  12.28.10 - 7:04pm
tracy - you have kokeshi dolls! I collect them!~  12.28.10 - 7:04pm
ashley barnett - When I was a baby and small child, my mom would read to me every single night before bedtime. I am so grateful for this because she instilled a deep love for reading in me from the get-go! I get so wrapped into books and I read SO FAST that I have to remind myself to slow down and soak in the words before moving to the next page. Thanks for the recommendations :)  12.28.10 - 6:57pm
Shilpy Prakash - You should put up what your listening to as well. HNY!  12.28.10 - 6:49pm
MariaT - Hunger Games has been one of my faves! Although, I have to warn you that if it's Katniss' inner strength and independent thinking that you really connect with, she completely loses that in the third book. Thanks for sharing these :)  12.28.10 - 6:23pm
Tammie - I love your book recommendations. I actually find it really hard to read since my mind wanders after a few minutes, but downloading and listening to them has been great! I've 'read' about three or four of your recommendations this way and they've all been great - thank you :)  12.28.10 - 6:22pm
Lisa Scherer - This is such a perfect time of year to curl up with some good books. I will have to check out some of these you suggested. The Hunger Games series is AMAZING!! So glad you loved it too.  12.28.10 - 6:05pm
Christy - I LOVE The History of Love as well - read it a few years back and keep thinking of it still... so now I'm curious to check out The Great House! Thanks for the recommendation! :)  12.28.10 - 5:42pm
Lori Calhoun - When my friends insisted I read The Hunger Games, I was all, "whatever dude". But, then I read it, and couldn't put it down, and the I read the next two in three days. One of my very favorites! Love that Katniss!  12.28.10 - 5:39pm
Jackie - I got Hungry Games as a birthday gift. It took me awhile before I picked it up to read it. To my surprise it was actually pretty good that I had a hard time putting it down. I'm going to order the next two on Amazon. :D I will have to check out the other books you listed. I ran out of books to read at the moment. Thanks!  12.28.10 - 5:25pm
Kaysha - If you haven't already, you MUST read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. You will never look at Polo the same way again!! :)   12.28.10 - 5:20pm
Kristina - I'm so glad you got to read the Hunger Games (especially since I was the one to suggest it to you in the first place :P ) Good to hear that you liked the trilogy!  12.28.10 - 5:19pm
joan solitario - jasmine: after finishing these books, what do you do with them? I can only imagine the library of books you have at home! :D happy new year to you and jd!  12.28.10 - 5:10pm
amanda - OMG meeee toooo! It's why I have a hard time reading during the rest of the year because I can't ever pull myself away from a book to do anything else. AND I'm reading this great teen series too called Ranger's Apprentice. I love it. And there's 10 of them. :)  12.28.10 - 5:08pm
MartaV - I am so glad you are a paper and glue kind of girl. I totally feel the same way. I love the smell and feel of books. I've been a bookworm since I first learned to read. The Imperfectionists sounds so interesting and Hunger Games has me curious now too. I will have to put this on my list for my next trip to the library/bookstore. Have you ever read Time Traveler's Wife? I love that one.  12.28.10 - 4:33pm
Kristen - slightly unrelated but since it's in your photo - we bought a fujifilm instax this xmas and love it - so cute!  12.28.10 - 4:23pm
Aimee - I just finished Great House. Loved it! Such an impactful ending. I want to re-read it.  12.28.10 - 4:22pm
Thauna - I ADORE The History of Love, so I need to read The Great House soon.   12.28.10 - 3:45pm
Jasmine* - @Melanie: I have a Kindle...but I don't use it. I'm a paper&glue kind of girl! ;)  12.28.10 - 3:35pm
Melanie - I'm constantly wondering which book I should read next on my kindle (you need to get one by the way.) But thanks to you I now have my next 4 lined up. :-)  12.28.10 - 3:29pm
Brandy Frank - love hunger games!! at least you were able to read them back to back. I had to wait almost a year for each release, and I just about DIED!! Another young adult book worth reading (but totally different than HG) is If I Stay by Gayle Foreman. It's so touching and heartfelt but very sad. You'll need a box of tissues - and you won't be able to put it down.  12.28.10 - 3:20pm
anne - I'm so glad you posted this! Always looking for some great reads! Esp with starting up a book club in one week! Thank you. :)   12.28.10 - 3:19pm
Melissa - I loved Hunger Games! I actually just did a top 10 list of all of my favorite books that I have read this year on my blog and it was #2. #1 was Book Thief....I think you have read that one already. Have you tried Glass Castle? It was my #3. http://www.duolynoted.com/  12.28.10 - 3:19pm
Kelsey Anderson - I have heard Hunger Games was great! It is on my list to read. Loved the whole Twilight series and just finished Water for Elephants which I read in a day because it was so good!  12.28.10 - 3:12pm
Tom McCallum - My 13 year old devours books, and you've reminded me I need to get the Hunger Games books off his shelf. He first got me into his teen books with the Artemis Fowl books. Irish boy genius criminal mastermind discovers fairy folk and their high tech gadgets. Sounds wacky, great reading :) Thanks to your prompting, will also discipline myself to switch off and read more until restarting Jan 4th.. mix of business books to catch up on (blog and client ideas inspiration for a coach like me!).. and Hunger Games :)  12.28.10 - 3:10pm
Kelli - I got the Hunger Games Trilogy for Christmas and I'm starting them this weekend - CAN'T WAIT!!!  12.28.10 - 3:06pm
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