Monday, December 31, 2012

reading roundup: 2012

I did not meet my goal of reading 52 books this year, but I came in pretty darn close at 47. And I even blogged about them all! Here is a rundown:

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu
Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie
Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Room by Emma Donoghue
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Catfight: Women and Competition by Leora Tanenbaum
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Taft 2012 by Jason Heller
1Q84 by Hiruki Murakami
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Odds by Stewart O'nan
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
The Boyfriend List (15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, and Me, Ruby Oliver) (Ruby Oliver #1) by E. Lockhart
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can't Look Away by Eric Wilson
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change It by Charles Duhigg
Hooked: A Thriller About Love and Other Addictions by Matt Richtel
A Little F'ed Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word by Julie Zeilinger
MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1) by Ransom Riggs
The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
The Selection (Selection #1) by Kiera Cass
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Uglies (Uglies #1) by Scott Westerfeld
Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld
Specials (Uglies #3) by Scott Westerfeld
Extras (Uglies #4) by Scott Westerfeld
Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the Economy by Joseph Stiglitz
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay

I wish I had this book when I turned 20.

Jay discusses how the 20s are an important development period of everyone's life and how 30 is not the new 20. She discusses how in your 20s, you make some of life's most important decisions: what you will do, who you will marry, and whether or not you will start a family. She explores each of these topics in turn and uses vignettes from her clients (she is a counselor) to highlight certain aspects of work, love, and biology (what happens to your mind and body in your 20s). Jay emphasizes that the 20s are meant to be a building block of the rest of your life: where your career begins, who you will love, and how your body changes during these years. I think I will be talking this book up to all of my friends.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I was on the hold list for what seemed like forever at the library! Finally, I got the book and it only took me a couple of days to read since it is so short. The story centers around Charlies, an introvert who is beginning his first year of high school at the start of the novel. He is shy and unpopular and concerned about how and where he will fit in, along with concerned about his sister who always seems to be choosing the worst guys. Early in the school year, he becomes friends with Samantha (Sam) and Patrick, who are step-siblings. Charlie soon has a crush on Sam, but she is very emphatic that nothing will ever happen and she will not see him "that way." Charlie goes on to date a girl named Mary Elizabeth, who is part of the group, but in a game of Truth or Dare, he ends up kissing Sam, who he believes is the "prettiest girl in the room," leading to an end to his relationship with Mary Elizabeth. As the year progresses, Sam dates a guy named Craig, but eventually Charlie learns that Craig's cheated on Sam the entire time they dated. Craig is pressured by his friend Peter to end it with Sam since she is taking the relationship a lot more seriously than him, and he does. Charlie also mentions his Aunt Helen rather fondly throughout the book, but an incident awakens the true memories of Aunt Helen, which land him in the psych ward. His friends and family all come to visit him while he is in the hospital, and he is eventually released.

Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the Economy by Joseph Stiglitz

I took my very sweet time reading this one, and I am not sure why since it drew some amazing conclusions. Stiglitz summarizes in this book what occurred when the housing bubble burst in 2008 and the incidences leading up to its event (since certain legislation was repealed 10 years prior to the bust). He discusses the irony of why when a financial crisis happens in a third world country, Americans tell them that they need to go the austerity and regulation route, while when it happens in America, a different medicine is used. The most interesting part, to me, was when Stiglitz posits that when this dichotomy occurs, maybe when the time comes, third world countries will reject democracy based on what they experienced compared to what Americans did to deal with market failure. I found that to be an extremely interesting concept.

Extras (Uglies #4) by Scott Westerfeld

I finished Specials and read this in the hopes that it would tie up some loose ends that it left hanging (and perhaps give me a better ending, too). Alas, I was disappointed. This is set three years after the end of Specials where the world is free of the operation that occurs to make everyone pretty (and turn stupid) when they turn 16 years old. Everything had also changed so it became a "reputation economy," where people receive merits (money) based on their popularity (how many times their name is said). People who are not above a certain threshold are considered "Extras." Aya is an Extra who desperately wants to be popular, so she ends up following a group called the Sly Girls in the hopes of "kicking" the story and becoming famous. Following them ends up to be more than she bargained for and leads to a bigger story than she could have ever imagined when they see what appear to be aliens moving things from a train to inside a mountain. These things end up being large metal cylinders that are believed will be used to attack the city. Who are these aliens? And will they really attack? What about when Tally and David said they'd protect everyone at the end of Specials?