Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't Know What to Read Next? Neither Do I.

With the New Year well on it's way, we all must decide when exactly to stop this charade that we will be completing our New Year's Resolutions. The gym is simply too far away, chocolate tastes too good, wishing doesn't make the job market better, and no matter how many times you try them, kale chips don't taste like potato chips. They just don't.

But one easy resolution you can follow is the pledge to read more. Reading reduces stress, is fun, and occasionally free. Personally, I don't know what I'd do without a library card.
If you don't have one, now is a perfect time to sign up.

Then the only problem will be what to read next.

I never can collect enough book recommendations. The worst thing is to be left in the middle of your public library with stacks of books surrounding you and having nothing to read. I've tried picking random books from the shelves, but that can lead to a lot of wasted time if you pick a subpar book. Of course, sometimes this is the only way to find a precious gem of a book.

Here's a list of what books, I'm planning to read in 2012 and 10 books or book series that I would recommend to others.

Books to Read (2012)

1. Catching Fire /Mockingjay (Hunger Games Trilogy) by Suzanne Collins

In the second (and first) book, teenagers who live in a heavily controlled society, are forced to play the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death.

The first edition in the series, the Hunger Games, was a joy to read. I haven't read a book in a while that I was able to sit down and read in only two sittings. The characters really draw you into the story. I can only describe the first book as the potato chips of dystopian fiction. The Hunger Games was a basic rehashing of ideas that are popular in dystopian science fiction. But it's the reactions of the characters to the horrible situations that they are in that make it an engaging read.

Basically, it's a lot of fun. And violence. Don't forget the violence.

2. Seeds of Betrayal (Book Two of the Winds of the Forelands) by David B. Coe

Book Two of the Winds of the Forelands series. The first book started off strong, with a compelling story of a would be future King framed for murder, a plot to take over the kingdom, magic and prejudice. I can't wait to delve deeper into the complex world Coe has created.

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

A young woman who recently has returned home from college writes a tell-all book about the lives of black maids in white households in the 1960's.

4. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

Why? Because I read the first three books.

While not my favorite fantasy series, I think Paolini manages to entertain while giving fantasy readers nothing new. I read the third book when it came out, thinking it was the last one, only to discover to horror about a hundred pages from the end, that the series had been expanded from a trilogy. But I like to finish stories. So I will read this one as well.

5. The Last of the Dragonslayers/ The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde

I have a love-hate relationship with this author. You may notice that I have listed one of his books in my top ten books to read. That's because his books can be hysterical, witty and lighthearted. But they can also be downright cruel to his main characters, as was the case with the novel, Shades of Grey. However, I think Fforde is very talented and I am curious to see if this series is more lighthearted then his last book.

6. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

It's about Tina Fey. And she's awesome. I need no other reason.


These are a few of my favorite books from my childhood to books I just finished six months ago. From the beginning of the tale "Why am I this way?" to "Oh, that's what happened."

Books I've Loved (2012)

1. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Arthur Dent is having a bad day. The earth has been blown up to make way for a hyperspace pathway, his best friend is an alien, and he's still in his bathrobe. Quirky, zany, hysterical. If the very idea of a manically depressed robot doesn't make you giggle...this may not be the book for you.

2. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

A smart young woman is exiled to an isolated castle, where she is kidnapped by the Fairy Folk and must find a way to save herself and another.

3. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

A teenager dies in an accident and wakes up to find herself in Elsewhere, a sort of heaven, where everyone ages backwards.

4. Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde

Thursday is a Literary Detective in a world where certain cheeses are outlawed and pet dodos are common. Plenty of wordplay to delight anyone who loves books. The series begins with The Eyre Affair. (Note: Read Jane Eyre first.)

5. The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton

Two children play a dangerous game in their dreams, as they try to find long lost children and set a prince free. An imaginative book I loved as a child.

6. The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella

A lighthearted series about a shopaholic who tries to break the habit. A nice bit of fluff to perk up your day.

7. The Lost Years of Merlin by T. A. Baroon

The early years of Merlin, before the Arthurian myths began. Baroon explores the mysterious origins of Merlin as you've never seen them before.

8. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Cinderella with a twist. Ella is a young woman, forced by fairy magic to obey any order. Her mother dead and her father on the road, Ella begins a journey to break the curse. A great coming of age story.

9. The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper

A tale of magic following the Old Ones, magical guardians who live outside of time, and a group of young children. The Arthurian myths are weaved in throughout. Throughly imaginative.

10. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the undisputed queen of the mystery novel. Death on the Nile is one of her very best.

What books are next on your list?

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