I've decided to start adding in some book reviews to my blog. Mainly, it gives me something to talk about (here and in real life). Also, I read a lot. Ever since my Dad started bribing me to read with $5 bills at the tender age of 7 or 8, I've had a love of reading. Sadly, I don't get paid to read anymore (any takers? I could totally do this for a job!), but reading is still one of my favorite past times. Also, we have basic cable. I know it is far wiser to turn off The Bachelor and read something that is actually going to stimulate me rather than kill brain cells.
I think we covered this, but in 2013, I read 40 books. I won't give you the full run-down, but I thought for my first bookish post, I would cover the books from last year that I like and recommend. Not every book I've read is both or either. Here's my list, chronologically:
11/22/63 by Stephen King - This was a fantastic book. Not a short read at 800 pages, but one that you won't be able to put down. King is most notable for thrillers, and while this is definitely a mystery, I assure you that it won't scare you. It shouldn't anyway. No guarantees. Basically, the main character finds a portal to go back in time where he can spend years in the past, but only spend 2 minutes of his real life. He's convinced by a fellow time-traveler to go back to save JFK from assassination. But he has to spend about 5 years in the past to do so. This is a page turner so worth your time; you will not regret this read.
Damned by Chuck Palahniuk - Damned isn't really one I'd recommend, but I liked it. The story follows a 13 year old girl, the daughter of a famous rock musician, after she OD's on marijuana and winds up in Hell. It's funny, and interesting in a train-wreck kind of way.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - Jellicoe Road is one of those novels that is ethereal in some places, leaves you questioning what's really going on, and might even confuse you. But you have to keep reading to get to the bottom of the story. Taking place in present day Australia at a boarding school with strange territory wars and seemingly no supervision, Marchetta weaves the past in to create a story literally unlike any I've read before.
Grown-up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson - Jackson is one of my favorite authors. Maybe the favorite right now. Really, she can do no wrong in my eyes. In this novel, she gives you three generations of women all living together in a small town where secrets are hard to keep. Told from the point of view of a 15 year old girl who finds a small box of bones buried in their backyard, and occasionally from her stroke-silenced mother, you will not be able to put this one down until you learn their secrets.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - Gillian Flynn....need I say more? This is Flynn's second book turned film, expected to be released later this year. The main character is the sole survivor of her family's brutal mass-murder, except for her older brother who is in jail for the crime. Libby Day is wasting her life away when she meets "The Kill Club", who want to help her discover what really happened that night. Another page turner that you'll thank me for recommending!
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson - Yup, Jackson again. This time we've got high school, football, the South, and possibly a murderous female lead who has sworn to never lie or fornicate outside of marriage again. Interesting, right?
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - It should be obvious why I liked this book, but it really is an interesting read! McDougall chronicles a Mexican tribe that can run up to 200 miles a day, every day, for no other reason then they needed to go talk to someone. He gets into the science of the human body and why we were made to run, but in a down to earth way that any layman can understand.
City of Thieves by David Benioff - Set during the Nazi's seige of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for pick-pocketing a deceased soldier. Beniov is promised his freedom by the Colonel if he can find a dozen eggs for his daughter's wedding cake. Paired with a Lothario traveling companion, their harrowing journey will make you laugh and cry - sometimes on the same page.
So, those are my recommendations from my 2013 book list. I always have more, if you're looking for something to read. Stay tuned for 2014's reviews!