Reading 2014


The Goldfinch

Reading 2013

January 2013
Slammerkin – started December 2012, finished January 2013
This book haunted me. I hated the main character and I empathized with her. While reading it, it felt a tad shallow, or at least major plot points would move through with nary a hiccup – there and then on to the next event. With reflection, this story has many deep undercurrents – would probably be great for a book club. Lastly, I could not believe the harshness of 1700s London, England. The limitations of society on women, and what they did with their lives, were hard to comprehend, though (I assume) historically accurate.

Traveling Mercies – Anne Lamott
Awesome observations about life and God. So many good quotes. While I borrowed this from the actual public library, I think keeping any of her books on your nightstand to read a quick story from right before sleep or right when you wake up, would be a wonderful awareness or gratitude practice.

BossyPants – Tina Fey
Hilarious. I am in love with her smartness, humor and ability to talk about women, both in the work place and in life.  I do want to mention, I didn’t read this book for a while because a. it was such a huge success and b. a male friend said it was boring – a bunch of stories, but not much meat. Post-reading, I disagree entirely. It is full of Fey’s insights and struggles with comedy, family-work balance, having kids, beauty and creativity. I read it in two days. I kind of want to read it again, at least the parts about what she learned from SNL creator Lorne Michaels.

February 2013
Imajica – Clive Barker
So far, I am *loving* this book. Fantasy, god, love, souls and epic story all rolled into one. Thanks to my sister for the recommendation. With more than 600 pages to go, it may be a while before I post about the next book.

March 2013
Finished Imajica (March 24th). Great read. At 800+ pages, it may be the longest book I’ve ever read. (Disregarding the Harry Potter series). I totally recommend it, but make sure you have the one with the appendix – I would’ve been so lost without it.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling (link)
As Mindy says in the book – it should take you 2 days to read it or something is wrong – I read this book during the 50hour trip to San Francisco for work. At first, I thought it was a bit shallow compared to Tina Fey’s book, it read more like little blog posts than longer informational stories about the writer / producer’s life. But somewhere after the half-way mark it deepened and become funnier. Overall, I loved it and would recommend it. It’s a fun, smart read perfect for travel or pool-side reading.

Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place – Annie Prolux
I purchased this book in San Francisco’s Alexander Book Co. after wandering around before a meeting. It seemed mysterious enough. I love memoirs, which this book claims to be, and I am just beginning to get on board with the idea of buying (and probably renovating) our first home. I thought Ms. Prolux would have some older, wiser advice to pass along.

No so much. So far, and I’m only 1/2 way, I find this book to be whiny, confusing in its phrasing and all over the map. The vignettes do not bring me to deeper territory as much as drag me through the mud of her construction frustrations. It borders on “champagne problems”. My plan is to finish it, but I can’t say I’m enjoying it at all. (Update: I didn’t finish it. I donated it.)

July 2013
World War Z: borrowed from H’s coworker, who is also an English teacher. It feels like an academic read, since it’s based on fictionalized research of survivors of the world siege against zombies, but it’s also emotionally taxing enough that I can’t read it before bed. I really like it, but need to take it in pieces.

The Untethered Soul:

Made To Stick: reading this for work

October 2013
Divergent: the friend who recommended this called it “book crack”. Accurate description. Or as I liked to call it – Hunger Games light. It was an easy, interesting read for someone who hasn’t read a novel in months, leaning more towards easy than interesting. I do love me some dystopian society though. The main character is not completely flat, but she’s not deep either. I do plan on reading the other two in the series.

Wild: From Lost To Found On the Pacific Crest Trail: Love, love, love this book. A memoir by a woman who hiked the PCT alone at the age of 26 after her mother dies and nuclear family falls apart. It was the deep, emotional writing of Mary Karr, but it succeeded in its mission – I was 100% on the side of the narrator and wanted nothing more for her to succeed (and lighten her load, both literally and figuratively). The read went too quickly and lacked a depth I craved for (would love to see her actual journals from the trip), but when it was over, I wanted to immediately turn to page 1 and start again. Can’t say that about most of the books I’ve read.

The Fault In Our Stars: Oh, Hazel Grace and August Waters – I wish you were real, and I’m so glad you’re not… Hazel is witty and awkward, Augustus is charming and smart, they are in love and they are battling life-threatening diseases. I loved it. It was a fast read, but emotional, funny and deserved the time I gave it – I felt frustrated I couldn’t read more in one sitting and also sad that it was going so quickly.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy: Admission – I didn’t read this – I listened to it during my drive to the retreat in Alameda and then the week after while my parents were in town. It is soooooo random. It kept me busy for over 4 hours of the car ride, though at times it would be so confusing or the characters so frustrated that I would feel annoyed and have to take a break. I’m glad I listened to it because I was able to accept all of the made-up words and situations, moving along with the story instead of being stuck on not understanding. It ended way too abruptly.

A Light Between Oceans: Been reading this on and off for months. It finally became interesting (I think this is the 3rd time I picked it up).


Reading 2012

Harry Potter 4, 5,6 & 7 (H “read” the series via audio book)

Never Let Me Go (during break from Harry Potter 5 which drove me nuts)

Hunger Games

Catching Fire (Hunger Games – June 2012)

Mockingjay (Hunger Games – July 2012)

Girl Who Played with Fire

July 2012 – Expecting Adam

August 2012 – Room: A Novel

August / September – The Night Circus

October 2012

On Writing – Stephen King

My First Summer In The Sierras – John Muir

November 2012 – I didn’t read until the very end of the month. It sucked. Damn Mercury Retrograde. When I finally did, it was In The Woods by Tana French. I enjoyed reading it and recommend it as a great mystery read – engaging, smart and great descriptions of childhood in some chapters, but I wasn’t surprised by the actual suspect / killer. Mostly it made me sad or frustrated for the main character – that he had dug himself into such a hole. And it gave me some weird dreams, but nothing scary.

Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Series completed after 1+years)


Here is a list of all the books I’ve read with any applicable memory attached. Work in progress / under-construction:

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Fall 2011

The Road – Fall 2010 (?)

Catch-22 – 2001

Their Eyes Were Watching God

The English Patient – 2003

Ira Sleeps Over

Little Women (Grandma read this to me when I was young. Not sure I ever finished it) Re-read Fall 2011 on my Kindle

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

The Bell Jar

Bluest Eye

The Artist’s Way

The War Of Art


Flannery: A Life Of Flannery O’Connor: Read this in 2009, in the heat of our Los Feliz apartment. It’s probably the only true biography I’ve read and it was amazing. I haven’t even read Flannery O’Connor’s work – I just heard this bio was superbly written. It was. I loved the whole story, the details, the way he tied her writing into her life and vice-versa.