Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Let's Talk About Books

So you may have noticed a few links to the left of my other blogs.  One of which is an active one where I post pug illustrations (I try to do non-pug drawings, but pugs just tumble out of my pen so I go with what works).  The other two were these book blogs that I started a year ago and had grand plans for, which are now totally inactive.  I feel so bad!  But reviewing books in the level of detail I wanted to took too much time that I just didn't have, especially once I started my illustration blog.  So instead I decided to do a post here of the books I've read in the past couple years, with a very simple rating system:

  • Awesome [A] - My top rating.  I loved it and you might too!
  • Pretty good [P] - Most books fall in this category.  Enjoyable reads but nothing outstanding or memorable.
  • Meh [M] - Ok.  A solid C/D grade.
  • Don't waste your time [D] - This was a waste of my time and brain space.  Hated it.
  • Hmm, can't remember [H] - Because I read a lot, sometimes I just forget books.  Could've been good or bad, but not awesome because I would remember an awesome book.

Now quick disclaimer: I have pretty eclectic tastes in books but because I view reading as a form of entertainment and escape I read a lot of YA/children's.  I generally don't read chick lit, shopoholic-y, Steven King, Tom Grisham, Charlaine Harris, Jason Bourne books.  And the ratings below are simply my view of the books.  My friends/family disagree with a lot of them, and I'm sure you will too.  I tried to group these together in fairly specific categories so if you're looking for like books you can check out some of the other books in the same category.  And if you have any questions on any of these just leave a comment!

Adult Magic Realism

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke) [A]
  2. The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) [A]
  3. Rose Garden (Susanna Kearsley) [P]
  4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs) [A]
  5. The Girl with No Shadow (Joanne Harris) [M]
  6. Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) [A]
  7. The Stolen Child (Keith Donohue) [M]
  8. Sleep, Pale Sister (Joanne Harris) [H]
  9. Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) [A]
  10. The Angel’s Game (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) [A]
  11. Of Bees and Mist (Erick Setiawan) [A]
  12. The Third Angel (Alice Hoffman) [D]
  13. The Ice Queen (Alice Hoffman) [D]
  14. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven (Fannie Flagg) [M]
  15. A Redbird Christmas (Fannie Flagg) [P]
  16. Garden Spells (Sarah Addison Allen) [P]
  17. The Girl Who Chased the Moon (Sarah Addison Allen) [P]
  18. The Sugar Queen (Sarah Addison Allen) [P]
  19. The Peach Keeper (Sarah Addison Allen) [P]
  20. The Witch’s Daughter (Paula Brackston) [M]
  21. A Discovery of Witches (Deborah Harkness) [P]
  22. I Still Dream About You (Fannie Flagg) [M]

Adult General Literature

  1. The Hangman’s Daughter (Oliver Potzsch) [H]
  2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (Mark Haddon) [P]
  3. Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides) [A]
  4. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) [A]
  5. Out (Natsuo Kirino) [P]
  6. Little Children (Tom Perrotta) [D]
  7. Straight Man (Richard Russo) [A]
  8. The Thirteenth Tale (Siane Setterfield) [A]
  9. Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen) [M]
  10. Suite Francaise (Irene Nemirovsky) [P]
  11. The Madonnas of Leningrad (Debra Dean) [H]
  12. Crow Lake (Mary Lawson) [H]
  13. The Risk Pool (Richard Russo) [H]
  14. The Electric Michelangelo (Sarah Hall) [P]
  15. The Boleyn Inheritance (Philippa Gregory) [D]
  16. In the Company of the Courtesan (Sarah Dunant) [P]
  17. Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn) [D]
  18. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) [M]
  19. The Meaning of Night (Michael Cox) [P]
  20. Veronika Decides to Die (Paulo Coelho) [D]
  21. The Savage Garden (Mark Mills) [P]
  22. The House at Riverton (Kate Morton) [P]
  23. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz) [M]
  24. The Forgotten Garden (Kate Morton) [P]
  25. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series (Stieg Larsson) [P]
    1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    2. The Girl Who Played with Fire
    3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
  26. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Jamie Ford) [P]
  27. State of Wonder (Ann Patchett) [P]
  28. Clara and Mr. Tiffany (Susan Vreeland) [P]
  29. The Weird Sisters (Eleanor Brown) [P]
  30. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak) [A]
  31. The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood) [M]

Adult SciFi/Fantasy
  1. Elantris (Brandon Sanderson) [P]
  2. Mistborn series (Brandon Sanderson) [A]
    1. Mistborn
    2. The Well of Ascension
    3. The Hero of Ages
  3. Warbreaker (Brandon Sanderson) [P]
  4. The Name of the Wind series (Patrick Rothfuss) [P]
    1. The Name of the Wind
    2. A Wise Man’s Fear
  5. Good Omens (Neil Gaiman) [P]
  6. Stardust (Neil Gaiman) [A]
  7. The Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson) [P]
  8. Wheel of Time series (Robert Jordan) [M]
    1. Fires of Heaven
    2. The Shadow Rising
    3. The Dragon Reborn
    4. The Great Hunt
    5. The Eye of the World
  9. The Magicians (Lev Grossman) [P]
  10. Ready Player One (Cline Ernest) [P]
  11. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Gregory Maguire) [M]
  12. The Road (Cormac McCarthy) [M]
  13. The Brief History of the Dead (Kevin Brockmeier) [H]

  1. Monster of God (David Quammen) [A]
  2. Wild Thoughts from Wild Places (David Quammen) [P]
  3. The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan) [A]
  4. The Third Chimpanzee (Jared Diamond) [M]
  5. An Anthropologist on Mars (Oliver Sacks) [A]
  6. Phantoms in the Brain (V.S. Ramachandran) [H]
  7. The Code Book (Simon Singh) [P]
  8. Monsters of the Sea (Richard Ellis) [P]
  9. The World Without Us (Alan Weisman) [P]
  10. 1491 (Charles Mann) [P]
  11. A History of the World in 6 Glasses (Tom Standage) [P]
  12. Leviathan (Eric Jay Dolin) [A]
  13. Born To Run (Christopher McDougall) [A]


  1. Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris) [A]
  2. When You Are Engulfed in Flames (David Sedaris) [P]
  3. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (David Sedaris) [P]
  4. Naked (David Sedaris) [P]
  5. Dry (Augusten Burroughs) [A]
  6. Running with Scissors: A Memoir (Augusten Burroughs) [P]
  7. Possible Side Effects (Augusten Burroughs) [M]
  8. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling) [A]
  9. Bossypants (Tina Fey) [A]
  10. Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner (Dean Karnazes) [P]
  11. Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger’s (John Elder Robison) [M]

YA SciFi/Fantasy
  1. The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly) [A]
  2. The Alchemyst series (Michael Scott) [P]
    1. The Alchemyst
    2. The Sorceress
    3. The Magician
    4. The Necromancer
    5. The Warlock
  3. The Lost Hero (Rick Riordan) [M]
  4. Percy Jackson and The Olympians series (Rick Riordan) [P]
    1. The Lightning Thief
    2. The Sea of Monsters
    3. The Titan’s Curse
    4. The Battle of the Labyrith
    5. The Last Olympian
  5. Gifts (Ursula Le Guin) [M]
  6. Forest Born (Shannon Hale) [M]
  7. Princess Academy (Shannon Hale) [P]
  8. The Book of a Thousand Days (Shannon Hale) [P]
  9. Enna Burning (Shannon Hale) [P]
  10. River Secrets (Shannon Hale) [M]
  11. The Goose Girl (Shannon Hale) [P]

YA Futuristic/Dystopia

  1. The Giver (Lois Lowry) [M]
  2. The Hunger Games series (Suzanne Collins) [A]
    1. The Hunger Games
    2. Catching Fire
    3. Mockingjay
  3. The Maze Runner series (James Dashner) [P]
    1. The Maze Runner
    2. The Scorch Trials
    3. The Death Cure
  4. The Book Without Words (Avi) [D]
  5. The Time of the Ghost (Diana Wynne Jones) [H]

YA General
  1. The Flavia de Luce Mysteries series - Alan Bradley [P]
    1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
    2. A Red Herring Without Mustard
    3. The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag
    4. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
  2. Cat's Eye (Margaret Atwood) [M]
  3. The Westing Game (Ellen Raskin) [P]

Children’s SciFi/Fantasy
  1. Castle in the Air (Diana Wynne Jones) [P]
  2. Dark Lord of Derkholm (Diana Wynne Jones) [P]
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones) [A]
  4. Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones) [P]
  5. Coraline (Neil Gaiman) [A]
  6. The Golden Compass serie (Philip Pullman) [A]
    1. The Golden Compass
    2. The Subtle Knife
    3. The Amber Spyglass
  7. House of Many Ways (Diana Wynne Jones) [P]
  8. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci series (Diana Wynne Jones) [P]
    1. Charmed Life
    2. The Magicians of Caprona
    3. Witch Week
    4. The Lives of Christopher Chant
    5. Mixed Magics
    6. Conrad’s Fate
    7. The Pinhoe Egg
  9. The Merlin Conspiracy (Diana Wynne Jones) [H]
  10. Deep Secret (Diana Wynne Jones) [M]
  11. Fire & Hemlock (Diana Wynne Jones) [P]
  12. Dogsbody (Diana Wynne Jones) [A]
  13. A Tale of Time City (Diana Wynne Jones) [P]
  14. The Dalemark Quartet (Diana Wynne Jones) [M]
  15. The Power of Three (Diana Wynne Jones) [M]
  16. Eight Days of Luke (Diana Wynne Jones) [H]
  17. Hexwood (Diana Wynne Jones) [H]
  18. Underland Chronicles (Suzanne Collins) [A]
    1. Gregor The Overlander
    2. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
    3. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
    4. Gregor and the Marks of Secret
    5. Gregor and the Code of Claw
  19. A Series of Unfortunate Events series (Lemony Snicket) [M]
    1. The Bad Beginning
    2. The Reptile Room
    3. The Wide Window
    4. The Miserable Mill
    5. The Austere Academy
  20. Fablehaven series (Brandon Mull) [M]
    1. Fablehaven
    2. Rise of the Evening Star
    3. Grip of the Shadow Plague
    4. Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary
    5. Keys to the Demon Prison
  21. Secret series (Pseudonymous Bosch) [P]
    1. The Name of this Book is Secret
    2. If You're Reading This, It's Too Late
    3. This Book Is Not Good For You
    4. This Isn’t What It Looks Like
    5. You Have To Stop This
  22. The Tale of Desperaux (Kate DiCamillo) [M]
  23. Un Lun Dun (China Mieville) [P]
  24. The Secret Zoo (Bryan Chick) [M]
  25. The Mysterious Benedict Society series (Trenton Lee Stewart) [P]
    1. The Mysterious Benedict Society
    2. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
    3. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma
    4. Tuesdays at the Castle (Jessica Day George)
  26. Liesl & Po (Lauren Oliver) [P]
  27. The Aviary (Kathleen O’Dell) [P]

Children’s General
  1. The Penderwicks series (Jeanne Birdsall) [P]
    1. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, And A Very Interesting Boy
    2. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
    3. The Penderwicks at Point Mousette

So there it is. I'll add to this list going forward in spurts or maybe I'll do a yearly update. And if you have any good book recommendations please let me know! I'm always searching for a good book and adding to my wish list.

Oh and I can't have a post without my pug! I almost forgot!
She says "woof."

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