First Quarter Reading

I believe the first quarter of the year is most notably audiobook season for me, while Bart is doing busy season and I just listen to books like crazy in the evening while I cook whatever random things I feel like cooking to eat by myself.

  • Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic
  • Oh dear heavens. This was just not good.

  • Chime by Franny Billingsley
  • This book got so many stars, it’s ridiculous, but it did nothing for me. I slogged through the audio fo this.

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • We read this for bookclub and we pretty much all didn’t like it. It was dark and crass and kind of down on women.

  • Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
  • This was a cute and fun little historical fiction book about Florida during the depression.

  • Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  • I’m sorry. It’s just not as good as the first two. Also, carrying this around at ALA meant that DOZENS of people asked me where I’d gotten it.

  • The List by Siobhan Vivian
  • EIGHT separate voices. I didn’t love the ending, but I liked a lot of the book.

  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • When I read Bitterblue, it became obvious I needed to reread Graceling because I could only remember the basic outline of the story.

  • Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  • Not nearly as good as Hugo, in my opinion. But then, nobody asked for my opinion.

  • The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
  • BAH, HUMBUG. This book had a great premise (and a long title), but it kind of fell flat for me. I’ll just have to fail at love, marriage, and dirty dishes.

  • Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin
  • Meh. In some ways, I loved it, in others it was SO odd. It did make me want to read more about Russia under Stalin, though.

  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  • You guys. I love this book so much. I have been so thrilled by how many people have commented or emailed to tell me they’ve read this book at my suggestion and loved it too. 

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • I’ve read all of John Green’s books (that he’s written himself – I haven’t read his co-written books) and while I still think Looking for Alaska is more brilliant, this one was quite good. Maybe a little much there at the end.

  • The Catatrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
  • I usually like after-death stories, but this one was so dumb and the main girl made me want to smack her.

  • Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli
  • Jerry Spinelli is so very hit or miss for me. This was a . . . something in-between, I guess.

  • Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
  • This book has Printz written all over it. Which means I thought it was pointless.

  • Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
  • Better than Bitter End, not as good as Hate List.

  • Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
  • A quick little audio book that I liked well enough. Now to see if I feel compelled to pick up the sequel.

  • Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony
  • This is supposed to be a totally different kind of book, with a website, an app, online content, and the book itself made up of IMs, photos, drawings, etc. But. . . I got to the end and had no idea what had even happened.

  • A Good American by Alex George
  • I got this on CD and zipped through it quite quickly. Pretty interesting.

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Deadly horse races? Not really my thing. Took me until the last CD to really enjoy this one.

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Someday I will get around to reviewing this, but in the meantime, know that this book is fantastic. Highly recommended. 

  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman
  • Another bookclub choice. Not my favorite book ever, but a lot of great discussion.

  • I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
  • I wish she had fifty more books. She just makes me laugh. If you are going on a vacation, this is a great choice. Or if you’re staying home to lay on your couch, this is also an excellent pick.

  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Behavior by Dan Ariely
  • Interesting in that Malcolm Gladwell kind of way, but not QUITE as sharp and awesome as his books are.

  • Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • This is ridiculously good historical fiction. Review coming next week. Go reserve a copy at your library. 

  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  • I would hesitate to recommend this because of the language, etc, but I am a sucker for time travel and especially historical time travel. I loved all 850 pages of this enormous book.

  • The Apothecary by Maile Meloy and Ian Schoenherr
  • Really a good little older middle-grade/young-YA fantasy. A dash of romance, a lot of adventure – I wish I’d had this book at my elementary school for some of the more advanced readers, especially the girls.

  • Fire by Kristin Cashore
  • Another reread. Just delightful to revisit one of my favorite books. I was shocked by how much of this I had forgotten. I loved Fire and I loved listening to this instead of reading it.

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  • Reply Creole Wisdom April 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    You amaze me! So many goods, so little time 🙂 My best friend, the dietician, loves "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." I need to pick it up! Thanks for sharing what you loved and what you didn't!

  • Reply Norby Family April 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I'm pretty sure you forgot what the scorpio races was about because it is most definitely not about two Indian women =)

  • Reply cat April 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Nooo, please don't say Bitterblue wasn't good, I've been waiting for that book for a long time… 🙁

  • Reply Diane April 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the reviews. I did take I've Got Your Number on Vacation and loved it.

  • Reply NGS April 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Adding to my library list. I love it when you put it together in one long list like this!

  • Reply Mary April 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    My mom is visiting this week and we're sharing book suggestions. Each of mind end with "Janssen recommended it!" What would I read if you didn't post your thoughts on books? Who knows. We are also both amazed at how you can read all of these books! I've only read 3 complete books so far this year, but I've started four or five others. You're amazing!

  • Reply Angiegirl April 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    *happysigh* I love FIRE. I love rereading FIRE.

    And the Stephen King sounds great. I've been in the mood to try another King. Off to go check it out . . .

  • Reply melissa @ 1lbr April 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I just posted my review of Where Things Come Back today. Such a weird book and your thought is spot on for most Printz books 🙂

  • Reply Lisa April 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Agree on Weird Sisters, and about John Green (Both this and LFA being the best), will return Catastrophic History unread because I don't have time for stupidity, and really I should stop leaving this comment and go finish Born Wicked since it's due TODAY.

  • Reply Chrissie April 5, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I also really like your lists/reviews. What a great range of books you read as well!

  • Reply Laura {a spoonful of joy} April 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    i'm the same way – i listen to books on c.d. whenever my husband works late… i'm not a big t.v. watcher but i don't like the house to be too quiet when it's just me and my son home at night! 🙂 great list!

  • Reply Tina's Blog April 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I love your quarterly list of books. Breaking Stalin's Nose is one I have been waiting to hear your thoughts on. While I am also now more interested in Stalinist Russia, I just think my students will be lost in this one. When I reviewed it I didn't like it much at all, but it has grown on me a bit and it is one I keep thinking about.
    Also I totally agree on the John Corey Whaley book – ugh. I had this one from the Amazon Vine program and had to review it. I never would have selected it had I known it was going to be a Printz winner.

  • Reply Saskia April 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks for the list, I now have new books to check out! Also, I tried searching for 11/22/63 in my library here, but was foiled because dates are written day/month/year here…sometimes my common sense deserts me.

  • Reply Camille April 8, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Do you feel like you get as much out of a book when you listen to it instead of reading it? I never feel like I do 🙁

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