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Taking Stock - December - 2012
labandbooks
proseandkahn
Total Posts: 37started, not published
Total Books Read this Month: 36
Total Books Read this Year: 415

Challenges:
Audio Books: 5/83 ytd
Debut Author: 4/30 ytd
Mount TBR Challenge: 3/48 ytd

The Good: I surpassed my Goodreads goal of 400 books. Unfortunately the two totals (LJ and GR) don't jibe because GR doesn't allow counting of rereads. I frequently reread favorites with my ears if I originally read with my eyes and vice versa.

The Bad:  LJ continues to have glitches and technical difficulties galore. Losing patience. Really, why am I still blogging on LJ?

Also, I didn't write enough reviews. As I may have explained ad nauseum, writing is a slow and painful process for me. So slow that I'd rather be reading. That said, I did not get around to blogging about books I absolutely adored (see below).

The WTF: I really don't like to use that acronym, but, I had a number of wtf moments this year mostly having to do with not sharing the love for some raved about books. The most notable of which has to be The Fault in Our Stars. Don't get me wrong. I like it. I didn't love it. It was a good cancer book. But it broke no new ground. I actually liked Me, Earl and the Dying Girl a whole lot better. I read it simultaneously with my eyes and with my ears. Kate Rudd did a spectacular job performing it and I liked it better with my ears but ultimately found (guiltily) the two main characters too pretentious to stomach. I also didn't love the media hype surrounding the launch. Color me cynical.

Hugely disappointed in Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I have been playing a bit of catch up with the Mortal Instruments series and mostly a fan until the fourth, City of Fallen Angels. I listened to Clockwork Angel with my husband on a car trip to visit #4 son at college. He was intrigued enough to steal my cds and finish the book on his own. I ended up buying him Clockwork Prince, but he quit it early on. I, on the other hand, listened to the bitter end and was bitterly disappointed with how wimpy Tessa got and the repetitive angsty scenes.

I was also disappointed in Safekeeping by Karen Hesse. I am a huge fan of most of the author's work but I could not buy into the premise of Safekeeping. There were just too many "ah, no," moments.  I read it with my ears and I have read that the print version contains photographs, but I didn't even try to seek out the book to check out the photos.

Faves that were not reviewed:
Wonder by R.J. Palacio: originally read this one with my ears and was so, so disappointed in the audio despite the starred review for the audiobook in SLJ. Luckily, the performances did not detract from the intense story. Deserving of all the Newbery buzz. Totally and completely in love with this one.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: Read this one with my ears and Libba Bray can not only write her ass off, she can narrate it off (as well as sing it off and act it off) (really, is there anything she can't do?) I was late to the party to read this one. It will remain on my all-time faves for a while (along with Going Bovine).
Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi: Read Ship Breaker with my ears and adored it. Read the arc of this one with my eyes and thought that this was even better! Printz, anyone?
Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie: I don't know what arc fairy godmother to thank for this one. I was totally destroyed by this one. What a beautiful, powerful story. So sorry the author was overlooked by the Morris committee.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer: this was another one that I avoided because of all the pre-pub hype. The only good thing about that is that the wait for the second installment is that much shorter.
Summer of the Gypsy Moth by Sara Pennypacker: Only Sara Pennypacker could've pulled this Weekend at Bernie's for the pint-sized off.
One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate: this was one that also got some early Newbery buzz and I initially resisted reading. Don't.
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead: I am such a fan of this diverse writer. I am totally ashamed that I did not write about this one. Especially since I was totally surprised at the end.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young: another overly hyped debut that I avoided. I read it with my ears only after my sister, Barbara, a high school librarian raved about it. Unique voice. And, yes, better than The Hunger Games.
iBoy by Kevin Brooks: I adore Kevin Brooks, but his books are really for a high school audience, so I don't read everything he writes because I don't have the time. In iBoy, once I decided to let go and accept the contrivances, I was hooked.
Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter: I really enjoyed Ms. Shecter's biography of Cleopatra and when I heard about Cleopatra's Moon, I pre-ordered it, but then it sat on TOM. This past summer, the audiobook was available as a free download and I took advantage of it and finally read it with my ears. The production was very well done!
Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Obed: I received an arc of this darling little book from Houghton Mifflin when I attended their publisher preview at KidLitCon this past September. It is lovely and would fit very nicely as a mentor text in any middle or high school language arts classroom.
Unspoken by Henry Coles: This one is my personal choice for Caldecott. How do you spell P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L.? I work very closely with the ESL teacher at my school. We both share a love of wordless books and find using them particularly effective with English language learners. When I showed her Unspoken, she grabbed it, read it and said, "I'm buying it." She used it as a mentor text with her eighth graders to help them study the Civil War.
The Diviners by Libba Bray: I read this comment somewhere on the interwebz: The Diviners is the shortest long book you'll ever read. Oh yeah. I swallowed this baby whole. Before its publication date. The problem with reading arcs early is the long wait till the publication of sequels, especially if arcs are not distributed.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater: The Scorpio Races was one of my faves earlier this year. I liked but did not love Linger and disliked the sequels even more. This one put my admiration for the author back on the upside. Atmospheric, romantic, quirky, with just the right amount of creep factor. Looking forward to the sequels.
Dodger by Terry Pratchett: I recently finished reading this one with my ears and might just get to writing about it. But, then again, might not. I am definitely rereading it with my eyes. I adore Terry Pratchett and mourn his devastating diagnosis. Stephen Briggs is simply brilliant as a narrator, period, but seems to have a particular affinity for Pratchett's singular humor. I adored this book and (repeat) will be rereading with my eyes if only to mark the text horribly.

December's list: * = a favorite
378. Rebel Heart by Moira Young. Dust Lands #2 (12/1)
379. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (12/3)*
380. The Third Wheel (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #7) by Jeff Kinney (12/4)
381 One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (12/5)
382. The Christmas Genie by Dan Gutman (12/5)
383. Dusssie by Nancy Springer (12/5)
384. Mutiny in Time (Infinity Ring #1) by James Dashner (12/6)
385. Secrets from the Sleeping Bag by Rose Cooper (12/6)
386. Farm Boy by Michael Morpurgo (12/7)
387. Madeline L'Engle's a Wrinkle in Time: the Graphic Novel adapted by Hope Larson (12/7)
388. Her Permanent Record by Jimmy Gownley (12/7)
389. Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All (Dork Diaries #5) (12/8)
390. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (12/8)*
391. Citizen Scientists by Loree Griffen Burns (12/10)*
392. Cactus Soup by Eric Kimmel (12/10)
393. The Two Mountains by Eric Kimmel (12/10)
394. Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Prachett (12/10)
395. Beowulf adapted by Gareth Hinds (12/11)
396. My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff (12/12)
397. The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse (12/13)
398. Shadow by Michael Morpurgo (12/15)
399. Who Could That Be at This Hour by Lemony Snicket (12/15)
400. Seriously, I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (12/16)
401. Goodnight iPad: a parody for the next generation by Ann Droyd (12/16)
402. Just Behave, Pablo Picasso by Jonah Winter (12/20)
403. Hunter Moran Saves the Universe by Patricia Reilly Giff (12/21)
404. If I'm So Smart, Why Aren't the Answers Easy? by Robert A. Schultz & James R. Delisle (12/21)
405. Dodger by Terry Pratchett (12/21)*
406. I Funny: a middle school story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (12/23)
407. Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (12/26)
408. The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park (12/27)
409. I'm Bored by Michael Ian Black (12/27)
410. Oh No! (or how I built a time machine to save history) (or at least my history grade) by Mac Barnett (12/27)
411. Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli (12/27)
412. The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng (12/27)
413. Etched in Clay by Andrea Cheng (12/28)*
414. The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver (12/29)
415. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (12/31)


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