Book Chat

Reading Log: January 2013

Wow, the first month of 2013 has gone by already!  It’s time for another monthly update on my Reading Log.  I love reading in January because of all the new books from Christmas!  This month was no exception – so many fun books that I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on for so long!  And lucky for me, there are still new books waiting to be read!

So here’s my Reading Log for January 2013, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  Plus I like to rate the books I read on the grading system and keep track of the binding… just for fun!

January 2013

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.

Title Start Finish Grade/
Format
Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1),
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
12/20/12 1/9/13

A
K

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love,
by Sherry and John Petersik
1/3/13 1/13/13

A+
HB

The Baby Name Wizard,
by Laura Wattenberg
1/8/13 1/13/13

A+
PB

Big Breasts and Wide Hips,
by Mo Yan
1/10/13 1/26/13

C
K

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure,
by Emma Campbell Webster
1/13/13 1/14/13

A
PB

Word Play Quilts: Easy Techniques from the UnRuly Quilter,
by Tonya Ricucci
1/19/13 1/19/13

A
PB

Dear Daddy Long Legs,
by Jean Webster
1/27/13 1/27/13

A+
K

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2),
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
1/28/13 Still Reading

TBD
K

Thoughts:

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1), by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl  – A

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

I really enjoyed this book, it felt epic and romantic and intriguing, if maybe a little young for me.  It all felt a little too YA, if you know what I mean.  I felt a little weird/bothered by the heavy emphasis on the Civil War history – for the most part, it was fine, but the way it was handled was a bit… off.  On the one hand, it was somewhat romanticized with flashbacks to Civil War-era ancestors.  On the other hand, the authors spend a lot of time criticizing and making fun of the history-obsessed townspeople who take their pride to the extreme.  The Civil War is one of the main focuses of the book, but it’s all written without a single mention of slavery… even though one of the main characters is African American.  The writers go to great lengths to describe almost every single townsperson as narrow-minded and prejudiced, spending all their time gossiping, shunning outsiders, and preparing for the annual reenactment of a Civil War battle.  Realistically, I just don’t see how so much emphasis can be put on that single part of American history without some racial tension also mentioned.  But even thought I have some complaints, I really enjoyed the story.  At times a bit slow, maybe, but it was a really fun world to step into.  The ending packed a punch and overall, this was a fun series to start.  Looking forward to reading the rest of the series before the movie comes out!

 …

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love, by Sherry and John Petersik – A+

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

This book is so awesome!  It’s basically a collection of ideas and how-tos for the beginning homeowner, with personal stories from the authors woven into each chapter.  I love that it goes beyond step-by-step projects and becomes more of a springboard for getting started – lots of different options are given, with lots of ways to customize each project, and lots of encouragement too!  I appreciated the variety, ranging from free to a couple hundred dollars, from completed-in-five-minutes to done-in-a-weekend projects.  It somehow sums up everything I’d like my space to look like – clean, colorful, and modern… But still livable and personal.  Even though you can find most of these ideas online somewhere, it’s nice to have it all in one reference guide.  I wish this had been around during my ill-fated side table refurbishing in 2008… before I even knew what a blog was, and was definitely too intimidated to find a complicated How-To book in the library.  This will definitely be a source of projects for a while to come.

 …

The Baby Name Wizard, by Laura Wattenberg – A+

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

First off… this is in no way an announcement!  I am not and have no plans to become pregnant in the near future 🙂  I guess I’ve always been slightly obsessed with names – I even had a baby name book in high school – but this book is cool because it ties into my love of the sociological aspect behind baby naming, not just thinking of my own future children.  The author came up with a computer program that tracks what aspects of each name tie it to other similar naming styles.  The unique set-up is cool because it adds so much to the process – lists of naming styles, sibling names that work together, simple graphs that show the rise and fall of a name’s popularity in the last 100 years, the cultural pros and cons, how to tell if a name is about to shoot into the Top 100, how to choose between your favorites, etc.  My favorite naming styles are Antique Charm, Brisk and Breezy, English, and Why Not?  And for the record, my current favorite names are Hazel, Evelyn, Oliver, and Charlie.  I wrote a list on a post-it and stuck it in the back of the book, since I probably won’t be referring to it again for another couple years.  It will be fun to see if my “naming style” changes when I’m considering names for an actual (not hypothetical) baby.

 …

Big Breasts and Wide Hips, by Mo Yan – C

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

Book club pick for January.  I have to admit that this was challenging for me – very outside my comfort zone.  It was interesting to read about a part of the world I don’t know much about, but I can’t say I enjoyed any of the characters or even much of the plot.  The story follows one Chinese family of eight daughters and one son during the 20th Century.  I vaguely knew about the war between Japan and China that weakened Japan at the end of World War II, but I don’t remember any actual details from high school World History (sophormore year?  2003 or so?) and definitely don’t know much about the journey to communism.  The narrative view is extremely narrow, so the overarching political events are not very clear (from my standpoint at least).  A lot of horrific events, a lot of violence, a lot of characters that come and go.  The main character is pretty uninspiring, to say the least… and honestly, I was glad when I finally reached the end.

 …

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure, by Emma Campbell Webster – A

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

Fun stuff!  Reading this was almost like playing a board game – along the way, you could gain or lose Accomplishments, Intelligence, Confidence, Connections, and Fortune (both money and luck), with quizzes on 18th-centrury trivia and decisions that lead you to different paths in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure books.  You start out as Elizabeth Bennett, your mission: to marry both prudently and for love.  While the book mostly follows the plot of Pride and Prejudice, different decisions can lead you to “diversions” into different Austen plots (and even characters from her actual life).  I took me a while to appreciate the cheeky tone… at first it seemed too sarcastic and almost mean-spirited.  But I loved the wish-fulfilling aspect of discovering what would happen if Austen’s characters deviated from the plot.  What would happen if Elizabeth accepted Mr. Collins’s marriage proposal so her family would be saved from the entail?  What if Elizabeth accepted Darcy’s first proposal, before they both learned their lessons about pride and prejudice?  What if Darcy’s cousin fell in love with Elizabeth while they spent so much time together at Rosings? Of course, I cheated and read all the different options to go in the direction I wanted to go… after all I’m definitely a read-the-last-page-first kind of girl.  Austen’s works are quoted extensively, which might be a negative for some, but I actually didn’t mind it at all—it was like a condensed version of Austen’s world, with all the best parts meshed into one adventure.  Maybe that’s not acceptable for die-hard fans, but all in good fun for a modern Austenite.

 …

Word Play Quilts: Easy Techniques from the UnRuly Quilter, by Tonya Ricucci – A

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

Finally, finally I got my hands on this book.  I’ve wanted to explore wonky/liberated/UnRuly quilting, but it’s hard to learn it all online.  This book is a great resource, to have all the guidelines in one place.  This quote sums up “UnRuly quilting” best: “The most important rules are these: If it’s too long, cut it off.  If it’s too short, add to it.”  Will definitely have some fun playing with this easy technique.

 …

Dear Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster – A+

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

I definitely needed a palette cleanser after finishing the January book club pick and this was perfect.  There’s nothing more comforting than re-reading an old favorite.  Unfortuately, the Kindle edition does not have illustrations, which is a big part of the charm.  I need to hunt out my paperback copy for the next time.  I loved revisiting the characters, the references, the wit, the sunny letters.  And as usual, I desperately want to go to a girl’s college at the turn of the century!

 …

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2), by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – TBD

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

Just started – such a fun series!  Looking forward to the movie coming out on Valentine’s Day and reading the rest of the books (four total).

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of January.  Anyone else reading a good book?

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Reading Log: January 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.