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2012 reading challenge

The Best Books I Read in 2012: Part 1 July to December

I was soooo close to completing my GoodReads Challenge of 100 books in 2012. I read 94 to be exact. I blame my kindle breaking on my inability to finish the last 7. Luckily, my new one is in the mail on its way to me. I read a lot of really great books this year. Here are some of the best.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien: I re-read this after seeing the movie. There was just so much in the movie I didn't recall reading about. Oh, that is because it is not actually in the book. Peter Jackson took a little creative liberty in his films. Both are good, but the Hobbit is much more of a simple tale than the movies. It's a classic. 

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: I have a thing for books about Dragonlore. Seraphina is probably the most unique piece of literature written about dragons that I have ever read. The title character lives in a world where dragons can take human shape and she must hide who she really is. 

Watersmeet and The Centaur's Daughter by Ellen Jenson Abbott: I really like this series. It is really refreshing to read a series for teenage girls in which the heroine faces much greater problems than who she should date. In fact, any sort of romantic interest is not introduced until book 2. Seriously, girls need stronger literature role models. Think Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen vs Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele.

The Copper Sign by Katia Fox: When I was in high school, I took a metal working class. Since then, I have had secret dreams of being a jewelry designer or blacksmith. This piece of historical fiction is about a female blacksmith in the Middle Ages. The author did a ton of research on the techniques, and at least for me it proved to be an interesting read. 

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: My mom has been harping on me to read this book for years. It follows the story of Dinah, Leah and Rachel of the Bible. It is a fascinating retelling of a familiar story and shows the strength of connection between womankind. 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: This book was recommended to me by my friend Christy, and by recommended, I mean she would not stop mentioning it on facebook and her blog. While I don't think I loved it as much as she did, it is still worth a read. It follows a young scholar discovers that you can't escape your families past. Mainly, this book made we want to visit Oxford and take up rowing. Perhaps, not the intended results, but that is what I focused on.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: Picked as a selection for the now debunked book club of AMS bloggers, this book about being a woman in Afghanistan both before and after the Taliban is heart wrenching. 

This year, I am going for a much more modest 75 books. Don't forget to follow me on GoodReads!

What was your favorite book of 2012?

Images from Good Reads

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Halfway There: 50 Books Read on my 100 Books GoodReads Challenge

At the end of last year, my prospects were slim. I hadn't yet done any research to go back to school here in The Netherlands, and I was receiving more than my fair share of rejection letters, I decided to sign up for the GoodReads Reading Challenge. I figured, if I was going to have all this free time on my hands, and limited funds, I might as well do something valuable with my time. In the GoodReads Challenge you are allowed to pick the number of books you want to read. Since I had all this time on my hands, and I am a freaky fast reader. Seriously, I am not even trying to gloat, everyone has some weird special talent and mine is reading faster than the speed of light.

Well, I finally did it, I made it halfway through the challenge. Officially, that makes me 4 books behind.Not exactly the position that you want to be in when you are about to go into what could be the busiest time in your entire life for the last 4 months of the year. But, I will catch up. I listed some of the best books I read when I was 1/3 of a way through the challenge, so here are the good one's I read from 34 to 50.

  • 1Q84 by Haruiki Murakami: This is probably the strangest book I have ever read. It should be said that I never read Science Fiction so maybe it isn't that weird for the genre. Some part of this book really turned me off, like the obsession with describing all the female character's breasts. But the story itself is interesting and beautifully written.
  • Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman: I knew almost nothing about Hasidic Jews except for what I learned by watching I Love New York. This book really opened my eyes to the fact of how generally lucky I feel to have been brought up in an extremely secular household. 
  • The Surgeon and The Apprentice both by Tess Gerritsen: I really like Rizzoli and Isles, the detective show based on these books. Normally, if I see the show or movie first,I don't bother with the books, because I get bored if I already know the story. In this case however, I enjoyed learning more about the strong female characters.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: Interesting take on Zombies, I also read the follow up, but that one is just the same story retold. 
  • The Naming by Alison Croggon: I love love love well written epic fantasy. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: The story of one little German village during WW2, as told by the Grim Reaper. It is an interesting concept with great execution. 

You can keep up with everything I have read so far this year here. What is the best thing you have read this year? 

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1/3 of the Way Through My 2012 GoodReads Challenge, 100 Books!

I am obsessed with goodreads, it helps me to keep track of what I have read, what I want to read, and what my friends are reading! This year, I decided to sign up for the goodreads challenge. Basically, you pick how many books you are going to try and read in 2012, and goodreads will keep track of it. Most people seem to have goals anywhere from 12 books to 50. But not me. I figured since I am currently  unemployed, I should set a lofty goal of 100 books in 2012. Or about two books a week, this whole year. I have finally made it through the first 1/3 of the books for this challenge. According to goodreads I am ahead of where I need to be to finish my goal, but my inburgering is going to start soon and in September, I have every intention of going back to college. I think I should step it up this summer! 

When one is trying to read approximately two books every week, you get some crap thrown into the pile to keep up the quota. That being said, I have read some decent titles this year. Here are some of the gems of the 35, I have read so far. 

Harry Potter 1-7, plus The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K Rowling

  • Of course, I read each of these when they first came out, and 4-7 again before their respective movies, but I had never read all of them back to back. It was a good experience and I HIGHLY recommend it! 

The Giver, by Lois Lowery

  • Number the Stars was required reading in school. But, I had never read The Giver, which  was my friend Sarah's favorite book when we were little. It was a fast read and  it begged to question is Utopia ever really reachable or would we have to give up too much?

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

  • You can't go wrong with Ms. Austen.

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

  • A mystery about a book, with a twist that I didn't expect. I was hooked!

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer

  • This was a book club selection, that I wasn't looking forward to, but ended up really liking!

Clash of Kings, Book Two of A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin

  • I started this book right after Game of Thrones, Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire, but after accidently seeing a spoiler, so I stopped until I could force myself to forget it. This whole series just pulls you in!

What was the last good book you read? Right now I am a 1/4 of the way through with Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. 

This week I am linking up with fellow expat blogger Ellen from  Company of Clever. Her blog title comes from one of the books listed above. Can you guess which one? 

Don't forget to find me on goodreads

 

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