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Last Year I Read Books!

June 6, 2013

Last year I read a number of books which I didn’t discuss at all here. I’ve been rather offline (due to personal and professional reasons) for quite some time, and I likely won’t get caught up again with reviewing all of these books. Instead, I thought I’d list out the titles for you and ask – are there any of these that you would especially love to hear a little bit more about? Let me know in a comment!

  • Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada by Lawrence Hill – this book explores life in Canada as for Hill, a multiracial man. He discusses stereotypes, racism, and changes in society over the years. Really interesting and recommended for Canadians especially.
  • Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – the third book in Cashore’s Graceling series, a young adult trilogy about fierce heroines who live by their own rules. This is my favourite and most recommended young adult series.
  • Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco – part novel, part graphic novel, this book deals with the slow decline of life in a number of American towns and cities, and the reasons behind this decline.  Very interesting and well done.
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip – Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica – I listened to this one on audio, a memoir from a memoir that originated via a blog, originally. It wasn’t a favourite, but was interesting and with some humourous moments.
  • The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – a favourite that’s done a tour of many blogs I read, I enjoyed this discussion of the cells harvested from Lacks and used to enrich many – but not her descendants.
  • Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu – a young adult / middle grade book read as part of Aarti’s More Diverse Universe challenge. I always love Okorafor’s works as they contain remarkably diverse characters and settings, and her story lines are always fantastic and fun.
  • Ender’s Game by Scott Orson Card – a very non-diverse and non-accepting science fiction read… that I could have done without. Wince.
  • The Survival League by Gordan Nuhanovic, translated by Julienne Eden Busic – a collection of short stories by a Croatian author. While some where interesting, I wasn’t enthralled.
  • Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing up Latina by Rosie Molinary – mentioned by Eva I then picked this one up on sale. It’s an interesting look at life as a Latina in the USA. Probably even more interesting for a Latina, but does highlight racism and unique differences for a group of citizens, so a worthwhile read for anyone.
  • Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction edited by Sabrina Chap – a fantastic collection of essays, art, music, photographs, and fiction exploring the link between creativity and self-destruction by female artists. Published by one of my favourites, Seven Stories Press.
  • Swoon by Caledonia Curry (Swoon) – a street artist I learned about in Live Through This and fell in love with because of her amazing work, such as this one. This is a coffee table book about her life and her projects.
  • Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere by Lauren Leto – “funny” work on what it means to like certain books, caricatures based on what people like or are on their shelves, how to “fake” having read certain classics. I found the humour didn’t match my own, but I did agree that we should change to the term bookcat rather than bookworm.
  • Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates – completely crushing and heart-wrenching yet incredibly powerful and engaging read about the aftermath of a rape in a small town. Very well written.
  • The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly – this was kind of a work assignment. It was rather dull and… well… obvious. Not terrible though.
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson – interesting and strange. Fairly well written and multi-faceted female character for an early white male science fiction book. (Is it bad that this surprises me?)
  • Why Have Kids?  by Jessica Valenti – I wonder this myself so… seriously though, this book was an interesting look at the reasons that people have kids, and an honest look at life after kids. She talks about things parents should probably know and discuss prior to the baby.
  •  Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore – this had a varied list of authors discussing passing in its many different forms, examining culture and gender and conformity and power. Very awesome. I may have to read it again soon.
  • The first few books of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series – yawn, but with the last book coming out, I wanted to re-read and finally complete the entire series.

So there you have it. Some reading, few reviews, and, for some titles, little memory.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2013 8:51 pm

    Neuromancer is the selection for my book club later this month. Never managed to put it on my list, so it should prove intersting.

  2. June 6, 2013 10:28 pm

    You’re back! *happy dance* (Also, I know I owe you an e-mail from an embarrassingly long time ago. I’m so sorry! Hope your personal reasons are good rather than bad. *hugs*)

    What a diverse collection of books! Of course, Black Berry, Sweet Juice caught my eye. I read Hill’s The Negro Book so I’d love to read some of his nonfiction. Have you read Pigfruit n Breadtails by Austin Clarke? He talks a bit about being a Caribbean immigrant in Canada, especially Toronto. 🙂

  3. June 7, 2013 6:46 am

    Yes, happy dance as Eva says! And I love short reviews! Wish I could do them myself! I love reading them, especially when one says so much in a pithy phrase or two. Love your take on Ender’s Game. I sort of hate that I liked it so much when I read it, but it was many years ago, before I was more “enlightened” shall we say – I kind of want to read it again just to see if I would feel the same way! :–) As for Oates, isn’t everything she writes “crushing”? LOL I read one of her books, and am afraid to read any more! :–)

  4. June 7, 2013 9:34 am

    You are still reading Yay! I think I may do a runner and go offline for awhile, like you. My only fear is that when I come back, no one is around to greet me. lol

  5. June 7, 2013 12:48 pm

    Hey Amy! I’d lover t hear more about Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco

  6. debbierodgers permalink
    June 7, 2013 3:11 pm

    I’d love to hear some more about Black Berry, Sweet Juice as my grandson is multiracial and growing up in Canada.

  7. June 8, 2013 12:24 pm

    Oh, I want to hear more about the Lawrence Hill… And then I will likely buy it… (I am crazy and didn’t like The Wheel of Time… Maybe one day I will go back to it…)

  8. June 8, 2013 6:14 pm

    I’d love your views on the two ones I’ve read (and loved!): The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks and Ender’s Game.

  9. June 10, 2013 7:08 pm

    I’d be interested in hearing more about Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity.
    I recently (finally) read Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein and while it was interesting, it was also a bit outdated and not quite what I was looking for.

  10. June 18, 2013 8:08 am

    Welcome back, Amy! I’m curious about Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction. Sounds like it could be fascinating.

  11. June 18, 2013 11:47 am

    Great, great. What about Henrietta Lacks? I’ve read the reviews at some places before, hence if the demands become ‘unbearable’ then you can drop it.

  12. June 20, 2013 11:00 am

    Glad to see you’re back in action!

  13. July 10, 2013 9:30 pm

    I’ve just finished reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore and quite enjoyed it so was excited to see the series is your favourite. Looking forward to reading the other two books now! 🙂

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