Have you signed up for the Savvy Reader 50 Book Pledge, from Harper Collins Canada? The idea is simple: pledge to make reading a priority, and read at least 50 books in one year (one book a week, with two weeks left over). The point isn’t so much the number of books you read, as it is about incorporating reading into your life, and as a lifelong book addict, I’m totally up for that! Find out more about how to sign up on the Savvy Reader blog.
As I mentioned, I’m a lifelong book addict. Remember Belle from Beauty and the Beast? That’s me. Without the romance and adventure and talking appliances, but definitely, the part about always having my nose in a book. Taking public transit, waiting in long lines, catching a coffee break — I usually have a book in hand.
More than that — I love talking about books! Do you ever approach random strangers and ask about the book they’re reading? I usually don’t, unless it’s a book I absolutely absolutely adore, but I do admit to sneaking a peek every now and then, and wondering what about the book the reader finds so fascinating. Point being, I just finished the 50 Book Pledge, and I thought of writing a blog post about my favourite books of the year so far. Then I realized I’d been really fortunate this year — I’ve read so many good books that I couldn’t choose any favourites!
Now, each of the books I’ve read touched me in different ways. If you’ve read any of them, I’d love to know what you thought of them!
Book I’ve recommended the most: Among Others, Jo Walton
Love, love, love this book! Dan from Raincoast Books called it a novel for book nerds, and I think that just about says it all. Seriously: if you love reading, if you love libraries, most especially if you love science fiction and fantasy — read this book.
Book that made me cry: A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
I was an emotional mess the entire time I was reading this book. I did have a personal reason for being so affected by it, but from what I’ve heard, it’s touched a lot of others as well. Beautiful, haunting, and powerful.
Book I am most proud to have finished: War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Seriously, I’ve tried to read War and Peace several times over the past few years, and have never gotten past the first couple of chapters. So this year, I decided to hunker down and finished the damn thing. Main difficulty: I couldn’t read any other books while reading this, nor could I take too long a break between reading sessions, or else I would get completely lost about the characters. Good news: once I got to know the characters a bit better, I really got into the story. Enjoyable book.
Book that made me laugh: Dead Kid Detective Agency, Evan Munday
One of the most fun books I’ve read this year, this book kept me giggling throughout. Granted, it doesn’t take much to make me laugh, and I think there’s something geeky about Munday’s humour that just strikes a chord with mine. But seriously, any book with a glossary that includes Jackie Chan and tells anyone who doesn’t know who Jackie Chan is to “drop this book immediately” and rent “the Hong Kong stuff” is a total win in my book.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, John Le Carre
Loved the movie, and am actually glad I saw it before reading the book. Remembering the movie and the actors helped me keep things straight. That being said, both book and movie are incredible.
Gathering Blue and Messenger, Lois Lowry
I’m a huge fan of The Giver but have never read its sequels. Now, with the final book in the series, Son, coming out in Fall 2012, I thought I’d give them a shot. Gathering Blue is amazing — not as magical as The Giver, but I love how it’s all about the power of art to shape a society’s future. Lovely message, especially for an art enthusiast like me. Messenger has some interesting points about selflessness and immigration policies, and was sadder than I expected. Personally, I wish the ending hadn’t left quite so many questions unanswered, but it seems to have been a conscious decision on Lowry’s part. On her site, she says “Of course every good book leaves one wondering, and the conclusion of the trilogy will, as well.”
I love Agatha Christie’s mysteries, and reading a Christie is a total treat for me. This year, I’ve so far read three that I haven’t read before: 4:50 from Paddington, Crooked House and Dead Man’s Folly. Also a treat re-reading favourite Christies Death on the Nile and Murder at the Vicarage. And I’m only just realizing that a full tenth of the books I’ve read this year are Agatha Christie titles. Yikes!
On a side note: if you have never read an Agatha Christie, check out And Then There Were None, quite possibly my favourite Christie of all time.