Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Top 10 YA Books of 2011

This is a much harder list for me to make than the one I did for books for adults. I am always worried that I'm hurting peoples feelings by not including them. But here goes. My top 10 YA books read in 2011, not in any order. Please note I read Divergent in 2010 or it would totally make this list (although I didn't include advance reading copies on last years list so it has fallen through the cracks of my inconsistent rules).

1. The Big Crunch by Pete Hautmann - gorgeous book of a teen relationship.
2. Annexed by Sharon Dogar - basically a fictionalized story of Peter van Pels who with his family hid in the annex with Anne Frank and her family. Thought provoking.
3. Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi - a book that made me feel empowered, like I could join an underground resistance and kick an army's ass! Also new book boyfriend - need I say more?
4. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley - this book felt like a classic the moment I read it - and I mean that in a good way. It was like Holes plus A Separate Peace plus the best of John Green plus The Catcher in the Rye all put together - and yet completely original (Vikki -that comment is for you)
5. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman. A must read for teens and adults -if you've ever been in a relationship you have to read this book. Especially if you've suffered teen heartbreak. I am dying for more people to read it so that we can talk about it!
6. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. Lisa D had been urging me to read this for ages and when I finally did I was hooked! Such an excellent world Fisher has created - there is a prison called Incarceron, and then their is "outside" which is the future (from today) yet they act like its the 1800s or something crazy like that. Like some sort of crazypants steampunk reversal world!
7. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. - my favourite Sarah Dessen book featuring my favourite character - Monica. Love her. And of course Wes.
8.  The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I accidentally bought this book twice - I do this a lot - I think I don't own it so I buy it then when I finally read it I realize I have two copies. Loved this book -poor Lennie is so messed up and makes bad decisions and it all felt so real!
9. This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel - An amazing story of young Victor Frankenstein, his brother and the girl they both loved. Exciting and swoon-worthy!
10. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier - again I resisted this for some crazy reason. So amazing. Time travel, intrigue and romance. I can't wait for the next one!

I just realized I have enough Middle Grade books to do a Top 10 Middle Grade list - will do that tomorrow.

My Top 10 Books of 2011 - Books for Adults

Why hasn't everyone read this?
This year I have a list of 63 books that I've read  - however I don't always count manuscripts or advance reading copies - especially if the book isn't coming out in the year I'm reading it. So here are my Top Ten Books for Adults that I've read this year. That doesn't mean they were published this year, just that this is the year I read them.

(not in any order)
1. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield. The chapter on Hall & Oates had me in hysterics.
2. Roseanna by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (published in 1965) - an amazing mystery novel. It took forever to make international long-distance phone calls back then, read this book and you'll understand!
3. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay - this book broke my heart.
4. Started Early, Took my Dog by Kate Atkinson - for some reason I read this book before reading the books that came after Case Histories (which I read ages ago) but it worked out fine.
5. The Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent - this non-fiction about a midwife in California - it made me appreciate how completely midwives give themselves to their patients. So many amazing stories of births - mostly happy, but some sad.
6. Bossypants by Tina Fey - I keep finding myself referring to this book. Like "Remember in Bossypants when Tina Fey did this....or said that...." it's like the new Seinfeld for me - every situation somehow leads back to Bossypants.
7. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. I have to admit I did not read this book, I listened to it on audio, unabridged. It was awesome! I could never have done the voices in my head the way the narrator did. I would get home from the car, grab my ipod and then go listen to more in my room because I didn't want to have to wait til the drive to work the next morning to find out what happened next!
8. The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy - this should be a huge bestseller. People LOVE stories of forbidden love - Romeo & Juliet, Edward & Bella, this has that! It's like Water For Elephants meets The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society meets Summer of My German Soldier. So good.
9.  Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese - I had this on my shelf for so long before I finally cracked it open to read it. What on earth made me wait so long?! I will never forget the characters. I tried to find a comparison but the best I can come up with is The Poisonwood Bible meets A Fine Balance.
10. Catherine the Great by Robert K Massie - I'm still reading this right now. It is like an amazing soap opera and every day I'm so excited to find out what happens next. I have very little knowledge of Russian history so honestly I don't know how it all ends!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hall & Oates and The Guy in the Blue Pantsuit

Last night Leanne's dreams came true: we saw Hall & Oates in concert at Casino Rama. They were fantastic performers - Daryl Hall still has a great voice, although he modifies songs to avoid some of the falsetto notes that an aging voice might find troublesome. John Oates (sans mustache) does all the harmonizing, barking, ooh-yeahs as always. There was a saxophonist with long hair and a royal blue pantsuit that had more solos than I ever dreamed possible and a guitarist who did lots of that intense playing of guitar high notes that people other than me find impressive. 
Leanne & I found ourselves in people-watching heaven. Oh the mom jeans, dad jeans, velour pants, leopard prints, matchy-matchy couples, fishnets with cut-offs, rats tails and lots of age inappropriate outfits. 

My favourite was an woman who might have been in her 60s who had a orangey-brown tight perm with a bow right in the middle of it like Nancy, Sluggo's friend. She was wearing a cardigan with cats & mice, lots of glittery stuff and had white stirrup-type leggings on with high heels. Her purse looked somewhat like Duran Duran's Rio album cover. She approached me and asked if I had an extra concert ticket to sell. Clearly my city clothes marked me as a "scalper". Fun!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Needed something sweet today

I've been feeling kind of stressed out lately. So I went to Indigo today and bought myself two picture books. And they helped.

I had read The Quiet Book before and knew I loved it so it was a no-brainer when I slipped that one into my pile. Then I found a table of picture books and picked up A Sick Day for Amos McGee. After it's Caldecott win and all the great reviews I knew I'd love it too.

Back at the office I sat and read them both. Felt much better.