Book One: The Hobbit

The Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien

I wasn't sure I had read this before, that maybe my memory of this book was just from the creepy animated movie from the 70s (I had one of those read-along records from the movie that drove me crazy with fear because of the Gollum scene.) Anyhow, as I started reading this I realized that I remembered it all very clearly and that I still loved it. And that I still think I should have been born a Hobbit.

Book Thirtyfour: The Book of Mormon Girl

The Book of Mormon Girl, Joanna Brooks

While I enjoyed reading this book (even the writing was quite good), it did ultimately feel like a collection of blog posts strung together to make up a very brief book (with few pages in a large font, to boot). That's okay, I suppose, but I was hoping for a bit more of her story, specifically more about how she fell away from Mormonism in her 20s and how she came back to it. With less of the poetics and angst and more of the details and specifics. And the chapter on Marie Osmond was cute but way too long for such a short book.

And, hey, 34 books for 2012 is not too shabby, huh? Though this is the fewest I've read since I started this project, this was a year where I was pretty busy and distracted so I'm moderately pleased with myself.

Book Thirtythree: Gone Girl

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

I downloaded this to read on my iPhone, since I couldn't wait for the paperback to come out. And because it was so good I didn't just read it while nursing (as I usually do with iPhone books), I read it in every spare moment over the course of a couple of days. And I liked it very much, even the crazy ending. No spoilers from me.

Book Thirtytwo: Arcadia

Arcadia, Lauren Groff

So, this is now my favorite book of the year. Which makes sense, as Monsters of Templeton was one of my favorite novels of the past few years. And though Arcadia is much, much different it is so beautiful and amazing. Gah, seriously, so good! It tells the story of Bit, who grew up on a commune in upstate New York, from his perspective as a little boy, then a teenager, and then as an adult. While the story was engrossing, the writing was what made this work. I could see everything so vividly and the writing was my kind of poetic. Simple and spare and gorgeous.

Book Thirtyone: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, Alan Bradley

I adore Flavia de Luce almost as much as I adore Isabel Dalhousie. Almost.

Book Thirty: Heaven is Here

Heaven is Here, Stephanie Nielson

I love Stephanie Nielson's blog and this book is all about her childhood and life leading up to the terrible airplane crash that left her body covered with burns. It's compelling and sad, but perhaps poorly written.

Book Twentynine: The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

This was another book club pick, but unfortunately mine. I really loved the idea of the book. In fact, I loved the first couple of chapters (especially the first on boosting energy and cleaning/organizing cutter). But boy howdy, did it become a stink-fest super fast. If there was a drinking game and you had to drink every time she writes "studies show…" or mentions that she was a supreme court clerk or inserts random comments from her blog, you would be drunk within the first 50 pages, guaranteed (first 25 if you're a lightweight). In short, good idea, terrible execution.