Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Obligatory "what I've been reading" report

Like most of the U.S., we had a record-breaking heat streak over the last couple of weeks, with 11 days above 95 degrees and heat indexes (indices?) over 110. It was ridiculous. I stepped outside yesterday morning to a downright cool 75 degrees with a light breeze, and I nearly wept with joy.

The good thing about it being too hot to move is that I haven't felt the least bit guilty about taking to my couch with the AC on full blast and a book on my lap. Up to this month I'd been keeping pace with my annual book goal (60 books in 2012, up from 50 in 2011, but just barely. Over the last few days, I'm finally ahead again.

I'm currently 34 books down. Here are some of my favorites from the year so far:

State of Wonder (Ann Patchett): My book club read this book by the author of Bel Canto (among other things) earlier this year, a fascinating tale of a pharmaceutical researcher who heads deep into the Amazon in search of her mentor, who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug. Amazon describes it as "a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals ... where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side." Great description, gripping book.

The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern): Man, this book is beautiful. The story of a magical circus that appears out of thin air and a duel between Celia and Marco, two young magicians who have been trained by two rival instructors. The imagery is breathtaking, and the story is enthralling. I didn't want it to end.

Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand): The true story of Louis Zamperini reads like a thriller: an Air Force bomber pilot crashes over the Pacific during World War II, survives weeks on the open water while battling sharks, a floundering raft, debilitating thirst and starvation, and enemy airplanes, only to be captured and imprisoned by the Japanese.

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green): I quite literally read this book in five hours. The author is one of the two guys who wrote the awesome Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which I read last year), and I'm now firmly on the read-everything-John-Green-has-ever-written train. Yes, it's about teenagers with cancer, but it's also funny, irreverant, and raw. This is my #1 favorite so far this year.

Other stuff I've read and enjoyed:

The first two Game of Thrones books (George R.R. Martin): They take for-ev-er to read, but they're good.

The first two novels of The Spellman Files (Lisa Lutz): Totally enjoyable fluff, perfect for the beach or for when you've just spent weeks on a massive, dark Game of Thrones tome.

Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You: Holly is a big Tropper fan, and it's not hard to see why.

So tell me--what are you reading and loving this summer? I head to the beach soon, so I'm amassing my stock of books for the week.

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