Monday, January 07, 2013

One Sentence Reviews of Books I Read in 2012

I claim to be a pop culture writer, but it appears I just review movies and TV shows.  But I do listen to music and read books.  In 2012, I read a fair share of books, even if I rarely mentioned them.  But to make up for that, I'll now offer up one sentence reviews of every book I read this past year.

Or at least, I'll give you one sentence reviews of the books I remember reading this year.  That is slightly different, but the books that get left out clearly weren't important enough to be remembered.

Agent to the Stars (John Scalzi):  It's a world populated with overly witty people and aliens, but is strong proof that science fiction can be hilarious even when it isn't written by Douglas Adams. 

Frankenstein (Marry Shelley): The novel that birthed the science fiction genre and introduced the concept that monsters can be conflicted and misunderstood; it is a story that has inspired countless other great works and has incredibly beautiful prose for such a dark tale.

Harry Potter Series (J.K. Rowling):  I am very aware this isn't one book but rather a series of 7, but it combines into one epic fantasy tale that will have a strong legacy comparable to the legendary Lord of the Rings but with far less singing.

Lord of the Flies (William Golding):  One of the greatest stories ever told with a compelling and dark message about society that has inspired several story ideas in my mind. 

Night (Elie Wiesel):  I read this every few years and it hits me hard every time; I consider this mandatory reading for everyone so you can get a glimpse into one of biggest atrocities in history (the Holocaust).

Nightmares & Dreamscapes (Stephen King):  Another incredible short story anthology that displays King's diversity and skill that offers up fantastic tales about burying mobsters, a plane flying vampire, the extreme measures one goes for a gifted child, a pesky finger in the drain, a pair of ghostly shoes, town full of dead rock stars, the evil rituals of a small town, smokers being able to see an alien takeover, a Sherlock Holmes case, a fictional character coming to life, and several other great stories that deserve a full review one day.

The Alexandria Link (Steve Berry):  A Dan Brown style globetrotting thriller even with the requisite controversial message, but with deeper characters and more engaging writing.

The Brethren (John Grisham):  A very different book compared to Grisham's other legal thrillers with darker and more complex characters who the majority walk a tightrope over the chasm of morality.

The House of Mirth:  I couldn't get through it.

The Husband (Dean Koontz):   It is a bubble gum thriller until a dark twist in the middle that makes this story stand out and a bit more engaging than other mainstream suspense novels.

The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett):  I own this book due to my Children's Lit class in university, and finally decided I should read it; it reminded me how much I wanted to reread my other "children" novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Summons (John Grisham):  An intriguing mystery that starts out great and has some engaging characters, but would have been better served as a short story due to the predictable pay off.

The Year of Living Biblically (A.J. Jacobs): It will offend some of the religious far right and it will be deemed too spiritual by the far left atheist, but for everyone else, it is a funny but still powerful look at the most famous tome ever.

What We All Long For (Dionne Brand):  It is a snapshot of life in Toronto for first generation young adult Canadians and the struggles they face while trying to achieve success in a place they don't feel they fully belong; doesn't contain a clear plot, but has a powerful message.

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Tunes into TV:  Yes, I read the whole thing, because how else am I supposed to be loaded with useless trivia?

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