Categories
books and reading

2019 Wrap-Up

My goal is always to read more pages than the year before, rather than more books. I  almost made it this year, by Goodreads standards. In 2018, I read 110 books for 36914 pages, and in 2019 I read 132 books for 36038 pages. A good chunk of the books I read were ones I edited, which are kids’ books and pretty short. If I count all the books I edited that aren’t on Goodreads, I definitely surpassed the page number goal.

Here are some reviews for the highlights of my reading year.

Best book I read this year: The Book of M by Peng Shepherd. It’s dystopian, but in a way I had never read before. And it gutted me. I read it in January, and it’s stayed with me all year. I think about it a lot.

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. Wow. As a parent, this one is horrifying. About a little girl who is a sociopath and has a desire to harm her mother. But it’s so good.

I really enjoyed The Fourth Monkey series. It’s a “police catching a serial killer” series, and the dialogue is cheesy, but it kept me guessing.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. An excellent ghost story.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Same author as The Goldfinch. I just love everything she writes.

The Jack Caffery series by Mo Hayder is another great police detective series, but it’s very graphic. Birdman is the first.

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay. Another one that left me guessing. I’ve read a few of Tremblay’s books, and he’s really good.

The Girls by Emma Cline. This one was wacky. It’s a fictional story of the Charles Manson group and subsequent murders.

The Run of His Life: The People vs OJ Simpson. I couldn’t believe how much I learned from this book. I know a lot about the case already, but this had info I had never heard.

The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. I really don’t care for fantasy, but these are excellent young adult books.

The Dublin Murder Squad books by Tana French. I read two of them this year. Each one is better than the last. In the Woods is the first, the Likeness is the second, Faithful Place is the third.

Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. I read a lot of true crime, but this one stands out. The author is simultaneously doing research into a crime, yet learning things about herself. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Again, another I was expecting not to think was so great, but I was blown away. Crichton really was ahead of his time in describing DNA, technology, etc.

Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen. Unlike Columbine by the same author (EXCELLENT BOOK) this one doesn’t focus on the shooter or the day, but rather the students who started a movement for gun control. Gives me hope for the future.

I read some great own voices books this year: A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob, and Shanghai Girls by Lisa See were both great.

Best thriller I read was The Silent Patient. It wasn’t the greatest thriller ever, but it didn’t fall into the stupid thriller tropes like A Woman in the Window. Ugh that one was awful.

I started a lot of great series this year: the Harry Hole detective series, the Penny Green series about a Victorian reporter who also solves crimes, the Armand Gamache Canadian detective series, which is a good cozy mystery series.

 

 

Categories
books and reading

Jurassic Park

We’ve all seen the movie. If you haven’t, there will be some spoilers here. I’m not sure how that’s even necessary, given how old the movie is, but there it is anyway. I saw the movie in the theatre when it came out. Instant classic and just the most fun movie. But I had never given the book a second thought. So when the reading challenge had a requirement of “a book with an imaginary or extinct creature,” I decided to give it a shot.

I was pleasantly surprised at how great this book is. The first half is more or less the same as the book. There are a few more characters, a few different scenes, but overall it feels very familiar. The only big change was the ages of the kids. Tim is the older kid, still a dinosaur nut. Lex is younger in the book and a completely useless and annoying character. I can absolutely see why they made her older in the movie and more relevant. The actors were really well cast for the movie, also. Of course, I kept picturing them as I was reading, but it wasn’t a far stretch.

I won’t give away much about the book difference, but I will say there’s a plotline through the book that wasn’t at all in the movie.  The difference is an interesting one and I would like to see a direct sequel to it. From what I understand, the actual sequel, The Lost World, doesn’t follow-up the first entirely. In Jurassic Park, once the dinosaurs start attacking, a lot changes. I didn’t mind the changes at all, because it was still some great dinosaur attacking humans action. There was a lot more about the dinos breeding than in the movie, which was really interesting. The most surprising part of the book was how technologically advanced it was for the time. Written in the late 80s and published in 1990, Crichton included so much more about computers, DNA, genetic engineering, etc than I was expecting. My jaw dropped when he mentioned a touch screen computer. He really did an amazing job researching this book, which impressed me so much.

I wasn’t necessarily looking to read this book, and without the book challenge, I probably never would have read it, but I ended up loving it. It’s different enough from the movie to keep you reading (big changes in the ending. BIG…) and I kept marveling at how well thought out it was. Excellent book.