2013 Book Recommendations

books by ginnerobotFor the first time in my life, I don’t have time to read. This seems like not that big a deal, but this is coming from someone who is never without a book. While growing up, I constantly had a book in hand; while eating, watching TV, getting ready for school, on car or bus rides…I was like those kids you see in the store, glued to their iPhone or Nintendo DS and not paying attention to where they are, except mine was a copy of “Babysitter’s Club”.

Also, I’d apologize if I ran into you while being glued to said item, because I wasn’t raised as an entitled little shit.

Anyway, I always made time to read when I was younger, so not doing so now that I’m an old lady feels a mite depressing. Sort of like I’m losing touch with the old Alyssa…how soon before I only read Farmer’s Almanacs so I can see when to plant my crocuses? Do I need to start having breakfasts of prune juice and Cream of Wheat?? Will I suddenly walk around with a broom all the time, ready to shoo away unsuspecting kids who dare to tramp my lawn?!?

I hope not. I’ll have to go get a porch. And a better broom.

Can I just interject here – how much of a nerd am I that not having time signals the decline of my youth? I’ve been mostly fine with cutting down on drinking, quitting smoking and having a kid but not having the time to read trashy romances suddenly triggers an minor existential crisis?? Lord Almighty…

Regardless, I went on a buying binge recently in order to rectify my lack of reading situation. Well, I say buying binge, but a large part of it was funded through PaperbackSwap. PBS is a site I’ve used since 2005 where you swap your old books with others. It uses a credit system which you use to send and receive books through media mail. It is not fool-proof, but it is pretty bad-ass at keeping your collection down to a manageable minimum so your husband will stop complaining about the overflowing bookshelf. Check it out, and if you’d like to join through that link (or the one in the book recs page)I will get a credit if you become an active member. However, don’t feel obligated to do so if you do join.
Also in the spirit of transparency; please don’t think this will save you money on books. It will lead to MORE book buying because you’ll be more inclined to check out authors that you would have not taken a second glance at previously. And then you’ll fall in love with them and want to read ALL of their work but PBS won’t have it and you don’t want to wait the shipping time anyway and suddenly you’re going to Barnes and Noble at 10:30pm on a Tuesday to get a book you didn’t even know you wanted to read by an author you never heard of two weeks ago.

True story.

Before I show you my fancy new book list, I also want to let y’all know that in lieu of previously listing books using Amazon links, I’m going to list books using their Goodreads page as the title and then also link to them through Amazon and IndieBound where you can order from a indie bookstore online or find a local store in your area. I’m an affiliate of both, but don’t let that influence your book buying choices; this mostly about convenience for y’all and letting me pretend I have a fancy book blog that would merit so much linkage. Besides, if you’re anything like me, you’re just going to jot down the book on a piece of paper and lose it in your purse anyway.

Now! Onto my list, as I know you’ve been reading with bated breath. There’s a lot of speculative fiction on here, which is unintentional but pretty indicative of my tastes in general.

The Ghost Writer by John Harwood (IndieBound): I don’t know about this one, I’ve heard good and bad things about it. Apparently it’s one of those books that you with love or HATE, so we’ll see.

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio (Amazon/IndieBound): I’ve had this on my list for a while and I’m finally getting around to reading it. (Well, it’s in the stack TO read. That’s still progress.) I think I picked it and The Ghost Writer because I have a thing for family secrets. I blame this on too many Betty Ren Wright books as a child; there was always some secret in the attic that the heroine stumbled upon… The only thing in our attic was old luggage and Christmas decorations, but if there was a box of letters that changed everything I thought I knew about my life and my family, I would have found it. Well. I would have found it if I had been allowed in the attic, but I was not because my parents never let me do anything fun, NEVER EVER.

The Nympho and Other Maniacs: The Lives, the Loves and the Sexual Adventures of Some Scandalous and Liberated Ladies by Irving Wallace (Amazon): This is a book from the 70’s that I’m not even sure how I found out about. But the title sounds very promising and I am a huge fan of ladies who tell convention to suck it.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Amazon/IndieBound): The cover art for this drew me in when I first saw it in the bookstore and I’m just now getting to it. My favorite exercise in play-writing class (and something that I still do) is to use old photographs to generate a story, so I love that Riggs did that here and built a whole book around them. I’ll let you know if it holds up, but the reviews seem to be good.

How Did You Get This Number by Sloan Crosley (Amazon/IndieBound): I’m a sucker for creative non-fiction and essays, so I’m glad that our Dallas Hairpin ‘Pinup group picked this as our book club selection. Regadles, I have a feeling we’ll have too much fun talking at our meet-up to really discuss the book, but that’s fine. These ladies are hilarious and there will be good beer. (Our ‘Pinup is on February 12th at 6:30, email me for details if you’re in the DFW area!)

Goodbye Without Leaving by Laurie Colwin (Amazon/Indiebound): This is another I’m not sure where I found, but I’m pretty excited about. I hear nothing by good things about Laurie Colwin’s work.

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (Amazon/IndieBound): WHERE am I finding these books? I think I fell down a Goodreads k-hole one night while trying to get Tater to go to sleep or something. (SERIOUSLY, child, what do you think you’re going to miss? I won’t do anything fun between the hours of 11pm and 6am, I SWEAR…)

Fourth Grave Beneath by Feet by Darynda Jones (Amazon/IndieBound): This is actually a bit misleading; this is the fourth book in a series about a private detective who is the Grim Reaper and I’m going to re-read these from the beginning before I get to this one. This series is funny, but sometimes a bit TOO funny, you know? There are only so many jokes you can make about needing coffee, having a beat-up car and being named Charley Davidson before you just go, “OKAY! You’ve sufficiently sassed my face off and the world is your straight man, we’ve got it. (Which is probably a reaction that many have to this blog, but I’m free and occasionally show cute baby pictures, so there.)

Cold Days by Jim Butcher (Amazon/IndieBound): I’ve saving this one for a day when I can laze around and read because I’m a huge fan of the Dresden Files series and I don’t want any other distractions. (Except for the baby. And only because I’ll get CPS called on me otherwise. BUT NO ONE ELSE.)

There you have it. Okay, moppets, what’s on your reading list? Is there anything I should add?

If you’re looking for something new, check out the Kind of a Mess Book Recommendations and join the Messy Reads Goodreads group to stalk your fellow readers. And if you have any books that we HAVE to read this year, let me know and I’ll add them to the master list!

Photo courtesy of ginnerobot.

4 comments on “2013 Book Recommendations

  1. christine
    January 29, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    Love(d) paperbackswap! The “d” is only there because I now love my Kindle and my public library which allows me to borrow kindle books all with the touch of a button. But I digress…you totally captured my experience with paperbackswap and, now, with my kindle/public library. You go in thinking you are going to save some dough and end up with a wishlist a mile long and an inability to wait for the darn book(s) to become available.

    • kindofamess
      January 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      DEFINITELY. The worst is when you get the books in a series and you order 2-4 and only get like 3 and 4 in…they sit there, just taunting you…
      The Kindle app was a god-send during maternity leave, but I love real books too much to give them up. However, I do need to check out the library (for kindle and in general.) I keep forgetting it exists…

  2. cransell
    January 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I’m really excited to read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I’ve heard great things about it. Currently I’m reading The City & the City by China Mievelle and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, but I think they might both be a little dark/depressing, so I’m definitely going to need a light, pick-me-up book.

    • kindofamess
      January 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      Ooo, these are totally new to me; I’m going to have to check them out….

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