The Guidelines from Last Year: Both fiction and non-fiction count, whether for school or pleasure reading, provided I read all the way through and didn't toss it aside in boredom or only read select chapters, and only books I've never read before count. Same deal for movies, theater or rental. Also note that because of the date I started, summers count as the end of the year rather than the beginning of a new one. I'll switch to calendar years after graduation, starting in 2009, but for now, these run September-August.
(note: NF = non-fiction and pg = page number.) For both books and movies, bold means I absolutely loved it, italics mean I enjoyed and would recommend it, plain text indicates that it was average to just okay, and
strikethrough means I think it is among the worst things I've ever read/seen. I like to be sparing with my emphasis so as to really praise the stand-out books/ostracize the rare bad ones.
EDIT, April 2010: For, no reason at all - okay, the reason being that I found a half-finished document on my flash drive - I've decided to update this post with annotations too.
1. Cracker, the Best Dog in Vietnam - Cynthia Kadohata. 320 pg/2007.
Vietnam + war dog = win.
2. The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature [NF] - David Baron. 240 pg/2004
It promised to be about cougar attacks - my weekly palette of 10 crime shows should tell you something about my love of gore. It did not sufficiently deliver on the gory details. *bored*
3. Only a Gringo Would Die For an Anteater [NF] - Michael Mitts. 225 pg/1979.
I recently discovered that our library has a whole collection of veterinary autobiographies. I went through the public library's stock a long time ago, but CSB had a shelf full of glowing promise! Expect more in this style.
4. Fat Chance - Leslie Newman. 214 pg/1994.
Usually I love weight loss novels. But this one, like so many others, become a tiresome tale of how the girl loses weight, feels better, goes through a bad time, gains most of it back, finds a support system and learns to love herself while slowly becoming healthy again. Yawn.
5. Passing For Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self [NF] - Frances Kuffle. 288 pg./2004.
See previous first sentence. This was actually really inspiring, when I wasn't crying my eyes out from the bits of myself I recognized in it.
6. No Dogs in Heaven? Scenes from the Life of a Country Veterinarian [NF] - Robert Sharp. 202 pg/2005.
Vet bio! I love country vets. Plus, it’s nice to see a more recent one, where the practices described are all up to date. Not that I don’t love nostalgia, but when it’s ALL you read...
7. A Country Practice: Scenes from the Veterinary Life [NF] - Douglas Whynott. 289 pg/2004.
See above, although the writing was a little stiffer on this one, and the stories less dynamic.
8. The Wonder of it All [NF] - Jeanne Logue. 203 pg/1979.
This was a vet bio too, with a healthy dose of family thrown in. Plus tragedy when her husband dies, and I spent half an hour crying.
9. While You're Here, Doc: Farmyard Adventures of a Maine Veterinarian [NF] - Bradford Brown. 174 pg/2006.
My new favorite vet! He is awesome. And hilarious.
10. Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love and Healing at an Animal Sanctuary [NF] - Kathy Stevens. 197 pg/2007.
Not as good as I'd hoped. =/ It dragged more than a little bit.
11. The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood [NF] - Sy Montgomery. 225 pg/2006.
Pretty poignant, and I'm not even a huge fan of pigs (I think they're cute if small and/or kept clean, but the honking boars like this...nah). I do, however, love pet bios, and this one takes the unique cake.
12. The Flying Flynns: The Remarkable Adventures of an Animal Doctor in the Wilderness [NF] - Bethine Flynn. 359 pg/1979.
The title pretty much tells you all you need to know about how neat this is. My new favorite retro go-to.
13. Tuned Out - Maia Wojciechowska. 125 pg/1968.
I cannot even explain to you how awesomely this authentic 60’s story of dealing with a drug-experimenting older brother rang with me.
14. A Dog Year: 12 Months, 4 Dogs, and Me [NF] - Jon Katz. 209 pg/2002.
This was good, but (spoiler alert) the books just kind of get worse from here. Jon Katz has some philosophies about dog ownership that...make me want to punch him. His physical resemblance to Michael Moore doesn't help.
15. Lost It - Kristen Tracy. 276 pg/2007.
"It" would be her virginity. Because I am naive and optimistic, I somehow managed to not make this connection until it was actually happening. Then I chucked the book at the wall of the practice room and had a muffled screaming session about how sick and tired I am of modern YA novels.
16. Dancing With Elvis - Lynda Stephenson. 323 pg/2005.
More about racial tensions than I expected. Kind of boring.
17. The Dogs of Bedlam Farm [NF] - Jon Katz. 251 pg/2004.
I am rapidly burning out on this tiresome dude, but I was also running low on animal nonfiction. Happily, the addition of donkeys helps the story greatly.
18. If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? - Melissa Kanten. 283 pg/2005.
Pretty good modern retelling, actually.
19. Golden Daffodils - Marilyn Gould. 172 pg/1982.
This is about a fifth grader, and it's probably aimed at fifth graders. I dunno. I had about an hour to kill at the library and it looked interesting...it's about a girl with CP, and it's written in the 70's, so there's a perspective shift.
20. Cowboy Boots - Shannon Garst. 187 pg/1946.
Also probably aimed at fifth graders, but you know what? Not enough people write stories about old-timey cattle ranching anymore.
21. The Year of the Raccoon - Lee Kingman. 246 pg/1966.
Really moving story about a middle son who feels sort of useless and left out until he finds an orphaned raccoon and raises it like a pet. It's moving and poignant on a lot of different levels, but none so much as the fact that it's just solid 60's storytelling. Obviously aimed at boys, but back in the day when writing didn't have to be "edgy" and "different" to convince boys to read. It won awards without anything shocking or scandalizing. It's just classic, classic family dynamics and teenage angst. Angst over performance in school, though, not dating.
22. Alt Ed - Catherine Atkins. 198 pg/2003
On the opposite end of the spectrum, here we've got the now-cliché themes of gay bashing, and the token story of how the prudish and judgmental "pure" girl is secretly sleeping with her boyfriend and possibly knocked up, and the school "slut" was really date-raped, and...oh, it's all so very tiresome.
23. A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life [NF] - Jon Katz. 224 pg/2006
Told by Jon Katz, Who Ended Orson's. Possibly for legit reasons, but whatever, I'm stewing in bitter juice.
24. Children of the Covered Wagon - Mary Jane Carr. 302 pg/1934
Oh, Oregon Trail! What fascinates me is that when she wrote this, she got praise for describing a "little-told" chapter of American history. And it's true. Everyone under the age of at least 25 is thoroughly versed in the Oregon Trail games, but back then? This was even before Little House on the Prairie. Book version.
25. Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm [NF] - Jon Katz. 267 pg/2007
Fine, I'm addicted to the vision of rural living, but still do not agree with all his philosophies on animal care. Or his philosophies on commuter marriage. And it’s getting sad and uncomfortable to keep reading about his physical ailments.
26. Return to Gone-Away - Elizabeth Enright. 191 pg/1961.
I loved the original like a land of pie, but it turns out that the sequel is even more amazing. Now they’re fixing up one of the dilapidated and abandoned Victorian summer homes to live in it year round. HI, THESE PEOPLE ARE BASICALLY LIVING MY DREAM LIFE.
27. The Heaven Shop - Deborah Ellis. 181 pg/2004
A somewhat interesting take on the AIDS crisis in Africa - I can't tell if it's really getting better over there, or if it's just so overshadowed by the specific genocide threat in Darfur - but probably below my reading level. Chandra's Song is a better depiction.
28. Victory - Susan Cooper. 186 pg/2006.
29. The Key to the Golden Firebird - Maureen Johnson. 297 pg/2004.
Blah. The cover and title are more memorable than the actual story.
30. See You Down the Road - Kim Ablon Whitney. 185 pg/2004.
Did you know 21st century America has its own version of gypsies? Which has a cool ring to it, except they're just nomadic confamilies with a splash of 'women are inferior creatures who must be married off right quick' thrown in.
31. Every Crooked Pot - Renee Rosen. 227 pg/2007.
I personally would have shelved this in the adult section. It's too grown up for YA...and yet it's an adult novel I would read. Gripping, compelling stuff. Now, if only someone could write a story where the girl who finds her first love after the age of 20 doesn't have her heart broken, because I would like to believe that not all first relationships are doomed.
32. Mountain Cabin [NF] - Robert S. Wood. 199 pg/1977.
I can't find a proper link online, but I found a passing description of it as "a Waldenesque love letter to his rustic Sierra summer cabin," which sounds about right. Except more interesting.
33. When the Emperor Was Divine - Julie Otsuka. 160 pg/2002.
Read on a whim because I didn't have enough books with me over Thanksgiving...it was lying on the coffee table because my brother had to read it for 10th grade English. It's pretty, if you can get past all the burning and pet killing.
34. The Garden - Elsie Aidinoff. 403 pg/2004
*mindspin* Also, I love the fact that the author is a first-time novelist in her 70's. It's never too late!
35. My Lady, Pocahontas - Kathleen Kudlinski. 265 pg/2006.
Compelling! The cover makes it look like the story will be about Pocahontas actually being a dude in drag, but fear not, it's just another grand retelling of her story, this time from the POV of a companion.
36. The Melting of Maggie Bean - Tricia Rayburn. 250 pg/2007.
Yeah. More “fat girl learns to accept self and magically loses weight” crap.
37. A Field Guide to High School - Marissa Walsh. 133 pg/2007.
I deliberately set out to mock this book. And then it was unique! And sort of awesomely written!
38. Never To Be Told - Becky Citra. 217 pg/2006.
Gripping ghost story.
39. Buried - Robin Merrow McCready. 198 pg/2006.
O.O I never saw the twist coming. I should have, but I didn't.
40. Hunted - Christopher Russel. 254 pg/2006.
The dogs made nice central features, but it's not the best historical novel I've ever read.
41. Dogwolf - Alden Carter. 231 pg/1994.
Good 90's storytelling. There's a bit of sex; you can see where the genre is heading, but for the most part it's tame. It's cute to think that this would have been "edgy" once. You can even see how they slipped it in to appeal to teenage boys and get them reading.
42. Shark Girl - Kelly Bingham. 276 pg/2007.
I am always disappointed when authors write in poems. It might require just as much effort as prose, but it still looks lazier, and the story never delivers the same emotional impact. I kept reading because I was desperately interested in the story based on its premise alone, but it was continually frustrating to always get such a glossed-over and minimally narrated version of events.
My scathing review.
44. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart. 485 pg/2007.
In stark contrast, this children's book is wonderful and whimsical, and if it were not brand new I would swear Trenton Lee was a pseudonym for Roald Dahl. The styles are so identical that I actually can't believe it's supposed to take place in New York, because all I can see in my head is Great Britain.
45. Dead Connection - Charlie Price. 240 pg/2006
Kid hangs out in cemetery, talks to dead people, maybe even helps solve a murder. I rather enjoyed it. According to Amazon, it's because the writing is very mature and focuses on the adults.
46. Grass Angel - Julie Schumacher. 208 pg/2004.
Meh. (man, I'm eloquent)
47. Story of a Girl - Sara Zarr. 208 pg/2007.
Another scathing review! I mean, it wasn't bad enough to merit a strikeout, but the book promised to change my perceptions of girls who have sex early, and it so did not. More like it strongly reinforced them all.
48. The Rules of Survival - Nancy Werlin. 272 pg/2006.
Good story about living through child abuse and trying to get you & your little siblings out of it.
49. Doctor Who: The Stone Rose - Jacqueline Baker. 256 pg/2006.
Aslkdjaslkjfasldfkasdf DOCTOR/ROSE. Also, Future Me says this book is what "Ruins" was to the X-Files novels; despite a mundane setting and storyline, the indulgently shippy stuff will be forever unparalleled.
50. Doctor Who: The Price of Paradise - Colin Brake. 256 pg/2007.
Needs more Doctor/Rose.
51. Movies in Fifteen Minutes - Cleolinda Jones. 401 pg/2005.
BEST THING EVER, Y/Y? I laughed myself into stitches. And considering it barely exists in the U.S. (TRAGIC), I'm so glad I ordered it via Interlibrary Loan while I still had the entire university system at my fingertips.
Keeping Corner - Kashmira Sheth. 272 pg/2007.
Indian customs are weird. But I liked this story.
53. Sorceress - Celia Rees. 342 pg/2002.
The follow-up to the most amazing Rees book ever - Witch Child - was not quite as incredible on its own, but it was a phenomenal sequel and I couldn't put it down. I can't believe something with such a different premise connected so well.
54. The Poison Apples - Lily Archer. 276 pg/2007.
More modern-day wicked stepmothers! Or specifically, the abandoned-feeling daughters of them. I liked this group.
55. Just Listen - Sarah Dessen. 371 pg/2006.
The pathetic main character in this book caused me to form an immediate and permanent loathing for Sarah Dessen. I cannot overcome it, no matter how many other shiny, pretty, alluring covers she has sitting on the shelf.
56. Captives - Tom Pow. 185 pg/2007.
I think I wanted it to be more interesting than it was. You were captured by guerillas in the Amazon, narrator dude! WHY SO DULL?
57. Jailbait - Leslea Newman. 239 pg/2005.
I should not endorse this title. I so should not, especially by this author, YET I DO. Because it was set in the 70’s and that makes it less...abjectly horrible to me, somehow. Instead of being all, 'GROSS, NAIVE SKANK!' I am all 'awww, those poor children in the 70's just didn't know any better.'
58. Like Mother, Like Daughter - Marie Dane Bauer. 141 pg/1985.
Out of print?! How dare you! This is an adorable 80's children's book about coping with what you perceive as a crazy hippie-type mama!
59. Born Again - Kelly Kerney. 310 pg/2006.
Fundamentalist/Bible Quiz Champ girl meets...The Evolution of Charles Darwin! The results are surprisingly intriguing and far more impartial than expected. It's also adorable, and quite frequently hilarious, because the main character is just that likable.
60. A Higher Geometry - Sharelle Byars Moranville. 224 pg/2006.
So check this out, it's a story set in the 1950's about a girl who wants both marriage and college, and it doesn't have a depressing ending! RARE.
61. CSI: Miami: Harm for the Holidays: Heart Attack - Donn Cortez. 340 pg/2007.
I'm sorry, my heart appears to have exploded with love for this character-rich depiction of events down in the old crime lab, which got the characterization better than the actual show at this point. There is a gift exchange, people!
62. Steeldust: The Story of a Horse - Hoffman Birney. 264 pg/1928.
You know what my life's been sorely lacking? Old-timey horse stories. And this is even earlier than their golden age. *tackle-hugs*
63. Gemini Summer - Iain Lawrence. 258 pg/2006.
I don't really have strong feelings one way or the other.
I like word art, but this story had no plot!
65. Revolution is not a Dinner Party - Ying Chang Compestine. 248 pg/2007.
At last, I read again! My mom went through a period of reading Chinese memoirs from around this era, and while they piqued my curiosity, I decided it would be much more palatable in YA novel form. It was.
66. Touching Snow - M. Sindy Felin. 240 pg/2007.
A really interesting peek into a family of Haitian immigrants.
67. You Know Where to Find Me - Rachel Cohn. 208 pg/2008.
I love this book SO MUCH. Not just for its gorgeous cover, but because I adore this author, and she created an amazing main character who battles with depression and her weight and *doesn't* magically shed it, nor does she magically gain a boyfriend in spite of herself. She is a believable girl dealing with believable pain and loss (and even a believable pill addiction; hey, you know how I love my drug stories), and I love everything about what this story chooses to be.
68. Hero of Lesser Causes - Julie Johnston. 194 pg/1992.
I keep forgetting this book is only set in the 40's, not written then, because that's how completely the author submerges you. Outstanding children's story, especially considering it features polio, which is not the easiest thing to work into a kid's book. Bonus: horses. It's totally the horse on the cover that drew me in, to be honest, although I cannot seem to find a picture of that version.
69. Dancing on the Edge - Han Nolan. 244 pg/1997.
[I'm going to be honest with you, I don't remember much from this.]
70. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart - Deb Caletti. 308 pg/2004.
Caletti has a lot in common with Sarah Dessen, except where I loathe the latter, I love her. She always has amazing heroines, and even though their stories are ordinary, you just love being part of their life for a few hundred pages. This book is no exception, and made for a wonderful summer read.
71. Unwind - Neil Shustermann. 335 pg/2007.
That was horrible and awful and obnoxious, and so politically charged that I didn't even know which side he was on half the time, just that it was political and I was ticked off at it the whole way through. But it stayed in my brain for days upon weeks, so I'm pretty sure that makes it a good book. No, wait, my brain just keeps trying to smooth over how illogical the premise is, that's it. My original opinion stands. I think "frustrating" might be the best word for it.
72. A Fabulous Creature - Zilpha Keatley Snyder. 240 pg/1981.
It's not quite as much about the elk as I'd hoped, rather a teen summer romance (from the boy's perspective, at that - my favorite part is the Peter Frampton reference, like a prelude to how pop culture references eventually look hilarious), but that has some retro charm all on its own.
73. Forged in the Fire - Ann Turnbull. 312 pg/2007.
Plague! Quakers! Sequel to No Shame, No Fear! New thing where I imagine "Will" as Will Turner, minus the pirate setting! Even better than its predecessor.
74. Sara's Face - Melvin Burgess. 264 pg/2006.
Screw #71, THIS is how you do uber-creepy sci-fi. Chills for ages.
75. Candyfloss - Jacqueline Wilson. 352 pg/2007.
The cover lied to me, so I didn't realize it was a literal kid's book with cartoonish illustrations until it was too late, and I had nothing else to read over the weekend. It was difficult to get through (and not just because it made me badly crave French fries, white bread, and other awful things). Though I daresay I would have liked it when I was 8. I recommend its wholesomeness to all 8-year-old girls.
76. A Certain Slant of Light - Laura Whitcomb. 282 pg/2005.
Brilliant ghost/love story. For once, the writing matches the sophisticated cover.
77. It Could Happen to Anyone - Margaret Maze Craig. 1970?
Teen pregnancy, that is. Italicized purely for the entertainment value of reading its melodrama 40 years later.
78. Helter-Skelter - Patricia Moyes. 243 pg/1968.
Not the Manson story, but a totally unrelated summer romance/adventure, with sailing thrown in, and very much like something you'd expect to pick up off your grandparents' shelf, left there when your parents were kids. At least, that's how I felt about it.
79. Gloomy Gus - Walt Morey. 245 pg/1970.
It's like Gentle Ben 2.0, and every bit as wonderful. *hearts*
80. One Summer in Between - Melissa Mather. 228 pg/1967.
I thought it was kind of boring when I first read it, but over time, the summer story ended up sticking with me pretty well. 60's stories that deal with race tend to be hyperfocused on it, but this was just a black college girl from the south taking a summer job up north, and (if I recall correctly) it affected the story as befits the time period, but it was very much about her relationship with the family.
81. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher. 304 pg/2007.
[Speaking from my 2010 perspective, this book is getting a lot of hype lately. This naturally makes me kind of resent it, but when I first read it I actually thought it was quite good, though the ending/explanations left me unsatisfied.]
82. There Will Be Wolves - Karleen Bradford. 196 pg/1992.
You know what I haven't seen enough stories about? The Crusades. *nods* For that alone, this was amazing.
83. Anahita's Woven Riddle - Meghan Nuttall.
19th century Iran is way more fascinating than 20th century Iran.
84. Before Green Gables - Budge Wilson. 387 pg/2008.
This was amazing. One of the best books I've read all year. It's been a very long times since I read any of the Anne books, but this made me want to run out and go pick them up - except that I'm still too busy being enthralled by the wonderful world created here. It's so amazing that I can't even form words about it. *entranced*
85. The After Life - Daniel Ehrenhaft. 252 pg/2006.
Look, there's just not that much to comment on. Kid's rich dad dies, hangs out with half-siblings, is typical obnoxious YA boy (as boyfriends, many of them are amazing, but somehow whenever they are the star of a book themselves, at least after 1980, they suck).
86. Beauty Shop for Rent...fully equipped, inquire within - Laura Bowers. 336 pg/2007.
ADORABLE story. I want to be Abbey and/or work at this beauty shop. Also, take note, this is how you write empowering, female-focused stories that don't activate my rage buttons.
87. The Edge of Nowhere - Lucy Johnston Sypher. 200 pg/1972.
An early 20th-century prairie town story, but its publication date makes it feel lost - it's too new to really lack vintage charm, but too old to be a truly nostalgic attempt at a historical novel. I do like that it was set in North Dakota, though.
88. Undercover - Beth Kephart. 278 pg/2007.
'Like a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, Elisa ghostwrites love notes for the boys in her school.' That was kinda cute.
89. How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller - Julia DeVillers. 212 pg/2004.
I mocked it. I mocked it so hard. I might have given it a pass if they'd shelved it in the juvenile chapter book section, but they put it in YA, and that's just asking for trouble.
90. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years - Rachel Field. 207 pg/1929.
WONDERFUL. You know why I can't give up my toys, is I imagine many of them have secret life stories like this doll. Beautiful classic that more people need to know about, as it seems to have faded into obscurity.
91. The Cottage at Bantry Bay - Hilda Von Stockum. 252 pg/1938.
Cute old tale of an Irish family. You never know quite what you're going to find in the "drab cloth covers/little-to-no-summary-detail" older section of the library's juvenile shelves, but I usually walk away with something good.
92. Staring Down the Dragon - Dorothea Buckingham. 223 pg/2003.
Finally got around to reading it! A good story that I really haven't seen too much of - a cancer survivor returning to high school.
93. Cat, Herself - Mollie Hunter. 278 pg/1985.
Scottish gypsies! I really liked Cat, though. She spoke to me.
94. Dairy Queen - Catherine Gilbert Murdoch. 275 pg/2006.
After passing it on the shelves forever, I finally gave in and succumbed to the cow on the cover. Dairy farms FTW! Football-playing girls aren't quite as clever, but hey, it's summer and it's set in Wisconsin and that's familiar.
95. Better than Running at Night - Hilary Frank. 272 pg/2002.
Pro: college freshman, art school, cool character, setting, and writing style. Con: falls into the old college-YA-character trap of losing her virginity via a pointless hookup. She keeps trying to say it's a relationship, but it's just a series of stupid hookups with a sleazy guy, and my desire to beat her over the head with a heavy object kept returning over and over.
96. Shrimp - Rachel Cohn. 288 pg/2005.
Gingerbread was better, but I like that a sequel exists. Cohn's relationship with her characters is magnificent.
97. Finding Hattie - Sally Warner. 227 pg/2001.
An earnest attempt at turning a great-grandmother's diary into a historical novel, and I very much applaud the author for sharing that with the world, but personally I thought it was a little boring.
98. The Missing Girl - Norma Fox Mazer. 284 pg/2008.
That freaked me the hell out. Psychological thriller all the way, but not without simultaneously creating extremely vivid character portraits for each of the five sisters in their alternating chapters.
99. As Simple as Snow - Gregory Galloway. 308 pg/2005.
Purports to be a mystery, but really isn't.
100. Donorboy - Brendan Halpin. 209 pg/2004.
I have no idea why I loved this one so much, but I read it in a small park one summer afternoon, farther than I'd ever biked in one direction at college and as far as a bike could go before it turned into highway, and even the main character was somewhat obnoxious and I usually hate the non-prose format (e-mail/IM, in this case), for this story, it worked really well. The memory sticks out.
101. The Fortunes of Indigo Skye - Deb Caletti. 298 pg/2008.
See, this is why I love Caletti. While I do wish that some people who became overnight millionaires could not immediately go on crazy spending sprees (seriously, my crazy spending spree would consist of paying off all the debt I could find in my immediate family, and then I'd stop and think about it for a while), this was a wonderfully rich story. Hah, no pun intended.
102. The Crossroads - Chris Grabenstein. 325 pg/2008.
Weird and twisted supernatural...thing. I gotta stop reading boys' books.
103. Dave's Song - Robert McKay. 181 pg/1969.
*points up* You know, unless they are boys' books written before 1980, in which case they might tell amazing small-town stories.
104. Frannie in Pieces - Delia Ephron. 74 pg/2007.
A crazy - crazy WONDERFUL - blend of reality and fantasy, where a girl mourning her father's death puts together a wooden puzzle he left her, which forms a picture she is able to actually enter, from a time in his past. Less crazy than it sounds. A shed a tear or two.
105. It Happened to Nancy - anonymous (ed. Beatric Sparks). 233 pg/1994.
I liked Go Ask Alice. I liked this (albeit not quite as much). *stubborn look* Also, remember when AIDS was a thing that people greatly feared, instead of something that no longer gets media attention at all?
106. </em>Part of Me: Stories of a Louisiana Family - Kimberly Willis Holt. 208 pg/2006.
I would love to write a sweet, generational story like this. But mostly I love the way books are so central to the generational stories. That's my kind of world.
107. Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines [NF] - Nic Sheff. 322 pg/2007.</i>
I thought it was one of those fun YA drug novels, maybe because that is what it claims to be. No. Actually it's a grown-up memoir. And it's okay, in that context, but compared to YA it's pretty boring. And exhausting. With way too much graphic detail.
108. </em>A Song for Summer - Eva Ibbotson. 282 pg/1997.
The first half was amazing. The second half punched me in the heart muscle over and over and didn't quite fix it at the end, but all things considered, I came away thinking it was a really solid, high-quality piece of story.
109. The Fox and the Hound - Daniel Mannix. 255 pg/1967.
Did you know this was a book? Me neither! It bears very little resemblance to the Disney movie, but no matter, because it is fully AMAZING and I want my own copy ASAP.
110. Skinny - Ibi Kaslik. 244 pg/2004.
When you lure me in with promises of anorexia stories, I expect those to be delivered on, not glossed over in favor of stupid and messed up family history.
111. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie - David Lubar. 268 pg/2007.
Haha, okay, even though I hate that trope where people have one teenager in high school and then suddenly get pregnant again, I liked this kid a lot. He's the best 21st century boy I've seen in a while.
112. Not Like You - Deborah Davis. 268 pg/2007.
I found this on the library cart and honestly thought it was an adult novel at first. I was so proud of myself for finally liking an adult novel! Haha, nope, YA as always. Is okay, though. Dogs feature prominently.
113. Locked Inside - Nancy Werlin. 259 pg/2000.
A fun, quick read that combines MMORPG addiction with a kidnapping/ransom story.
114. Blue Glass - Sandra Tyler. 293 pg/1994.
(review later, when I remember why I liked it)
115. Smoke: Dog on the Run - William Corbin. 253 pg/1967.
Yay, vintage dog story! ...is pretty much what runs through my head and then burns out after I close the cover. I just like having this around, okay?
116. Wendy - Karen Wallace. 153 pg/2003.
There was a liiiittle bit much talk of adultery, considering it's still from a child's perspective, and I wondered if it really needed the Peter Pan connection, but as a general Victorian story it worked very well.
117. Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer. 337 pg/2006.
To quote myself: "I am officially freaked out by how plausible this sounded. The author threw in way too many pointed jabs at Bush (I'm sorry, the unspecified President who bore a curious resemblance to President Bush) in ways that were lame and tacky and smacked of author bias rather than character opinions - but other than that, it was an extremely chilling and unnerving take on how quickly weather pattern shifts could bring about apocalypse-like survivalist conditions, and basically I'm afraid to look at the moon now." *huddles in bed*
118. </strong>Ophelia - Lisa Klein. 328 pg/2006.
Ophelia has always been my favorite character in "Hamlet," so I love the author's imagining of what she was doing the whole time! Plus a surprise twist! Speaking of which, I also love the author's interpretation of Horatio, whom I have always regarded as a rather dull side character but now fully adore.
119. The Beggar's Ride - Theresa Nelson. 242 pg/1992.
Street kid gangs fascinate me.
</em>SUMMARY: A somewhat better showing than last year, as soon as the school year started I found the nonfiction section about animals in the library, and spent the first month devouring everything I liked on it, but having finished that I went back to my usual haunts. Kept up a considerably more normal reading pattern this year, except where it faltered in November due to the end-of-semester crunch, and again in April when reading went out the window with TV to focus on schoolwork.
May was entirely devoted to first the end-of-year crunch and second to the TV I'd abandoned, resulting in no books read at all. As usual, I did the majority (well, slightly under half this time, actually) of my reading over the summer, completing the Magic Number 100 on July 29th and roaring full steam ahead. Although if you look carefully, you'll see that the number of books I read in each summer month is inversely proporational to the number of Doctor Who episodes I watched in the same time frame. Coincidence?
Statistically speaking, the average length of a book was 256 pages, up from last year, and the final tally of 119 ranks it 3rd of 4 years in college, but 5th of 8 including high school. YA novels comprised approximately 81%, followed by 15% non-fiction/memoir and a mere 4% towards adult fiction. Adult fiction includes the TV tie-in novels, so...that gives you an idea of how little I read in that area.
Requirement of U.S. Lit. Have fond memories of watching the movie. Don't really remember what happened, though, as was focused on how much fun the Quad movie room was after dark w/ your classmates & free pizza. And your prof throwing out depressing non-sequiturs at the end about how by the way, the Pope doesn't support the Jesuits work. [edit: in retrospect -- LONG. DULL. AND SO DEPRESSING.]
2. The Last of the Mohicans, 1992, R, 1:47
Have less fond memories of watching this movie, because daylight + no prof + CSB library. Also, spectacular fail in class the next day. And yet, curiously, over time this is the one I'd be more willing to watch again.
3. Holiday in Handcuffs, 2007, PG-13
Which I swear was on ABC family and not a porn movie. Melissa Joan Hart! Mario Lopez! Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez, okay? It was cheesy fluffy romance. Sometimes that's all I want. This might be my new favorite Christmas movie.
It was so fitting that I watched this to close literary theory. Class and movie made identical amounts of nonsense, and were equally infuriating.
Johnny Depp...you have failed at something. I know, I'm shocked too. But apparently this animation style doesn't work for me, and it was neither funny nor scary, just tedious.
6. The Seven Year Itch, 1955, PG?, 1:45
I caught this on PBS, and was amazed that it's so cute and funny. I always thought it was some kind of dirty, raunchy movie. Also, I always picture Marilyn Monroe as a Madonna-esque sex symbol, so seeing her as a beautiful, fresh-faced young woman was another pleasant challenge to my assumptions.
7. Manon des Sources, 1986, PG, 1:53
First film watched for my French Cinema class, and despite the brief full-frontal nudity, Manon is such an adorable young thing (who looks a bit like Shakira, yes?), that I loved this movie.
8. Marius et Jeanette, 1997, PG, 1:45
This one, not so much.
9. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, 2007, PG-13, 1:50
A lot funnier than I thought it'd be! Is my Adam Sandler hate disappearing? Not really, and yet.
10. Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain, 2001, R, 2 hrs
I finally got to see it!! Some dirtier parts than I expected - and overall I prefer A la folie, pas du tout for my Audrey Tautou showcase - but it's still a visual masterpiece, and Amelie continues to be charming.
11. La Veuve de St. Pierre, 2000, R, 1:52
Took my heart, stomped on it, and ground the pieces into the dirt. You beautiful, magnificent, tragic love story, you.
12. 8 Femmes, 2002, R, 1:51
Besides showcasing a pack of the most fabulous French actresses ever, this was a hilarious musical murder mystery! And then you get the end, which rudely reminds you this is France, it ain't no Hollywood party.
13. No Reservations, 2007, PG, 1:44
I'm sorry, what's that, is it a rom-com where a woman takes in her recently orphaned niece, thus forcing the love story to incorporate bonus built-in family adorableness, and two of the main attractions are Catherine Zeta-Jones and Abigail Breslin? Sign me up for a piece of that! It's been ages since I loved a romantic comedy this much.
14. John Tucker Must Die, 2006, PG-13, 1:29
Well, that was a fun way to kill some time.
15. Enchanted, 2007, PG, 1:47
There is nothing about this movie I don't love. Nothing. Bits of it are in 2-D! The rest is still a charming mashup of rom-com and Disney princess story! Someone got Amy Adams to star opposite Patrick Dempsey, and DEMPSEY IS A SINGLE DAD WITH A DAUGHTER (see #13). I think I actually hit my head and hallucinated the entire thing.
16. What's Eating Gilbert Grape, 1993, PG-13, 1:58
I have been dying to see this for *years*, finally got my hands on it, and am suitably blown away. I can't even decide who I like more in it, Depp or DiCaprio (false. The answer is Depp. Possibly his best role ever, or at least the one in which he is most attractive, which is the same thing in my brain). Beautiful and heartwarming.
Normally I would say that watching a family live their life is story enough, but...that family needs to be interesting. And this one had nothing going for it at all.
18. Le Dernier Metro, 1980, PG, 2:11
Eh. WWII setting, but even Catherine Deneuve couldn't do much to improve it.
19. Evan Almighty, 2007, PG, 1:30
I suffered through Steve Carell for the animals, okay. And I got some laughs out of it!
20. Rendition, 2007, R, 2:02
I thought this would be a horrifically dull political movie, and there was that, but I also had Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon to look at a lot. More to the point, even though they weren't involved with each other, I got incredibly invested in the wife's crusade to find and rescue her husband, maybe shedding some tears along the way.
21. Stranger than Fiction, 2006, PG-13, 1:53
I suffered through Will Ferrell for the premise. Lesson learned: I am never suffering through Will Ferrell again. Which is a shame, because on paper this screenplay was awesome.
22. The Ron Clark Story, 2006, PG, 1:30
Matthew Perry stars in a TV movie as an inspiring teacher of underprivileged inner-city kids. It is the best thing ever. *swoons*
23. Sex and the City, 2008, R, 2:06
I had many issues with it - many, many issues - but at the end of the day, it was more time with the four ladies/their significant others, and that was worth it. Especially the return of Finale!Mr. Big, who is a completely separate man from jerky Rest-of-Series!Mr. Big.
24. The X-Files 2: I Want to Believe, 2008, PG-13, 1:44
Ignore my review. In comparison to the rest of this list, it's worth top billing. I got to see Mulder and Scully again, they were still in love, there was bedtime snuggling. I can put up with a boring and scarcely paranormal case for that.
25. You, Me, and Dupree, 2006, PG-13, 1:50
As comedies go, this made me laugh! I love Kate Hudson. And Owen Wilson.
26. Ocean's Thirteen, 2007, PG-13, 2:02
[will fill out later, after I remember how I felt about this versus Twelve]
27. The Brothers Grimm, 2005, PG-13, 1:58
I, um, didn't expect it to be quite that cracky and ludicrous. Disappointing.
28. The New World, 2005, PG-13, 2:15
At first I thought Colin Farrel was horribly miscast as John Smith, but it turns out he's perfect - I can finally consider him attractive without feeling gross and disgusted with myself. The movie was slower and had less dialogue than I expected, but I love this story and I will always love retellings of this story. Especially with scenery like that.
29. The Notebook, 2004, PG-13, 2:04
I read the book a while back, but apparently I did not remember how frustrating and less-epic-than-implied-by-endless-promos their actual romance is. Fail! On the other hand, the present day setting in which he's reading the story, despite her advanced Alzheimer's, still makes me cry.
SUMMARY: Wow, 29 films. That's a pathetically tiny amount; I don't even know what happened there. I have trouble finding movies that looks good? I don't want to put the effort into looking for good movies because I have so many better things to do, like read and watch TV? I've never been a film buff, and my couch-potato activities are directed towards other outlets.
Once in a while I will get an urge to just go on a movie binge, but I have to specifically plan for that. Most of what I watched during the school year was required for various classes, or the final tally would be even lower. You can blame the summer's lack of movies on a combination of catching up on reading and devoting all my remaining spare minutes to working through Doctor Who. I watched those last five all in the week before school started, and that was mainly out of a need to up my tally.
Fun facts: The average length of a movie was 1 hour, 49 minutes, and the PG-13 rating again ruled the roost (38%) - closely followed by R (31%) and PG (28%). Only one G-rated film in the mix.
Most fun fact: All of the R-rated movies except SatC were required for class.
EDIT:: Here you can find the September-December 2008 "Twilight Zone" before I switched to calendar years.