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Showing posts from December, 2013

Top 13 Reads of 2013

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The year 2013 was a pretty good year in reading. I managed to find a number of memorable titles. So, here they are (in no particular order): A Song of Ice and Fire Series 1-4 by George R.R. Martin – I am now hugely obsessed with this series! It's full of danger, uncertainty, magic, dragons, knights. What's not to love?    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – A well written tense, taut, and suspenseful thriller that made me lose my mind!  Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay – A grand, sweeping epic tale about memories, identity, and home. I loved that there are quiet lyrical moments, in as much as fast paced ones.Tenth of December by George Saunders – Despite having some strange elements in an otherwise contemporary story, it turned out to be compelling, insightful, and touching.   Ender’s Series 1-2 & Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card – An accessible sci-fi. It's a great blend of action-y stuff and think-y stuff.     Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - The best friendship story I have …

The Ocean at The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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Summary from Goodreads:

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter w…

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

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Summary from Goodreads:

At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains.

Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear.

But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about t…

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

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Summary from Goodreads:

After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
A Feast for Crows picked up where A Storm of Swords left off, but with the former being relatively tamer than the latter. The War of the Five Kings has after all, come to an end, with Tommen taking the Iron Throne. This 4…

Required Reading: December 2013

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This is it, the last month of 2013. How could a year fly by so fast? And do they know it's Christmas time at all? Haha. Sorry, may last song syndrome lang. Anyway, here is how I fared for my November Required Reads:

1. Tenth of December by George Saunders - (5/5 stars) Deftly written satire of contemporary life. It is intense and insightful and made me look at life a little differently. 

2. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster- (4/5 stars) Not your usual detective story. It's strange and confusing, but of the good kind. Also the type of book that will make you think about life and human existence. 

3. The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy - (Unfinished) I wasn't able to make much dent on this because I decided to join the buddy read for A Feast for Crows by GRRM and it kept me well away from The Girl on Fire. But the Catching Fire movie adaptation was great though. It was grand and spectacular and emotional. I teared up a …

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders

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Summary from Goodreads:

George Saunders, one of our most important writers, is back with a masterful, deeply felt collection that takes his literary powers to a new level. In a recent interview, when asked how he saw the role of the writer, Saunders said: "To me, the writer's main job is to make the story unscroll in such a way that the reader is snared-she's right there, seeing things happen and caring about them. And if you dedicate yourself to this job, the meanings more or less take care of themselves." In Tenth of December, the reader is always right there, and the meanings are beautiful and profound and abundant. The title story is an exquisite, moving account of the intersection, at a frozen lake in the woods, of a young misfit and a middle-aged cancer patient who goes there to commit suicide, only to end up saving the boy's life. "Home" is the often funny, often poignant account of a soldier returning from the war. And "Victory Lap" is …