Book Club: Best of 2012

by amyovergaard

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One feature I’d like to add to the blog is sharing what books I’m currently reading. Curling up with a good book is one of my favorite pass-times, and I would love to chat about what I’m reading and how it’s influencing me and hopefully hear from you about what you’re reading! It’s always been my dream to be in a book club, and though I haven’t found one in real life (because, really, how does one find a book club?) I figured I might as well start one right here! So tell me, what books are you currently reading and enjoying?

Since graduating, I’ve had so much more time to read for pleasure, and I’ve been loving it. I read some really great books this past year, so I figured that I’d get our little book club started by sharing my favorites from 2012:

1. The Architecture of Happiness — One part art and design, one part philosophy, this book explores how architecture and the philosophies of the day are interconnected. It was quite a beautiful read, full of some great lines and a lot of visual impact.

2. Bird by Bird — This was my first venture with Anne Lamott, and I became an instant fan. Not only is she incredibly witty, but she has a way of so profoundly getting to the heart of why it’s hard to put pen to paper and offers insight into overcoming our obstacles. If you’re a writer, you desperately need to read this book.

3. A Moveable Feast — After trying to read A Farewell to Arms in tenth grade and quitting in the middle I hated it so much (and I am not one to stop a book halfway through), I always had a bit of a grudge against Hemingway. But boy, have I been sadly mistaken this whole time. Maybe I just needed to develop my taste a bit, but this book jumped into my Top 10 Favorite Books the moment I cracked it open. Dear Ernest has such a way with words, and such a unique style, and couple that with Paris in the 20s…well, it’s just perfect. I loved it.

4. Peter Pan — I re-read this childhood favorite this summer, and it was just as lovely as I remembered. I still sometimes want to leave my window open at night in the hopes that Peter will drop by…

5. I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing — I have always loved Nora Ephron (You’ve Got Mail is basically my favorite movie) and after she passed away this summer I decided it was high time to read some of her essay collections. Nora was brilliant, engaging, funny and honest. If I could have met her, I know we would have been good friends.

6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? — Mindy Kaling’s Nora Ephron-esque book was hilarious. After seeing the first half of The Mindy Project this fall, I knew it was time to read Mindy’s book. Her writing for The Office was just the tip of the iceberg. She is going to do awesome things, and I already know I’m going to love all of it. (I also listened to Bossypants by Tina Fey on audiobook, which was similar in style to Mindy and Nora’s book. Not my absolute fav, but definitely worth being mentioned.)

7. I Capture the Castle — After discovering that Dodie Smith, who wrote The Hundred and One Dalmatians, had another novel, I immediately went out and bought it. Though written in an unexpected style, I so deeply connected to Cassandra’s character and was absolutely on edge to find out what happened next. (P.S. In case you didn’t know, I have been a major fan of dalmatians since I was two and first saw the movie/received a Patch stuffed animal. Turns out the book is even better than the movie. Dodie Smith has a lovely way with words. On a related note, if anyone ever feels so inclined, I would never turn down a real dalmatian puppy.)

8. 1776 — I really enjoy learning more about history, and this book was definitely full of it. Though reading this book is more mentionable because I’ve been borrowing it from my Grandpa since I was in 10th grade. Yes, you read that right: I’ve been trying to read this book for eight years. I blame it on being in school all that time, and once I finally graduated I could enjoy packing in a lot of historical information, whereas before there just wasn’t room in my brain for all of those facts. And I actually really enjoyed it! I learned way more about the Revolutionary War from that one book than I did in all my years of public education.

9. Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m. — Breakfast at Tiffany’s is another one of my favorite films, and this book looks at how Audrey Hepburn, through her role as Holly Golightly and in the years surrounding the film, influenced a social shift in how we view the “modern woman.” She broke a lot of molds in the way that women were perceived when she came onto the scene, and Holly was a catalyst in film and culture as things were majorly shifting in the 60s. Sam Wasson, who wrote the book, did a lot of research and interviewing, making it a very interesting read.

10. The Year of Magical Thinking — This book deserves a post all of its own, because it’s basically an example of why I want to write. Joan Didion was brutally honest about what she went through in the year after her husband’s death, and wrote it with such eloquence. I believe stories help connect people and show them they aren’t alone in what they’re going through, and Ms. Didion exemplified that belief in the best way possible. This book is raw and real and is the kind of writing I hope to someday create. But more on this later.

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorites?

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