Goal for 2011: read at least 24 books. Below is the list of books I have read/intend to read this year.
Clary Fray was living a normal life with her mother, Jocelyn, believing that she once had a human father who died in a car crash. However, everything she knew got turned around after a night at the Pandemonium with her best friend, Simon. There she meets three shadowhunters named Jace, Isabelle, and Alec as they are killing a demon. From this point on, Clary is thrown into a different world full of illusions and creatures that she never knew existed. After her mother is kidnapped by the all time evil shadowhunter, Valentine, Clary joins the other young shadowhunters in New York to try and find both her mother and the Mortal Cup. The Mortal Cup is what created shadowhunters in the first place and Valentine is out to get the cup to create an army for himself.
On the teens quest to find the Mortal Cup, they run into several unnatural characters including a warlock named Magnus Bane, a clan of vampires, and a pack of werewolves. Clary’s best friend, Simon, was temporarily turned into a rat on one of their expeditions at Magnus’ house and this led Clary and Jace to a vampire house to retrieve her friend (who was in fact in love with her).
Clary had always loved to draw and paint. Her mother had been an artist as well and had painted things for their downstairs neighbor, Madame Dorothea, who was a fortune teller. While staying with the shadowhunters, Clary discovered that her mothers paintings for Dorothea were not just art. Her mother had used some ancient runes to hide the Mortal Cup inside a painting on the back of a playing card. Clary used a reverse rune to retrieve the cup only to find that a demon had possessed Madame Dorothea’s body and tried to kill them all and take the cup. But Simon came in and saved the day with a bow and arrow. However, once the five got back to the Institute they stayed at, they discover that their teacher, Hodge, had been working for Valentine the entire time and got away with the cup and Jace.
Clary goes with a pack of werewolves to find Valentine and fight him for Jace and the cup only to find Jace being taken care of by Valentine and her mother in a magically induced coma. Valentine was married to Jocelyn and was both Clary and Jace’s father. He tried to convince Jace and Clary to go with him so they can be a family once more but Clary knocks some sense into Jace. However, Valentine escapes with the cup.
There is also a bit of romance in this novel. Jace Wayland, the attractive and seemingly self absorbed shadowhunter begins to have feelings for Clary. They both become attracted to each other until they find out that they are siblings.
2. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins (currently reading)
Mockingjay opens with Katniss surveying the ruins of District 12, while trying to grapple with her feelings of responsibility and sadness towards the firebombing that occurred at the end of Catching Fire. Peeta is still a prisoner of the Capitol, and his family was killed in the bombing. Katniss struggles in the book in deciding between Peeta – the boy with the bread – and Gale, her hunting partner.
Katniss then talks of her new life with the rebels in the underground District 13. When Peeta appears on a Capitol broadcast, Katniss sees that he is being used, and strikes a deal with the District 13 leader, President Coin: in exchange for immunity for all of the Hunger Games victors and the opportunity to kill President Snow herself, she agrees to become the symbol of rebellion for the rebels.
Soon Peeta and other victors are rescued from the Captiol, but Peeta’s memories have been tampered with, and he now hates Katniss. He struggles to find the false memories and is confused by certain details that the Captiol did not tamper. Snow showed him no mercy and he is now out of control. District 13 tries to get back the old sweet, gentle Peeta but fears he will never be the same, for his hate for Katniss is strong enough to kill.
Katniss is assigned to Troop 451, where she, Finnick, Gale, Boggs, an Avox named Pollux, his brother Castor, Peeta, and five others are to be filmed invading the Capitol for propaganda purposes. Katniss plans to sneak away from the group and assassinate Snow on her own. During the mission to the Capitol, they lose members to land mines, muttations, party strife and Capitol assaults. The five remaining members split up upon reaching the Capitol. Katniss presses alone towards Snow’s mansion, where the president has penned many children in front of his mansion as human shields for his own safety. An apparent Capitol assault kills several of the children and bystanders, including Katniss’ sister Prim who was part of the rebels’ medical team.
President Snow is tried and found guilty, but Katniss discovers that the final assault that killed Prim and the children may have been the result of a plan once developed by Gale. Katniss realizes that she will never be able to look at him the same way, even though he was not directly involved with the deaths of the children and Prim.
As Katniss goes to execute Snow, Katniss remembers a conversation with Snow in which they promised not to lie to each other. Thus, she changes her aim and kills Coin instead. She is then imprisoned but acquitted due to her apparent insanity. She endures morphling addiction, catatonic depression and suicidal thoughts.
Katniss is waken from her stupor by Haymitch who informs of her acquittal by the government. Haymitch explains that pandemonium exploded when Katniss assassinated Coin and states that Snow was found dead, possibly of choking on his own blood while laughing at Katniss’s decision. Katniss returns to her old house in the Victor’s Village and finds Greasy Sae there to take care of her as she struggles to find meaning in her life. One day, she goes outside and finds Peeta planting primroses beside her house, in memory of her sister. Katniss and Peeta help each other through the terrible psychological aftermath of the Games and the war, and over time, Katniss discovers that she loves Peeta as he recalls his old love for her.
3. The Lost Hero – Rick Riordan (to-read)
Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and his best friend is a guy named Leo. They’re all students at the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids” as Leo puts it. What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly? Jason doesn’t know anything—except that everything seems very wrong.
Piper has a secret. Her father, a famous actor, has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out, whether she wants to or not.
Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too–like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them–including Leo–is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts(technically a creepy old lady that used to put him in fireplaces to sleep)?
4. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert (to-read)
At 32 years old, Gilbert was educated, had a home and a husband, and successful career as a writer. However, she was not happy; she was depressed with her marriage, often spending the night crying on her bathroom floor. She divorced her husband and entered into a relationship with another man, but this relationship did not work out either. She decided that she needed a change. She spent the next year traveling the world. She spent four months in Italy, eating and enjoying life (Eat). She spent four months in India, trying to find her spirituality (Pray). She ended the year in Bali, Indonesia, looking for “balance” of the two and love (Love).
5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (to read)
The story takes place during three years of the Great Depression in the fictional “tired old town” of Maycomb, Alabama. The narrator, six-year-old Scout Finch, lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill who visits Maycomb to stay with his aunt for the summer. The three children are terrified of, and fascinated with, their neighbor, the reclusive “Boo” Radley. The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo and for many years, few have seen him. The children feed each other’s imaginations with rumors about his appearance and reasons for remaining hidden, and they fantasize about how to get him out of his house. Following two summers of friendship with Dill, Scout and Jem find that someone is leaving them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley place. Several times, the mysterious Boo makes gestures of affection to the children, but, to their disappointment, never appears in person.
Atticus is appointed by the court to defend a black man named Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a young white woman. Although many of Maycomb’s citizens disapprove, Atticus agrees to defend Tom to the best of his ability. Other children taunt Jem and Scout for Atticus’ actions, calling him a “nigger-lover”. Scout is tempted to stand up for her father’s honor by fighting, even though he has told her not to. For his part, Atticus faces a group of men intent on lynching Tom. This danger is averted when Scout, Jem, and Dill shame the mob into dispersing by forcing them to view the situation from Atticus’ and Tom’s points of view.
Because Atticus does not want them to be present at Tom Robinson’s trial, Scout, Jem, and Dill watch in secret from the colored balcony. Atticus establishes that the accusers—Mayella and her father, Bob Ewell, the town drunk—are lying. It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella was making sexual advances towards Tom and her father caught her in the act. Despite significant evidence of Tom’s innocence, the jury convicts him. Jem’s faith in justice is badly shaken, as is Atticus’, when a hopeless Tom is shot and killed while trying to escape from prison.
Humiliated by the trial, Bob Ewell vows revenge. He spits in Atticus’ face on the street, tries to break into the presiding judge’s house, and menaces Tom Robinson’s widow. Finally, he attacks the defenseless Jem and Scout as they walk home from the school Halloween pageant. Jem’s arm is broken in the struggle, but amid the confusion, someone comes to the children’s rescue. The mysterious man carries Jem home, where Scout realizes that he is the reclusive Boo Radley.
Maycomb’s sheriff arrives and discovers that Bob Ewell has been killed in the struggle. The sheriff argues with Atticus about the prudence and ethics of holding Jem or Boo responsible. Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff’s story that Ewell simply fell on his own knife. Boo asks Scout to walk him home, and after she says goodbye to him at his front door, he disappears again. While standing on the Radley porch, Scout imagines life from Boo’s perspective and regrets that they never repaid him for the gifts he had given them
6. Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follet (to-read)
7. The Girl who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson (to-read)
Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.
But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.
As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.
8. Club Dead – Charlane Harris (to-read)
9. The Host – Stephanie Meyer (to-read)
10. Wind-up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami (to-read)
11. The Stand – Stephen King (to-read)
12. I Know this Much is True – Wally Lamb (to-read)
13. Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown (to-read)
14. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (to-read)
15. Dark Lover – J. R. Ward (to-read)
16. A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby (to-read)
17. The Zahir – Paulo Coelho (to-read)
18. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden (to-read)
19. Dead to the World – Charlaine Harris (to-read)
20. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini (to-read)
21. City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare (to-read)
22. The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown (to-read)
23. Dance, dance, dance – Haruki Murakami (to-read)
24. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (to-read)
25. Chicken Soup for Runners (pahabol)