This week I finished reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It’s one of those books I find difficult to explain. When people have asked what it’s about, I’ve dodged the question, because “Uh… There’s this kid. He goes to high school. He finds some friends,” doesn’t really do it justice. Like To Kill A Mockingbird and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, it is essentially the story of grown-up problems as observed by an unusual child. I liked the idea of the wallflower advantages: what the quiet observers can experience when they – ok, we – just shut and watch. But on the other hand, as Charlie learns, you have to “participate” sometimes.
Last week I finished The Fault in our Stars which is also about this kid who finds some friends, but she has cancer. This novel by John Green was the top fiction book in 2012 according to Time. Not that I’ve read all the other fiction books and made an objective comparison or anything, but I’d like to say Time may have been right. This novel has everything I want from novels: complex characters, interesting sentences, little details that make me stop and think or laugh, plot twists and funny dialogue. It also has characters that have cancer, putting it firmly in the “these characters have bigger problems than me” category, unlike some other books I’ve read in 2012. By the way, I like the fact that Time’s number one fiction book of 2012 is technically “young adult” (a genre old adults should read too), but does not mention vampires or children killing each other.
I’ve been offline a lot over Christmas and New Year’s, but here’s a few interesting online reads from the past couple of weeks:
How to use Evernote as a memory tool for deep reading, writing, and research.
Science fiction became science fact this year.
A “self-made man” thanks all the people who helped make him.
Has Peter Jackson ruined Tolkien? “(…) finding the moments in The Hobbit film that are actually adapted from Tolkien’s book can start to resemble a Where’s Waldo exercise. I’d argue it’s no coincidence that these rare moments, when they happen, are by far the strongest in the film.”
I’ve been also been reading a couple of books I plan to review, a novel in English and a book about social media in Norwegian.
Since I spent four days at New Year’s Swing Fling for New Year’s, my background music has been mainly Christmassy or West Coast Swing. But according to Last.fm, my top artists were Doe Paoro, Frank Sinatra (that’s because of Christmas), Tori Amos (probably mainly Midwinter Graces, her winter album), Alex G and Garrison Starr.
Here’s a playlist of the songs I listened to the most in 2012.
And here’s a playlist of 20 new songs I listened to a lot in 2012.