40. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: Another book I read for Alicia. We saw the movie when it came out on DVD a while back, but she didn't get around to reading the book until this past spring. When she was done, she demanded I read it. I'm so glad she did. I loved it. It gets classified as YA romance, or a Romeo & Juliet/zombie mash-up, and in some ways I guess it is, but honestly, it is so much more than that. The author has a great voice, and there were so many quotes from it that made me stop and reread, or gasp, or wish I'd written, I lost track by halfway through. Plotting isn't great, but that didn't matter for me. - A-
41. Nightmares & Dreamscapes by Stephen King: I've owned this anthology forever, but never sat down and read it before now. King and I have a love/hate relationship. I was a massive fan when I was younger. One of my worst nightmares ever came after I stayed up until 3am to finish Christine when I was fifteen. He often scares me in the worst possible way, but I hate how he finishes his stories. They always feel like a copout. I stopped reading him in the 90s and only started delving back into his work in recent years. There were definitely stories in this that put me back into that nail-biting, man-I-love-this-guy mode that I used to be, including a couple that gave me nightmares again, but others were really kind of blah. That's the thing with anthologies, though. I don't think I've ever read one where every story was truly outstanding. - B
42. Stitches by David Small: A graphic novel memoir that's really astounding for as spare as it is. It focuses on Small's childhood and relationship with his parents primarily, which was not a pretty picture. His mother is stingy and cold, his father has repressed anger issues, and Small gets sick a lot. But through the few words and illustrations that perfectly demonstrate the bleakness and surreal quality of his childhood, Small paints an incredibly evocative picture that was impossible to put down. Very intense. - A-
I had four DNFs: the Jack Reacher book (his short sentence style annoyed the crap out of me), Ravens by George Dawes Green (it's been too soon since I read a story about punks stealing a lottery ticket and this wasn't nearly as entertaining), Sex As a Second Language by Alisa Kwitney (hated the heroine), and Brother of Sleep by Robert Schneider (I'm pretty sure I had a crappy translation; the prose was just too clumsy).