It is time to do the wrap-up of my best and worst reads from 2012. I thought I’d just go through my list of all 100 books and highlight the ones that stood out for me.
Favorite Book of the Year: Watership Down by Richard Adams – yeah, it’s an oldie but darn, it was perfect.
Favorite YA Book: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green — I defy you to read this without crying … or laughing … or falling in love with Hazel and Augustus. (Hey … kind of funny that two of my favorite reads from 2012 had main characters named Hazel!)
Favorite Memoir: Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman — Funny, freaky, scary and wonderful, Gilman’s account of her youthful trip to China with a friend had me riveted from page one.
Favorite Non-Fiction Books: People always tell me that they don’t like to read non-fiction, but non-fiction books are almost always some of the best I read each year. This year, I had more than my fair share of excellent non-fiction reads that were as good or better than much of the fiction I read. Here are my favorites:
- Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer — participatory journalism at its best
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson — hello, it’s Bill Bryson! He’s a genius!
- Game Change by John Heilermann and Mark Halperin — I could not care less about politics … until I read this
- Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson — Had no idea I’d be so enthralled with this biography, but what Jobs did in his life really created so much of the technology we use and rely on today. Amazing.
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson — Serial killer and the World’s Fair in the 1880s — fantastic!
- People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry — True crime that goes beyond the crime to explore grief and Japanese culture and legal system
My Official New Favorite Author (Fiction): Tana French — She’s only written four books, but they were all brilliant. I await her next book with eager anticipation. Broken Harbor was one of my best reads of the year and it haunts me still.
My New Literary Best Friend: Caitlin Moran — I read both of her books (How To Be A Woman and Moranthology) and not only wished that I knew her but that I was her!
Best Series I’m Reading: Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series is awesome! (But Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler series is up there too.)
Two Books by the Same Author That Couldn’t Be More Different: Every Last One and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen — talk about talent, Quindlen can write a gripping, shocker of a novel and then turn around and write a memoir about aging full of warmth, wit and good humor.
Best Book By An Author I’ve Been Reading Forever: 11/22/63 by Stephen King — I love that King has been writing for ages and still can turn out a brilliant read like this time travel book about preventing the JFK assassination, which garnered him all kinds of new fans.
Biggest Surprise: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce — I thought this was going to be a quirky throwaway book and was surprised to find it one of my most affecting reads this year.
Book I Never Would Have Read If Not For Blogging: Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles — I wouldn’t have given this a second glance but ended up loving this quirky, over-the-top tale of mayhem the unfolds during a house sitting gig.
Biggest Disappointments of the Year: Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore and I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak — I was prepared to love and enjoy both books but really didn’t like either. Sigh.
Least Favorite Books of the Year: The 500 by Matthew Quirk, Wicked by Gregory Maguire, A Friend of the Family by Laura Grodstein, So Cold the River by Michael Kortya
In all, I read 100 books in 2012 (67 fiction and 33 non-fiction by 48 male authors and 52 female authors). Here are the covers of some of my favorite reads from 2012. If you haven’t read them yet, I’d highly recommend each one of them. Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2013 filled with 5 star reads! Happy New Year!