Thursday, December 20, 2012

Books 2012: Favorites, etc.

A bit early this year, here are my eight favorite books from 2012. To make the list, I had to have read the book for the first time in 2012 so that old favorites don't clog the top spots.

 Logavina Street (Barbara Demick). You will dream of Sarajevo every night while you read this book.

The House by the Dvina (Eugenie Frasier). Little House on the revolutionary Russia.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter (Jennifer Reese). This cookbook was written for me because making stuff from scratch is often the only choice here. Plus, this book finally got the awful taste from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle out of my mouth!

Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Aron Ralston). "EVERYONE PLEASE STOP TALKING TO ME SO I CAN FINISH THIS BOOK" pretty much sums up how I felt about this one.

A Safeway in Arizona (Tom Zoellner) - this year's Columbine for me. I feel like this book spoke directly to me. I'm still thinking about it.

The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater). I have a weird reluctance to share this book with you. It's so quiet and unassuming and yet so strangely beautiful. If you read it and don't like it, I don't want to hear about it, mmmkay?

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight (Alexandra Fuller). Haunting. This is a book that I still think about on a regular basis.

The Virginian (Owen Wister). A lovely member of that category of slow, thoughtful books that read like a love letter to their setting, in this case the American West. How had I not read this before?

Now for some fun stuff.

Most unexpectedly good book: Angelfall, by Susan Ee. I was expecting a story that went through the motions of everything that's hot in YA lit these days. I was not expecting TRUE AWESOMENESS in the form of post-apocalyptic San Francisco where angels have destroyed/taken over the earth, and the 17-year-old heroine trained in self-defense has a paranoid schizophrenic mother and a wheelchair-bound, paralyzed little sister. YEAH.

Most unexpectedly bad book: Palace of Stone, by Shannon Hale, and that makes my heart cry.

Longest book: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (625 pages). But it was actually a pretty smooth read.

Shortest book: The Book of Mormon Girl (216 pages). I read it when it first came out and was only available as a Kindle book. I think there is an expanded version in print now...? And that might be the one that is 216 pages (because I don't think the Kindle version was that long). In any case, a lovely book.

Most-read book: 2012 marked my umpteenth reading of Calico Captive (assuming we're counting all the times I read it as a kid). This year I read several books for the second time: Tomorrow, When the War Began, The Language Instinct, A Night to Remember, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and North and South.

Best bad book: The Flight of Gemma Hardy. I really enjoyed reading it even though in the end I decided, meh, not for me. Basically I wish I could read Jane Eyre for the first time again and this book was the closest I could get.

Worst good book: Hmm, a book that I gave a high rating to that I didn't enjoy and maybe never want to read again...Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Brilliant book. Torture on the emotions. Nothing to gain from a second reading.

Worst book I didn't finish: I didn't record DNF books this year, so I can't fill this category. Maybe I should delete it.

Worst book I did finish: I hated Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. I hated all the characters and everything they did and all the things that happened. Flames. On the side of my face.

Worst cover: Kissing Shakespeare. Overtures of child abuse, anyone??

Or perhaps you prefer THIS abomination?? Thank goodness for Kindles.

Best cover: Just the right amount of spook in its beauty: Imaginary Girls.

Books in which there is mind-reading in some form: Under the Never Sky, Silence, Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, Hallowed, Bitterblue, Child of the Prophecy, Every Other Day.

Books that have a character or place name of "Delphi(c)": Under the Never Sky, Silence, And Only to Deceive.

Books in which a girl who goes through traumatic experiences as a kid with her best-friend (boy) neighbor by her side, then loses touch with that boy, then thinks he is dead even as she deals with her feelings for him. And also, one of her parents is not around and the boy's father is abusive: Sweethearts, Please Ignore Vera Dietz.

Books in which a Scottish woman marries a man from a cold, northern, foreign country with customs very different from her own, but she learns to love it there, but also she insists on traveling to Scotland to birth her first baby: The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The House by the Dvina.

Happy reading!


Crys said...

Great post!

Liz Johnson said...

1 - I love goodreads so that I can add your favorite books throughout the year and maybe even read one of them (ha).

2 - How many books did you read this year?? How many were repeats?

Melody said...

I'm sad to hear that Palace of Stone isn't good. I just barely got it from the library. Haven't even started it yet. Sigh. I'll read it anyway...

Susanne said...

I'm reading "The Book of Mormon Girl" now.

Shannon said...

Bridget, do you sleep? Joey and I have discussed this off and on over the years, and we really think that the only way you can possibly have so many fascinating things going on at once and still have time to blog is that you don't sleep. We think you might be one of those people who genuinely needs only 2 or 3 hours of sleep. . . . And that's okay, of course--we just want to know the answer!

Bridget said...

Hahaha, yes, I do sleep, I promise. I LOVE reading - it is what I do when I don't have to do anything else. I don't watch TV or many movies or craft or sew or design or shop. Reading is my number one leisure activity. Also, it helps that I am a fast reader. Obviously nf books or heavy fiction take longer.

Abu Halen said...

Yes, me and Shannon must know.


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