Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 Book year in review

 This is what the munchkins looked like at the beginning of 2012. Cute little stinkers, huh?

I'm thrilled to report that in 2012, I read 60 books. SIXTY! Thrilled, because in 2011 I only read 32. That's almost double! I feel like I am finally returning to the land of the readers after a long absence, and it feels great.

Of those books, 34 were by female authors, and 26 by males. That's actually pretty good - I think I normally skew towards female authors, so it was a pretty balanced year by my standards.

Here are a few highlights.

Biggest surprise of the year -

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - I had such a horrible preconceived idea about what Koontz's writing would be like that I was completely shocked when this book was actually really, really good. Odd and Stormy are one of my favorite literary love stories, and reading more in this series is definitely on my agenda for 2013.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - I'm just going to be honest here - Wolf Hall was such a SLOG to get through. I honestly don't know why I thought I should pick this one up - so imagine my surprise when it was a really great, tense read. I almost can't believe the two books were by the same author, except that she did that weird "he" thing with Cromwell in both. What a difference a few years makes - I will read more by this author based on the strength of this novel.

Most fun return to a series I love -

Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen - Rizzoli and Iles (the print versions) are two of my favorite characters, and while Gerritsen's novels are, at this point, somewhat predictable, they are still so much fun to read. It had been a few years since I'd caught up with these two complex women, and their lives have not become simple in the meantime! I don't generally purchase series novels like this for my permanent collection, but I have a feeling the Rizzoli and Iles series will be an exception.

Best Audiobook -

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - I was so surprised by the beauty of this novel's writing - it was only supposed to be a murder mystery, and yet listening to it was such a pleasure. The author is a master of a great character study, and the narrator nailed the mood and pitch of the story perfectly. This was a fabulous listen.

Novel I can't wait to read to my kids -

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - I found this book to be truly delightful, and though it has certainly been around quite a while, it didn't feel dated or stilted. I look forward to the day that I can share this one with the kiddos.

Book I needed to read at exactly that moment -

Kisses from Katie by Katie J. Davis - this book truly changed the way I look at the world - my immediate world, and the greater one around me. It was a book I needed to read, and I'm grateful for it.

Book I disliked that the greater world seemed to love -

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - Every year there is one, and this novel gets the distinction this year. I actually just read this on Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of the Year list - I can't say that I could agree. I disliked the characters, the story, the writing - really just about everything. But it would appear most people disagree with me, so certainly give it a try for yourself.

Book I still can't get out of my head -

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters - for a book that I initially didn't think I would care for, this one has certainly stuck with me. I can't get the haunting setting or the tragedy of the Ayers family out of my head. I am certainly happy I persevered, because this is one of the most memorable reads of the year.

Least favorite reads of the year -

The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo by Darrin Doyle
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
The Alchemist's Daughter by Katharine McMahon
When Fox Is 1,000 by Larissa Lai
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth

Most favorite reads of the year 

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Secret River by Kate Grenville

It has been fun looking back at all the great books I've read this year, and looking forward to the surprises I will encounter in the year to come. Happy 2013!

 Here are the munchkins now - they have gotten so big!


Jennifer Hartling said...

I know just what you mean about Wolf Hall. I enjoyed it but there was some sort of issue with the pronouns that made it a tough one. Bring up the Bodies was excellent!

Kristen M. said...

Super late comment but the kids are growing up so fast! I'm glad they're letting you have some reading time again. :) I think I finally got back on track when Z was three. You read some great books last year and I wish you the same for this one!