Your Top Five Reads of 2012!
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See the blog post for the books we on the LT staff liked best in 2012. What were your top five?
2012 TOP FIVE
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
Dickens: Public Life and Private Passion by Peter Ackroyd
The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller
In no particular order.
On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
Vince Guaraldi at the piano by Derrick Bang
Rise to greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's most perilous year. by Dave Von Drehle
All told : my art and life among athletes, playboys, bunnies, and provocateurs. by LeRoy Neiman
Pox Americana : the great smallpox epidemic of 1775-82. by Elizabeth Fenn
Being a fan of both Guaraldi and Neiman could have affected my judgment. I wrote reviews for all of them.
Desiring God By John Piper
The Prodigal God By Timothy Keller
Crazy Love By Francis Chan
The Cross of Christ By John Stott
The Rise of Christianity By Rodney Stark
My top five would have to be:
Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation by Noel Riley Fitch
The Garden of Evening Mists - Tan Twan Eng
Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell
Life and Death are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan
The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman
A definite number six would be:
Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. by Jeremy Mercer
The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe
The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe
Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher by Tom Bethell
I Am The Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles Kesler
In the heart of the sea : the tragedy of the whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Night Circus
The Stockholm Octavo
The Song of Achilles
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
wild card spot: At least three books could go here. Have to think about it.
ETA Well...it's down to two: Knockemstiff, which was astonishingly good, and The Swerve, to which I owe a debt of gratitude for explaining me to myself.
Limiting my selections to five would have made too big stars of the ones I selected. So I picked five non-fiction and five fiction. My selection was based mostly on how much I have returned in my mind to them and found that valuable.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
A History of Russia, Central Asia, and Mongolia by David Christian
Paul Robeson by Martin Duberman
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
The Rise and Fall of Communism by Archie Brown
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (but not the back matter in the Norton Critical Edition)
Factotum by Charles Bukowski
All out of this list.
1. Outer Dark ~ Cormac McCarthy
2. Rubicon Beach ~ Steve Erickson
3. Black Light: A Novel ~ Galway Kinnell
4. Every Love Story is a Ghost Story ~ D.T. Max
5. The Book of Fantasy ~ Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Ocampo, Adolfo Bioy Casares, editors
Five that nearly made my top 5:
So Far Gone: A Novel ~ Paul Cody
Place Last Seen ~ Charlotte McGuinn Freeman
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why ~ Laurence Gonzales
Blue Nights ~ Joan Didion
Masks of the Illuminati ~ Robert Anton Wilson
Best New Reads: (in order)
1. That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis (one of the best books I've read EVER)
2. Perelandra by C. S. Lewis
3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
4. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
5. Introverts in the Church by Adam S. McHugh
Best Rereads: (also in order)
1. The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
4. The Apology of Socrates by Plato
5. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
I've decided that I will assign my top reads into categories....
Best Australian Book/Author: Frank Moorhouse - Cold Light
Best Member's Giveaway: Donald McLean - Unraveling Charlie
Best Non-Fiction: David Herlihy - The Lost Cyclist
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy: Christopher Paolini - Inheritance
Best Erotica: Lucy Tucker - Sasha's List
And my Honorable Mention goes to Geraldine Brooks - I read three of her books (Year of Wonders, Caleb's Crossing and March ) this year and all of them were just fabulous reads....they almost deserve a category of their own!
This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin
Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Betrayer by C.J. Cherryh
A Game of You by Neil Gaiman
It's actually been a real clunker of a year. There haven't been a lot of really outstanding books I've read... but there's still a little more year to go, I guess!
My top five mixes new reads and rereads. In no particular order:
- Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Paranormality by Richard Wiseman
- The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
- Before They are Hanged + The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie - Yeah, two books but it is technically the same story. I read the first one on 2011 so it cannot be on this list.
- The Gail Simone run of Birds of Prey.
Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (or should that count as three)
The archaeology of religious hatred in the Roman and early medieval world by Eberhard Sauer
The occult philosophy in the Elizabethan age by Frances Yates
The Oera Linda Book by J.G. Ottema *
* Not that I think it's very good, but I love it for being so bizarre.
The beekeeper's apprentice - fun very well written spin off the Sherlock Holmes cannon. With actual characterisation and proper attention to details, especially the option of multiple interpreations, somethign that Doyle always struggled with.
Ready Player one very fun retro gaming, near future, SF adventure.
Feed - well detailed zombie thriller. Dealing with the aftermath of the Rising, and how humanity has learnt to cope with the undead. A very different proposition to the more normal, Here They Come scenarios.
Betrayer Lastest CJC installment, and another excellant addition to the series. Internal politics within alien society is hard for humans to follow!
And that was it for 5* books this year. I've read less then usual maybe, but also the selection hasn't been as good.
The 5th slot, highly commended goes to the 4.5* Downside girls short story ER collection - Angels in space moderating local corrupt politicians.
Our mutual friend by Charles Dickens
The fatal shore by Robert Hughes
Der Keller by Thomas Bernhard
L'usage du monde by Nicolas Bouvier
South Riding by Winifred Holtby
It occurs to me that these are all at least thirty years old, and none of them is by a living person (Hughes died about a week before I started his book): I really should try to enjoy some more recent publications!
Unless I sneak something outstanding in between now and January, it goes like this -
Best 5 fiction -
Rules of Civility - Amor Towles
Any Human Heart - William Boyd
Twenty Years After - Alexandre Dumas
The Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells
The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie
On the Origin of Species - Charles Darwin tied with 1491 - Charles Mann
Spider - Patrick McGrath
Blog post here if you want the skinny - http://thebookmarque.blogspot.com/2012/12/best-books-2012.html
Five? We have to pick five?!
Abandoning all ideas of what is a 'good' book, what a book has taught me, etc and going straight for pure enjoyment (and in no particular order):
So Much for That
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away
The Snow Child
The English Monster
and honourable mentions go to - The Sealed Letter, The Absolutist, Turlough, The Night Circus, Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance, Gillespie and I, The Book of Human Skin, The Gallows Curse, Gold, Everyone's Just So, So Special and The Marriage Plot.
Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution - Ruth Scurr
How Marxism Works - Chris Harman
The Sword of Honour trilogy is one of the ones I had on my shortlist too, but finally didn't include because I've read and enjoyed it so many times before.
I kind of sneaked that in as I really enjoyed all three books and the amazing characters - so true to life.
Looking at my list, there were some really excellent reads back at the beginning of the year. That made it really hard to narrow down to five, but I'll go with:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
(Those are in no particular order; choosing them was difficult enough!)
Honorable mention to Among Others by Jo Walton.
Oh my that is just way too hard. Started with 11. Narrowed it to six. I am SO glad I read these books.
Homage to Catalonia George Orwell
Pancho Land (Class H Trilogy) Raul Ramos y Sanchez
Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa Antjie Krog
Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile Taras Grescoe
Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live Jeff Jarvis
Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World H.H. Dalai Lama
I learned a LOT from these books and they were REALLY GOOD reading! Those two things dont always go together.
I have to stop visiting this thread. The library request system isn't asking me to log in anymore. It just knows who I am.
Only Yesterday by S Y Agnon
Death of a superhero by Anthony McCarten
Twelve minutes of love: a tango story by Kapka Kassabova - memoir on obsession
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (and IQ84 & Wild Sheep Chase) - I'm officially addicted
The Concert Ticket by Olga Grushin, known as The Line in the US
Standing in another man's grave by Ian Rankin - Rebus is back!
I haven't listed any of the wonderful scifi/fantasy and Young Adult fiction that I read.
Hmmm...interesting...if I had to pick five:
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn H. Nicholas
Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky
So hard to choose! Here are some that come to mind:
Ready Player One
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking
Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page by Matt Kish
Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder (v. 1) by Walt Kelly
The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O. Wilson
The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney by Christopher Higgs
The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel by Adam Johnson
HHhH: A Novel by Laurent Binet
I thought I'd do Top Five fiction and Top Five nonfiction, but it turns out I read too much good fiction and not quite enough good nonfiction. So I've got 6/3
Katherine Boo - Behind the beautiful forevers - a book to kneecap hope
Robert Hughes - The fatal shore and Barcelona - RIP
Simon Sebag Montefiore - Jerusalem: The Biography - the Rocky of cities
Daniel Mendelsohn - The Lost : a search for six of six million - the past is still with us
AS Byatt - Possession - per aspera ad astra, a tough first 100 pages to reveal an amazingly crafted world
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Goodbye For Now by Laurie Frankel
Clay by Melissa Harrison
The Canon by Natalie Angier
Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine
Welcome to Higby by Mark Dunn
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
Home by Toni Morrison
My top 5, in no particular order:
Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes
The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
A Very Long Engagement, by Sebastien Japrisot
The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver
A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin
And with my kids:
Blue by Joyce Hostetter (can't get the touchstone for the novel title to work...)
The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice Book 1), by John Flanagan
Matched, by Ally Condie
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
All public library books:
The Winds of War - I enjoyed this book. The writing is very entertaining. However, I wonder if I rate books due to genre. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine.
Locked On - I enjoy Tom Clancy thrillers.
The Walking Dead - After watching The Walking Dead season one and two over a two-three week period, I was curious about its history. Quickly uncovered the show was based on graphic novels (comic books is what I call them.) Not having much experience lately with that type of book, I went to my library's web page, searched for the stories, and was a surprised it was available via inter-library loan. Zombies are cool.
Watership Down - The book's beginning was slow, but the end was fabulous.
Ready Player One - Level one and level three were great. Level two was a let down. I enjoyed the non-gaming moments better than inside the game scenes. I did not find the love story well written. I wish it was as it would have made the book even more enjoyable. Will read more from this author as it is his first book and hopefully his writing will only get better.
My top five books from 2012:
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games by Lizzie Stark
The Street Sweeper by Eliot Perlman
I am so glad to see The Sparrow on top five lists! That one has a place on my top five of all time.
Boomerang by Michael Lewis
One for the books by Joe Queenan
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
City of Women by David R. Gillham
Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell
That Hideous Strength is on my list of "best books I've read EVER" too.
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Wizzywig by Ed Piskor
Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
Poems and Letters of John Keats
Swann's Way/Within a Budding Grove
+ Isaac's Army: A Story of Courage and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland
+ The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs
+ Hellhound on His Trail : the Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the International Hunt for His Assassin
+ Escape from Camp 14
+ Missing Soluch
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers
Acedia & me by Kathleen Norris
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
BTW, I loved The Sparrow when I first read it (years ago) so whenever it appears on lists like this I'm reminded that I should re-read it sometime. So Thanks! for that.
Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul by John Barry
No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagon Beetle by Andrea Hiott
The Disappearing Spoon by Kean, Sam
flunking sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving my Neighbor by Andrea Hiott
A Land of Ghosts David G. Campbell
A Line in the Sand by James Barr
11/12/63 by Stephen King
The Quest; Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by Leen Ritmeyer
Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi & His Struggle with India by Joseph Lelyveld
1. The Troupe ~ Robert Jackson Bennett
2. Going Postal ~ Terry Pratchett
3. Leviathan Wakes ~ James S. A. Corey
4. Rivers of London ~ Ben Aaronovitch
5. Kaboom - Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War ~ Matt Gallagher
In no particular order:
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (re-read, but I first read it about 20 years ago!)
Ladies of Class
A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets.
Tears for the Mountain
The Mountain Place of Knowledge
The Diary of an American Expatriate
Old Filth - Jane Gardam
The Man In the Wooden Hat - Jane Gardam
Fludd - Hilary Mantel
The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon
The Greater Journey - David McCullough
*Samuel Johnson: A Biography - Peter Martin
Because the Jane Gardam books are the same story told from different points of view
Tough choice! Here are 5 that I really liked. There were others.
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
The Silvered by Tanya Huff
The Librarian's Guide to Negotiation : Winning Strategies for the Digital Age by Beth Ashmore, Jill E. Grogg and Jeff Weddle.
Dodger by Terry Pratchett
The Magistrates of Hell by Barbara Hambly
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
A Dance with Dragons by G.R.R. Martin
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
Light Years by James Salter
The Invention of Air by Stephen Johnson
Zona by Geoff Dyer
The Man Within My Head by Pico Iyer
The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt
In the order that I read them:
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Born, Not Raised by Susan Madden Lankford
The Innocent Man by John Grisham
Going Back to Bisbee by Richard Shelton
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
Hmmmm, I've read more fiction than nonfiction this year, but all five of my favorites are nonfiction.
Tied at the top: SLAVERY IN MASSACHUSETTS, and LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE (Thoreau)
BACH THE MASTER (Rutland Boughton)
DE RERUM NATURA (despite the goofy translation by the otherwis incomparable William Ellery Leonard)
RULE BRITANNIA (Daphne du Maurier)
PHEASANT ALLEY (Jack Wennerstrom)
Honourable Mention: THE STAR-GAZER (Zsolt Harsanyi)
I forgot to put Roxanna Slade by Reynolds Price in my top five. Of course that gives me top six now, and that isn't the rules, but I get one to grow on. A reader's half-dozen?
Here are my favorites so far ....
UnStrung by Neal Shusterman
UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
Iron Finns by Michael Resman
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell
Happy Holidays and Seasons Readings!
What a great place to get ideas for new reads!
The Sense of an Ending
Rules of Civility
Dinner With Lenny (Bernstein)
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore
In no particular order...
What Is the What by Dave Eggers
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
And every Jeeves and Wooster book that P. G. Wodehouse wrote, because I read most of them this year.
James Ellroy - Oroligt blod
Karl Ove Knaustgård - Min kamp
Salman Rushdie - Joseph Anton
Uwe Tellkamp - Tornet
Arundhati Roy - De små tingens gud
The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Alvaro Mutis
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Einstein His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
The Willow Cabin by Pamela Frankau
Son of the Morning Star by Evan S. Connell
Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
Wish Her Safe At Home by Stephen Benatar
I'm going to cheat here. Having listed by favorite five of 2012 and realizing that they are all nonfiction, I'm going to list my favorite fiction. These aren't necessarily heavy reads or literary works, but just ones I really enjoyed.
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
The Fine Color of Rust by P. A. O'Reilly
Big Maria by Johnny Shaw
Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga
A Good American by Alex George
Apparently, in addition to breaking the rules, I have a problem with counting to five.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Juliet in August by Diane Warren
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Also really enjoyed When We Get There, The Winter Palace, The Soldier’s Wife, Heft, The Snow Child, The Light between Oceans, and Swamplandia!
11/22/63 by Stephen King who takes time traveling to a new level.
The Master by Colm Toibin who got under Henry James' very skin to tell a wonderful tale.
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal who took me on a personal journey of his family's extraordinary past.
The Greater Journey by David McCullough who introduced me to amazing Americans who got an education in glittering, art-filled 19th century Paris.
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben MacIntyre who can turn historical events into the thrillers they really were.
The Fallen Angel
Kingdom of Strangers
The Giving Quilt
I re-read le Carré's Karla trilogy in January, which I enjoyed even more this time around due to reading them over a shorter period of time. I'm going to cheat and count that as one.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Honourable Schoolboy
Cool Hand Luke by Donn Pearce was a very interesting book to read. I've never seen the film but I suspect that it cuts out some of the grimmer parts of this tale of prison life.
I enjoyed John McPhee's book Looking for a Ship which is an account of a journey on a freighter and the lives of the men who sail on her. I don't think McPhee is capable of writing badly, I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read of his, with The Curve of Binding Energy being one of my favourite books ever. McPhee can find the fascinating in anything.
I read Len Deighton's book Charity which is the final part of the third trilogy of books featuring the character Bernard Samson. It's really as good as the Karla trilogy in my opinion, and even more complicated and long running. Really good espionage fiction is all about what is going on in mens heads and hearts, not gun battles and car chases, although a few of them every now and again is fair game. Samson has an even more taxing time than Smiley. I heartily recommend the series.
Finally I re-read my favourite book by Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, which is something I am making a habit of during election years. I get more out of it each time I read it, and it certainly nails any daft idea that politics is any dirtier or cleaner than it once was.
I read so many good books this year! How to stick to five?? I'm about to try.
Heroines by Kate Zambreno
The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War by Peter Englund
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood by Diana McLellan
Among Others by Jo Walton
Not a great year, but these were all pretty outstanding reads/rereads:
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Shadow over Innsmouth - H.P. Lovecraft
Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1 - Steve Ditko and Stan Lee
Neonomicon - Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows
Who I Am: A Memoir - Pete Townshend
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson: Doesn't quite make the top 5 cut (mostly due to prolixity), but when it's good it is stellar.
In the order I read them:
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls--One Flying Disc at a Time by Jim Gorant
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Kite Runner by Kahleid Hosseini
In no particular order:
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
Watergate by Thomas Mallon
Arcadia by Lauren Groff
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes
The Lower River by Paul Theroux
Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
An outstanding book year....
The Night Circus - Morgenstern
Gone Girl - Flynn
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Sloan
The Buddha in the Attic - Otsuka
Chronic City - Lethem
The War of Art - Pressfield
Revenge - Yoko Ogawa (not yet published)
After Dark - Murakami
Bel Ami - Maupassant
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? - Semple
Lionel Asbo: State of England - Amis
Sorry Please Thank You - Yu
Verzameld proza en nagelaten werk - Nescio
Reizen zonder John - Geert Mak
Nederland in den goeden ouden tijd - Jacob van Lennep
De heerser - Niccolo Machiavelli
Ethica - Benedictus De Spinoza
Opspraak: Verslagen van de twintigste eeuw - Harry Mulisch
Zomerhuis met zwembad - Herman Koch
HHhH - Laurent Binet
Satchmo : the wonderful world and art of Louis Armstrong - Steven Brower
Het grote avontuur - Alain-Fournier
Scheepsberichten - E. Annie Proulx
Amerika eenhoog - Ilja Ilf
Atlas maior van 1665 - Joan Blaeu
Bonita avenue - Peter Buwalda
My absolute favorites of the year! I highly recommend Tan Twan Eng's first novel.
The Gift of Rain: A Novel by Tan Twan Eng
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Why Does the World Exist: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
I'm also adopting the cheat of "Five Fiction, Five Non-Fiction" (and I'm still tempted to give honourable mentions: there were some good reads this year!). Non-fiction first:
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (better late than never: and it was well worth the wait)
Child of the Jungle by Sabine Kuegler
Road to Valour by Andres & Aili McConnon
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (rave! rave!)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente
Reading everyone else's lists thus far has given me ideas: I may have already found some of my favourite reads of 2013!
Amazing. When we get to the end of the line, will we look back and say, "Yeah, I'm sure glad I read all those novels"? This is not a slam at anyone, or of it be taken as that, be assured that I am included in the implicit criticism. Peace to y'all, -- Goddard
Speaking for myself, yes I will look back and say "I'm sure glad I read all those novels." I'm not sure why you seem to think I shouldn't be?
Because, rosalita, I personally -- emphasize, PERSONALLY -- do not regard the reading and writing of novels as a particularly significant human activity, compared to many many others. Granted, I write fiction, and I read it, but as an activity meaningful to me, I place it far far behind music, building, gardening, religion, and personal relationships -- all of which, I belive, quite legitimately claim my time far ahead of chewing mind-candy, which is how I see most fiction-reading. My way isn't yours, or should it be necessarily. Still, I thought some persons might like to think it over. Peace, -- Goddard
#106 -- Many people manage to do the activities you mention and read for pleasure as well. Intentional or not, I think your posts are going to come across as insulting to many of the people who have posted on this thread.
>106 I wonder how you can sleep at night, knowing you are contributing to all of us idiots reading fiction for pleasure? But thank you for explaining what you meant. Your opinion is of course just as valid as anyone else's. I am not offended by your comment because what you think of my choice of leisure activities is completely irrelevant to me. Just as my opinion of the value of the activities you listed as "more meaningful" is irrelevant to you. The only difference is I do not feel compelled to share my unsolicited opinion with you.
Yes, I certainly will say that (and not just about novels, either - about short stories, non-fiction, comics, poetry, letters from friends and family, you name it), and would much rather say that than "I was given the gift of literacy and I squandered it."
I double checked and confirmed this thread is called Your Top Five Reads of 2012!, not Your Top Five Significant Human Activities of 2012!. I also double checked and confirmed this group is called Book Talk. You might want to try another group that would be more meaningful to you.
Though I'm also not sure why it's relevant here, I guess we can all think what we like about our own activities. Personally, I'd rate reading even the trashiest fiction way above any time wasted thinking about religion (if you differentiate between the two at all). Then again, I don't go to the Religion groups to criticise what they do and it seems a little odd that anyone would join a group. let alone a site, all about books and reading to express such a view. Perhaps this is what trolling looks like in the older generation?
Personally, I'd rate reading even the trashiest fiction way above any time wasted thinking about religion (if you differentiate between the two at all).
Speaking of which - have you read the Old Testament lately? There's some pretty trashy stuff in there! :D
I was lying awake last night remembering some research from one of my textbooks when I was teaching social and emotional development. It found a correlation between achievement orientation in stories in second grade readers, and a rise in the economy when those kids entered the workforce. Only correlation....but I kept fantasizing about what I would like to write and the time I put into choosing books for my grandkids AND appreciation for adults who read and review children's lit. And one of my favs? Tales for Little Rebels.
I certainly don't think I'd waste any time reading anything by an author who had no understanding of the benefits of fiction in increasing literacy, understanding human nature and broadening the mind. It's very unlikely their books would have anything I'd care to read about.
A-a-a-a-nyway, to get back to where we were before we were so rudely interrupted, I am at least reminded that I don't only read fiction. Here are my top five non-fiction reads for the year:
The Psychopath Test
If Walls Could Talk
The Narcissism Epidemic
The Age of Absurdity
Booksloth - had a little giggle at your title collection there...
Are you sure you haven't mistaken this thread for one of those where they invite you to compose "title poetry"? ;)
Sure enjoyed this discussion. Guess it's time to let it go, but one more thing? Anyone else see Sotomeyer's interview where she talked about the influence of Nancy Drew? Pretty fun.
Booksloth - neither can I! No matter how hard I try, even resorting to randomly sorting the stack beside the bed - I can never make them "say" anything!
Around the Tarot in 78 Days, by Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin
The Contemplative John Muir: Spiritual Quotations from the Great American Naturalist, by Stephen K. Hatch
Ganesha Goes to Lunch, by Kamla K. Kapur
Brain Wave Vibration by Ilchi Lee
The Essential Kabbalah, by Daniel C. Matt
I'm going to feel like an echo here, but:
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
The Line by Olga Grushin
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Winter King by Thomas Penn
Plutocrats by Chrystia Freeland
The Graves are Walking by John Kelly
Man Without a Face by Masha Geesen
2- Salvage the Bones
3- Round House
4- Train Dreams
5- A Hologram for the King
HM- The Warmth of Other Suns
HM- The Invisible Bridge
HM- Just Kids
Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper
Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End . . . by Phil Plait
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
Free Will by Sam Harris
Angkor; an Essay on Art and Imperialism by Jan Myrdal
Top Five Books:
The Talisman Ring - Georgette Heyer - (Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery, 5.00/5.00)
Fire Season - David Weber & Jane Lindskold - (SF/Young Adult, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 publication
Echoes of Betrayal - Elizabeth Moon - (Fantasy/High Fantasy, rated 4.98/5.00) - 2012 publication
Faro's Daughter - Georgette Heyer - (Historical Fiction/Romance, 4.96/5.00)
Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein - (Young Adult/POV of dog, 4.93/5.00)
Honorable Mentions: Top Short Stories:
Bugs in the Arroyo - Steven Gould - (SF, 5.00/5.00)
The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles - Kij Johnson - (Historical Fiction/POV of cat, 5.00/5.00)
Full Moon - Georgette Heyer - (Historical Fiction/Romance, 5.00/5.00)
Lee at the Alamo - Harry Turtledove - (Alt history, 5.00/5.00)
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats - Mira Grant - (Zombies, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 Publication
Catwoman, Volume 1: The Game - Judd Winick - (DC Comics, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 Publication
Mr. Stuffins - Andrew Crosby & Johanna Stokes - Boom Studios, 5.00/5.00)
Red Landterns, Volume 1 - Peter Milligan - (DC Comics, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 Publication
Supergirl, Voume 1: Last Daughter of Krypton - Mike Johnson - (DC Comcis, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 Publication
Spike: Shadow Puppets - Brian Lynch - (Dark Horse, 4.99/5.00)
Fire Season - David Weber & Jane Lindskold - (SF/Young Adult, 5.00/5.00)
Echoes of Betrayal - Elizabeth Moon - (Fantasy/High Fantasy, 4.98/5.00)
Fair Game - Patricia Briggs - (Fantasy/Werewolves, 4.80/5.00)
Redshirts - John Scalzi - (SF, 4.62/5.00)
1635: Papal Stakes - Eric Flint & Charles E. Gannon - (Alt History, 4.60/5.00)
#119 No, but just read Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women who Created Her....evidently she was what started all of us down the road to feminism!! Who knew?
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