Sunday, December 30, 2012

Books That Didn't Suck in 2012

What. A. Year.

It hasn't been a bad year, by any stretch of the imagination, but it has most certainly been a year of sweeping change. Let's recap, shall we?

  • Left a job I loved in March
  • Entered a job I loathed in March
  • Rented a house in June and Greyson and I moved out on our own
  • Greyson's ear tube surgery in June
  • Laid off from job I loathed in September
  • Gained a job I love in December
  • Looking forward: job I love kicks up another notch in January 2013 with some travel and lots of interviewing/writing for our alumni magazine
No wonder I only read 30 books in 2012. Whew!

Even though it's a small amount, it's been a year of adventuresome reading. Every year seems to develop a "theme" or trend of some variety. This year was largely about genre fiction. That is, books which are easily recognizable as fitting into a genre, though who the heck knows how they're marketed. That's variable. It was also the year of the chunkster!!! I have previously been terrified of ye olde chunky novels, but the Outlander series definitely took away some of that fear this year. 

Since I read so few books this year, I'm simply gushing about some of my faves below -- no certain number -- just the ones that stick out the most. 

Wicked by Gregory Maguire was a sweeping, inventive, epic, political romp! I was so impressed with the depth of this one. I expected something much frothier but I got a masterpiece. 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon took away my fear of chunksters and reminded me that I do like romance, I do love historical fiction, and lit-crushes are fantastic. JAMIE!!! All of the books in the series (I've read the first four) have been highly entertaining.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert is full of flawed, eye-roll-worthy characters. However, it was great fun to read. Heather and I zipped right through it. I thank her SO much for an awesome buddy read. And I'm sorry I've sucked at buddy reads ever since we tackled this one. 

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman is just lovely and touching and beautifully written. It's also a great choice for people who aren't terribly keen on short stories as they are short stories, but they're all related to the garden. Gives a nice sense of cohesion. Just superb. 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness made me cry til my eyeballs nearly rolled across the floor. But it's a good cry (says everyone, including me). 

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake was a total YA surprise. It's nicely written, super scary, and it had a refreshing (not totally formulaic) plot! This one made me jump at the bumps in the night for a while after closing it up. 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year? Because there always is one...

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I read Discovery of Witches earlier this year and quickly snapped up Shadow of Night when it was released. I had issues with some of the characters in the first book, and those were only magnified and bogged down by too little editing in the second book. I'll read the third because I want to know what happened, but I don't have very high hopes. :-/

I only participated in a few challenges this year...

1. I totally conquered the E-Books Challenge with 14+ books read. Will do this one again in 2013.
2. I sucked it up at the Reading the Awards Challenge. 
3. I was respectable at my personal Tournament of Books Challenge. Will attempt some of these but with less gusto in 2013.
4. And I surpassed my goal of reading four Chunksters for my personal version of the Chunkster Challenge (I read e-books and they're not officially allowed). Definitely on this one again in 2013. 

And there's always a lot of talk of goal setting this time of year. My one and only goal for 2013 is to read WHATEVER I want, WHENEVER I want. It worked this year with minimal pressure or guilt. I think I've found my groove. 

Cheers to great books in the new year!

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