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!


  1. You have me thinking I should give Outlander another try, and absolves me of my guilt over avoiding Shadow of Night. Hope 2013 is filled with only awesome changes.

  2. Hi Andi, may 2013 be your best year yet. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  3. You're totally right- there is ALWAYS a yearly disappointment reading (and life) wise. Happy new year!

  4. You have certainly had an eventful year! I hope 2013 is very peaceful for you. Happy New Year!

  5. What a year for you!!! But you're ending it on such a good note!!!

    Happy New Year!!!

  6. OMG how did I not know about The Red Garden?? I LOVE when Alice Hoffman writes about gardening anything. Please tell me you've read Green Angel and Green Witch?? PLEASE ANDI!!! And yes, Wicked is AHHHmazing. Stil haven't read the sequels though.

    You sound like you've had the kind of year I've had my dear. Hope next year is just as adventursome but in a nothing but GOOD way!!! You deserve SO. MUCH. GOOD.

  7. You deserve a peaceful and stress-free 2013 that is fillllllled with books!

  8. I've read a lot of chunksters this year. I haven't started the Outlander series yet but it is calling to me.

    I hope 2013 is more settled for you, change can be a good thing but it's exhausting too!

  9. Wicked is such a good book, isn't it? I was surprised by the substance of it when I read it too. I really want to read A Monster Calls--but when I can stand a sad tale. I hope you have a great New Year, Andi!

  10. Here's to a fabulous 2013 and wonderful new job opportunities! I'm glad you liked Anna Dressed in Blood because it's on the shelf just waiting to be read!

  11. Your first two are all-time faves of mine. I hope that 2013 brings you much more happiness and great reading :)

  12. Now I want to look back and see what my biggest disappointment was ... I think it might have been Affinity by Sarah Waters because I built it up so much and saved it as my last book of hers and then it didn't completely do it for me. Here's to another year of good reads and good jobs (I'm starting something new with the hubs that I hope will make money! fingers crossed!).

  13. You did have one hell of a year. ;-) Here's wishing you a fantabulous 2013!

  14. You've had a ton happen and seem to have come out better. Here's to a great 2013! I've heard good about Anna Dressed in Blood so it's now on my to get list! thanks!

  15. What a year! I like your reading resolution for 2013--to read what you want, when you want! You can't go wrong there. I have Outlander sitting on my nightstand...Ran into one of my students at the bookstore during winter break, and she convinced me to buy it. I hope I love it as much as you did.

  16. I adored The Dovekeepers, so perhaps The Red Garden will be my next Hoffman novel.

    Thanks for sharing your favorites. It's so helpful in picking out what to read in the new year....:)

  17. I also love Jamie Frasier :)
    I've read six books of the Outlander saga and I have to say that I liked the first three much more than the others. I think that Gabaldon is trying to enlarge the story (it's my opinion, but I'm sure I'll read them anyway!).
    I have Wicked in my list, everybody says it's really good.

    Well, Happy New Year and Happy Readings for 2013!!

  18. I hope you have a wonderful 2013, Andi. Those are lots of big changes in 2012, perhaps this will be the year you can settle down a little bit and hopefully will experience less stress.

  19. I like your resolution to read whatever you want whenever I want. I always love a challenge but I discovered that when I sign up for too many (or ones that are too restrictive) I inevitably set myself up for failure. I'm excited about another year of reading (and this year blogging about it a bit more frequently). I'm also exciting to returning to reading blogs like yours. I haven't read any of the books on the list you generated in this post and so many of them sound like books I would enjoy!

  20. I love Madame Bovary, I mean the book, not her, and certainly not her husband.
    you will find my list in this post:

  21. You did have a roller coaster of a year! I'm going to try to keep up your the momentum I got from your reading what you want when you want idea. Seems to have worked well for you!

  22. What an insane year, Andi! Here's hoping that 2013 is a better one for you.

  23. Your year was as crazy as mine and I am so happy for you that it ended well. I'm sure 2013 will be better and you have lots to look forward to!

  24. Yeah, you definitely had a crazy year! I am glad you had some good reads, though. :)

  25. Um yes--you had a crazy year!!

    And I'll finally be experiencing Outlander this year--so glad to hear you didn't think it sucked. ;)

  26. Yeesh, it was quite a year! Hope 2013 is a little less nutty.

    My book total was down last year from the year before, but I think quality is more important than quantity. It sounds like your year was definitely full of great reads :)


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