Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Books I Read in 2012

January -  a time for reflecting on the past and anticipating the future. In the Appalachian mountains I call home, it's also the time of year we get the biggest snows. What better time to start reading the first book of the New Year and look back on what I read or re-read in 2012. Here's my list.

Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith
Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Gilead by Marilynn Robinson
The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Couric
Pennance by Clare Ashton
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
Jonah’s Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston
Success in Hill Country by Amy Clark
What Happiness Looks Like by Karen Lenfestey
The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
The Ghost of Mandy Rosental by J.S. Egan
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Burning Bright: Stories by Ron Rash
Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Slow Moon by Elizabeth Cox
The Common Man by Maurice Manning
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton  
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Serena by Ron Rash
Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

If I had to choose the best book from this list, it is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout. It was wonderful on many levels, number one being the perfect main character, Olive. She was indeed a character I loved to hate! Second runner-up to best book is Stephen King's 11/23/63. If you are a Stephen King fan, read this book! If you are not a King fan, read this book!

The book that disappointed me the most from this list is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. If ever a book would have benefited by deleting 100 pages, then this is the one. So many times when I was reading this book I said out loud "Enough is enough!" I'm all for using profanity, sex, etc. if the writer so chooses, but when it's used over and over, it loses it's "shock value" and detracts from the plot and the character development.

My favorite re-read from the list is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMutry. There is so much to love and learn from this wonderful book. 

The biggest "Surprise" from this list is The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. One of my students gave me this book and promised me "you will love this!" and I did. The sisters, all named from Shakespeare's plays, are as unique as their names. 

Must reads from this list are The Common Man by Maurice Manning and Burning Bright: Stories by Ron Rash. Both are BRILLIANT!

My list for 2013 is off and running with Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A novel by Jamie Ford.

What are your favorite reads of 2012?

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