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Merry Christmas, Reader! Despite it being a holiday, here I am blogging away. I spent a lot of the morning working on a grant for work and reading/trying to make way in Anna Karenina. A migraine struck me around lunchtime and had me down for the rest of the day with one quick minute to get up and open presents with the family (no books in my stocking this year- WTH!?) but I did get some very comfy new flannel jammies which I am now cozied up in and ready to share a list of top ten picks with you.
This weeks top ten is a freebie since the ladies at the Broke and the Bookish probably assumed that we would all be spending quality time and crap like that with our families, but not this one! I missed last week's TTT and so I decided to use my freebie post to catch up and so my TTT this week is...
The Top Ten Books I read in 2012:I decided to break my picks up into categories and so I have picked my two favorite classics, YA books, contemporary, non-fiction and book club books.
2012 was the year that I lost my fear of classic novels. My reading resolution for the new year is to read a whole slew of classic books.
10. Villette by Charlotte Bronte. Read July 14-26. Read my review here
This was the book that broke my classics curse. I read it this summer as I was moving to my new place so as I needed time away from boxes and packing tape, I would take this book and enjoy escaping to French boarding schools. This book was very intimidating to me when I first picked it up, but by the time I was halfway through it and I was following along I realized I could do this and I loved doing it which lead me to...
9. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Read August 3-12. Read my review here
After my success with Bronte, I moved quickly on to Austen while participating in Roof Beam Reader's Austen in August Reading Event and finally read this book after having read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and multiple viewings of the Masterpiece Classic version of the movie. I loved the book and I love Austen and I can't wait to move on to more of her works. I wish that I had been able to read more during the Austen in August event, but with the move and with school starting back up it just didn't happen this year.
Being a middle grades librarian, I really need to read more of the contemporary YA books. It's so difficult to find YA novels that aren't trite to the bone though. I did have a few hits this year including the two listed here. Since I had to make the four hour drive to my parents house Sunday for the holiday I picked up a CD version of The Clockwork Angel which is book one in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare and I am dying to find a disc-man so that I can continue listening to it. I am LOVING this book. It's kind of got some steampunk elements to which is another book-type that I'm normally not a fan of, but it's working for me. Clare also writes another YA series called the Mortal Instruments that I am going to pick up after I finish the Infernal Devices series. I'm also truly excited to read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia both of which are being made into movies in 2013. Anyway, on to my two YA picks that I read this year:
8. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithian and John Green. Read June 9-10
An amazing take on the LGBT youth. Funny, sad, and whimsical all at the same time. Plus, it's one book written by two authors whose voices blend perfectly.
7. Divergent by Veronica Roth. Read March 24-29
A Hunger Games type dystopian novel for young girls featuring a take-no-names bitchin' female lead in a futuristic Chicago. It was pretty good, though not great, and I am anticipating reading the second book, Insurgent, which recently came out. I purchased a copy for the library but it's been in such hot demand, I'm reluctant to take it with me when the kiddos are so excited to read it.
6. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. Read June 29. Read my review here
This book might end up being my favorite read of the year. An amazing and difficult-to-put-down story of a dysfunctional family written in a refreshing new voice. I am so excited to see what Jones is going to come out with next.
5. A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash. Read August 1-3. Read my review here
This book ties for first place with Silver Sparrow. I am such a sucker for books written by authors from North Carolina writing books about North Carolina. I am leading the discussion on this book at my next book club meeting on January fifth and I am so excited to see how much the other members of the club loved (or hated, can it be possible?!) this book.
I didn't read a lot of non-fiction this year which is kind of surprising seeing as how my favorite book of 2011 was a non-fiction pick. Most of the non-fiction that I read this year was for book club and I honestly did not like any of those books at all (it was pretty much a mutual feeling within the club as well). However, two works of non-fiction did stand out to me this year:
4. Bossypants by Tina Fey. Read March 24-April 16
I am so in love with Tina Fey. She is my girl crush and my celebrity crush all at once. She makes being smart and wearing glasses sexy and I love her for it. This book, which takes us on a journey of her career in showbiz, starting at a very young age at a summer theater camp in Pennsylvania and ends post-SNL doing her own television show, is a must read for anyone who reads books. It is hilarious and easy to relate to even if you aren't in show business. I honestly believe that Tina and I would be best friends if ever we met.
3. A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz. Read August 12-16
This was my second read for Austen in August. It wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't awful either. It was really just a love letter to Ms. Austen's novels and a look back at the authors young life when he first discovered the novels.
Book Club Books
2. Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow. Read July 7-12
I joined my book club this summer and this was the first book on the list and I honestly did not have time to finish it before the meeting. However, people in the club seemed to adore this one and so I have decided to finish it one day, especially since it is on the list of the 1001 books to read and I enjoyed the first half of the novel.
1. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller. Read July 26-29
Let me be clear, I did not like this book all that much. I love AT memoirs and this one was okay, but out of all of the other book club picks we've had since I joined up, this one was the only other one I could stand to add to the list. For a better AT Memoir, go for Jennifer Pharr Davis' Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachina Trail.
Have a great holiday, Reader, no matter what your religion or what you celebrate. If I don't get another post in before the new year, have an amazing entry into 2013. Oh, and, congratulations on surviving the Apocalypse!