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With the end of the year (and, according to the Mayans, the world) coming upon us, it's time to reflect on the books that we read this past year and to decide which were the best. This weeks list of top-tens is the Top Ten New To Me Authors of 2012.
10. Aimee Phan.
The Reeducation of Cherry Truong. March, 2012.
In March St. Martins' sent me a ARC of this book for review. I have always enjoyed Asian literature, especially of the Vietnamese flavor. Currently I'm dealing with this huge yen to go to Vietnam and Thailand. The book isn't set much in Vietnam, mostly in Southern California where the Truong family was emigrated to. However, in flashbacks we get a peak into a pre-war Vietnam and a pre-war Vietnamese family. Read my review here.
9. Michael Parker
If You Want Me To Stay. February 2012.
I joined a discussion group at the local public library where we read books by North Carolina authors whose books are set in North Carolina and this was one of the books that we read. Despite Parker being a former professor of mine whilst I was getting that ever-so-useful English degree at UNCG, I had never read any of his work prior to this discussion group which was totally my loss. Parker's novel was a "bathroom floor" read for me (see previous post to know what that means) and during one sitting on that floor I found myself laughing hysterically and weeping within minutes. A grievous work of a crumbling family that is totally foreign and totally relatable.
8. George Orwell
1984 November 2012
Once we move past the fact that I have a college degree in English and had not read any Orwell until 2012 we can move on to how impressed I was at his writing. Though I didn't enjoy the story very much, I did enjoy the writing style that Orwell possess and I am now compelled to read more by him. Animal Farm, here I come. Read my review here.
7. Tayari Jones
Silver Sparrow. June 2012.
I sure did love this book. The story of a man with two families and the impact that it has on each of his daughters is pretty foreign to me, but I was charmed by every word that Jones put down on paper. I HAD to know what was going to happen, I needed to figure out if the girls would lead a flourishing adult life despite a somewhat atypical upbringing. I was able to fly through this book and I read it at a time during the year when I really needed an escape from my own atypical reality. I was fortunate enough to get the chance to meet Jones a couple of months ago and I got her to sign my copy of the book which only make the whole experience of this novel more precious to me.
Read my review here.
6. Haruki Murakami
Norwegian Wood. March 2012.
Confession: I was not all that impressed by this book. I didn't feel that it fully bloomed and the climax left me wanting. However, I added Mr. Murakami to my list today because I recognized the potential in his writing style and I am eager to revisit this writer and hopefully be better satisfied with the next novel of his that I dive into. After all we all write pieces that are sub-par (see: any of my blog posts, ever) and we all deserve another chance which I am will to grant to this guy.
5. Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale. November 2012.
Since starting the new version of the blog on this new platform I have used many posts to gush about how in love with Atwood's writing I am. I am so eager to explore her other works and I currently have a copy of Oryx and Crake eyeing me from my TBR pile and in fact it is my September choice for my 2013 TBR Pile Challenge.
Read my review here.
4. Ron Rash
The Cove. July-August 2012
Another of the three NC authors I have on my list. I love reading books by authors from my state and books that are set in my state and historical books in general and Rash's The Cove fit all three of those likes. Rash has several other promising books released and the local librarian excitedly encouraged me to read Serena.
3. John Green
Will Grayson, Will Grayson. June 2012
As a Librarian that caters predominately to young-adult readers, I think that Mr. Green might be my favorite discovery for work-related reading this year. I read his co-written with David Leviathan pro-LGBT work Will Grayson, Will Grayson this summer and absolutely fell in love with the route that Green is taking the YA readers!
Read my (short but sweet) review here.
2. Ann Patchett
State of Wonder. February 2012.
I can't say that I loved State of Wonder, but much like Murakami, I found possibility in the way that Patchett wrote and I believe that she has some better books out there. For instance Bel Canto has been on my TBR pile for a while and is the June pick for my 2013 TBR Challenge.
1. Wiley Cash
A Land More Kind Than Home. August 2012.
I had to put all the NC authors I read this year on my list. Cash is the author that I am most excited to read his next work. If his first novel is any indication this guy has a long and fruitful future ahead of him.
Read my review here.
What great discoveries did you make this year?