The Best Books From 2012

In 2012 I managed to read 31 books! That’s a little less than last year, but still a pretty good number all told. I thought I’d do a little Yearbook Style recap – giving a few books the superlative honor of being mentioned.

Best Book Read in 2012: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Finished August 25, 2012 – Every now and then a book comes along that is so perfect, it kind of ruins all other books for you once you’ve finished it. I have a feeling this will be one of those books for me. I thoroughly adored this book, lingering over the beautiful writing and falling in love with the story. I didn’t want it to end. – full review

Favorite New Author: Alice Hoffman – I read three of her books in 2012, my absolute favorite being The Dovekeepers (our June Book Club Pick) – finished June 20, 2012 – I really enjoyed this book – more so than I even expected. It was really masterfully written in my opinion, unweaving more of each character’s stories as you read – each character bringing a new dynamic and a new angle to the whole book. I truly just loved it.

Biggest Surprise Read: The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang (October Book Club Pick) – Finished October 23, 2012 – I really loved this book – I knew next to nothing about the Hmong people and their struggles and found this book to be an excellent way of learning about them. Yang’s writing is vibrant and compelling, her story and the story of her ancestors was fascinating. There were a few moments in this book that just struck me as odd, but on the whole I really enjoyed it. Yet another example of a book I might never have read if not for my book club, that I’m really really glad I got the chance to read.

Funniest book: I read some pretty hysterical books this year by authors like Ellen Degeneres, Tina Fey, Carrie Fisher and Caitlin Moran, but the absolute best was Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – Finished May 8, 2012 – I loved this book even more than I was expecting to (picture me three weeks ago hassling the mail man and my husband about why the book wasn’t here yet already minus the hassling the mail man part because I only did that in my head). This memoir is not only laugh out loud (seriously) hysterical in a way that had me shaking the bed at night while my husband was trying to sleep and occasionally wanting to wake him up on purpose so I could read sections outloud… it was also insightful and touching in all the ways that Jenny’s blog posts often are. If you are a fan of her blog or even if you’re not… read this. But be forewarned, there will be a lot of dead animals. – full review

Best YA Dystopian Series: This is one of my favorite genres and I have read some really great ones over the years. In 2012, my favorite new-to-me series was Divergent by Veronica Roth – Finished October 7, 2012 – I really liked this story – the plot and the dystopian setting were fascinating and the main character was very likable even in her most naive moments. While her love story occasionally irritated me, the main storyline of the book kept me reading on late into the night until I’d finished it. Looking forward to book two! – full review

Best Historical Fiction read: These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner (February Book Club Pick) – Finished February 22, 2012 – I really loved this book. Though it was a bit slow to get into initially (mainly due to the dialect and the main character’s poor grammar early on), this story really sucked me in. One part Oregon Trail meets the Arizona Territories, one part epic love story that rivals Scarlett and Rhett, one part coming of age story that follows our main character from a young, naive girl of 17 to an experienced mother and housewife approaching her thirties. – see my book review

And the Rotten Tomatoes Award for book I enjoyed the least goes to : Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss – Finished September 12, 2012 – While I enjoyed reading about the life and work of Marie & Pierre Curie, I have to say, I would have preferred a more traditional narrative that delved into further detail. I found a lot of areas of their lives I would have loved to know more about that weren’t able to be fleshed out. That said, the format of the book was interesting and easy to read and some of the illustrations and photographs were interesting – and I was able to finish it easily in 3 nights.

Here is a full list of all the books I read last year, for anyone interested.

What was the best book you read last year?

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