Friday, January 4, 2013

Best Books of 2012

Best Books of 2012!

In 2012, I read 82 books.  Yahoo!!  Here are the top 12 books I read in 2012.

1.  Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award in 2012 it is by far the best book I read last year.  It deserves to be read in high school and college classrooms all across the U.S.
Book Review:  Salvage the Bones

2.  Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an amazing memoir.  Ayaan has created a engaging memoir that takes you in the house and heart of a Muslim woman and her radical change that leads her to deny Islam's control of her life and become an Infidel.
Book review:  Infidel

3.  Looking for Alaska by John Green is a intelligent, brilliant novel for teens and adults alike.  It is a coming of age novel that is unique, daring and downright enjoyable to read.   From the first page to the last word, this book will have you quickly turning pages and savoring the unique moments.  I need to read more by this author.
Book Review:  Looking for Alaska

4.  Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is a timeless Gothic masterpiece.  From the first famous sentence, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.", to its last, Rebecca is unforgettable.  A book to read again and again.
Book Review:  Rebecca

5.  The Orchard by Theresa Weir is a powerful page-turning memoir.  From the very first page I was hooked and could not put the book down.  The Orchard is shocking, raw and true, and I will never look at another apple in the same way again.  I think every American should read this book.  Weir is a great writer.
Book Review:  The Orchard

6.  The Sandcastle Grils by Chris Bohjalian is difficult to read at times as the author doesn't hold back the horror of genocide during World War I.  Bohjalian's book is a necessary introduction to "The Slaughter you know next to nothing about." (The Armenian Genocide) His characters are human, flawed, and believable.  The book is timely as the hundred year anniversary of the genocide approaches in April, 2015.
Book Review:  The Sandcastle Girls

7.  Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver is mesmerizing and detailed and oh sooooo good.  The writing is exquisite, a electric mix of words blended together to form sentences that create a visual picture that is stunning.  Kingsolver captures the reader from the first page and holds their attention rapt until the reader flies on to their next book.  For a word lover, like me, Flight Behavior is just plain delectable.
Book Review:  Flight Behavior

8. Little Princes by Conor Grennan is about kids, lots of them, in need of love and encouragement.  Grennan takes the sad and sometimes difficult subject of child trafficking and child slavery and paints a picture of hope for everyone. I laughed and cried and couldn't put the book down.  Little Princes is a journey into the cultural villages and rural life in Nepal where wild monkeys hang on the power lines and cut off your internet connection.  It is where the Buddhist culture meets the Hindu culture and prayer flags fly in the wind.
Book Review:  Little Princes

9.  Feed by M.T. Anderson is so good thatI can't stop thinking about this book.  It is like Feed is literally stuck in my head and everywhere I look I see people connecting to their hand held devices, their personal feeds.  The characters are not particularly likeable, except for Violet, and the futuristic teen speak is frustrating at times but Feed gets under your skin and into your brain and makes you think.
Book Review:  Feed

10.  Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland.  Vreeland has a gift for capturing the details of an era and the creativity of women whom history has hidden under the shadows of men.  Vreeland is a gifted storyteller who inspires and teaches her readers to love art and value women's history and our hard fought human rights.  The right to work, the right to vote, the right to create beautiful art and the right to be remembered in history.
Book Review:  Clara and Mr. Tiffany

11.  The Healing by Jonathon ODell.  Odell has created a novel that encompasses the power of healing, women and story.  He extensively researched African American midwives and listened to the oral histories of hundreds of slaves.  Odell has created a vibrant, memorable cast of characters, rich in the African American tradition.  As a white male writing from the black female point of view, he has created a believable, authentic historical novel.  
Book Review:  The Healing

12.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a memorable memoir that spoke to me on a deep level.  As a backpacker and hiker myself I related to the trials and tribulations of the trail.  Sore and blistered feet, a pack to heavy to carry, full of the things you think you will need.  Dry packaged food and the search for the water, the fear of bears, silence and wondering if your following the right trail.  The beauty of the wilderness, the extreme temperatures, reading in your tent and the satisfaction of conquering the trail against the physical odds.  Strayed captures it all in the pages of Wild.
Book Review:  Wild

Honorable Mention:  The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield is a page-turner that will keep the reader up late into the night.  You will feel love for the characters, anxiety at what is foreshadowed, joy for poetic justice and heartbreak at the evils all of us must endure, in a world that is not fair.  Clear a spot on your bookshelf because this book is a keeper.
Book Review:  The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

What are the best books you read last year??