My 2012 in Books

I read 52 books in 2012. The goal was 70, but college was like “nooooope” and I was like “fine.” Some of them you can tell I read for English seminars, like the Austen books, but most of them I read because reading is fun and we should all do it all the time.

For me, it was a good year for books. I hit on a few that burrowed under my bones. There were exactly ten books/series that went on the list of books, you know, that are your books, they’re your favorite books and you kind of want to eat them or wear them as a necklace so everyone knows they’re yours. And that makes it easy to do a nice neat Top 10 Books I Read in 2012 list.

1: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin (Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance With Dragons)

Okay, this series. This series is a life investment. George R.R Martin is sixty-four and there are two books left in the series and he takes years to write them, come on George you can do it come on. This series is big. There are fourteen major and ten minor POV characters, and you love every single one of them. Or you hate them more than you’ve ever hated anybody and then you slowly forgive them and then you start loving them. Or you love them from the start and then they’re stripped down and broken and you break with them. You root for the guy holding the sword and you root for the guy with the bared throat. I read all 600+ page books in two weeks and I nearly lost my mind. But it was worth it. Because it’s a goddamn good world. The HBO series is good yes and it’s got lots of boobs yes, but the books are so much better and richer and so, so worth it. (My favorite characters: Lady Catelyn, Brienne of Tarth, Arya. My house: Greyjoy. REPRESENT.)

2: Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men)

Patrick Ness, the genre-mixing, YA-dystopia-redeeming MASTER. What do you want? Do you want pacing so good that your butt is pinned to your chair by a mystical force that won’t let you move until you’ve finished every book? An illiterate drawling boy brat of a main character who develops into the kind of hero who’s all the more interesting because he does get tempted by the dark side sometimes, he does fall in with the villains in the way that Harry Potter was always boringly immune to (I love Harry Potter but yeah.) These books take war and rebellion and sexism and racism and make it all real on another planet. You will cry a lot. And I won’t even talk to you about the talking dog character who puts all other talking dog characters to shame.

3: The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman

These books are for people like me – twentysomethings who grew up on fantasy and have learned that they’ll never get their secret door into Narnia but still want it, still secretly wish for it every day. But of course, now we’re all bratty twentysomethings who think we’re smart and drink too much and would all mess a magical world up if we found our way in. These books are about us finding our way in.

4. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore killed me with Graceling and she killed me with Fire. (geddit though.) I’m starting to kind of hate the term “female characters” because I read so many articles with “female characters” under a microscope and I don’t even know. But Cashore writes girls that are good and strong and weak sometimes too and always moving forward. Bitterblue is the pinnacle of that. Bitterblue herself is one of those girls I will be intensely loyal to forever, like Hermione and Korra (from Legend of Korra, I’m a dork shhh). Because she earns it and if she were real, I would want her to be one of my best friends.

5: Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

Remember reading Perks of Being A Wallflower as a teenager and feeling like it just got some small part of you that nobody ever got? This book takes that to the nth degree. It gets it.

6: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Libba Bray’s historical fantasies are just amazing. I don’t even wanna think about the kind of research it takes to pin down a world like this. This is just a really good book. It’s thrilling and fun. I have a hard time feeling strong things about romance in books, but I felt strong things about the romance between Evie and *coughcough*, which is really a tiny part of the book.

7: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami! You’re so weird! And your books create this weird magical zone and this book does it extra well!

8: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

I’m sure we’re all past the point where the word “vampire” just makes us tired, the same way “Gangnam Style” now makes us want to put a pillow over our ears. But this is a good vampire book. There’s lots of snow in it and the atmosphere is almost exactly like snow falling, still and secret.

9: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Wow, character development. Character development in books hardly ever amazes me anymore. But this one does it so well. And the book itself is really original high fantasy, which can be hard to find.

10: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers, taking on the zombie thing. I’m almost as tired of the zombie thing as everyone is of the vampires thing, but this is so original. It’s not about the zombies, it’s about the way this group of survivals gets tangled up and what breaks for them. The fact that the main character is already broken translates into a weird kind of strength in a world where everyone else is falling apart for the first time.

So yeah, that’s my list. Here’s my bigger list of all the books I read in 2012, in no particular order:

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness
Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness
Imaginary Girls – Nova Ren Suma
Emma – Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Daughter of Isis: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi – Nawal El Saadawi
Soldier: A Poet’s Childhood – June Jordan
Journey Without Maps – Graham Greene
Game of Thrones – George R.R Martin
A Clash of Kings – George R.R Martin
A Storm of Swords – George R.R Martin
A Feast for Crows – George R.R Martin
A Dance With Dragons – George R.R Martin
Across the Universe – Beth Revis
A Million Suns – Beth Revis
Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green, David Levithan
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
The Girl of Fire and Thorns – Rae Carson
If I Stay – Gayle Forman
Break – Hannah Moskowitz
Gone, Gone, Gone – Hannah Moskowitz
The Looking Glass Wars – Frank Beddor
Seeing Redd – Frank Beddor
This Is Not a Test – Courtney Summers
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You – Peter Cameron
Colin Fischer – Ashley Edward Miller
Fathomless – Jackson Pearce
Bitterblue – Kristin Cashore
What’s Left of Me – Kat Zhang
The Diviners – Libba Bray
The Magicians – Lev Grossman
The Magician King – Lev Grossman
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sign of the Four – Arthur Conan Doyle
Incarceron – Catherine Fisher
Sapphique – Catherine Fisher
Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs
McTeague – Frank Norris
The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
Divergent – Veronica Roth
Daisy Miller – Henry James
Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
The Outsiders – S.E Hinton
1Q84 – Haruki Murakami
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami
Sister Carrie – Theodore Dreiser
The Yokota  Officer’s Club – Sarah Bird
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
And a list of ten books that I’ve been excited to read for ages and am determined to get my hands on in 2013:
1: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
2: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
3: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
4: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
5: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
6: The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
7: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
8: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
9: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
10: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Happy reading in 2013, guys!

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2 Responses to My 2012 in Books

  1. Dahlia Adler says:

    #s 1 and 3 on your 2013 TBR are two of my top 5 most favorite YA books EVER – hope you love them as much as I did!! (Also, we literally have only 2 overlaps of books we both read in 2012. WEIRD.)

  2. Laura Tims says:

    My 2012 reading list was really scattered and random (and super influenced by books I had to read for class, shhh). Where did we overlap? :DI haven't read anything by Melina Marchetta yet. Clearly this is a crucial failing in my life.

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