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Favorite Reads of 2012 December 13, 2012

Posted by Dori in Book List, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Literary Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction, Thoughtful Ramblings, Top Ten.

I always end the year feeling like I didn’t get to as many books as I’d like, but looking back, I found more than enough gems to share:

Arcadia – Lauren Groff
A remarkable story about the rise and fall of a commune as told by a boy who grows into a man there – beautifully written and very moving, this one may be my favorite of the bunch.

Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
I loved Wolf Hall and this 2nd in the series about Thomas Cromwell, common man turned advisor to King Henry VIII, continues the fascinating story. Told from Cromwell’s perspective, Mantel writes of the  manipulation and maneuvering that brings down Anne Boleyn.

The Middlesteins – Jami Attenberg
Smart, generous and often caustic Edie Middlestein is dying from obesity, and her family is falling apart. This story of a dysfuncational family is funny, warm and engaging.

Telegraph Avenue – Michael Chabon
Sprawling, epic, full of references to pop culture, race, and the eccentricities of Northern California. He manages to fit a million things into a book and I love that about him.

This is How You Lose Her – Junot Diaz
I’ve been waiting for another book from Diaz after Oscar Wao and this collection of short stories just about fills the bill. Diaz’ signature smart and sassy language in the mouths of struggling immigrants makes me laugh and cry.

Shout Her Lovely Name – Natalie Serber
Another great short story collection, this one about mothers and daughters, really shone for me.

Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama – Alison Bechdel
Bechdel first graphic novel was about her relationship with her father and this one tackles her mother (see any patterns?). I found the discussions of psychology really interesting, and she just lays it out all there – raw and smart and full of feeling.

Wild – Cheryl Strayed
This bestseller about a woman who comes to terms with her life while hiking solo on the Pacific Crest Trail deserves all the accolades it’s received.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu –  Mark Adams
An arm-chair traveler travels in the footsteps of explorer Hiram Bingham, the American discoverer of Macchu Picchu. It combines travel and history with a dose of personal reflection.

Cinder – Marissa Meyer
I read quite a few young adult novels this year and this is one I really enjoyed – I mean check out the cover! Cinderella meets science fiction in this story of a young woman who is part cyborg and must help a handsome prince save his kingdom. It’s the first in a series.

Bonus: I’m almost finished with The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I’ve been reading her books since she started writing and this one is just about perfect – murder mystery, historical, coming of age, social commentary – all that and with her lovely simple prose and memorable characters.

Hope you had a great reading year and wishing you (and me) many more to come!

~ Dori



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