Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#BestReads2012

I signed up for the Book Vixen’s 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge and gave myself the personal challenge of reading a book a month for the year.  With only a few days left in the year I’m gonna come right out and declare that I have epically failed to meet that personal challenge.  Of the 12 books I set out to read I have actually only read 7.  Well, technically 7 and a half if you count the fact that I’m stuck in the middle of Nicholas Nickelby and have little to no desire to finish it.  Everything sort-of fell apart in August and I have absolutely no valid excuse in the world as to why.  (Other than that I’m lazy and that’s the worst excuse of all.)  However, I did succeed in reading at least slightly more than I did last year, so that’s something.

Of the 7 books I have read I loved three of them, moderately enjoyed another two and really would-have sooner skipped the last two.  Since the title of the blog hop is “Best Reads” I’m going to focus on the three that I loved.  (Hmm… I’m sensing a theme in numbers here…)

1)      Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
Her best seller Eat, Pray, Love topped my list last year so it’s no shock that she’s topping my list this year.  E,P,L introduced me to a woman who I am proud to say is one of my most favorite authors of all time.  Committed convinced me that her voice is so compelling that I’m likely to love just about anything she writes.  I plan to test this theory out next year by reading more of her works: I just received both Stern Men and Pilgrims for Christmas and am eagerly looking forward to seeing if her amazing voice is as lovely in fiction as it has been in non-fiction (I suspect it will be). 
I already wrote a lot about why Committed was so important for me so for the purpose of this post I’ll just sum it up thus:  For a topic as unimaginably complicated as marriage Gilbert does an amazing job of addressing a large variety of important points and concepts by looking both at historical trends and personal accounts and she does it all with the voice that I have come to absolutely adore.  It’s by far my best read of the year.
2)      Wicked by Gregory Maguire
This was my first exposure to Maguire as an author and I think it’s safe to say that he blew me away.  It was also a pretty novel (no pun intended) experience as I haven’t had a lot of formally ‘classic children’s tales’ turned into really intriguing adult literary experiences.  And this is certainly an adult tale- complete with sex, war, racism, religion, moral quagmires and all the self-loathing that comes from a character’s personal inquiry typical of coming-of age tales.  While I certainly wouldn’t sum it up as that, I will say that Elphaba’s journey is one of the most absorbing I’ve read and I’m more than willing to follow her son into the next level of the story- Son of a Witch is on my reading list for next year.

3)      You Suck by Christopher Moore
Another repeat offender here, with the sequel to one of my top reads from last year.  Christopher Moore is another one of my favorite authors.  He’s one of the funniest fantasy authors I know of, right up there with Terry Prachett, and his stories are like really delectable chocolate desserts: they’re really rich, seriously tasty and you can tell they took some intense effort to make.  His characters are both endearing and frustrating and they take the plot on a rollercoaster ride every time so you end up in a place you couldn’t quite have seen at the start.  And again, since You Suck is the second in a trilogy, it’s guaranteed that I’ll be reading Bite Me next year and will most likely love it just as much as I loved the first two.

I hate to end this best reads list in exactly the same fashion as I did last year’s since it seems indicative of a lack of progress.  But then again, if I have a perpetual resolution to read more next year I suppose that’s really not the worst thing since it means I still love reading, even if I don’t do enough of it.

Now hop along to another blog and read their Best Reads:
1) John Wiswell
2) Katherine Hajer
3) Cindy Vaskova
4) Johann Thorsson
5) Chaz Dillon

6) Elephant's Child
7) Chuck Allen
8) Katherine Nabity
9) Maria Kelly
10) T.S. Bazelli
11) Sonia Lal
12) Linda Wastilla
13) Danielle La Paglia 
14) Alexia

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