WASHINGTON DC, December 28, 2012- I read a few books this year. I don’t know how many exactly, but probably not as many as I would have liked. I did read Fall of Giants, Shogun, and Tai Pan- all really long novels. It was a little difficult to pick my favorites, and since I have reviewed them all and provided links, I’m only giving my reasons for why I liked each book. They are in reverse order of publication because it was hard enough to pick my top ten, let alone rank them!
1. Broken Harbor (2012), Tana French
I LOVE me some Tana French! Sorry, I just had to write that once and get it out of my system. I picked this book because I didn’t figure it out until the end and it is classic, creepy, slow, haunting, and very Irish Tana French.
2. Gone Girl (2012), Gillian Flynn
I had to add what my aunt Irene calls a “popcorn book.” Code word for: I’m so glad I have a Kindle and nobody can see what I’m reading. I loved this book. Recommended by a neighbor, I stayed up all night until I finished it. Yes, not literature, but a really fast read and really really entertaining.
3. The Tiger’s Wife (2011), Téa Obrhet
I picked this book because it reminded me of my grandfather and how I dealt with his passing a few years ago. Even though it is so much more than the narrator’s relationship with her grandfather, this was the part of the novel that really touched me and made me remember everything my grandfather has taught me and how he is still with me.
4. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (2010), Beth Hoffman
Great novel about coming of age in the American South. I picked this novel because of the wonderful feminine world created by Hoffman where women are beautiful, wise, strong, and funny. Two words: traveling bra.
5. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Lisa See
Another book I’ve been meaning to read forever, this book did not disappoint. My gory side was loving the detailed account of the foot-binding experience, while my sentimental side was loving the account of friendship between two women. I finished this book on a crowded 8-hour ferry ride in the middle of the summer. At first I was embarrassed to cry in front of so many strangers, but in the end I just let it go and cried my eyes out in front of very entertained tourists. I was happy to make the ride less monotonous.
6. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2003), Lionel Shriver
I picked this book because it disturbed me so much. Most books about motherhood are positive accounts of raising a child. Not this book.
7. White Oleander (1999), Janet Fitch
I liked this book because I was totally not expecting it. My brother and I have a running dark joke about using white oleander and I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time. I’ve never seen the movie, even though it is on my DVR. I picked this book because it was completely not what I expected but it grabbed me and kept me turning page after page. I also liked that I didn’t really like Astrid, the main character, I didn’t really dislike her either, but I wasn’t indifferent toward her either. I really understood her at times, and at others she just made me angry… Great character.
8. Geek Love (1989), Katherine Dunne
Like Kevin, I picked this book because it disturbed me. I kept thinking about if for months after I finished it. The characters and situations were so strange and sordid and sad that this is a book that I will remember for a very long time.
9. Shogun (1975), James Clavell
When I finally got to Shogun (book three of the Asian Saga), my expectations were really high. And this book blew them out of the water. This book is a new favorite. I liked it so much that I bought my first DVD in about 5 years- you guessed it: Chamberlain miniseries where the samurai look like Klingons!
10. King Rat (1962), James Clavell
Ok, I hate novels and movies about jail or war. This novel was about both and I loved it. I initially read it because I wanted to read Shogun, but in my OCD head, I cannot read a book that is a part of the series without reading it as a part of that series and in the correct order. So I decided to try to plow through a novel about a Japanese POW camp. I picked this book because it was well-written, captivating, and actually kind of amazing.
- The good life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be- “Broken Harbor (Harbour)” by Tana French (readingthroughthebs.wordpress.com)
- 10 Historical Novels (lasesana.wordpress.com)
- Notable Books of 2012: Contemporary Fiction (alexinleeds.com)
- 10 Most Popular Books of 2012 (ktrmurali.wordpress.com)
- Miami Herald’s top 10 books of 2012 (miamiherald.com)
- 10 Disturbing Novels (lasesana.wordpress.com)