Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year In Books

Last year on New Year's Eve, I had nothing to do except watch Coldplay's New Year's Eve performance, and so devoted my evening to a so-called "Secret Bookish Project", titled "2011: A Year In Books." (full explanation of how it works here I really enjoyed recapping the best books I'd read throughout the year, and so decided to do it again this year. Although it is no longer secret, and technically where I am it is already 2013 (I had plans this year! Gasp!) it is still bookish, and so without further ado...

A Year in Books


I am the Messenger
By Markus Zusak

I read a lot of really amazing books this year, but this one, hands down, was the best. Markus Zusak (The Book Thief) writes books that are incredible, inspiring, gritty, real, and life-changing, and the way he crafts words is absolutely beautiful. This book was perfect in every sense of the word, and the only real candidate for Book of the Year.


Maggie Stiefvater

If there's a blog post that goes by without me mentioning this amazing author, something's wrong. I had read the first book in her Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Shiver, in 2011. In 2012, I discovered Lament and Ballad and then proceeded to devour every other book she had written, and loved every single one of them. Plus, based on her blog, she seems like a really cool person. I can't wait to read more from her in 2013. 


The Enchantress
By Michael Scott

A lot of amazing series came to a close in 2012, and they all ended spectacularly. The best one, though, had to by The Enchantress. There was so much going on in this book, and it was all handled beautifully. I could not stop turning pages. The character development was amazing, and the plot was perfect. Definitely the best conclusion this year. 

What Else I've Read
The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
13 Secrets by Michelle Harrison
The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan


The Hound of the Baskervilles
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It's easy to see why this is the most well-known and considered the best of all the Holmes stories. The atmosphere, suspense, and mystery were more intense and better described than in any of the other mysteries. Not only was it a brilliant mystery, it was beautifully written. Plus...yes, okay, I have a bias towards anything involving Sherlock Holmes. 

What Else I've Read
(not a complete list, just other notable books in the genre)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne


Firebirds Rising
Edited by Sharyn November

All of the Firebirds anthologies were amazing, but Firebirds Rising stood out - not only from the other Firebirds anthologies, but from other anthologies, too - as the clear best. I loved not only the fantasy included here, but the science fiction, which I didn't expect. All of the stories in here were brilliant, and I highly recommend this collection

What Else I've Read
Firebirds Soaring edited by Sharyn November
The Coyote Road edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Winding
The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


By Lauren DeStefano

The Chemical Garden Trilogy is one of the best post-apocalyptic/dystopian series I've ever read, even rivaling The Hunger Games. These are incredible books, and Fever was every bit as fantastic as Wither, which almost won this category last year. This year, it's a clear victory for the Chemical Garden trilogy. And it could make an appearance again next year, after the release of Sever, which I cannot wait for. 

What Else I've Read
Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Matched by Ally Condie
The Gift by James Patterson
The Fire by James Patterson


The Demon King
By Cinda Williams Chima

This year I discovered the incredible author Cinda Williams Chima, and immediately fell in love with her Seven Realms Series. This book, which I've praised several times on the blog, faced tough competition - this was a good year for fantasy - but still prevailed as the best fantasy book I've read this year. 

What Else I've Read
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
13 Secrets by Michelle Harrison
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Eona by Allison Goodman


The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
By Jacqueline Kelly

This book was so beautiful. I loved Calpurnia and her relationship with her grandfather, and reading about their adventures in the nature that surrounds them. It was such a sweet, heartwarming story, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

What Else I've Read
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Geronimo by Joseph Bruchac
The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli
Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Bradley
La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith
Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Shecter


Heist Society
By Ally Carter

I loved this book. It was such an engaging read. All the characters were incredible, the plot kept me hooked, and the writing was good without getting in the way or distracting from the story. I loved it and can't wait to read the second book, Uncommon Criminals, which I got for Christmas.


Why We Broke Up
By Daniel Handler

Heartbreaking, emotional, touching, sweet, and beautifully written, all at the same time. In my review, I gave this book the highest possible compliment: I didn't want it to end. I wanted this story to go on forever, just so I could keep reading about it. This is a work of genius right here. 

What Else I've Read
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Write Naked by Peter Gould
Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
The Story of Us by Deb Caletti


These are some other books that I felt deserved a mention, although they didn't fit in any particular category: The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht, with its stunning setting and description and intertwining stories; Garden Spells, which brought me into the magical world of Sarah Addison Allen; and Wonder, which warmed my heart and taught me some important lessons about love and kindness. Of course, these are just a few of the incredible books I read this year. 2012 was a great year for reading, and I'm looking forward to another wonderfully bookish year in 2013. 


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