Thursday, January 31, 2013

End of Year Wrap-Up (2012)

Before January disappears, it's time to offer up a list of my favorite books from 2012. All of these were read during the past year, but were not necessarily published this year. I'm still playing catch-up from when Gutenberg invented the printing press - at the rate I'm going, I'll NEVER catch up.

Out of 55 books read in '12 (not including the hundred or so picture books from bedtime with the boys), here are my top 10:

1) THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler -- quite simply, the most thoroughly enjoyable book I read last year.

2) STEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson -- a fascinating view of the Apple genius, in all his obnoxious, grandiose, exhilarating, and maddening moods of magnificence.

3) THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT by John Steinbeck -- the "master" playing with 1st and 3rd person in this narrative about a good man contemplating doing bad things. Lovely writing, with a narrator who is both root-worthy and frustrating at the same time.

4) THE ILLUSTRATED MAN by Ray Bradbury -- a collection of solid short stories by L.A.'s greatest sci-fi/fantasy writer. Great fun.

5) THE WHITE TIGER by Aravind Adiga -- the second time I've read it, and just as satisfying as the first. There's a reason it won the Man Booker Award.

6) A TIDEWATER MORNING by William Styron -- his prose is both complex and familiar, his characters accessible and distant, but the 3 stories that make up this slim novella are clearly remarkable.

7) THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick -- a one-of-a-kind book about hope and love and family and things that change your life forever.

8) DEATH AND TAXES by Dorothy Parker -- poems by the grande dame of bon mots.

9) CRAP AT MY PARENTS' HOUSE by Joel Dovev -- a very silly book, full of incredibly cheesy and horrifying photographs, accompanied by the most hilarious commentary. This is the bathroom-read of the year!

10) SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL by Louis Sachar -- middle-grade fun, written by one of my favorite kid lit authors.

And a last one, written by a good friend of mine, so I'm kinda biased and therefore I add it here as the most awesomest book I read from last year and set it APART from the pack above -

DEAD MAN #11: SLAVES TO EVIL by Lisa Klink -- kick-ass action, blended with horror and a Robert Kimble / David Banner-like protagonist who moves from town to town serving up his unique blend of justice.

For 2013, a few books I'm really looking forward to reading:

The wonderful Kathy McCullough's second novel, WHO NEEDS MAGIC?, her YA follow-up to the fantastic DON'T EXPECT MAGIC

David Levithan's EVERY DAY

Fellow MPWer Marlene Leach's debut novel, THE INSCRUTABLE MR. ELIZABETH


Michael Ondaatje's THE CAT'S TABLE

Elizabeth Wein's CODE NAME VERITY

Various titles by Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Perrotta, Louis Sachar, Roald Dahl, Toni Morrison & Nick Hornby

And many more books by many more terrific authors. 

Gonna be a great reading year!