As an unaplogetic Jimmy Buffett fan and someone who has always loved reading, it should come as no surprise one of my favorite Jimmy songs is Love in the Library. The lyrics “Surrounded by stories surreal and sublime…I fell in love in the library once upon a time” always did me in. Who hasn’t fallen in love in the library…….?
That said, 2012 was not the best year for me and reading. The constant morning sickness I dealt with for 4-5 months made reading difficult as the words on the page tended to make the room spin and my head to pound. Despite my slow going, I still read some books that I loved (and a few that were “meh”). You’ll also notice I also have an affinity for forensic crime novels that I read like soup labels, which is to say I’ll read an entire series in two weeks. No judging.
So in electronic format I managed to make it through all of these (with a few exceptions):
The low points: The Paris Wife, The Hare with Amber Eyes, At Home, Sex Drugs & Cocoa Puffs. Before you shoot me on the last one, I’d like to point out that I think I’d have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been a sociology major- instead I felt like I was reading something for school, which just made it hard to get through. The Paris Wife (which says it is “new” but only because I accidentally deleted it and had to re-download it) was like pulling teeth, and The Hare with Amber Eyes & At Home were book club duds.
The new points: prior to 2012, the only times I dipped into Young Adult novels was to read Harry Potter (nine million thumbs up) and Twilight (haaaaaaaaaaa, mediocre at best). In 2012, when I was suffering from The Pukes for months on end, Young Adult novels were easy to read in short bursts. I really enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy (even if the ending of it all was half assed and disappointing) and Divergent by Veronica Roth was wonderful – the follow up, Insurgent, was good but not great. The Maze Runner was also a fun YA read and I look forward to seeing how the series continues.
The “beach read” winner: A Discovery of Witches. This book took me by surprise and I really need to download the second book in the series to catch up with all the characters. I describe this book as “Twilight for Grownups” which is to say it is totally about witches and vampires but it isn’t about a simpering, annoying preteen/teenage set of characters. Great for beach/travel/enjoyable reading time.
The most confusing: Sarah’s Key – which is totally my fault. I thought it was a young adult novel and it most certainly is not. I spent the first few chapters flipping back and forth and wondering what I’d screwed up. When I finally figured out that no, it was an adult WWII novel, I relaxed and enjoyed the book. Make no mistake: this book has some very adult themes in it.
The most maddening: Gone Girl. I…liked it. It was twisty and turny. The ending left me in a blind rage until it was pointed out to me that, yeah, it had to end that way. But it doesn’t stop me from shaking my fist at the sky and hating the ending all the same.
The high points: 11/22/63, Defending Jacob. Both of these books had fantastic (twisty) endings, were thought provoking and well written. If you have a book club, both of these should go onto your book nomination list. In case you were worried, 11/22/63 is not a horror novel and is just an awesome, fantastic story that involves great characters and a tiny bit of time travel. Trust me, everyone should read it.
Good but not the best: Snow Flower & the Secret Fan, The Marriage Plot, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. I enjoyed these books but I can’t pretend like they were the best reads of 2012.
Best series for anyone to start: as you can tell I read pretty much all of Kathy Reich’s books in 2012 (the series is what the television show Bones is loosely based off of), as well as Karin Slaughter’s “Grant County” series and the Jefferson Bass “Bone Yard” series. If you like those types of books, then I give them all a thumbs up. But if you are just looking for a more typical crime series to read, I recommend checking out Michael Harvey’s “Michael Kelly” crime series. They are set in Chicago, the get more complex with each book and are totally fun, interesting reads. I read most of them in physical book format and they were worth carrying around while I traveled.
“Real books” worth mentioning: I do the majority of my reading on my iPad, but I still read “real” books from time to time. This year I read quite a few airport paperbacks, the new Patricia Cornwell novel (which I always purchase in hardback), and I started Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants before setting it down (it is an upcoming book club book and I’d like to read it closer to the meeting). If you like forensic crime novels, I consider Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta series to be the reigning ruler- just ignore the weird 3-4 books starting with Blowfly and you’ll be happy.
Current read: The Passage by Justin Cronin. I have a feeling it will be on my “top books of 2013″ list and that is all I’m going to say about that.
Not pictured: The various pregnancy, childbirth and “how to raise a baby” books that I’ve been dutifully working my way through. So far top honors goes to Baby 411.
On my 2013 reading list (not including continuing some of the series/trilogies above):