Amanda Gates

Top 5 Books for 2012

I met my goal of reading 25 books in 2012. However, I’m not sure I loved any of the books I read. And some were just bad. There wasn’t an Unbroken or Forgotten Garden in the bunch (though I did read The Distant Hours, which was lovely, just not Garden amazing.) But, I usually write a Best Books list each year (a little behind, yes), so here would be my top 5. As always, the top 5 I read, not the top 5 that were published.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: I’ve really enjoyed all of the books I’ve read by Alexandra Robbins, and this was no exception. In the age where we talk about bullying way more than I’d like, this was an extremely interesting look at popularity and fringe groups in high school. She profiles real students who share (hopefully) their real feelings about the inner workings of high school. The outcomes were so fascinating, and the idea that teachers and administrators may need to shoulder some of the blame (because they tend to treat popular kids more favorably/differently than those who look/act a little different) was quite eye-opening.

Gone Girl: The most controversial book club book of the year, perhaps? We didn’t even read this for book club, but nearly everyone I know (in person or on Twitter) read it, so it felt like one big book club last summer. The book is disturbing and twisted and the characters are so unlikeable. The ending could be considered unsatisfying (though I felt it was maybe the only way it could end?). However, I couldn’t look away. And it kept me thinking. While the characters were hate-filled, I still wanted to know what would happen. To me that’s the makings of a good book.

The Kitchen House: I was one of the few in my book club who enjoyed this pick. It’s the story of masters and slaves, incest, depression—very uplifting topics! But, I fell in love with some of the characters and their struggles and their perseverance. It’s a sad, sad tale, but also one that paints a picture we don’t think about every day. I couldn’t put it down and it made me cry, but yet feel hopeful. I liked it a lot.

The Tiger’s Wife: This was a nice surprise. It made many top books lists in 2011, but oftentimes I don’t agree with those (see Swamplandia). However, this tale, told in numerous times of history was just pure magic to me. It was vivid and picturesque. It moved a touch slow in some parts, but other parts (about the deathless man, for example) were so intriguing and beautiful. I was happy I read this one.

Lizz Free or Die: It may have something to do with the fact that Lizz Winstead grew up in Minnesota and also created The Daily Show (one of my favorites) and spouts political views right up my alley, but I enjoyed these essays immensely. She’s hilarious, but also thoughtful. And learning about the behind-the-scenes workings of both a TV show and a radio show (Air America), as well as her struggles as a female in comedy, was really interesting.

So, think back, what were the best books you read in 2012? I’d love to add them to my list.

See also: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

Comments

I'm with you on 2012. Just

I'm with you on 2012. Just not too much that made me think, "Oh yea, LOVED that book," like in 2011.

I'm on the list at the library for Gone Girl which is probably my most anticipated book in years. Since we read a lot of the same books, I wish for both of us a couple of dazzlers this year!

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