Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best Books for 2012

I didn't read much that was "literature" last year, but I did enjoy what I read immensely.  When I encountered something I didn't like, I set it aside, which I did with a couple of books our book group tackled (e.g., Tall Trees, Tough Men).  I resolved to read more classics, so I spent all of September reading The Grapes of Wrath.  It was great, but loooong.  Here are my favorites, in no particular order:
  • Following Atticus - author Tom Ryan hikes all the peaks 4,000 feet and up with his incredibly sweet and smart miniature Schnauzer.  Very engaging, and the dog doesn't die at the end!
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice - the first book in an involving series by Laurie R. King that features Sherlock Holmes and his "wife," Mary Russell.  I enjoy the World War I setting, and Mary is quite a strong character.  She's 15 in this book which describes how they met and began to work together.  I encountered the series toward the end of the run, but every one is as good as the last, no matter what order I read them in.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Amazingly, scenes from the whole trilogy come back to me now and then, particularly when thinking about the 99% and their chances for improving their lot.  The movie was very true to the book, and I'm looking forward to the next two films.
  • Breakdown - this latest V. I. Warshawski mystery by Sara Paretsky is thought-provoking as always.
  • True Sisters by Sandra Dallas, one of my favorite authors.  This tells the story of a group of Mormons who travelled west with handcarts.  I never knew any of the people on the Westward journey had taken such an arduous way, and this group started out far too late in the season.
  • The Sandcastle Girls - Chris Bohjalian's latest novel deals with the Armenian diaspora, with all its pain and sorrow.  I loved it, though.
  • Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenheiser - a true account of a year in the life of two Upstate New York society girls who sign up to be teachers in the early 1900's in frontier Colorado.  They rode horses to school in all weather, brought people together from far and wide for community events, and really changed lives, including their own.  I just happened to pick this up in an airport and am really glad I did.
  • The Beautiful Mystery -  Louise Penny's latest Inspector Gamache mystery is amazing for its suspense and a twist on the limited number people in an isolated place plot.  It's literate and thoughtful, my favorite of the year.
I'm looking forward to 2013 for new books by Sue Grafton, Jennifer Chiaverini, Louise Penny, Jacqueline Winspear, and more.  There's a new biography of Georgette Heyer, my all-time favorite author, coming out in January.

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