Monday, December 31, 2012

Books Read in 2012

This year's tally: 51 books, including writing books, children's books, graphic novels, and a re-read. I count children's books if I've never read it before, and re-reads if I haven't read the book for more than twenty years.

Writing Books:

Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon
The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel by Robert J. Ray

Children's Books:

Henry and the Clubhouse by Beverly Cleary
Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
The 100-Year-Old Secret by Tracy Barrett
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
The Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Wrath of Mulgrath by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
The Beast of Blackslope by Tracy Barrett
The Case That Time Forgot by Tracy Barrett
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary
Ramona's World by Beverly Cleary

Graphic Novels:

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley
Castle Waiting II by Linda Medley
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell
I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura

YA and Adult Novels:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Purge by Sofi Oksanen
The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill
Foundation by Isaac Asimov (re-read)
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill
Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarity
Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemison
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Crossed by Ally Condie
Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novick
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Across the Great Barrier by Patricia Wrede
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Edge by Jeffrey Deaver
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Quatrain by Sharon Shinn

I read so many good books this year. Really, there are only a handful of books I didn't enjoy (sadly, most were for book club). I recommend all three of the writing books.

My top 5 stand-outs as I look back over the year:

1) Pretty much anything by Beverly Cleary. I still can't believe I never read her when I was a kid. The Son owns a lot of Cleary on audiobook (read by the seriously amazing Stockard Channing. If you have the chance to hear these recordings, do. She's wonderful), and since we often listen to audiobooks in the car, I have heard all these stories many times. I never failed to be blown away by Cleary. Holy shit, could that woman structure a story! Her mirroring in her openings and closings makes me want to bow reverently at her feet.

2) Castle Waiting. I don't yet own this, because it's expensive and I'm trying to buy fewer books (although I did give it to The Sibling for Christmas). But I'm going to have to get it. I find it hard to explain why I love it so much: it's about a fairy-tale commune, essentially, of people (some of whom have animal heads) seeking connection or sanctuary. There is no sex or violence. And yet it is so addictive.

3) The Name of the Wind. Okay, yes-- the hero flunks the Mary Sue test in a major way. But that just goes to show that rules crumble in the face of awesome. I'm looking forward to reading whatever else this guy writes.

4) Troubled Waters. Desert island book. I've already re-read it. It's everything I love about Sharon Shinn: meticulous worldbuilding, strong-willed heroine, stalwart hero, and people who are mostly good-intentioned, even when they're wrong.

5) To Say Nothing of the Dog. Another desert island book. If you like Arthur Dent, Dr. Who, Jeeves & Wooster, cats, dogs, WWII, country house mysteries, love stories, and poking fun at Victorians, then I have to insist you read this book immediately. I have a feeling this is the start of something long and beautiful between Connie and me.

I'll be posting about my personal reading challenge for 2013 in a few days.

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