July 15, 2012

The 10 Best Books I've Read So Far in 2012

Since I read 86 books in the first half of 2012, I figured I'd better do a little narrowing down already - or else it'll be impossible to rank books at the end of the year! Like last year, I'm going to do my nominations for Best Book superlative-style. They weren't all published in 2012, I just read them between January and June of this year.

Best Use of the Civil War - Confederates in the Attic  by Tony Horwitz. I'm a new Horwitz fan - I like his wry, vaguely intellectual style. And, having lived in the south for nine years, I knew a few rabid Confederate fans - but nothing like the people he encounters in this book! Some of his stories are absolutely unbelievable.

Best Ironic Narrator - Northanger Abbey  by Jane Austen. So, for all that I claim to be an Austen-phile, I really was mostly a PrideandPrejudicephile. I've read that book at least a half dozen times, but I read Northanger Abbey  for the first time this year, and loved it!

Most Magical - Goose Girl  by Shannon Hale. This is a lovely retelling of the Goose Girl fairy tale. Hale's version is set in the magical land of Bayern; and she gives her goose girl, Isi, the strength to fight deception, even if Isi hasn't realized it yet. A sweet and beautiful story.

Most Lovey-Dovey - The Scorpio Races  by Maggie Stiefvater. I keep telling everyone to read this book! It has a gorgeous Irish island, an irresistible horse-trainer, a stubborn, plucky heroine and, of course, man-eating horses. What's not to love? (This is one of those books that sounds silly when you describe it, but it's wonderful. Go read it!)

Most Nostalgic - On the Banks of Plum Creek  by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think this is my favorite in the series. I like that Laura and Mary are old enough for school, so for the first time the books have more characters than the immediate Ingalls family. But there's still plenty of Laura's stubbornness, Mary's piety, Pa's fiddle-playing, and Ma's hard work.

Worst Guilt Trip - Drop Dead Healthy  by A.J. Jacobs. I don't want to talk about this one too much yet, since it's part of the Summer Reading Club, but it's a funny and informative look at Jacobs's attempts to be healthier. Made me feel so lazy, but sort of made me want to defiantly eat doughnuts at the same time.

Best Use of an Irish Accent - Faithful Place  by Tana French. This is the best audiobook I listened to so far this year. I really, really loved it, even though the plot was ridiculous, because the audio production was so good.

Favorite Reread - The Grand Sophy  by Georgette Heyer. It'd been years since I read this one, and I loved getting reacquainted with the forthright Miss Sophy Stanton-Lacy.

Most Likely to Require a Tissue - The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green. Sniff. Sob. I love Augustus and Hazel. Such a sweet, sad story. Read more of my lunatic ravings about this book here.

Best Entry in a Series - Dreaming of the Bones  by Deborah Crombie. I have really enjoyed Crombie's Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series overall; but she really upped her writing level with this book. James and Kincaid's relationship plays out perfectly against the backdrop of the crime.

Phew! There you have it: the 10 Best Books I've Read So Far in 2012. It was really tough to narrow it down that far. And I'm a little surprised that only two mysteries made the list, but three YA titles did.

What books have you loved this year? 

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