As I said in the last blog post, I wanted to do my highlights of 2012. Now I’m going to start off by saying that these are not necessarily books published this year, but I read them this year and so they have helped make up my Year of Reading.
I understand that the year isn’t over, but If I read anything stand out between now and New Year I’ll be sure to let you know.
I figured I’d give you my Top 10. Now, these are only in a loose order, it can be very hard to rank several different kinds of genius, and so I’ll do my best.
The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
This is a tame book for a David Almond Title, but for me, that will give it more general appeal. It’s quirky, fun, and tender at its core. There is one passage that won me over. He basically describes techniques writers use to tell stories, to jump from place to place and back and forth in time, while actually telling you the story! It was brilliant! I’d quote it, but it goes on for a few pages, so I’ll let you read it for yourself.
Black Spring by Alison Croggon
This is a fantasy spin on Wuthering Heights. Now, I should point out that a really didn’t like Wuthering Heights. But this really grabbed me. Her prose is stunning and really caught me up. And my goodness, ‘The Vendetta’ had me gripped as she dished out only the smallest amounts of information, bit by bit, as the story progressed. This is a great crossover title which I think is worth almost anyone over 14 giving a go. Beautifully Bleak!
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This certainly was the talk of the town for such a long time. I lost track of how many booksellers told me I had to read it and it was just wonderful. It took me quite some time to get around to it, but it’s worth it. I don’t really want to talk too much about it, other than to say this should be on everyone’s to read list.
Skellig by David Almond
This was David Almond’s first book for children. I read just recently that it wasn’t the book he had been trying to write for years before he then realised what this should be and wrote it. It won so many awards and put him on the fast track to being the writing icon that he is now. I can’t believe it took me so long to actually get around to reading this, it should have been done years ago. I’d even read academic papers about it for uni, but never the book. I think in some ways this only added to the levels of enjoyment I took from it. But it really is the masterpiece it’s been described as.
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
This was the first Laini Taylor I’ve read. I explained how I came to it in my review, and now, thinking about it, I can’t believe that I haven’t read Daughter of Feather and Bone which has been sitting on my shelf for almost as long as Lips Touch had been. Writing this now has decided my next book. As soon as I finish the book I’m in, I’m going to read me some more Laini Taylor! I was blown away by how good Lips Touch was.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I know many people will find it horrifying that this isn’t in my number one position, but what can I say? There is no denying that this was one of the most stunningly original books I’ve ever read, and that his prose is ABSOLUTELY breathtaking. But my goodness it felt far too long. There were entire passages that I felt added nothing (or very little) to the overall story, and when a book comes in at 584 pages, perhaps some of those could be sacrifices to make it a tighter, more perfectly honed work. This is the only reason it hasn’t jumped to being among my all time favourites. Still worth it.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
If I had a dollar for every person who has told me I HAVE to read books by John Green, I would be a very rich man. Similarly, David Levithan has always jumped out at me from the shelves and intrigued me. I know people who say he is their all time favourite author. And here I am, having never sampled either of their work. What a better way to be introduced to them, than together? I have to admit, that I loved the chapters written by John Green, but David Levithan’s chapters rocked my world! I read this book at the right time for me too. I’m in the stages of planning a novel and this really threw the possibilities wide open. For that reason, and many contained in the book itself, it has become a very important book for me. I cannot wait to read more of both these authors.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Now I know I’m cheating a bit here, because I ‘read’ this in 2011, but I did listen to the Audio book this year as you may have read in my review. And Patrick Ness is my favourite author ever. I can’t help it. I always make the time to re-read his books, and any new ones are a MAJOR event on my calendar (2 to look forward to in 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
I’m not sure what I can say about this book that I haven’t already. This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. There was a whole saga leading up to my reading of it which I explained in my review, but it was both worth the wait and proof that I was a fool to wait more than a day once I had it in my possession. This is fantasy that is confronting and cosy all rolled into one. I find it hard to describe how much I love this book.
And in the #1 position:
Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
(Book 1 in the Chaos Walking Trilogy)
(Book 1 in the Chaos Walking Trilogy)
Ok, so again, not from this year, but genius. Pure genius. It was set for uni this semester just gone (true, I was the one who convinced the lecturer to put it on the course) so I read it for the 5th or 6th time. This time, it was a close academic reading which has the potential to ruin books but only strengthened my love for it. It turned writing assignments into a joy, as I analysed what was written and how. My awe at Patrick Ness’ skill deepened. If you haven’t read it, you must. Here’s a little picture of what it looks like after an academic reading:
So that winds up my top 10 for 2012. Hope there’s something in there that jumps out as worth adding to your to read list, or you agree with some of them if you have read them. I’d love to hear what your top 10 are. Let me know!