Friday, December 14, 2012

The Well-Read Redhead's Best Books of 2012

I know there's still technically 2-ish weeks of the year left, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I've waited long enough to announce my...
Now you still have 10 days to buy them before Christmas!  WINNING!

It is always so hard for me to look back on a year's worth of reading, and narrow it down to just a few favorites.  I start with a list of eleventy billion great books, and I swear that I will never be able to cut any of them from the list.  After many tears, I get it down to maybe 20, then 15, and finally 10.  And I did it.  I DID IT FOR YOU.  You're welcome, world.

So without further ado!

I will start with the two books that were, far and away, the best things I read this year.  FAR. AND. AWAY.  I cannot choose between the two.  They were:

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

These two books blew my mind, for entirely different reasons.  Gone Girl is probably the best psychological thriller I've read in the history of ever.  The Night Circus has some of the most outstanding writing and detail work I've seen, along with a romance that draws in even the most mush-resistant reader (ME).  Unfortunately for you, I read The Night Circus before I started blogging, but you can read my gushing review of Gone Girl here.

After those two, here are the other 8 that made the cut, in no particular order.  (I included links to my reviews for any that I read after starting the blog.)

3. Girls In White Dresses by Jennifer Close

Chick-lit with wry, deadpan humor?  Yes.  More of this please.  Perfect for the late 20s/early 30s set.

4. 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Finally got around to reading this masterpiece.  Worth every page.  Furthered my already-existing King love.

5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Deeply heartbreaking, but the writing is beautiful.

6. Gold by Chris Cleave

Phenomenal character development, unpredictable twists, and the Olympics!  TRIFECTA!

7. The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

A frightening premise (child abduction) told from a unique perspective.  Richmond does a great job exploring the relationships between her characters.

8. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

(Kind of) dystopian, (kind of) romance, (definitely) raises tons of sociological/cultural questions.  Great twist at the end.  I'm dying to see the movie now.

9. The Light of Amsterdam by David Park

I know, I didn't pick this as my best book of November, and the book that did get picked isn't on this list.  What can I say?  It's books, not a math equation.  A month later, this book is sticking in my mind longer than most.  The setting and the characters are just so well done.

10. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

My one non-fiction pick of the year.  Jenny Lawson is hilarious, and so is her book.  She makes me want to taunt my husband with a yardful of metal chickens.

That's all she wrote, 2012!

What were your favorites this year?  What should I add to my MUST READ list for 2013?


  1. Ooh I LOOVED Still Alice! That book haunted me for so long after. And I really want to read Gone Girl! Great list!

  2. Great list! Gone Girl, The Night Circus and Still Alice are some of my very favorites as well.

  3. Awesome list! I LOVED Gone Girl, Never Let Me Go, The Night Circus, and Let's Pretend This Never Happened. I haven't tackled Still Alice yet, but I really liked one of Lisa Genova's other books so it's on my radar. I have to defer to your expertise in the King arena. Will Salem's Lot cause me nightmares, or will it not?

  4. The Night Circus will definitely make my list this year. I just love love LOVE it so much! I liked Gone Girl, but definitely not as much as her first novel Sharp Objects (which if you have not read you should because it is AWESOME!) =D

  5. @WordsforWorms, it might induce vampire-laden nightmares. I make no guarantees. But it's worth it. :)

    @Jennifer, I know, I have Sharp Objects on my Kindle and I really want to get to it soon!

  6. Still Alice is an all time favourite. I'm in the minority and didn't enjoy Gone Girl, shocked, i'm sure.

    The year of the Fog sounds amazing, going to check that out.

  7. Still working on Gone Girl but it's really interesting so far. I love, love Never Let Me Go and I, too, am excited to see the movie.

  8. This is good for a change, a list of the best you've READ rather than a list of the best PUBLISHED in 2012.

    The five-star books, in alphabetical order by author, that I read this year are:

    BROKEN HARBOR by Tana French
    THE CONVICTION by Robert Dugoni
    DEFENDING JACOB by William Landay
    THE INVISIBLE ONES by Stef Penney
    ONE MORE RIVER by Mary Glickman

    I read other good ones, but they were worth four stars. That includes GONE GIRL, which might have been worth five stars if the author had rewritten the last part, particularly the stupid end.

  9. I know D comes before F.

  10. And G comes before L.

    I didn't proofread. Shame on me!

  11. I haven't read any of these but I've eyed them plenty whenever I go into bookstores. Perhaps I'll have to put them on my Christmas List and hope for the best. The Night Circus looks amazing. As does Gone Girl.

  12. @techeditor, thank you for posting your list! I have not read any of those yet, but I will certainly check them out.
    And yes, I think the ending of Gone Girl is really what made or broke it for a lot of people.

  13. I think if you loved Let's Pretend This Never Happened, you'd also love How to Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. And I'm thrilled to hear that you liked Girls In White Dresses. I'm adding it to my list!

  14. @Julie, I saw that one recommended on your blog--I am definitely going to check it out.


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