January 7, 2013

2012 -- ALL BOOKED UP!

Here's the annual list of books I read in 2012 (with occasional comments).

(An asterisk denotes titles intended for adult readers.)

I'd love to hear about YOUR favorite 2012 reads in the comments section.

Let the BOOKFEST begin . . .

1.  Breaking Stalin's Nose --  Eugene Yelchin  (This is an exceptional book that looks deceptively simple, but tells a powerful story from the viewpoint of a young boy.)
2.  Hidden -- Helen Frost
3.  Everything I Was --  Corinne Demas
4.  The Fourth Stall --  Chris Rylander  (This was so funny it won the Sid Fleischman Award.  Middle grade mafia.  Need I say more?)
5.  Illegal -- Bettina Restrepo  (Gripping.  Puts a face/heart to people who come here from other countries.)
6.  Bluefish -- Pat Schmatz  (Thoroughly enjoyed this.)
7.  Kick -- Walter Dean Myers & Ross Workman (Interesting collaboration between a well-established author and a young fan.  Read more about it here.)
8.  She Love You, She Loves You Not -- Julie Anne Peters  (Huge fan of her work.)
9.  The Day Before -- Lisa Schroeder  (Made me a fan of Lisa Schroeder's work.)
10. Words in the Dust -- Trent Reedy  (How did an American man get into the mind and heart of a girl from Afghanistan?  His military background?  His writer's heart?  However he did it, this story is SO GOOD!  It would make a great movie.)
11. Inside Out and Back Again -- Thanhha Lai
12. Zane's Trace -- Allan Wolf
13.  Hound Dog True -- Linda Urban
14. Dear Mr. Henshaw -- Beverly Cleary
15. * Orange Is the New Black -- My Year in a Women's Prison -- Piper Kerman (Very interesting.)
16.  Beneath a Meth Moon -- Jacqueline Woodson  (Does Ms. Woodson write anything that isn't gripping/moving/wonderful?  My favorite of her books so far is If You Come Softly.  A certain scene in that book slayed me.)
17.  Wonder -- R.J. Palacio  (This is the middle grade book you must read.  You will be richer for having met Auggie Pullman.  The author did everything right from exploring an experience that left an impression on her heart to using multiple viewpoints.  It's my pick for this year's Newbery.)
18. Orchards -- Holly Thompson  (Great book in verse.  Like visiting Japan.)
19.  Black Box -- Julie Schumaker
20.  The One and Only Ivan -- Katherine Applegate (This book made an impression on my heart.  Told from the viewpoint of a Silverback Gorilla in captivity and how he attempts to rescue a young elephant.  Told with so much heart.  I pick this for a Newbery Honor.)
21.  Paper Covers Rock -- Jenny Hubbard
22.  Dying to Meet You (43 Old Cemetery Road) -- Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise (I loved this book for younger readers.  Such fun word play to complement a solid, fun ghost story.)
23.  The Big Crunch -- Pete Hautman
24.  Where Things Come Back -- John Corey Waley
25.  Drawing from Memory -- Allen Say
26.  Curveball:  The Year I Lost My Grip --  Jordan Sonnenblick  (The characters stayed with me long after I closed the book.)
27.  * Seriously, I'm Kidding -- Ellen Degeneres
28.  A Monster Calls -- Patrick Ness  (READ.  THIS.  BOOK.)
29.  See You at Harry's -- Jo Knowles  (A three-hanky read.  Loved it.)
30. Just Write.  Here's How.  -- Walter Dean Myers.  (When the master talks, I listen.)
31. The 13 Clocks -- James Thurber  (Read this while living in the Thurber House this summer.)
32. Keeping the Night Watch -- Hope Anita Smith
33. Monster -- Walter Dean Myers
34.  Please Ignore Vera Deitz -- A.S. King  (Glad to be introduced to this interesting writer.  One of the characters we hear from in this novel is a pagoda.  For an illuminating interview with the author by Sara Zarr, check out This Creative Life podcast.
35. Stolen -- Lucy Christopher  (A page-turner.)
36. The Night She Disappeared -- April Henry (I like April Henry.  I love her books.  They're thoroughly gripping.  This one kept me turning the pages late into the night.)
37. A Tale Dark and Grimm -- Adam Gidwitz (This book surprised and delighted me.  What a fun/gory/inventive take on these tales.  Loved it and can't wait to read the next one, In a Glass Grimmly.)
38. My Life in Dog Year -- Gary Paulsen  (I'm a big fan of Gary Paulesen's books.  This one is a touching collection of his true dog stories.  Really good!)
39. The Laura Line (pub date: 4/23/13) -- Crystal Allen  (Had the pleasure of reading this in manuscript form and offering a blurb.  If you haven't read Allen's first book, treat yourself to a heartfelt laughfest with How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy.  Unique and hilarious voice.)
40. * The Things That Keep Us Here -- Carla Buckley (Oh. My. Gosh!  Stephen King, move over.  Small community.  BIG story.  I will tell you nothing, except GO READ THIS!  Some of the scenes still haunt me, months after reading it.)
41. * The Solitude of Prime Numbers -- Paolo Giordano  (Depressing.)
42. The Classroom -- Robin Mellom
43. Belle Pratter's Boy -- Ruth White
44. * Life Is So Good -- George Dawson and Richard Glaubman (True story of a man who learns to read at 98 and shares his fascinating life.)
45. Drama -- Raina Telgemeier  (Also enjoyed her first graphic novel, Smile.)
46. Small as an Elephant -- Jennifer Richard Jacobson  (A boy goes camping with his mom in Acadia National Park.  In the morning, he wakes to find his Mom's tent gone . . . and his mom gone.  He has to figure out what happened and how to get home.  Wholly in the head of the young boy.  This novel surprised me with its excellence, and I highly recommend it!  A gem!)
47. Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies -- Andrea Beaty (I met Andrea when we were speaking at the same conference.  I found her to be fun, funny and smart -- just like her book!)
48. Never Fall Down -- Patricia McCormick  (Ms. McCormick is a treasure.  Her books bring you face to face with difficult realities in the most intimate way.  They are researched meticulously and wrought beautifully.  Read her other books as well, then watch the documentary, Half the Sky:  Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, which shows some of the things Ms. McCormick writes about so well.)
49. No Crystal Stair: A documentary novel of the life and work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem bookseller -- Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (Very interesting.  I learned a lot.)
50. Secrets of the Cicada Summer -- Andrea Beaty  (A solid mystery/friendship/family/tragedy story for younger middle grade.)
51. The Fault in Our Stars -- John Green (Come on.  Could this get any more heartbreaking?  LOVED.  EVERY.  PAGE.)
52. * The Buddha in the Attic -- Julie Otsuka (Have you ever read a novel written in third person plural?  The whole thing?  Me neither.  But it worked.  And I learned a lot about those women who came over from Japan, looking for a better life, but finding mostly hard work and disappointments large and larger.)
53.  Boy 21 -- Matthew Quick (Okay, my husband loved reading The Silver Linings Playbook, and we all loved the movie -- Philadelphia references were a big bonus for us.  So I discovered Matthew Quick has written three YA novels.  Boy 21 is terrific!  Basketball, young love, the Irish mafia.  That man can write.  Just ordered Sorta Like a Rockstar and can't wait to devour it.  For an interview with Matthew Quick, check out Sara Zarr's This Creative Life podcast.)

Please leave a comment about your favorite 2012 reads . . .


Angela Ackerman said...

A monster calls. Oh My Monsters. Wasn't it fabulous?

Look at all these books. Don't we have the best job ever? I love being lost in worlds each and every day!

Here's to a fabulous year for you, Donna!


Wild About Words said...

Yes, Angela,

Of all the books I read this year, A MONSTER CALLS, made the biggest impact on me. One of those books that will have me thinking about it for years. Like THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN did.

Yes, we do have the best job in the universe.

Here's to another uber-successful 2013 to you, too, Angela!

Best regards,

Katie L. Carroll said...

Great list, Donna! I definitely have to add A Monster Calls to my to be read list for this year.

I also just posted about my favorite reads of the year. If I had to highlight two, I'd go with The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis and Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys. The Storyteller made me so, so, so angry at the end, but I loved how it played with the story within a story paradigm and how brave the author was, not painting everything in pretty colors.

Wild About Words said...


Thanks so much for the book recommendations.

*Marches off to the bookstore.*

Hope you have a fabulous 2013!

All best,

Anonymous said...

I read every day starting with morning coffee. I'm a big magazine reader. Actually, the magazines are normal size, not really "BIG", I just mean I read a lot of them. I go cover-to-cover with at least 10 different publications a month. I read books every night and also when I run out of magazines.

This year I especially enjoyed "Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen" (I know the author). Among the other books I read are "The Meaning of the Body - Aesthetics of Human Understanding" by Mark Johnson, "History of Beauty" edited by Umberto Eco (cool name), and "Vision Mongers - Making a Life and a Living in Photography" by David duChemin. I also read "Lord of the Flies" for the first time because a woman who purchased a print of mine said it reminded her of a passage from the book.

I don't typically think about what I read at the end of the year, it's interesting really. I'm glad you made me do it.


Wild About Words said...


Thanks for adding such interesting books to the discussion. I wouldn't have had those books on my radar otherwise. I look forward to checking them out.

I, too, enjoy reading magazines, especially Oprah Magazine. I enjoy their essays and book reviews.

Happy 2013! Here's to another year of being filled with good writing and art.