Best Books 2012

So, time has come to recap on my reading in 2012 and choose the best 10 books I’ve read. This year I didn’t read much from January to May and then got my reading hangover in August/September, but I’m back on track, reading as much as I can and, most importantly, enjoying it. Just lately I’ve also realised I crave for more writing than reading, but that will have its own post in the future, I hope.

It was not easy, but here they are! Books and Reviews’ favourite reads in 2012:

10. The Promise by Ann Weissgarber

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The novel is a cozy reading, a character study of a woman moving and trying to adapt to the Southern traditions, clearly influenced by Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.

9. The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

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I decided to read this play after hearing Gemma Arterton played Hilda on the West End. This quote explains human nature, desires and happiness in a surprisingly concise way.

8. The Deep Blue Sea by Terrence Rattigan

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Rachel Weisz is rumoured to be nominated for the 2013 Academy Awards in the Best Actress category thanks to Hester, the main character in this play. Totally deserved.

7. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

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Morton’s novels are catching, easy to read and cozy. Furthermore, they inspire you to write your own stories.

6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

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Finally! I got to read the first in the Millenium series and I fell in love with the style, plot and characters. I will start the second installment in January.

5. Howards End by E.M Forster

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I knew I had to read Forster and Li‘s constant praise of his works gave me the final push to face one of England’s best writers. His musical prose is worth a second reading.

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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THE book everyone should read. A study of human nature and desire, modernity, capitalism, love and ambition. Tthroughout the years I’ve developed an uncanny love for Daisy Buchanan.

 3. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D James

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P.D James and I share the same opinions and criticism when it comes to the original Pride and Prejudice. This sequel to Austen’s novel in the form of crime fiction fits perfectly with the feminist crime reader in me.

2. The Coroner by M.R. Hall

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Remember last time you read a book and admired the main character as if you were a child again? If not, try this novel and fall in love with the perfectly flawed Jenny Cooper, her intelligence, stubbornness and hard work. Plus, she’s said to have great hair.

1. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson

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Those who know me can easily associate my name with Atkinson. I’m obsessed with her novels, her writing, her style, her imagination, her perfect characters, even the design of her books!

Surprising fact 1: No Margaret Atwood read this year (otherwise we know she would have made it to the Top Ten)! I’m really shocked I haven’t read anything by Atwood this year, so I’ll try to [over]compensate in 2013.

Surprising fact 2: This years’ list (vs. 2011) includes both male and female authors, but I must admit, even those written by men have strong leading ladies.

Surprising fact 3: Not all of them are crime novels! I am partly surprised since there are times when I feel as if I only read about crimes. This list is the living proof I don’t!

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16 thoughts on “Best Books 2012

  1. Risa says:

    Of the books on this list I have only read The Great Gatsby. I really like the sound of The Promise. I recall reading your review on it a while ago. 🙂 Kate Morton….I’m hoping to give her a try next year.

    There was a time when I loved mystery and action novels. I suppose I still would except that other kinds of genre have at the top of my list lately. 😀

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    • Elena says:

      The Promise is a great novel, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Awakening.

      I am somehow drawn to mysteries/science/crimes in a way I cannot explain. I think it is challenging to sit down and try to solve the mystery for yourself, but then, I hardly ever do that. I think I’m much more interested in human nature and what’s behind evil actions (and not so evil). I like some good scientific explanations too! Of course I also like other genres, I love 19th and 20th century literature as well, but you already know I’m a passionate defender of reading contemporary authors.

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  2. Rikki says:

    Good list. I have read two of them (Gatsby and Forster) and have two on my TBR list (James and Larsson) and Ibsen is lying around somewhere. You praise Atkinson so much that I am tempted to try her one day.

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    • Elena says:

      I think you’ll like her. Her mysteries are not the cozy type, but not the bloody-Rikki-doesn’t-like either. They have a strong social criticism behind, but also personal. I would describe her novels as a mix of social criticism, character studies and mysteries.

      I’m curious about your reaction to Larsson. Not the type of book I’d associate with you 😛

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      • Rikki says:

        You are right, that is probably the reason I haven’t read it yet. 🙂 Will have a look for Atkinson on my swap site, it might be in German then, but I think I could live with that.

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        • Elena says:

          I think there are very cheap paperbacks at the Book Depository, but I’m not sure. She isn’t very popular, her books were published in Spanish but went out of print. Actually, I did never heard of her from a Spanish person. I hope she’s more popular in Germany.

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    • Elena says:

      It took me a week’s lessons in college to understand and appreciate Gatsby. But I also know many people who don’t like it at all.

      Can you believe we didn’t study Howards End? It was so good, I don’t know why professors don’t count it as compulsory reading.

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      • Rikki says:

        OK, got one. Not the one you said but another one, “Started early, took my dog”.
        Why?
        It was available at my swap site in English
        I had heard the title before and loved it then.
        I love the cover.
        All just as good reasons as any, as I have no idea what to expect.

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      • Elena says:

        That is the fourth on the Jackson Brodie series, so don’t worry if when starting reading you don’t see/understand the relationships between the characters. I haven’t read that one yet, just yet 🙂

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  3. Ann Weisgarber says:

    Elena, many thanks for including The Promise on your list. I’m thrilled with the advance praise and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will do okay when it’s published in March.

    Have you had a chance to read Ron Rash’s The Cove? It’s Southern literature with a hint of a mystery. Or Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell the Wolves I’m Home? They’re both wonderful and are somewhat overlooked by many readers.

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  4. Helen says:

    I’ve only read two of the books on your list – The Forgotten Garden and The Great Gatsby – but I enjoyed both of them. You’ve convinced me that I really need to try one of Kate Atkinson’s books in 2013!

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