Despite being behind almost all year, I completed my goal to read 25 books in 2012. Of these, 7 were read (or finished) in December alone! I always read a bit extra during my holiday break, but this was way more than usual.
Books I loved (5/5 stars):
My favorite types of books to read are memoirs, books set in foreign places, historical fiction, modern fiction, and classics. I have a mixture of these on my favorites list for 2012. I think the most interesting book I read all year was 1Q84, and the one I couldn’t put down while reading was Wild.
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung. City of Thieves, David Benioff. 1Q94, Haruki Murakami. Wild: From Lost to Found on the PCT, Cheryl Strayed.
Books I liked (4/5 stars):
Ayn Rand and Tolstoy probably deserve 5 stars, but anything so long is hard for me really really love. Again, classics and novels set in other countries make up much of this list.
Bel Canto, Ann Pachett. Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami. Running the Rift, Naomi Benaron. Digging to America, Anne Tyler. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy. Freedom, Jonathan Franzen. The Paris Wife, Paula McLain. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain.
In my head, I always called the last book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Shut Up. You can see I may have a bias towards introverts!
Books that were just OK (3/5 stars):
I enjoyed reading these books, but didn’t put them down thinking they were great.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson. Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently, Gregory Berns. My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk. How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer. The Tigers’s Wife, Téa Obreht. Into The Wild, John Krakauer.
Books I didn’t like (2/5 stars):
I read the first one as part of a work group thing, and I hated how cheesy it was. The last two were my own choices, but they were just too light and too odd, respectively.
The Traveler’s Gift, Andy Andrews. French Lessons, Ellen Sussman. The Vanishers, Heidi Julavits.
I mostly listen to these while running, as I get really bored listening to music on my long runs. For some reason, non-fiction or memoirs work best for me for audiobooks and I rarely listen to anything else. My favorite of these is probably the Steve Jobs biography. I still have about 30 minutes left (out of about 24 hours!). It has been a really fascinating read, especially the early history of Apple.
Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, Robert K. Massie. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Christopher McDougall. Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson
Apparently I do not give out 1 star only. If it was that bad, I probably didn’t get through it.
In 2013, I’m going to try to read a little bit more non-fiction, especially business related books. I didn’t do much of that this year. I’m also planning to read both fiction set in Turkey as well as non-fiction about the region in anticipation of a possible trip there this summer. Another book by Haruki Murakami is on my list as well as some Hemmingway, and I’m always looking for new modern fiction to add.
What were your favorite books of 2012? Any suggestions for must-reads to add to my list?