Last January my Goodreads app challenged me to set a number for the amount of books I would read for the year. I really had no concept of how much I was reading per year, just that it was a lot. I set the number at 50 and promptly forgot about it. Now it’s January again and there’s my app hollering for a goal in 2013. Beneath it, it claims that I read 65 books in 2012.
Maybe you’re thinking – holy crap that’s more than five books a month – or sounds about right - or damn, sister, get a life. I will just say two things: 1) I don’t have cable and 2) let’s remember where I live.
And a third thing: I love books.
Here are some highlights from 2012 (you can friend me on Goodreads for the lowlights):
* The Christmas Kid & Other Brooklyn Stories by Pete Hamill. I wrapped up the year with arguably the best book of 2012. PH is an author I know, and love. He writes about New York (which I also love) and paints pictures with words. These are short stories (which I usually don’t like) and quick slices of life, love and death in the city. Amazing.
* Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Haven’t seen the movie but happily read the book. I had no idea how the book was written and was pleasantly surprised. I feel like I can’t describe it any more without giving it away … so go read it. Prepare yourself for a ride.
* A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. France is not my bag but Mr. Mayle makes me want to be there, and suffer the olive oils and the baguettes and every last wheel of cheese (bastard!). This is the book Frances Mayes could not write (yeah, I said it.)
* The Time in Between by Maria Dueñas. I’ve mentioned this before – an epic tale set in the Spanish Civil War set in Spain, Morocco, Portugal. I have not seen characters or scenes as clearly as I did with this book. What an impression she made on me with her storytelling. In 2013 I will track down a Spanish language copy.
* The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. Whether you give a damn about Chicago or not, this is a seriously good read. I’ve heard critiques about it, but I thought it was a serious page-turner. Amazing, what people will do to each other at the height of their lives / careers / histories ..
* Bossypants by Tina Fey * audiobook is highly recommended. Picture me driving and snorting so hard I yank the wheel. This is why you need the audiobook. Tina Fey is freaking hilarious. Save this one for when you need a good laugh. It’s like sitting down with her for a beer and letting her give a monologue (and pick up the tab).
* The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Sad, sad, sad. Dog lover or not, you will be moved by this book. And if you’re not, I don’t want to know about it.
* Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain. Hope you’re ready for cursing, food tips, recipes and a good lesson in kitchen Spanish. This is coarse, crude and hilarious – just like the author. (Now there’s someone else I want to have a drink with).
* The Wishing Spell: The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer – Yes, the guy from Glee. Fantastical YA novel. Half Narnia, half Inkheart, altogether wonderful.
* Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles) by Suzanne Collins. Yes – the author of Hunger Games. This series is much younger and as a result, far less dark, but enchanting nonetheless.
* A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – For when you want to move to Paris and get drunk and write and live a very strange and wonderful existence.