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Old 30th Dec 2012, 19:17   #1
paddyjoe
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Default Top 10 Books of 2012

Always difficult to put them in any order of preference, but here are the ten books that gave me most pleasure this year.

1. What The Family Needed - Steven Amsterdam
2. Homesick - Roshi Fernando
3. The Art Of Fielding - Chas Hardbach
4. Scenes From Early Life - Philip Hensher
5. May We Be Forgiven - A.M. Homes
6. Sightlines - Kathleen Jamie
7. Pure - Timothy Mo
8. Hawthorn & Child - Keith Ridgway
9. Intolerable Tongues - Ellis Sharp
10. The Garden Of Evening Mists - Tan Twan Eng
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 10:53   #2
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Default Re: Top 10 Books of 2012

2012 has been a great year for me reading-wise: I read more books than I have in any other twelve months, and have thoroughly enjoyed it; I discovered, having avoided them in the past, that I actually love short stories and read 41 collections; and Australia has given Canada a run for its money as my favourite literary country.
I tried doing a top ten last week and found it almost impossible to whittle 160 books down to just ten, so I'm going to cheat and do two top tens:

Favourite novels read in 2012:

1. Journey to the Stone Country - Alex Miller
2. Conditions of Faith - Alex Miller
3. The Shiralee - D'Arcy Niland
4. The Catastrophist - Ronan Bennett
5. The Merry-go-round in the Sea - Randolph Stow
6. The Deadman's Pedal - Alan Warner
7. The Street Sweeper - Elliot Perlman
8. Indian Horse - Richard Wagamese
9. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Ben Fountain
10. The Infinite Tides - Christian Kiefer

Favourite short story collections read in 2012:

1. Sleeping Funny - Miranda Hill
2. This is Not Your City - Caitlin Horrocks
3. Great Dream of Heaven - Sam Shepard
4. The News from Spain - Joan Wickersham
5. Stopping for Strangers - Daniel Griffin
6. This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You - Jon McGregor
7. Pleased to Meet You - Caroline Adderson
8. Volt - Alan Heathcock
9. Dear Life - Alice Munro
10. Once You Break a Knuckle - D.W. Wilson
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 11:45   #3
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Default Re: Top 10 Books of 2012

Contrari-wise I have read fewer books this year than in the last half-dozen: a few books may be missing from my 2012 list because I can't recall them, but the autumn has seen a dearth of reading as my brain was assailed by family happenings. However, I have a Top Thirteen even so...

1. The Sacrifice - Charlie Higson
2. The Lion's World - Rowan Williams
3. End This Depression Now! - Paul Krugman
4. Sundry Creditors - Nigel Balchin
5. I Heard The Owl Cry My Name - Margaret Craven
6. The Barn at the End of the World - Mary Rose O'Reilley
7. Life: An Exploded Diagram - Mal Peet
8. The Blue Flower - Penelope Fitzgerald
9. Our Precious Lulu - Anne Fine
10. Farthing/Ha'penny/Half A Crown series - Jo Walton
11. Sacred Hunger - Barry Unsworth
12. Unspoken Sermons: Series 1, 2, 3 - George MacDonald
13. Richard III: The Maligned King - Annette Carson

Best re-read was The Great Gatsby.

Worst reads were The Captive Queen by Alison Weir, and The Olive Readers by Christine Aziz.
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Old 2nd Jan 2013, 1:08   #4
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Default Re: Top 10 Books of 2012

Unless I'm forgetting some things, and I might be, I only read twenty books this year. Seems like too few to me, but I don't know what I'm missing off my 2012 list.

EDIT: figured it out! So, at the sad expense of Mr. Burgess's interestingly weird list-filler, the best book I read last year was...
  • All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum,by Hienrich Böll
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, by John le Carre
  • Wool,by Hugh Howey
  • Pirate Cinema, by Cory Doctorow
  • John Dies at the End, by David Wong
  • Long-legged Fly, by James Sallis
  • Flicker, by Theodore Roszak
  • The Killer is Dying, by James Sallis
  • The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 18, ed. by Gardner Dozois
  • Pontypool Changes Everything, by Tony Burgess

Last edited by Noumenon; 4th Jan 2013 at 16:19.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 14:32   #5
elwood
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Default Top Eight books read in 2012...

From only thirty-one books finished in 2012, just a Top Eight:
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • The Sisters Brothers ~ Patrick deWitt
  • The Memory Chalet ~ Tony Judt
  • Monstrum ~ Donald James
  • The Road ~ Cormac McCarthy
  • Suttree ~ Cormac McCarthy
  • My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes ~ Gary Imlach
  • The Killer Is Dying ~ James Sallis
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Old 6th Jan 2013, 18:43   #6
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Default Re: Top 10 Books of 2012

Top 3:

Swimming Home - Deborah Levy
Hawthorn and Child - Keith Ridgway
The Story of the Night - Colm Toibin

Others:

Regeneration - Pat Barker
The Manticore - Robertson Davies
Absolution - Patrick Flanery
The Birds of the Innocent Wood - Dierdre Madden
The Lighthouse - Alison Moore
Foreign Bodies - Cynthia Ozick
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Old 12th Jan 2013, 22:57   #7
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Default Re: Top 10 Books of 2012

Top 5 old books:
Red Cavalry - Babel, Isaak: War stories from the early days of the Soviet Union, at once brutally realistic and sounding the depths of all the issues of the early 20th century.

Moominpappa At Sea/Moominvalley In November - Jansson, Tove: Two sides of the same coin, fairytale characters growing up and having to deal with the bigger questions in life. Existentialism for beginners.

Hadji Murat - Tolstoy, Leo: Again, a war story, but a very different one. Funnily enough, the best book about the War On Terror was written over 100 years ago.

Brummstein - Adolphsen, Peter: An adventure romp through 20th century Europe, boiled down to the bare essentials, the story of one odd object passing from hand to hand. One of the most curious novels I've read. Read it in an afternoon, still mulling it over.

Dead Souls - Gogol, Nikolai: Why did no one ever tell me this book is hilarious? A clever businessman rides around the Russian countryside buying dead serfs from land owners who don't understand why he needs them.

Top 5 new* books:
My Struggle, Vol 2 - Knausgård, Karl Ove. Vols 3 and 4 aren't bad either, but not THIS good. Knausgård writes a novel about his life, about how you become who you are, about how even the act of remembering changes the past... The man's an asshole, but he's brilliant.

Alone In Berlin - Fallada, Hans: It's really a very simple novel: two old people in 1941 Berlin decide to take down the Führer to avenge their fallen son. All they need to do is rally the peace-loving, freedom-loving Germans. That's gotta be easy, right...?

Underground Time - de Vigan, Delphine: Just two people trying to get through their day at work without screaming. A claustrophobic and painfully realistic little novel.

The Old Garden - Hwang Sok-yong: Big and yet almost sensually intimate, partly autobiographical, the story of a young couple who meet as dissidents in South Korea, get separated when the guy is thrown in prison, and what happens to them apart. The image of a Korean watching the Berlin Wall fall.

The Imperfectionists - Rachman, Tom: The alleged decline of newspaper journalism, mirroring the big events of the post-war era, but told from the perspective of the people working at a failing paper, with all the big events rushing by in the background. If you were disappointed in The Newsroom (as you should have been), read this.

* Including recently translated

Top 5 non-fiction:
The Possessed - Batuman, Elif: The reason why there are so many Russians on my best of list above.

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks - Skloot, Rebecca: One sick woman had her genes used for research and ended up part of medical history. Her family continued living in poverty. What's the cost? Truly brilliant piece of journalism, fair to all sides and massively heartwrenching.

The Elegant Universe - Greene, Brian: I think the greatest praise I can heap on this is that he explains the unexplainable and makes you think you get it. Gave me vertigo.

London: The Biography - Ackroyd, Peter: The life of a city as a living, breathing being.

War's Unwomanly Face - Alexievich, Svetlana: Millions of women fought in the Red Army during WWII. Afterwards, the men got the praise and the women were told to get back in the kitchen. 40 years later, Alexievich looked them up and interviewed them, putting their stories together into one big ghostly choir.

5 fun genre reads:
Boneshaker - Priest, Cherie
Redshirts - Scalzi, John
Hello Kitty Must Die - Choi, Angela
Amatka - Tidbeck, Karin
A Game Of Thrones - Martin, George RR
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 11:16   #8
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Default Re: Top 10 Books of 2012

The Exception, Christian Jungersen
Human Without Dog, Håkan Neseser
The Ice Palace, Tarjei Vesaas
Piaskowa Góra (The Sand Mountain), Joanna Bator
Nocturnes, Kazuo Ishiguro
W ogrodzie pamięci (In the Garden of Memory), Joanna Olczak-Ronikier
Coco Chanel, Henry Gidel
Pasja według świętej Hanki (Passion according St. Hannah), Anna Janko
Sputnik Sweetheart, Haruki Murakami
Phantastes, George MacDonald
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Old 21st Jan 2013, 14:48   #9
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Default Re: Top 10 Books of 2012

Hmmm, I can only like one adult book that I finished last year, so that's top of the list, after that it's my pick of Jack's books!

1 - Bring Up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel, wow, I managed to read a grown up Booker winning book!!!

2 - The Giant Jam Sandwich, marvelously English story about trapping 4million wasps in a jam sandwich and which has possibly my favourite opening line: 'One hot summer in Itching Down, four million wasps flew into town'.
3 - The Tiger who Came to Tea, and drank all the water in the taps leading to an inability to bathe - good call as far as Jack's concerned.
4 - Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes, oh but they do they do, and with lovely illustrations!
5 - The Quangle Wangle's Hat, which I remember from when I was small, and Jack likes naming all the animals who go live there, like the Bisky Bat, the Attary Squash and the Pobble who has no toes.
6 - Zagazoo - a must for any parent of a toddler who will see them as a baby dragon, an elephant and vulture all in sequence, Quentin Blake illustrations (and I think words) and definitely more meaningful for the grownups.
7 - The Odd Egg, and others by Emily Gravett, a duck who finds an egg, and what comes out of it!
8 - Lost and Found, and others by Oliver Jeffers, a boy and his penguin have an adventure and become friends, also the film adaptation is wonderful.
9 - Willy and Hugh, and others by Antony Browne, because he can draw the most amazing gorillas!
10 - There's a House inside my Mummy, which helped Jack understand that he was getting a baby sister, and that it would be ok!
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