Friday, January 11, 2013

Books I read in 2012. The Best and The Worst

As many of you, I make reading an important part of my resolutions every year. When I was in Med School I wasn't reading much fiction. I simply had no time. Fast forward a few years and my kids were just born. Those days I read very little, too. I was too overwhelmed by taking care of my babies. I felt horrible, then. Like I had neglected my brain and it was going to mush. So, I decided I needed to get back in the saddle.

Starting 2011 I decided I would read twelve books that year. It might seem like too little for some of you, but I was reading at the time maybe two/ three books a year, so this was a big challenge. By the time 2012 came by, I had read fourteen books! Needless to say, I was elated. With such a resounding success I decided to go higher for that year. I set my mind and heart at 16 books. Again, I rather have realistic goals and blow mi mind with success, than breaking my heart by a failure. And yet again, I did great. 20 books was my last count. Yay me!

2012 was also the year I started reviewing for a magazine, the sadly now extinguished Dark River Press. Reviewing changed me as a reader. It taught me to pay attention to details like style, voice, editing, and plot. Not that I wasn't aware of that before. As a reader before I knew something wasn't yelling in a story, there was something missing that hindered my ability to enjoy it. Then, as a writer I learned the mechanics of a story, but it was being a reviewer that got me to mix what I'd learned as a writer and what I felt as a reader. There, I was reborn and I must say I'll never read the same way again.

But, let's face it. No matter how technically adapt or compelling a story is, it must speak to you. It must resonate with your experiences, background, dreams, whatever you want to call it. It is this spark between the story and you that will make you remember it years down the road. Oddly enough, I've found myself remembering specific passages of a book that I didn't even enjoy at the time! Somehow, as I grew up, or my experiences emulated those of the characters, my memories of the book became fonder... Beats me, but it's true.

So, here is the list of books I read on 2012 and, among those, the ones that impacted me the most (highlighted.)

The absolute best would be Bradbury and Blackwood. No surprises there. While Bradbury has a poetic prose that uses (or over-uses, some might say) adjectives and very long sentences to lull the reader to his world, he still can pack a punch and have you afraid to read any further. Almost like closing your eyes right before the killer is about to jump out of the closet. Instead Blackwood is concise and precise. His sentences are short and to the point. He keep his monsters hidden in the closet but lets you know they're there. Highly atmospheric. I haven't been so afraid to turn the lights off in years.
Blackout is a runaway hit of science fiction and winner of many awards. My first venture into time-traveling stories, which I usually hate, but this one I loved. A review is coming!
Satan Carol has an almost philosophical nature. It is also scary and funny. Such a hard combination! That alone would suffice but on top of that, it is very well done. A tour de force I'll be thinking about for many years.
Blackstone Manor has the best opening scene I have ever read.
The rest are all awesome in their own right. If you want to know more, follow the link to check the reviews!

So, for this year I'm shooting for twenty-four books. Given my hectic schedule, I seriously doubt I'll be able to read much over the goal, but believe me, I'll try.

What is your goal for the year? What were your most memorable reads of 2012? I'm always adding to the TBR pile. =)


Michael Pierce said...

Actually last year was my best reading year in quite a few years. I'd have to go back and count, but I think I was close to 20 books, which I'd say will be my goal for this year, too. I'm mostly listening to audiobooks on my commute. I wish I had more time to read at home. Your reviews are always so enjoyable. :)

Georgina Morales said...

Thanks for your nice words! I think 20 books is a great mark. There will always be someone doing better, but most of us have many things to balance at once. I'm not commuting anymore but for a while I thought audiobooks were a great opportunity to get the best out of my time. However, I get easily distracted and tend to block auditive stimuli... so maybe they're not for me... One day I'll have to try.

Nicole said...

This is a great list! I also loved Hunger Games. Probably my favorite "new discovery" of 2012 was Brent Weeks' Way of Shadows.

If you haven't already read Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon or any of the Jesse James Dawson novels by KA Stewart, you should definitely check 'em out this year.

Georgina Morales said...

I didn't like Hunger Games as much as I had anticipated, Nicole. But I guess you've gather as much through my many posts about it. Demon's Lexicon sounds fascinating! Thanks for your great suggestions!

Nicole said...

Oh, yes. We definitely have the same issues with the last book in the HG series. ;)