2012 was quite the year in books for me. I read a personal best of 179 books (of course, the five months of unemployment helped that total a lot). That was a total of 51,903 pages. The books I read averaged 351 pages each. That also included 275 hours of audiobooks. It was very hard to narrow it down to ten favorites out of 179 books because there were a lot of awesome books this year but I think my favorites were these (and they're in order by author's last name):
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I've seen this book at the top of lots of bloggers favorites list and it should be. This book made me laugh, cry and feel and that's all that I can ask of a good book.
A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. Yeah, I know, this is actually two books but I read both of them this year and loved both of them. Harkness creates a beautiful and magical world. She also develops her main characters and lets Diana and Matthew slowly fall in love. Then, the second book successfully travels back in time and shows us a terrific imagining of what the past could have been like. You know, if such things as witches and daemons really existed (wink, wink). I haven't seen a series of books so hard to classify into a specific genre since Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (which I highly recommend also). Also, I met Deborah Harkness at YallFest and she was wonderful.
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. I knew without a doubt this one would be on the list. I've recommended it to everybody who has asked me which book they should read this year. I loved it. Ismae and Duvall were wonderful and I still think one of the most romantic lines all year came from this book:
“Whenever you are ready, or if you never are, my heart is yours, until Death do us part. Whatever that may mean when consorting with one of Death’s handmaidens.”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is one of those books that I was supposed to have read in high school but I am so glad that I never did. I don't think I would have appreciated it's beauty and message as much as I do as an adult. Wonderful book.
Legend by Marie Lu. This is what dystopic fiction should be. I loved June and Day. They're drawn perfectly. I felt for both characters and want both of them to win. Oh and another favorite quote of all time is in this book:
"Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything's possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time."
Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta. So I discovered Melina Marchetta this year and fell in love with her. I think these two books were amazing and absolutely cannot wait until Quintana of Charyn is released later this year.
The Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. Yes, I'm including the entire series here. I conquered them this year. Well, all except for A Dance with Dragons which still has not been released in paperback. There were times when I absolutely hated these books. (How in the world could Martin kill that character. By the way, there's about 20 characters that would fit into that line). Oh, and Martin tricks you and plays with you and makes you angry and I swear I'm going to quit him but I keep going back.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I loved these books. Noah is such an amazing guy. And Hodkin does this terrific job of keeping the writer completely confused as to what's going on. She makes Mara an unreliable narrator and you want to believe that Mara is being truthful but I can't quite be sure that Mara knows the truth to begin with. Oh yes, I realize that she's totally out of order. Guess I'm not too good at alphabetizing, am I?
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. This was the second book I read this year and I still think it's probably the most beautiful. I can still see the drawings in my mind and every single time I see the words "yew tree" I think of this story. And I think I will for the rest of my life.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I read this book in one sitting. It was impossible to put down. I loved Perry and Aria and I have wished more than once that I had the time to go back and reread this book. Rossi created an unique word and tells the same end of the world story but in a totally new way. I probably will reread it before Through the Ever Night comes out.
Hmmm, that doesn't quite add up to ten, does it? Oh well. I also want to take just a few seconds and mention my favorite audiobooks of the year. I get so much enjoyment out of audiobooks and think that absolutely everybody should give them a try. There are times when a book comes to life so much more during an audiobook than it ever could on the written page. Proof of that is in two of my favorite audiobooks this year: The Wizard of Oz narrated by Anne Hathaway and The End of the Affair narrated by Colin Firth. Hathaway did amazing voices for each of the characters in The Wizard of Oz and painted the picture so well. It was better than watching any movie. As for The End of the Affair, I don't think I could have ever made it through that book but Colin Firth read it with so much emotion and feeling, I couldn't quit listening.
In Before I Wake and The Golden Lily I got two more books featuring my two favorite guys in books: Tod Hudson and Adrian Ivashkov. These two guys are amazing and they have no fear about telling the girls they love how they feel. I'm hoping Tod and Kaylee make it through the final book in 2013 and that Sidney gets over her vampire phobia and realizes just how amazing Adrian is in The Indigo Spell.
11-22-63 is all that's great about Stephen King. It's a great story with flawed characters that you can't help but feel for and root for them. There's some scary crap that goes down and the entire fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the main character who never fails to be the average every day guy that could just as easily be you. Yeah, this is why I love Stephen King.
I also got devoured the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost this season. I love this series of audiobooks and highly recommend them to any paranormal fiction/urban fantasy fans. Bones and Cat are just perfect but Frost goes a step beyond her main couple and creates a whole group of characters that are fleshed out and interesting.
So, yes, 2012 was a great year of reading for me. 2013 is looking pretty darn good also from the stack of books piled up beside my bed. I'm sure I won't read near as many books next year as I did this year but I think they're going to be just as good. I'm hoping you guys stick around for the journey.