So, I read one hundred books this year. And I only wrote one. Stop judging me! Because technically I only wrote a novella, but I also edited the hell out of a whole book, so everybody shut it.
ANYWAY! I keep a little journal (some of you kids use the Goodreads, I use a daggun journal) where I write a little about my impressions of the book and then one or two or zero stars, depending on how I much I liked it. So I thought I would share some of my faves, which are the two stars. I provided the links to Amazon because I am too lazy to do a proper plot summary and all that business. What do you think I am, a writer?
In no particular order:
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I know, how obvious that a 500-page book about baseball would be on a romance writer’s list. But I went to a small liberal arts college (I’m not sure if there were athletes where I went to school…I think there were athletes. Does theater count as a sport?), and that’s where this book is set and it really spoke to me. Compulsively readable, as we say in library world. And Schwartz was such a great character, I’m surprised the author didn’t kill him off. Because it’s literary fiction and sometimes that happens. He doesn’t die. Nobody dies. Wait, that’s not true. Anyway, it’s a good book.
Arranged by Catherine McKenzie. I guess this is chick lit? The author pretty much never mentioned shoes, so I’m not sure. La. For sure this would appeal to romance readers, even though it doesn’t follow the usual genre rules. Because technically, it’s not a romance. Anyway, a woman keeps having bad luck in love so she decides to join a dating agency, only it turns out to be an arranged marriage agency based on the idea that marriage works if people can be friendly and compatible, and not necessarily in love. It’s funny and good and the main character is terrific. Also, Canadian.
Bared to You by Sylvia Day. I know. But I read 50 Shades and then I heard about this book and I read it and I was like, yes, that’s how you do it. What’s-his-name is still a total alpha-hole, but his alpha-holeness is acknowledged and explored, and the heroine is not a total washcloth. I mean, I liked it even when I’m not comparing it to 50 Shades.
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant. Here’s what I wrote: “A historical romance that did not make me compromise any 21st century ideals.” (Because remember that thing I said about the small liberal arts college?) My fave kind of romance, where each character is made better and stronger by the love of the other. I mean, they were sort of equals.
The Fine Color of Rust by P.A. O’Reilly. Such great characters, as one would expect from a small-town story. But this town is not idealized – it is actually a shithole in the Australian outback – which makes everything even more appealing. And you’ll want to have a beer with the narrator, who fantasizes about dropping her kids off at the orphanage so she can run away with a motorcycle man, but then organizes a campaign to save their shitty school in their shitty town. And boy howdy did I cry at the end.
Clay’s Quilt by Silas House. Silas House is book group gold in these here Appalachian parts, but let me tell you, you can’t go wrong. (Although I was the only one in my book group who fell in love with Clay – at least the only one who admitted it!) Silas House, who is cute as pie, by the way, manages to write realistically about poor people in Kentucky without turning it into some kind of Appalachian gothic horror fest. I love his characters’ Kentucky accents.
Authors and series I discovered:
Victoria Dahl – love those contemporary trilogies! I glommed.
Sujata Massey’s Rei Shimura series – mystery series set in Japan. The first books take place in the 90s, and I love watching people solve crimes without cell phones. I glommed this one pretty seriously, for me. I am a very bad series reader.
Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series – I actually only read one of these this year (bad series reader!), but these books are so great and so quick that I sort of can’t believe that. But the notebook don’t lie.
Loretta Chase! Everybody was right! Love her!
Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. I am an unlikely reader of inspirational fiction, but that don’t change the fact that I am. And I had to throw this one in because it has librarians; specifically, packhorse librarians in Kentucky during the Depression. So much about this book sounds annoying, but it’s not annoying. It’s adorable.
Hush by Cherry Adair. First of all, because I randomly met her at RT and she is AMAZING, and second of all, the heroine’s survival vest – where do I get one of those? It had a frigging tent in it!
Apparently I also read a book called Mindless Eating. I tell you what, it didn’t stick.
So, 2012 had a lot of hits for me. I read a ton of romance, or so I thought. I think I started a ton of romance, then only finished half of them. That might be true of other genres as well, actually. If I don’t write things down, it’s as if they never happened. Anyway, my general impression of my reading is that I read a lot of romance, and a few really great ones. That’s not terrible! It’s like a metaphor for life!
What did all y’all read in 2012?