Best reading of 2012 — so far

As I’ve documented, I am a list-maker. My daily work obligations are now listed in handy list format — the better for me to complete and cross them off, of course. Being as I’m always on deadline, my lists are crucial to my getting everything done before my coworkers shout at me for holding up the presses. (That’s never happened, but I think it would be sort of cool — in a cinematic way.)

Given my penchant for organization and crossing things off, I’ve compiled a list of my best reads of 2012 — so far. It’s scary to think we’re six months into the year, friends, and I get itchy thinking about the passage of time. But we’re almost exactly halfway through 2012 (or has that already passed? Math is not my BFF), it’s time to reflect on the 33 books I’ve read since January. And choose some of the best — because I play favorites.


write meg!’s Four Favorite Books
of 2012 (so far)


Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Okay, so here’s the thing: despite having read and adored this book, I’ve never reviewed Silver Sparrow. And I feel really, really guilty about it — mostly because it is so moving, realistic, unique and heartbreaking that I wish everyone had a copy. On the shortlist for the Indie Lit Awards, I picked it up in March and figured I’d wait to write my review until the awards had been announced (and it won!). Then a month went by . . . then two . . . and now I’m sitting here like a dummy, wondering why I never made the time to post about it.

So here I am, posting. Telling you. Imploring you. If you’re looking for an addictive read about family, change, love and class, Jones offers all that and more in one stunning package. Plus, now it’s out in paperback. So you really don’t have an excuse, do you?


Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer (my review)

Oh, I loved this book. It earned one of my elusive five-star ratings back in April, one of my best reading months ever (10 books!). Apron is an unforgettable narrator who seems to bump into you at the grocery store, at the library, out at restaurants — everywhere, really, because she’s so funny and sad and awesome that you want to squeeze her . . . and therefore look for Apron everywhere you go.

If this book wasn’t already on your radar, consider this your not-so-gentle nudge. It’s been a while since I read a story so simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, and I don’t think you’ll regret a second you spend in Miss Bramhall’s company. Kudos to the lovely Jennifer Gooch Hummer, an author with whom I’d love to sip root beer floats and muse about life. She’s awesome.


History Of A Pleasure Seeker
by Richard Mason
(my review)

Ack, this novel. It was sexy. It was unnerving. It was riveting and different and atmospheric, ripe with intrigue and fantastic settings and a charismatic, utterly narcissistic lead who still manages to seem human and endearing when it’s most needed. I sung this one’s praises back in January, and I can still recall certain turns of phrase six months later. That’s the mark of a great read — and a great writer.


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (my review)

Having spent nearly a month listening to Steve Jobs’ biography on audio, I felt like I got to know the man well through Isaacson’s meticulously researched, thought-provoking account of the trailblazer’s story. I was sad when it ended (and how it ended, of course, but c’est la vie) and felt like I’d been on an odyssey.

When the review was Freshly Pressed by WordPress and featured on its main page, the comments and emails came pouring in — some kind, some not so much. One visitor’s response is probably my favorite personal insult of all time: Her [mine, that is] artistic intelligence is exactly why we need more math and science in schools. (Um, wow.) Some accused me of coming “too late” to the Apple game, being some insipid follower who only “discovered” the brand after iPods began hitting college campuses in the early ’00s.

To which I say: yep. That’s pretty much what happened.

And by the way, that was a book review. Not a character assassination.

That review and its backlash/response taught me quite a few things about blogging and life, but that’s another post. The point is this: if you’re even vaguely interested in the trials, triumphs and joys of Steve Jobs, Isaacson’s biography is a must read. While I got bogged down in the minutiae of Apple’s rise to success, it was Jobs the man who kept me captivated through 20-some discs of his life story.


About these ads

Watch that ‘Sparrow’ fly: Indie Lit Award winners announced

After a few months of heavy behind-the-scenes action (but not that kind — goodness, me!), I’m pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Indie Lit Awards have been announced! I was thrilled to serve on the Fiction panel for the second year in a row and loved discussing the merits of our five shortlisted nominees with my lovely fellow panelists.

I know it’s cheesy, but I feel very fortunate to have stumbled across a bookish world where my obsession with the written word is something to really cherish. Where monikers like “geek” are embraced and novels sometimes feel more real to us than “real life.” The friends I’ve made through blogging aren’t “blogging friends” — they’re as much a part of my daily life as those in . . . well, in my daily life. And I feel very lucky to know and work with all of you, sharing in the books you both love and despise. Being on the Fiction panel has been a wonderful experience, and I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity!

That being said, there was a book everyone on the Fiction panel lovingly embraced: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, which was one of the most evocative, engrossing and stunning stories I’ve read in a long time. Like last year’s winner, Safe From The Sea by Peter Geye, I don’t know that I would have discovered this story on my own — and that’s what makes the Indie Lit Awards so much fun.

My full review of Silver Sparrow is coming soon, but suffice it to say that Jones’ characters are not easily forgotten — and this is the sort of story that drifts back to you days or months after finishing, like the haunting final line of a song.


2011 Indie Lit Award Winners

Biography/Memoir
Winner: Little Princes by Conor Grennan
Runner-Up: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

GLBTQ
Winner: Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender by Nick Krieger
Runner-Up: Huntress by Malinda Lo

Fiction
Winner: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Runner-Up: Dance Lessons by Aine Greaney

Mystery
Winner: A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
Runner-Up: Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski

Non-Fiction
Winner: Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff
Runner-Up: Berlin 1961 by Frederick Kempe

Poetry
Winner: Catalina by Laurie Soriano
Runner-Up: What Looks Like an Elephant by Edward Nudelman

Speculative Fiction
Winner: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Runner-Up: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


Congratulations to the winners and all nominees, and thanks to the Indie Lit Awards team for another great year!