Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Bonfire Books of 2012 (Save)

In no particular order here are the books from 2012 that I would save from a fire, if my books were being burnt!

Save From The Flames! The Literary Heroes of 2012! :

With absolutely no contest whatsoever my number one book of 2012 is Orange Prize For Fiction Winner The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller. A novelisation of the Trojan War particularly focusing on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus as it develops from childhood. This book is beautiful. Outstanding. Moving. Terrifically written. A feast for literature fans everywhere.

In the same month as I read the above novel I read The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Steadman. In this novel Lighthouse keeper Tom and wife Isobel face a dilemma, a dilemma so human and believable and real that I was brought to tears.

Popcorn novel of the year goes to Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Yes, it's a zombie novel, yes, it's a romance, but I loved it and I don't care! Movie due next year.

I don't think I'm alone in considering best selling The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern to be a great book of recent times. Two children are sworn into magical combat in a contest between nature and nurture, but can they take control of their own destinies? Beautiful imagery, and feats of imagination await you at the circus. Buy a ticket.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry can best be described plot wise as "some cowboys go on a journey" but it's impossible to express just how involving the world of this book is, so that, even though it neared 1,000 pages I barely noticed this engrossing book's length at all.

Hilary Mantel's follow up to Wolf Hall, Bring Up The Bodies, was released this year and proved every inch as well written, well researched and entertaining as its predecessor. The Booker Prize Panel agreed and Bring Up The Bodies equally accoladed does not have to be the insecure younger sibling about its place in literature. 

The book which moved me most all year was Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, "a portrait of what it must be to be a 9/11 relative so believable I literally ached"

I followed up one of my favourite books of last year Jonathan Trigell's Genus with Boy A and Cham.
All three novels examine issues facing society with a skill, intelligence and ultimately subtlety not seen in other "issue" novels I read this year. An under-known writer who deserves to be more widely read. Get in now and be able to say you were a fan of his early work.

The most exciting novel this year, in terms of being thrilling to read was Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline. A total nerdgasm of a book, aimed specifically at people in their 30s so overflowing it is with 80s pop culture references. In this novel 3 young hackers take on an evil global corporation to save a virtual reality world for the masses, and it's awesome. 

Dystopia of the year goes to The End Specialist by Drew Magary. A cure for the aging process is found, but is far from the miracle people think it is.

Classic of the year goes to Anne Of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. I read it for the first time this year, and then went on to read the sequels. Though none of the sequels quite match the original, the story of the hilarious, mischief prone orphan on a picturesque island is not to be missed.  

The years biggest surprise came from Michel Faber's Under The Skin. Having read Faber's Crimson Petal And The White, I felt like I knew what to expect. I didn't. By far the single most original book I've read this year, the story of driver Isserley deserves to be promoted completely spoiler free.

The elegant, classy cover of AS Byatt's The Children's Book was matched by it's elegant, classy content as the lives of The Wellwood Family and their associates become interwoven with the events of history from the late 1800's to the First World War. Please bring this reader a sequel.

I went back even further in time with Anita Diamant to the lives of the women in the Bible in The Red Tent. Dinah was only daughter of Jacob of the many sons, Diamant takes what little is said of her in the Bible and extracts a hypnotic, lyrical and ultimately deep narrative identifiable in the lives of modern women. Conclusively a feminist novel if ever there was one.

My last two 10/10 novels were The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng - a beautiful story about a deep entrenched bond between two souls that will last eternally set within wartime Malaysia and the story of a troubled soul Rachel Kelly, a bipolar artist whose life story is told through Notes From An Exhibition by Patrick Gale 

These will be the reads that I will press upon people beyond 2012, I recommend them both for yourselves and as gifts for others.

Thank you for your support throughout this challenge and thanks for reading.

I will be back with news of my 2013 Challenge shortly.

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