A List of the Top 5 Books I’m Thankful I Read This Year
by REBECCA, November 21, 2012
Wednesday pretty much sums up American Thanksgiving in Addams Family Values, that paragon of cultural critique:
“You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, you will play golf, and enjoy hot hors d’oeuvres. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said, ‘Do not trust the Pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller.'”
Not wishing to pass up an opportunity for thankfulness, however, there are abso-turkey-lutely some books that I’m wicked thankful for having read this year. Now, I’ve read a boatload of delightful and wonderful books, but there are a few that have . . . changed the way I think about things, or broadened my horizons about the work that books can do. And so, I celebrate you, books!
Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt
In my review, I went ahead and declared that Tell the Wolves I‘m Home was the best book I read this year, and I haven’t regretted that assertion yet. Brunt really raised the bar on both characterization and prose. The book is also a moving and much-needed portrait of a YA character who is dealing with not only love and loss, but strong romantic feelings for her beloved uncle. An all-around gorgeous book that I would recommend for nearly anyone. Check out my full review HERE, and our interview with the lovely Carol Rifka Brunt HERE, and learn about her writing habits, hidden talents, and favorite cheese!
I didn’t actually read The Marbury Lens this year, so it’s cheating to put it on here, but I have to cite it because it was my introduction to Andrew Smith, who I think is likely my favorite YA author currently producing work. I did, however, read Stick this year, so I’ll just let both of them stand in for Andrew Smith on this list. Smith excites me because his stories and prose are so raw and vulnerable. Reading them makes me feel like I am being given the gift of a very important and private story confided in me by a friend. He is also, for me, the YA author whose work is considering masculinity in the most interesting and varied way. For my money, anything of his you pick up will be one thousand per cent worth it, and we are lucky that he has several books forthcoming! My full review of The Marbury Lens is HERE, and my full review of Stick is HERE.
The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
This was a book that taught me to be a more patient and appreciative reader. Its beautifully-paced story unfolded like a flower, and I savored every word. Check out my full review of The Scorpio Races HERE. It is one of the most delicate, salty, magical stories I’ve ever read. Its slow beauty changed the landscape of YA fiction, and I hope it’ll open up the market to welcoming a new kind of super-natural novels, ones more about atmosphere and the materiality of other worlds than about action, thrills, or easy alternative worlds. I also loved The Raven Boys, the first in Stiefvater’s new Raven Cycle (my review is HERE).
Last Night I Sang To the Monster, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This is one of the more beautifully-written books out there. Sáenz is also a poet, and it absolutely shows in his command of prose. The combination of such gorgeous prose and a difficult story, narrated by a character who is dealing with the aftereffects of some horrible events adds up to a book that changed the way I thought about first-person narratives. Like Andrew Smith, Sáenz made me feel like I was reading the intimate story of a dear friend, and (by the end) a friend I had the privilege to watch grow up. Check out my full review of Last Night I Sang To the Monster HERE. I’m super excited to read his forthcoming YA book, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
Experiment In Terror series, by Karina Halle
On a slightly lighter note (I guess my narrative inclinations are pretty clear, huh?), I’m totally thrilled that this year brought me the Experiment in Terror series, which is an independently-published horror-romance series by prolific thrillster and music journalist Karina Halle! The series is super creepy and contains scads of angst and drama, so it’s not so much a lighter note, I suppose . . . but this series is a helluva fun read and, if you like the thrills and chills, I highly recommend it. Check out my full reviews of each book in the series by clicking the images above.
And, most importantly, I’m so thankful for the wonderful new friends I’ve made through writing this blog—all the bloggers and authors and readers I’ve chatted with on Twitter and in the comments of this blog and others, and all the folks I met at BEA this year. Most of all, though, I’m thankful for by dear friend and blog-mate, Tessa! Thanks for taking this adventure with me, T!
So, there you have it, my friends! Some books I’ll be thinking of thankfully as I shove turkey and stuffing into my face. How about you? What books are you thankful for this year?