Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in Review

I have read a lot of good stuff this year, and some stuff that was less good. Here is a summary:

My Favorite Books of 2012:
1. The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller
2. The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey
3. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
4. Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson
5. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Matthew Dicks

My 2012 favorites were widely varied, featuring Greek mythology, Russian fairy tales, psychopaths, imaginary friends and social anxiety humor, among other things (barely not on this list are Every Day from David Levithan and Sailor Twain from Mark Siegel, so I suppose body-switching spirits and mermaids can be added to the list). I am pleased with the variety of things that appear on this list. What started out as a year of "yeah, I suppose this is pleasant enough" ended strong with a lot of "wow am I impressed".

Most Disappointing Reads of 2012:
1. Divergent/Insurgent, Veronica Roth
2. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
3. The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho
4. Where Things Come Back, John Corey Whaley
5. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce

I titled this section "reads" rather than books because not all of these books have been published this year. I felt very let down by Veronica Roth's first two books in her Divergent trilogy. I will read book three because I want to know how it ends, but I am not wowed in the way that evidently everyone else is. The Alchemist was the worst book I read this year (what a load of tripe), but it was not the biggest disappointment because I wasn't expecting it to be great. I heard such great, wonderful things about The Master and Margarita and I was left feeling very bored (which doesn't make any sense because it has a 4.32 average rating on Goodreads with almost 50,000 reviews. What is my life about?).

Books I Wanted to Get To This Year But Didn't:
1. Tiger Lily, Jodi Lynn Anderson
2. Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple
3. The Dog Stars, Peter Heller
4. The Age of Miracles, Karen Walker Thompson
5. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan

Boo. Maybe sometime soon.

2012 was a strange year because there were a lot of books slated for publication from big-name authors: Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Ian McEwan, Toni Morrison and J.K. Rowling, to name a few, books that got pretty neutral (or even negative) reviews. I had been excited to read a lot of these books, but evidently none of them are worth it. How strange to think that these "champions of writing" would slip under everybody's radar. 2012 was the year of the newcomers and lesser-knowns (which, of course, isn't a bad thing).

Other Things That Were My Favorites This Year
Movies
1. Moonrise Kingdom
2. Wreck-It Ralph
3. Looper
4. The Master
5. Argo

Movies I Wanted to See But Didn't
In no order: A Royal Affair, Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Anna Karenina

TV Shows
In no order: Cougar Town, The Big Bang Theory, Community, 30 Rock, Revenge (I probably should get caught up on Mad Men and start watching Breaking Bad and Homeland, huh?)


Music
In no order: Kimbra's album Vows, Marina and the Diamond's album Electra Heart, Zedd's album Clarity, No Doubt's singles "Looking Hot" and "Push and Shove" from the album Push and Shove, Ke$ha's song "Supernatural" from the album Warrior, the Calvin Harris song "I Need Your Love" from the album 18 Months, the Ellie Goulding songs "My Blood" and "Figure 8" from the album Halcyon

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