I’m participating in The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday today! Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke & The Bookish in which bloggers are invited to submit their top ten list on a particular topic every Tuesday. As someone who loves Top Ten lists, I couldn’t help but to participate. This week’s theme? “The Top Ten Books I Read in 2012”. By the way, I’m taking this to mean the top ten books I read this year, no matter when they were written. In fact, I think very few books I read this year were new releases, save a couple. So, without further ado, here it is(in no particular order):
Top Ten Books I Read in 2012
1. Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
This book is one of the best YA dystopians I’ve read. Actually, it’s one of the best dystopians I’ve read, period. The world is haunting and absolutely terrifying. The stakes feel very real. The characters are dynamic, and they grow over time. I plan on doing a fuller review of this book sometime in the future, but for now, let’s just say that you should read it. If dystopians and broken worlds are your kind of thing, then this is a great read.
2. The Watcher, by James Howe
This was an used book sale find, and I’m so glad I found it. It’s haunting and the writing is beautiful. James Howe is an amazing writer. For awhile, you’re reading about this world of possibility that the character, “the watcher” is making up, and the language is light and has a fantastical quality for awhile. Then, in the last thirty pages things really begin to happen, and all the sudden the writing is much more gritty and realistic and reflects what’s actually happening. It’s a slim book, but it packed a big punch for me.
3. Divergent/Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
It feels wrong to let the Divergent trilogy take two spots on this list, so I’ll group them together. Another dystopia, but this one is adventure-filled and action-packed. I love Veronica Roth’s writing– she shines in action and fight sequences, a place where I feel most authors fail slightly. I like Insurgent better than Divergent, because it’s focused more on the setting and the world-building starts to hold up a little bit more under scrutiny, but both are excellent reads.
4. The Magnificent Defeat, by Frederick Buechner
Frederick Buechner writes about the Christian life so beautifully. There are many devotionals and theological books on the market– that’s how we get things like entire bookstores dedicated to Christianity. While many of these books contain good thoughts, they are not exactly known for being of the highest literary value. The Magnificent Defeat defies that stereotype. Buechner is an amazing writer– he’s the kind of writer who could write about paint drying and it would still probably be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.
5. A Year of Bilblical Womanhood, by Rachel Held Evans
I loved Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans, and I thought it was (slightly) better written than A Year of Biblical Womanhood, but this one has to be on here just for the conversations it’s starting. As someone who sometimes is uncomfortable with gendered stereotypes, especially in the church, this was a fascinating read. My favorite thing about this book is that it’s not snarky and mean, but really invites both sides to the table to talk things out.
6. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Patterson
This is a classic children’s literature book, right up there with The Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time, so I have no idea how this got skipped in my youth, but it did. I made up for it this summer while working as a reading coordinator for a day camp(getting to borrow books from the library you’re in charge of is a wonderful feeling), and I understand why it has a Newberry Medal on the cover now. Beautiful and poignant, a book my future children will be reading.
7. Quitter, by Jon Acuff
One thing I discovered when looking back over my reads for 2012 is that this was a year of non-fiction. I go in cycles of what I like to read, and right now all I want is to be immersed in fantasy worlds(actually, dystopian worlds). Early in 2012, however, this was not the case. I wanted practical, I wanted real, and I wanted interesting. Quitter came at the perfect time for someone who’s about to graduate college. It’s a great read if you are serious about your dreams, and I whole-heartedly recommend it.
8. Bird by Bird, by Ann Lamott
Gah. If this list was in order, Bird by Bird would be at the very top. If you’re a writer, a creator, or someone who just really embraces the creative side of life, you need to read this book. Bird by Bird is quickly becoming a writing classic for a good reason. No, this isn’t your detailed list of “7 steps to help you get published”, but it is an introduction to a beautiful way of looking at the hard work of a writing life. This is also the book that taught me the kindle has a highlighting limit.
9. Fall to Grace, by Jay Bakker
At times, this was a hard book to swallow, but grace given to other people usually is. I like that this book pushed my boundaries a little bit. There were certain things I wasn’t ready to swallow at the time(though I might now– this is probably a re-read in the future), but it made me think, and I appreciate that enough to give it a spot on this list.
10. Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christian Debate, by Justin Lee
This book feels out of the place on this list, but it deserves a spot here. Much like A Year of Biblical Womanhood, I appreciate this book because it invites conversation instead of an argument. Even though it delves into theological issues a little bit, most of this book is just the author’s journey, and I think a story can be more powerful than any theological treatise.
Those are my top ten books for 2012– what are yours?