I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I was spoiled rotten, as per usual, and so was my mom. We opened presents together in the morning, and then my brother, sister-in-law and nephew came over around lunchtime to open their presents. My nephew is definitely in that excited age, as he kept asking my mom after he opened each present, “Do you have any more presents for me?” We had a short family gathering at my grandma’s house, and then I spent Christmas night putting together the nightstand my mom bought me. I am proud to say I put it together all by myself! I usually corral my brother into helping me, but I was determined to figure out the steps on my own. It’s easily my favorite gift this year. Yay!
Onto today’s post, though, my annual review of the best books I read this year. This has been a great year for me, reading-wise. I am currently at 87.5 books read, which is probably my highest reading year yet! It’s a crazy number, for sure, but I make reading a priority in my life. It doesn’t matter how crazy my life gets, I always take time out of my day to sit back with a book and relax my mind.
Without further ado… my favorites of 2012!
10. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (5 of 5 stars)
I adore Sophie Kinsella novels (especially her stand-alones) and I was thrilled to see she had released a new novel so I quickly requested it from my library. This book was exceptional, written in typical Kinsella fashion, and I really couldn’t get enough of it. It’s one of those books I devoured in a few sittings, yet was sad when I finished it and the story wasn’t a part of my everyday life anymore. It’s chick lit so it’s a bit silly and corny, but what can I say? I like cheese and corn. I think it’s one of Kinsella’s best!
9. Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff (5 of 5 stars)
I am a huge fan of Jon Acuff’s blog. I have been reading it for over a year and I finally decided to pick up his book and see what it was all about. Perfection. It’s basically a book of essays on the Christian life and if you’ve grown up in church, you will relate to this novel and laugh along. I promise. He also includes some more serious essays at the end of the book that destroyed me with how poignant they were. I am a huge fan of this guy.
8. Flight From Berlin by David John (4 of 5 stars)
This was a TLC Book Tour book that captivated me from start to finish. There is mystery and intrigue and humor and romance. I am a huge fan of historical novels, and I couldn’t help but put this book on my list because of the way it touched my heart. I like mystery novels that shock me and this one definitely didn’t disappoint. It was a whirlwind of a book and I’m so glad I got the chance to read it!
7. Twenty-Something, Twenty Everything by Christine Hassler (4 of 5 stars)
It took me a long time to read this book, because it was chock full of journaling segments that had me digging deep and discovering my path. It was a book I needed to read and it came at the right time. It opened my eyes to what my passions are and helped me to see that all this confusion and struggle as a twenty-something is very normal.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (5 of 5 stars)
I finally got around to reading this book after it was a #twookclub pick. It had been highly raved by people all around me so I was a little apprehensive, as I tend to not like books that are hyped up. This book was written by the narrator of Death, which was strange at first, but I grew to like it. The characters and the plot were both exceptional, and the writing was fantastic. It had a very interesting premise and written in a different way. There was no foreshadowing or crazy endings, as the narrator basically let you know what was happening before it happened but I still enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
5. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (4 of 5 stars)
This is the December pick for my book club, and it’s not the type of book I would have picked out for myself. But this is what I love about book clubs – I get to read books I would normally pass on. This was basically a memoir and written in a very easy way that had me hooked from the beginning. I loved the interplay between Will and his mom, who is dying of cancer. I loved the history and reading about the impact Will’s mom had on people. And I loved reading about their very informal book club, and their reflections on the novels they were reading. It’s not an overly exciting book, but it is a sweet memoir and I enjoyed it.
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (5 of 5 stars)
This was another #twookclub pick and I was very apprehensive about reading it, because I knew it was filled with lots of emotions and I just didn’t want to read about kids with cancer! It was an exceptional book. The writing is crazy good, the characters feel so real and right there. And the romance! Oh, the romance. It tugged at my cold, bitter heart and warmed it right up. I adored everything about this book. Well, I didn’t adore the ending, but it did fit with the book and felt honest. It is the only book I have ever read that actually made me cry and while it’s not one I could ever read again, it is definitely a must read.
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (5 of 5 stars)
Mindy Kaling is my soul sister. This book was laugh-out-loud funny and thoroughly enjoyable. It is a collection of essays, detailing Mindy’s childhood and her foray into comedy and her time on The Office. I have the biggest girl crush on Mindy and found myself nodding my head and agreeing with all her essays. (Especially when she talked about her weight struggles. I could completely understand where she was coming from!) A must read.
2. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche (4 of 5 stars)
So I wrote an entire post on friendship, because of this book. This book changed the way I view friendship and finding friends. It follows the author, Rachel, as she sets out on 52 girl dates in one year in the hopes of making new friends in a new city. While she has a supportive and loving husband, best friends she grew up, and a fabulous mother, she knows it’s healthy to have local friends outside of your family. I was changed by this novel, and I can only hope I have as much success with my own girl dates next year as Rachel had with hers!
1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (5 of 5 stars)
Another #twookclub pick! This book is completely nuts. It is crazy. It is weird. It will have you slapping the couch and yelling out in frustration. It will have you frantically texting people who are reading it with you to say, “WTF?!” It will have you on the edge of your seat. It will not stop with the twists and the turns and the crazy. You hate Nick and love Amy. You will hate Amy and love Nick. You will hate them both. You will not be able to forget about this novel when you’re at work, or driving, or at the store, or watching TV. THIS BOOK WILL HAUNT YOU UNTIL YOU FINISH. I am utterly, totally, 100% in love with this book. It was the craziest rollercoaster of reading, but a book that affects you on so many levels deserves top honor.
What was your favorite book you read this year? Any comments on my favorites?