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Monday, December 31, 2012

100 books in 2012: my top ten reads

In January I set myself the challenge of reading 100 books in 2012. I'm a fast reader, and an avid one, so it's not really a challenge, but between my rather bad eyes and lack of time I knew it would be a reasonable goal.

In no particular order, here are my top ten books of the year.

1. For Children
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The illustrated version of this book is one of the most extraordinary books I've read this year. I can't recommend it highly enough. Two very different children's books I also (finally) read were War Horse and Cosmic - both amazing.

2. For Young Adults
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I've actually read a lot of YA fiction this year, as that's what I'm working on too. I read some wonderful titles for YA's, including the Uglies trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and VIII. However, I also read some absolute dross in this category, some of which is incredibly popular. On the one hand, this gives me hope for my own book - I know my book is better - but on the other hand it's worrying for the readers. More about this in a later post, I think.

3. Non-Fiction
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Space by Mary Roach
I'm a bit space crazy, so may have been biased in this category. Actually read a lot of brilliant non-fiction this year, including How Many Friends Does One Person Need?: Dunbar's Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks, and The Ancient Guide to Modern Life.

4. Best Graphic Novel
Saga Volume 1 by Brian K Vaughan
I loved the Y: The Last Man series by Vaughan, and was really excited to see this series start. Also read the new colour versions of Scott Pilgrim as well as keeping up to date with The Unwritten series, which continues to be a favourite.

5. Best Fantasy
The Liveship Traders 1: Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb can do no wrong for me. It's official. I liked Whispers Underground (Peter Grant, #3) a lot too, as well as The Last Werewolf and Manhattan In Reverse.

6. Best Detective/Mystery
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R King
One of those 'why haven't I heard of this before?' books that I completely loved. I also enjoyed Death Comes to Pemberley and The Bones of Avalon.

7. Biggest surprise
First Grave On The Right by Darynda Jones
A great, sassy start to a series of books about the Grim Reaper, who also happens to be a PI.

8. Favourite Re-Read
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
You can't beat it. I also had the pleasure of seeing the original radio cast reunite at the Edinburgh Playhouse for a special performance of Hitchhiker's Guide in July, too.

9. Best Historical Fiction
The Observations by Jane Harris.
I read a fair bit of historical fiction mixed with another genre, such as YA, Fantasy or Mystery, but the above really stood out. Brilliant to read something set close to where I grew up, too. Also read my first Sharpe book, Sharpe's Tiger, which was quite good.

10. Favourite Book
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.
I practically inhaled this book, I read it so quickly. Wonderful stuff. However, close up there would also be any of the books above, along with Baba Yaga Laid an EggThe Stone Gods and My Cousin Rachel.

You can see all my books read this year, along with proper reviews for many of them, on my Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/missread