As I am working on this list, I am filled with a sense of remorse when I think about everything I read over the last year. There is always so much great fiction coming out that it is impossible to keep up with it all. I am afraid it is much easier to make a list of things I would-have-liked-to-have-read-if-I-had-more-time than books I did read, but here it goes: five books of 2012 that I read and highly recommend.
This book has to be at the top of my list. Rowling matches the whimsy and magic of her “Harry Potter” series with grit and realism in this new novel. Her characters use stronger profanity than “merlin’s pants” in case there were any doubts about this being an adult novel. All the same, her characters feel like flesh and blood and she balances several points of view effortlessly. Her story about a small town culminated in a shocking conclusion that stayed with me for months. Rowling creates a dark, disturbing and powerful novel that more than steps out of the shadow of “Harry Potter.”
This book makes my list because it is part of one of my all time favorite series. Jasper Ffrode’s “Thursday Next” series is the most original and fun series of books coming out today. Ffrode has created an alternative world where people time travel and keep dodos as pets. Thursday Next is a literary detective who deals with crimes and characters in the book world. This series is a must read for anyone with a love of literature.
This novel is incredibly unique and I quickly devoured it. It is part gangster novel, part spy thriller and part steam-punk sci-fi. Harkaway is an incredibly talented author who mixes dark comedy and drama with real skill.
This book caught me a bit by surprise. McCarthy, famous for his role in movies such as “Pretty in Pink” and “St. Elmo’s Fire,” is now also an award-winning travel writer. This book details a personal journey where McCarthy works out his own feelings over a series of exotic trips before heading to the altar. McCarthy is an excellent writer and his descriptions of his travels to destinations such as Patagonia and Kilimanjaro are fascinating. This book is most notable for McCarthy’s ability to keep from sounding self-indulgent. People who have an interest in travel or the brat pack should check this out.
The thing I love about Zafón’s novels is that they are more puzzle than book. This novel connects his two previous novels, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game and while maintaining his unique blend of magical realism and noir. Fans of either genre should check out all three of these books.