Friday, January 6, 2012

Top 10!

Instead of having to slog through all the books I've read, I'm sure you want to know which ones to just go out and buy. So here are my top 10. These are the best of the best. They made an impression on me and I hope they will on you. They where so good, many where presents to others this year.

10) Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff: The most fully autobiographical of her books, covering most of her life. We get a bit of 84, Charing Cross Road and Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, but so much more. Anyone who hasn't read a Hanff book is missing out on one of the most original voices in biographical literature.

9) It Ends with Revelations by Dodie Smith: Smith is most known for 101 Dalmatians and I Capture the Castle, but It Ends with Revelations really struck me. It's so modern and frank in it's views of sexuality. There are a few cliches thrown in at the end that threaten to destroy it, but it's a book that really left an impression on me and I'm happy to see that it's going back into print this year.

8) Never the Bride (Brenda and Effie Book 1) by Paul Magrs: When I met Paul at TelsaCon this year, it was his reading from his first Brenda and Effie book that made me realize I had to know more about this author and this little world he has created. Paul has made a nonsensical world around Witby, a northern town where Dracula's ship happened to crash land, wherein the more absurd it gets the more it works. This kind of fantastical writing is a balancing act that two books in (I still have 3 more to read!), Paul seems to have mastered. Jasper Fforde better pay attention.

7) Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega Book 1) by Patricia Briggs: The first book in the spin off from Patricia Briggs' successful Mercy Thompson books is action packed, but in a very small way. We have four "people" out in the cold and snow of Montana, like some extreme survivalist Michael Crichton novel. The fact that they're witches and werewolves and have pasts going back hundreds of years just adds to an already wonderful book.

6) Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin Book 1) by Robin (R.L.) LaFevers: This book, which actually doesn't come out till later this year, is drastically different from any of Robin's previous books. But be it Edwardian England or France in the 1400s, she has a way of making historical fiction come alive. She incorporates the history so well that it's easy to understand and part of the narrative. I never felt lost or at sea, which some historical authors are wont to do. But add a human element, add characters you love, and it's a new favorite series waiting to be read. It even made me pull out a history book to find out more about the time period!

5) I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia De Luce Book 4) by Alan Bradley: Flavia De Luce has been a favorite of mine since the first book came out and my friend David at Murder by the Book was like, "GET THIS BOOK!" The previous three installments where wonderful, but the conclusion always left me a little cold. This book, while I could say it left me cold, because of the chase over the snowy rooftops, it ended just right. A perfect holiday read, and a perfect Flavia book... I hope there are many more to come.

4) The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles Volume 1) by Patrick Rothfuss: I know, bad me never picking up the book till this year... him being a local author and all... but, I hated the original cover, and I actually met Pat before I started reading it, so I knew it was always going to be read eventually. With the second book coming out I finally read it and LOVED it. It's just so wonderful. Exquisite world building where there are characters you love to hate, hate to love. Magic! Dragons! A haunted childhood wherein Kvothe will one day avenge the death of his parents by mystically evil badasses. I can't wait for the final volume!

3) Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick: This book, aside from the amazing illustrations, is just a wonderful story. How two generations clash through shared experiences, shared traumas and shared secrets. I could not put this book down, one sitting, and 6 AM where what this book did to me, and it was worth it!

2) Madame Tussuad by Michelle Moran: The French Revolution, or more precisely, what led up to the revolution, has never been more clear or more fascinating than in Michelle Moran's book. Being an artist myself, it was fascinating seeing the world radically changing though another artist's eyes. To see that Madame Tussuad wasn't just that waxworks lady, she was at the center of a revolution. Her displays showed the people the news of the day in the most extraordinary ways, through her tableaux. I can't wait to get my hands on Michelle's next book which also takes place in France!

1) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: BEST BOOK THIS YEAR! I've been struggling writing a review for this book because it is so awesome. I can't do justice to the lyrical quality of the writing or the depth of the storytelling. Saying it's about a circus wherin two opponents do battle, it's just not right. It's just an aspect of the best book I've read in years, so easily the best book of this year!


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