Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2012

Yes, it's old news, but this week's topic—Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To—is one I did a broader version of just a few weeks back and only came up with three. Will I read more debuts than that? I certainly hope so. It just takes me some time to sort through the internet buzz for the ones I'm actually interested in. Especially since the internet buzz usually focuses on trends like paranormals and dystopians, and I'm more interested in the epic fantasy and non-apocalyptic science fiction.

Ergo, a topic I missed from a few weeks ago.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...
Only books I read for the first time last year count, which is why I'm leaving off Sense and Sensibility and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Also, these are not necessarily ordered according to greatness. Blurbs are from the reviews, just so you have something to look at. :)

1. Lilith by George MacDonald
—I sat on a blanket out in the sun with tears running down my face, feeling as close to having glimpsed a bit of the afterlife as ever I get.

2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
—From its beautiful title and short, haunting first chapter, Kvothe’s story sets itself among the great works of fantasy.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
—The book... offers hope despite its horrors and uncertainties—a hope centered in the redemptive character of Jonas. Like many a child protagonist, he sees the world with an innocent clarity, a striking purity of heart. The very hopefulness of his closing dreams and of his selfless bravery are the sort of thing that can stand between the human person and inhumanity.

4. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
—Some may find it too neatly tied up, but I am shameless about such things. I can’t believe it took me thirty years to find this book. I adored it.

5. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
—Ella has the pluck to accept her plight as something she must live with for the time, while always searching for her escape. Her playful spirit and her knack for the goofy linguistics carry the story, making her positively irresistible as a heroine.

6. Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
—Good worldbuilding is supposedly the high point of fantasy, and it’s still one of my favorite discoveries to make in a new author or book. Shinn’s quasi-medieval Auburn... [is] beautifully realized.

7. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
—Cazaril proved both interesting and sympathetic, a good man who becomes a great one not so much by growing from naivete to wisdom (though there is some of that, particularly as regards his relationship to the gods) as by continual willingness to obey the demands of rightness despite his feelings.

8. The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson #5) by Rick Riordan
—It’s hard not to love Percy’s enthusiastic, humorous middle-grade narrative, and he doesn’t let us down in this final installment.

9a. Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
—One of Card’s greatest strengths as a writer is in his empathy. Whatever a character thinks or believes or does, he is capable of putting himself into their mind and heart, showing the best of who they are and placing the reader firmly on their side.

9b. Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
—Card’s Ender is arguably one of the most wholly and intrinsically lovable characters in fiction.... Larger than life in his wrongs and compassion as well as his intelligence, Ender turns his own unbearable guilt into humility, wisdom and understanding—a broken hero, but then, that’s the only kind humanity ever has.

10. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
—The novel’s third great success was the mythology of the capaill uisce themselves. Stiefvater portrays them with all the beauty and mystique of a horse, all the danger of grizzly bears, and all the magic of the Pegasus.

What were the best books you read in 2013? Or your favorites, at least?


  1. Darn. This means I'll have to leave off Pride and Prejudice & The Hobbit since you've set the bar at books you've only read for the first time last year. I'll have to do some thinking now. :)

  2. I cannot believe I still haven't read The Scorpio Races. I've heard nothing but amazing things. I don't know why I haven't gotten to it yet.

    Glad you read some great books last year :)

  3. Okay, here's a bit of a list:

    On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius

    For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

    God in the Dock & The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis (Slipping in two here.)

    A Day to Die For by Graham Ratcliffe

    The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

    Caught Ever After, Children of the Ruskin Heights Tornado by Carolyn Glenn Brewer

    He Remembers the Barren by Katie Schuermann

    Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

    Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

    The Politically Incorrect Guide to English & American Literature by Elizabeth Kantor

    1. OOH another Shinn book. :D

      Guess I'm going to have to read the Peterfreund! And the Kantor one just looks awesome.

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  5. Oh man, I love The Blue Castle! I fell head-over-heels for it at age 13 and still read it at least once a year. The last "Emily" book is also one I re-read at least annually :)

    I'd have to say that "On Beauty" was my favourite new read of 2012... I've got into a bit of a rut with fiction, tending to re-read favourites- I re-read "Middlemarch" and "Anna Karenina" and every PG Wodehouse book I own, last year.

    1. It's such a good book! You're welcome to check out our fantasy cast and add your thoughts if you like. :)

      I've never read any Zadie Smith, but have thought about picking up some of her work. So On Beauty was good?... good to know.

      And thanks for reminding me that I need to read some more Wodehouse.


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