I don’t have a book of the year for 2012. There is no clear winner, so I declare no winner.
How do I judge this? Books that are books of the year, should pop instantly to the top of the mind as books that have stayed with me. They roll around in the mind and come back at odd moments. I remember the characters and think about them. None of the books I read this year stand out as that memorable. When I looked through the pages of my reading journal (kept since 1993, now in its fourth volume) for 2012, I found books I remembered and nodded, yes, that was an enjoyable read. But none got in my head like my pick for last year, Room.
Maybe Room was one of those extraordinary books that just gets in your head and stays there, and maybe that doesn’t happen every year. Maybe I should go easier on the books I read this year. I did get pretty distracted at the end of this year with the moving and doing NaNoWriMo and a bunch of other things in November. In this spirit, here is a list of books read in 2012 that I passed on to others. None of them are my pick of the year. There just isn’t one.
1. Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber. I hesitated before putting this book on this list. I read it in 2012 and purged it from my library in 2012. I was disappointed by it. When I was in the process of moving, I took about 10 boxes of books with me to a Sr. High/College fall retreat at camp. I announced there were free books, and a hoard descended upon the boxes and picked through them. One young woman asked me for recommendations. I spotted Weber’s book, looked at the person, then said “I think you’ll like this book. I didn’t, but I think you will.” And she did. I passed it on to someone who liked it better than I did.
2. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I’ve not given this to anyone in particular, but I’ve certainly recommended it many times at the bookshop where I work. Stayed in my head for the first part of the year. Looking forward to the sequel. Not quite pick-of-the-year stickiness though.
3. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. I’ve used this as my pick of the month at the bookshop where I work, and also recommended it there. I will be reading this again. I think it takes a while to digest.
4. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. Gave away for Christmas. Doesn’t make pick of the year because I’d forgotten about it until I saw it in a bookshop and then it all came flooding back. Jumped on it, bought it, gave it away. I hope 1Mom enjoys it.
5. In the Bleak Mid-Winter by Julia Spencer-Fleming. Read it, realized we should sell it at the bookshop where I work, recommended it to my manager. Both the store manager and the customer service manager are now hooked on the series. Score.
Do you have a pick of the year? Did any book stick in your head as a stand out for the year?