2012 Reading List

I’m not really a end of the year recap/new year’s resolutions type of girl, but Hannah requested that I make a suggested reading list for 2012. If you know Hannah, you know that whatever Hannah wants Hannah gets. She’s very persuasive and it’s also a good idea, so here goes!

I’ve broken the recommendations up into YA books and Regular Books aka Adult but not “adult” like porn, just adult. Though both Lev Grossman’s and Dan Simmons’ book have some pretty steamy passages . . . Anyway, take my recommendations and let me know what you think. I’ll also be posting a list of what I’m going to read in 2012, so leave suggestions!

YA I have read and recommend:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian – Sherman Alexie

A funny and sad coming of age story set on a reservation in the Southwest. The author uses test and cartoons to tell the story. Really great. Sad but great. The book has been fairly controversial in a number of states, including Missouri (seriously, MO, you ban books all the time!) for talking about masturbation. Relax you pearl clutchers, the world isn’t going to end.

Beauty Queens – Libba Bray
A group of teenaged beauty queens crash on a dessert island and have to survive using only their makeup kits. Ok, they have more than makeup but you get the idea. There’s also a secret military arms dealing and the whole book is laced with references to reality TV shows that are just weird enough to be real. My favorites are “Captains Bodacious” which is where English prep school boys become pirates and “Girls Gone Rumspringa” where Amish women live in a house with strippers. I laughed out loud so many times during this book.

Texas Gothic – Rosemary Clement-Moore
This book about a family of witches living in Texas is fun and funny. The main character has a great voice and a hilarious sister. At one point someone asks the sister if her family is Wiccan and she replies without missing a beat: “Oh no. We’re all Lutherans.” Awesome.

Looking for Alaska – John Green
John Green is just awesome. He really gets teens, in my opinion. This book about boarding school life and the pain of first love and loss is just exemplary.

Charles and Emma – Deborah Heiligman
This book didn’t make me nearly as much as the movie Creation which is also about Charles and Emma Darwin’s life and love, but it was still really great.

Sisters Red – Jackson Pearce
A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that is not annoying as some fairy tale retelling seem to be. It’s fun and really makes you want to wear a red cloak and carry an axe.

Rot & Ruin/Dust & Decay- Jonathan Maberry
Oh Zombies, you’re clearly here to stay. I think I’m okay with that now. These books are just fun and will probably not give you nightmares, just me I’m a wuss. (On a side note, the author has virtual panel of other zombie genre authors up on his website discussing why zombies are so popular. It’s really interesting.)

The Wednesday Wars – Gary D. Schmidt
A well-written story of a middle school boy on Long Island during the Vietnam War. He’s a Presbyterian and so instead of going to Temple with the Jewish kids or catechism with the Catholics, every Wednesday he has to stay with his English teacher and read Shakespeare. One of the best books I’ve read all year, I think. And written by a Gordon grad and nominated for the National Book Award and the Newberry.

Stitches – David Small
This graphic novel is very sad, disturbing, and depressing, so of course I loved it! It’s the story of a boy growing up in Detroit in the 50s and 60s and the cancer treatment that took away his voice and his family.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies – Sonya Sones
A verse novel that really made me enjoy that genre. Sones captures the voice of a teenage girl perfectly.

Regular Books:
The Swerve – Stephen Greenblatt
Who knew ancient manuscripts could be so interesting? This is the story of a long lost poem by the Roman Epicurious rediscovered in the 15th century. There’s also lots of Catholic Church intrigue (ok – the “intrigue” is mostly torture, lots of torture) and your new favorite pagan, Hypatia, who tried to stop the destruction of the library at Alexandria.

The Magicians/The Magician King – Lev Grossman
These books are a bit like if Harry Potter went a magical college instead of boarding school and had threesomes and encountered things ways scarier than Voldemort. Most of the books’ action is set in a land not unlike Narnia, if Narnia was way more terrifying. Both books gave me nightmares but it was so worth it.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Dueling magicians that fall in love while performing in a mysterious traveling circus that only appears at night? Oh yes, please. Plus, acrobatic kittens!

Hyperion/The Fall of Hyperion –  Dan Simmons
Oh my goodness, these books have everything: resurrection parasites, weird intergalactic sex, John Keats, androids, a spiky demon of atonement, computers, JESUITS IN SPACE! What more could you possibly want? I mean, the Jesuits in space part alone is worth a thousand recommendations. And if you don’t believe me, ask my family.

Probably I have forgotten some and will have to add later but it’s a start!

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3 thoughts on “2012 Reading List

  1. Sara says:

    Jared is currently reading Hyperion…we will have another enthusiast on our hands, I am sure of it! And, I am excited. I have not read many of the books on this list so I probably will be reading all of these this year. But first, the Hunger Games Trilogy…time to come out from under my cultural rock 🙂 I requested the copy from the library that only had like 2 hold requests as opposed to the other copy that had like 20, so I got it in like 2 days. I feel like somehow I cheated the system, and it feels pretty awesome.

  2. Hannah says:

    Thanks for making my list, Anna! I’m going to skip Part-Time Indian since I started it and it made me too sad, but I liked Sisters Red and The Magicians/Magician King, so I’ll trust the rest of your list. I think I’ll start with The Wednesday Wars or Hyperion, depending on borrowing availability!

  3. Emily Pious says:

    So many good books (sometimes I really miss being a high school librarian…). John Green’s new book “The Fault in Our Stars” is getting amazing critical acclaim, though I’m only a few pages in. I also like Gabrielle Zevin’s YA books when I read them in 2008.

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