My Favorite Books of 2012

end year collage

Here we are, nearly at the end of another year. It seems like yesterday that I was choosing my favorite books of 2011. I didn’t think I was going to do a year end post for 2012 because, to be honest, I just haven’t been interested in blogging lately. I’ve been waiting it out, hoping that my desire to blog would come roaring back. However, I realized that I just need to power through the ennui and continue posting even when I don’t feel like it. Compiling my list brought back great memories of my year in reading and reminded me how much I love the blogging community so I am happy that I decided to do it.

2012 turned out to be a wonderful reading year for me. I didn’t quite make my goal of reading 50 books this year (I am 3 short), but the books I did read were very memorable, enjoyable and enriching. I discovered Barbara Pym in 2012, and also Mary Stewart, Muriel Spark and Dorothy Whipple – four authors I truly love and hope to read more of in 2013.

Back in July I presented my top five books of the year through June. Here’s a re-cap of the first half of my list:

1. The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

3. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

4. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

And now….here is the second half of my 2012 favorite books list:

6. Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple – “This novel is quiet and unassuming. The writing isn’t fancy and there aren’t any impressive lyrical passages. It is solid, wonderfully solid, storytelling and a very real and believable tale about families.”

7. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – “This book is all about character. Historical events are the prism through which we see the decisions and motivations of each major player but they seem fuzzy, a backdrop to a study of human behavior.”

8. The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins – “The restrained beauty of Jenkins’s writing perfectly reflects the subtle unfolding of this surprising tale.”

9. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – “This memoir is the beautiful story of Schwalbe’s relationship with his dying mother, Mary Anne, and how books draw them together during her final months on earth.”

10. A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym – “Pym’s typical understated humor sustains this charming story and it totally melted my heart.”

Honorable Mention:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Howards End by E.M. Forster

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart

Great books and great conversations!

I’m looking forward to 2013 and all the fantastic books that will cross my path and the opportunity to strengthen my friendships with all of you. Thank you for reading this year – here’s to a magnificent 2013 for all of us!

29 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I like your idea of doing a mid-year list. There were some books that I read back then that would have made a June list, but they were overshadowed by later books. I wish I’d thought to include honorable mentions!

    From your list, I’ve got A Glass of Blessings on the TBR shelves – which may wait for the Barbara Pym reading week. And just Saturday night I found a copy of Memento Mori at Half Price Books. I haven’t read any Muriel Spark, despite having The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on the TBR stacks for YEARS – but I’ve been keeping an eye out for this one ever since I read your review.

    I’m sorry that you’re going through a bit of a dry spell with blogging – maybe it’s the holidays? I always look forward to your posts, though I’m also enjoying your tweets & the photos so much. An early Happy New Year!

    1. I think my blogging ennui was caused by the holidays – I didn’t have much time to blog, then I felt guilty, then I stayed away. But now it is a new, fresh year!

      I hope you like Muriel Spark. Her sense of humor is very dark, but not malicious – I love her unique take on the world.

  2. I am sorry you’re in a blogging slump but thank you so much for taking the time to pull together this list. I always enjoy your posts and it is great to see what you enjoyed this year. The Blank Wall and Greenbanks are high on my Persephone wishlist and after loving Excellent Women I am keen to give A Glass of Blessings a shot. I hope 2013 is filled with just as many wonderful books for you!

    1. Thanks, Claire! Greenbanks is a really lovely book and The Blank Wall is so different – + it is set on the American homefront and I found that fascinating. I hope you’ll get to one or both this year.

  3. I really wanted to love Wolf Hall but I just couldn’t and unfortunately didn’t enjoy Bring up the Bodies either. I did love Song of Achilles though 🙂

    Sorry you’re in a bit of a blogging slump, I think it happens to all of us every now and again.

  4. Some fab titles there, and so pleased that Muriel Spark Reading Week introduced you to Spark this year (I think it was that which did it?) I’ve seen Whipple on a few round-up lists, and it reminds me that I’ve not read anything by her for a couple of years.

  5. Happy New Year, Anbolyn! I hope you enjoy your reading in 2013. You’ve convinced me that I really need to read something by Barbara Pym, Muriel Spark and Dorothy Whipple next year!

  6. I have Song for Achilles waiting to be read so very pleased to see it on your list as well. Waiting for The end of your life book club to come out in paperback over here. Wishing you & your family a happy New Year.

  7. Here’s to 2013 and more good books! (I really do need to get round to reading The Tortoise and the Hare, thanks for the nudge. :))

  8. A lovely group of favourites. I discovered Barbara Pym this year too and looking forward to reading more of her work.
    Happy New Year! 🙂

  9. You mentioned quite a few of my favourites, and thanks for reminding me of that Elizabeth Wein book, I really want to read that one. I really enjoy reading Gudrun’s Tights and you on Facebook and Goodreads, so I’ll give you fair warning – don’t give up or I’ll nag you! Have a great 2013.

    1. I wish more adults would read Code Name Verity – it is SO GOOD! I won’t give up, Katrina 😉 I’ll just complain now and then about feeling burned out, but I could never leave this so rewarding hobby. 2013 is going to be amazing!

  10. I hope 2013 is another great reading year for you Anbolyn! You’ve reminded me how much I want to read The Song of Achilles hopefully 2013 will be the year for me.

    1. The Song of Achilles was a perfect read for me – the author is writing another book about Penelope that I’m sure will be just as fabulous. Here’s to lots of great reading in 2013!

  11. That is a wonderful list, full of books I’ve loved or books high on my list of priorities. I’m behind you with Barbara Pym, but I plan to catch up with all of the ones I haven’t read in her centenary year. I hope you find as much wonderful reading in the year ahead.

  12. Best way to get through the times with less motivation 🙂 Part of me really wanted to just watch movies yesterday because I’m still in Christmas mode, but just saying no brought the motivation back. I’ve not read any of the books on your list but I know enough to realise that that is some fabulous reading you’ve done – awesome favourites list! Happy new year!

  13. I think I have about half of these waiting on my To Read list after reading your reviews of them in the past year. I’m in the middle of Wolf Hall right now. I’m enjoying it, although I’m finding it to be a bit of a slow go (not necessarily in a bad way), so I’m alternating reading it along with some other books.

    1. Wolf Hall is a slow read. It took me two months to get through, but I think it is one of those books that must be savored to be enjoyed. Have a fabulous 2013!

Thank you for reading and commenting.

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