A friend recently reminded me that I haven’t done a book recap in a while. So, here it is! Some of my favorites from this past year.
Room by Emma Donaghue
I actually read this a year ago, but it was good enough to make my 2011 list. It’s a very unique story and told from an unusual perspective. Warning: Keep in mind that this is about a kidnapped young woman forced to bear her attacker’s child — this doesn’t give anything away and I don’t recall the book being graphic at all, but still wanted to give that head’s up.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
So this is really long (almost 800 pages) but I read it in about three days. I read it on my Kindle so had no idea it was so long when I started it; otherwise I probably would have skipped it! But glad I didn’t because it was very good. Beautifully written with great storytelling. About a Jewish Hungarian family during WWII and how Hungary fared during the Holocaust. I realized that while I’ve read plenty of books about both the war and the Holocaust, I didn’t know much about how the war affected Hungary. It was an interesting, compelling read and the characters really developed over the pages.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Um, awesome! Basically it’s a mostly true biography of Lincoln, but with vampires thrown in. Really interesting from a historical perspective, and just plain fun. Totally loved it. Same guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (of which I am also a huge fan). Currently filming the movie (I think Tim Burton?), which is sure to be excellent.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Because I love her. I heard that it’s best to listen to the audiobook, which is actually read by Tina, but I got my hands on a hard copy first so I went that route. It’s so hilarious; i was actually LOLing (yes, I went there) at some points. A fun, easy read.
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (also, the sequel: Dreams of Joy)
She wrote Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, so this is another about a Chinese family (specifically, sisters). Recommend reading them together since Shanghai Girls leaves off on a cliffhanger, where the sequel picks right up. Both revolve around China during WWII and the Cold War.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
I was really late in the game in reading this (it won the Pulitzer several years back), but it’s excellent and I still recommend. He’s just come out with a new book that I really want to read. Middlesex is the history of a family who migrates from Greece to Michigan, all told from the point of view of one child who happens to be a hermaphrodite and all that happens to affect their lives.
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
This is a bit of a thriller, and there are some graphic moments for sure, but I couldn’t put it down. It’s also about a kidnapping (not sure why that is a theme here!) but has an incredible level of suspense to it and lots of twists and turns.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
I just finished reading this for my book club and already can recommend it. It’s a fascinating true story about a black woman in the 50s who died of cervical cancer, but who first unknowingly had her cervical cells taken and used in research. They went on to become the first-ever immortal cells, and are still used across the world in research today. It was a fascinating read, all the more because it was a true story. Very different from anything else I’ve read in a long while.
These are just a few of my top favorites from this year. I didn’t even go into the YA favorites! That might be a separate post. 🙂 What have you read this year that I need to add to my list?