It’s a short list, but it truly is the quality, not the quantity!
1. The Night Circus
Everything about this book was delightfully magical–the writing, the characters, the descriptions, the plot. The writer definitely created a world that left you teetering on the brink of what is real and what isn’t and once you’ve reached the mystical conclusion, you’re still not sure where you stand.
2. The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1)
Yet more proof that books that are meant for younger readers are often entertaining for adults as well; I love all the updates on classic fairy tale characters; it reminded me a bit of the Thursday Next series.
3. The Trail of the Spellmans
I love this series–so quirky and entertaining! Watch a dysfunctional family of private detectives solve crimes while spying on each other and getting in each other’s way! This isn’t the best book of the series, but I was thrilled to see this new installment as the last novel was supposed to have ended the series. The Goth chick, the wise-ass little sister, the air-head parents–the character development is perfect in every way.
4. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach
I saw the preview for the movie with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and decided I had to read the book first. It’s a sweet book about British seniors relocated to a retirement home in India. Culture shock and the challenges of aging are humorously and adorably relayed through the oddball group’s mixing and mingling with each other.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
It took me 42 years to get around to reading this, and I’m not sure what I was waiting for. The writing is beautiful, the characters have so much depth, and the narrator’s point-of-view brings an innocence that enhances every plot twist. I loved how information was slowly disclosed throughout the book when you least expected it. Why, why, why didn’t I read this sooner?
6. Dear Fatty by Dawn French
The British comedian, best known as the BBC’s “Vicar of Dibley” approached her memoir as a series of letters to the people she’s closest to in life, and for once a celebrity found a way to leave out the fluff and the boring biographical details to focus on anecdotes, jokes, and the events in her life that fans would actually find interesting.
I wish there had been more “Best Books” in this past year, but considering personal constraints on my leisure time and my devotion to reading long-form non-fiction as a learning exercise, I’m glad I was able to find these amazing reads. I’ve already started on next year’s list, with a re-read of Victor Hugo’s epic Les Miserables. I think that’s the start of a very promising list for 2013.