Monday, December 24, 2012

The Best of 2012

Happy Holidays everyone!  As 2012 comes to a close, I would like to recap the book events that attended this year.  There were several books signings I attended this year (and I hope to have the bell hooks and Jonathan Safran Foer recaps up on the blog soon).  I also attended the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, where I got a chance to meet a lot of authors and go home with a lot of books (and did I tell you I got to meet Eric Jerome Dickey?).

I have also been away for a while due to my busy schedule.  I did a lot of volunteering for the Obama campaign in my hometown, which involved a lot of phone calls and paperwork.  After the president won reelection (YAY!), I started to get prepared to go to Little Rock, AR for work.  I spent almost a week there and even got to go on my first plane ride (it had been pretty much cars and buses before this).  Now that the holidays are here and I got over a week off from work, I have a little time to read and write before the new year kicks in.

This year, I have read 51 books (so far).  I have selected 10 as my favorites for 2012.  They are broken up  by fiction and nonfiction and they are in no particular order. And if anyone follows me on Twitter, knows that 50 Shades of Gray is not on this list (I couldn't get pass page 100).

FICTION

Gone Girl: If I talk too much about this book, I will give it away. All I can say is that it's about a married couple who lives in the Midwest. And the wife goes missing. It started off slow at first, but it turned out SO GOOD. My book club is going to discuss this book at our next meeting and I can't wait to hear the discussion.

Gathering of Waters:  I did a video review of this book, so you can see it here.

Perfect Peace:  After seeing Daniel Black at last year's National Book Club Conference, the book club I'm in decided to make Perfect Peace as our January book club selection. And we loved it! It's about a mother, who wanted a girl so bad, that she decided to turn her youngest son into a girl. And he lived that way for the first seven years of his life. It's a very deep, but enjoyable book.

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich:  I know, I am late to the J.D. Mason party. This was the first book I've read of hers.  But this book about a woman who inherits the estate of the man she killed as a teenager and the events that happen after her release from jail draws you in.  Can't wait until the sequel!

South By Southeast: Out of all of Tennyson Hardwick novels, this one goes down as my favorite.  In this installment, Tennyson works on tracking down the killer of one of Chela's friends. Little does he know that it will take a lot to bring this killer down. I liked that not only do we get to hear from Ten, but from Chela (his adopted daughter) and April (his on-again, off-again girlfriend).

NON-FICTION

Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love and Resilience: This autobiography about former Rep. Gabby Giffords  and her husband Mark Kelly was awesome.  Their story, about two people from two different backgrounds, who found each other and survived through Gabby's horrible injury was wonderful. I admired them both after reading this book, which I read before Gabby resigned from Congress (the paperback version reflects that). 

Ladykiller: For a first-time true crime author, Donna Fielder did a bang-up job with this book.  Vicki Lozano was found dead in her bedroom.  Was it a suicide, or did her husband Bobby did it?  Fielder did a great job of putting this story together and making it an enjoyable read.

Brothers and Me:  After a recommendation from another blogger, I decided to read this book and I'm glad that I did.  Columnist Donna Britt discusses how her life has been affected by having brothers, sons and husbands in her life.  She also talks about loosing one of her brothers, who mysteriously died by the hands of police.

One Last Kiss: The True Story of A Minster's Bodyguard, His Beautiful Mistress and a Brutal Triple Homicide: It is very rare that I seek out true crime books after I have seen the case on television. After seeing this case on 48 Hours, I wanted to see if there was a book.  And behold, this book was scheduled to come out two months after the show aired. And it didn't disappoint.  Did Chris Coleman, bodyguard for a popular evangelist, kill his wife and two sons? Or was it the person who was stalking him? Author Michael Cueno did a wonderful job with this book.

Life After Death: Damien Echols is known as one of the West Memphis Three, who were charged and convicted on killing three young boys in West Memphis, AR in 1993.  Recanting his life through journal entries and recollections, Echols tells the story about his life, how he maintained sanity despite being wrongfully convicted (which I believe he was) and sentenced to death, and how he is now enjoying life since he and the others were freed last year.

I hope to write a few more posts before I go back to work on January 2.  I do have plans to attend one book signing in February, celebrate Delta's centennial in Washington in July (where several authors will be there), and hopefully return to the National Book Club Conference in August.  I would like to wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a wonderful 2013!

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