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Kristina’s Top Reads of 2012

Thursday, 27 December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Looking for a good book to while away the wintry hours this holiday season? Here, in alphabetic order, are my top reads of 2012. Each one is a page turner in its own way.

The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker

The days are getting longer, literally. The Earth’s rotation is slowing down, adding first minutes and then hours to the formerly 24-hour clock.  If that’s not bad enough (and trust me, that’s very bad) 11-year-old Julia is going through her own very relatable pre-adolescent crises, including first love, losing her best friend and humiliation at the hands of a bully.  This sci-fi-meets-coming-of-age novel is original and thought-provoking.

 

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Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Waters

An American actress comes to stay at a tiny hotel in a hole-in-the-wall Italian village and her visit has repercussions felt across decades. Beautiful Ruins jumps back and forth in time and place, from the 1960s to the present, from coastal Italy to modern day Hollywood. Full of flawed but memorable characters, including actor Richard Burton, it’s a wonderful story about love, loss, and most importantly, second chances.   A beautiful read for this time of year.

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The Expats, by Chris Pavone

Married couple Katherine and Dexter Moore move to Luxembourg after he takes a lucrative position at a private bank.   But what’s an ex-CIA stay-at-home mom supposed to do in a strange country? Become increasingly suspicious of her husband, that’s what.  It’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith meets TV’s Missing in a thriller that will have you wondering, who’s fooling whom?

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The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson

We all think our families are weird but meeting the Family Fang will put things in perspective.  Camille and Caleb Fang are performance artists who have been incorporating their long-suffering children Annie and Buster into their work.  There’s little wonder that Child A (Annie) and B (Buster) are a bit screwed up in adulthood. The two younger Fangs are thrown together again when their parents go missing.  Is this just another one of their stunts? I would love to see this story on the big screen, it cries out for the Wes Anderson treatment.

  

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Gone Girl by Gillian Lynn

In another “Are things really as they seem?” twisty piece of work. Nick Dunne is the prime suspect after his wife Amy disappears under very mysterious and bloody circumstances.  It doesn’t help that in the ensuing media hoopla, Nick comes across as less than sympathetic.  Did he really kill her or is there another explanation? And you thought your relationship was f#@*ed up.

Chapters-Indigo
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The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A mysterious stranger comes to the Sempere and Son’s bookshop in Barcelona and buys their most expensive edition – The Count of Monte Cristo.  And yes, that’s an important detail.  This leads shop owner, Daniel, and shop-keeper’s assistant, Fermin, on a journey into the past, full of love and revenge.  (Is there any other kind?) This is the third installment of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, and while it does stand alone, if you haven’t read the first, The Shadow of the Wind, do. It’s one of my all time faves.

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I’m about to crack open Kate Morton’s latest, The Secret Keeper. Can’t wait! What are some of your must-reads from the past year?

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  • Stacerella

    I hit up Chapters yesterday. Scored some lovely books. One of master sudoku, one for dressing so you never have to diet (although we should all watch what we shove down our gullets – ahem -) and JK Rowling’s latest (which I’m told by the staff member it’s an even split of either I’ll like it or I’ll hate it, no inbetweens). Should be a fun week of reading and puzzling for me.

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Stacerella, I was more of a hater (see book review http://www.annaandkristina.com/lacking-potters-magic) as I had to force myself to finish it. As for Sudoko, do you have an iPad? There is a good Sudoko app that gives you daily puzzles in a range of difficulties. I confess, I’m still stuck at the moderate stage!

  • Sue

    Three of my must-reads from last year are all non-fiction: “The
    Dressmaker of Khair Khana” (Gayle Tzemach Lemmon), “Gabby” (Gabrielle
    Giffords & Mark Kelly), and “wild” (Cheryl Strayed).

    The first is
    about a young woman who creates a home business to help her family (and
    other women) survive in Afghanistan when the Taliban move in. Very
    inspirational. The second is about Gabby Gifford’s life before and
    after the shooting. She is one very determined woman! The third follows
    Cheryl as she hikes the 1000+ miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and
    tries to put her life back together. I avoided ‘wild’ as it was so
    hyped up as a result of being an Oprah book club pick but found it in
    the Fast Read section of the library and gave it a go.

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Hi Sue, I have to admit I don’t read a lot of non-fiction outside of magazines and newspapers. I’ve been curious about Wild, I may have to pick that one up. Thanks!

  • Cheryl Bader

    The Fault in Our Stars and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry were both touching and uplifting reads.