Can you believe it? Christmas is tomorrow!
We hope all our readers are off work and enjoying last-minute preparations. Merry Christmas from the Unputdownable Book Club! We can’t wait to see what books were under your tree! xo
I am a list person. My life is run by making lists and checking things off them. Whether at home or at work, lists are how I roll. Grocery lists, “to do” lists, Christmas lists… you name it. However, it should come as no surprise that my favourite lists are book lists – books I want to read, books I’ve read, potential book club books and my favourite books.
This post may be a bit premature since there’s still a week left before 2013, and I’m currently reading Everybody has Everything by Katrina Onstad, but after reviewing the books I’ve read this year, I feel pretty confident I can choose my top five.
So far, I’ve read 28 books in 2012. Some of them were easy (like Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games) and some of them were more challenging, like Wolf Hall. Out of all those books, here are the five that stoof out the most.
#5 – The Thorn Birds
This book had been on my “to read” list since I was 12. My mother read it on her honeymoon (at the ripe age of 21) and has been encouraging me to read it for ages. It remains one of her all-time favourites and not surprisingly, it found its way into my heart as well. An epic novel set in the Australian outback in the earth 20th century, it follows three generations of the Cleary family. I love this book because it has something for everyone – history, action, romance and mystery. In the ’80s, it was made into a very popular mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain (and when I say popular, I mean the second most popular mini-series in the US ever). In 2003, it was listed as #64 on the BBC’s The Big Read (a poll in search of the best-loved novel of all time).
#4 – The Postmistress
This one surprised me. When I bought it for Mary Anne for her birthday, I also bought a copy for myself. I should have known it would be good because it was a Heather’s Pick (although I haven’t always agreed with her taste), but for whatever reason, I wasn’t expecting much. Boy, was I surprised. The novel is set at the beginning of World War I and switches between London and a small community on the north east coast of the Unites States. The plot is centered on how radio broadcasts affected those at home. It has lively and relatable characters, beautiful writing and a unique storyline. It’s by no means brilliant, but was engaging from start to finish. It’s possible I’m just in love with it because it follows a beautiful blonde female journalist across Europe… but in all honesty, I’d recommend it to anyone.
#3 – The Colour Purple
When I developed my 2012 reading list, I made sure to throw in a few classics. This was one of them – something I’d be told to read a hundred times. I also wanted to read it before I saw the movie or the musical, which I hear are equally good. And let’s be honest – Alice Walker is more than a little critically acclaimed, having won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Colour Purple. Similar to currently popular The Help, it tells the story of female African American life in the 1930s in the deep south. Equally heartbreaking as it is sweet, this story had me on the edge of my seat. Raw, sometimes violent and totally unapologetic, it is an absolute must-read.
#2 – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
This one barely squeaked in there, since Brigitte just picked it as our December book club pick. I devoured this book – it’s the definition of “unputdownable”. Simple and charming, it is one of the most touching stories I’ve ever read. I found it incredibly relatable because I’ve spent so much time in small-town England and my family hails from the UK. Although it starts slow, by the middle I was crying at every chapter. Poignant, emotive and tender, I fell in love with the characters, their struggles, mistakes and dreams. I must also say that the author, BBC’s Rachel Joyce, is a wonderfully intricate writer and I can’t wait to read her second novel. I found some similarities to A Spot of Bother and The Sense of an Ending, just in case you’ve read those. In conclusion, I beg you to read this novel – you’ll thank me after you do.
#1 – One Day
While vacationing in Worcester, UK (yes, home of the sauce and china) and visiting family friends, this book was recommended to me. I was pretty excited to read it because it’s well marketed and the synopsis was pretty original. I was expecting something along the lines of The Notebook, but I got so much more (not to knock The Notebook, because I adored that novel even more so than the movie. Also, I should add, One Day the movie is awful – don’t watch it). The way I describe this book is that it’s a love story, but one a guy would enjoy. Maybe that’s because the author is a man, but come to think of it, the person who recommended it to me is one of the more macho fellows I’ve ever encountered. It’s not your typical cheesy, sappy romance, but a genuine depiction of the unconventional paths to friendship and love we sometimes find ourselves taking. Because it stayed with me for weeks after, it’s not only my favourite book in 2012, but now in my top five books of all time.
And there you have it! Hopefully you’ve now got five more books to add to your 2013 reading challenge. This wasn’t an easy list to come up with, especially since I read so many books this year. I should also mention that I loved Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Tuesdays with Morrie, but they just didn’t quite make the cut.
I would love to hear from you. What were your favourite books in 2012?