Here are Amused By Books Favorite Reads of 2012, arranged by category. Click on the title of any book to read my original review.
Best Memoir of 2012Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson
Memoirs are a perennial favorite genre of mine but it takes a lot for one to actually blow me away and make me want to recommend it to everyone I know. Wilson's Running Away to Home made me long to live a different life, to cash it all in and make my husband and I go live somewhere simpler. I know I have a severe case of wanderlust but Wilson offered more than that. She described getting back to her roots and bringing her family closer together than ever which is a very inspiring story line. I originally described it as "one of the sweetest, most laugh out loud, heartwarming stories I have read in a long time" and that is what I have been telling everyone who asks me for a book recommendation.
Best Fiction of 2012Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
When I read Walter's Beautiful Ruins this past summer it was so good that it ruined me for other books for awhile. Having earned a place in my Favorite Covers of 2012, I was delighted to learn that what was contained inside matched the lovely facade. If you like old cinema, a little bit of mystery, and some cooky characters, this story will combine to be a novel you will just devour. As I said in my original review, the story takes a while to get set up but once all of the pieces are laid out, you are in for a real treat and a novel that was "unlike anything I had read before."
Best Women's Fiction of 2012
Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
Gideon's Wife 22 was one of the most unusual books I've ever read. Many of the chapters open with the leading character's answers to an online survey of her marriage, yet unless you know about it in advance, you won't see the answers until you reach the end. What Wife 22 really does well is get into the mind of the leading lady, Alice, and that of a modern marriage and the troubles that it can face and honestly deals with those troubles. As someone about to get married, I found this novel endlessly fascinating and not at all fluffy like you might consider a women's fiction novel to be. Basically, it's a novel that made me continue to think about it for a long time to come and it's "analyzation of a modern marriage and what exactly cheating is totally fascinated me." Read it, and discuss it with your best girlfriends. You won't be disappointed.
Best Epic of 2012
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
The first fiction of Trigiani's that I read, The Shoemaker's Wife, just completely knocked it out of the park for me. I love historical fiction with a capital 'L' and when presented with an epic novel that takes your through a family's life from beginning to end and therefor a major time shift in history, I can't help but get totally enamored with these characters. It follows two main characters who eventually get together (and believe me, you can't wait for them to finally get together!) but for the majority of the novel you are enamored with them as separate characters. It makes for a modern take on a historical love story. The love was important but not the central character for the majority of it. If you love sweeping historical fiction, do yourself a favor and pick this one up!
Best Historical Fiction of 2012
The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy
As you can see I cheated a little and picked two top historical fiction books this year, but I couldn't help it! McCoy's The Baker's Daughter is set during WWII, a time period in which I will read anything about, and it tells the story in two different time periods which can be a great method to break up the intensity that can sometimes plague books set during this heavy time period in history. Our main character is a leading lady to be proud of and getting to follow her into old age just makes the story have a full ending that makes you happy when you read the last page, knowing you've gotten to read a story in which you can learn and be entertained.
Best Tear-Jerker of 2012
All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps by Dave Isay
Books have made me cry in the past but rarely has a book, especially non-fiction, moved me as much as Isay's All There Is. I read it right before Valentine's Day and during the time I was planning a wedding so perhaps I was slightly more emotional and willing to succumb to a good love story but I do believe this collection would melt even the coldest of hearts. As I said in my original review "this book isn't sad, it just makes you appreciate how wonderful and precious true love actually is." Divided into three sections, each section contains essays from real-life people who found love. And anytime it dealt with older couples or those who found love late in life, I just became a sappy mess. Seriously, if you ever need a good cry or just want to remember why you love the one your with, pick this book up!
Now, it was really hard to narrow down, but I am really happy with this list of "Best's." So what is on your list of best reads of 2012?
Hears to a year of fabulous reading in 2013!
Previous Year's Top Reads: 2011, 2010, 2009