Looking Back on 2012: Favorites, Not So Favorites and Everything In Between

With 2013 upon us, it’s time to look back on 2012.  I read a lot of books last year, loving some, enjoying most of them and then there were a few that, quite frankly, I just didn’t care for.  Here’s my list of the best and worst of what I read last year.

The best:

1.  The Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner
A locked room mystery that morphs into a sci-fi novel.  To say more would be to give away the twists and turns.  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as Renner poured on twist after twist, each of them compelling.  One of the few books I read this year that I wanted to re-read as soon as I was done with it.

2.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Another book that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.  If you’ve read it, you know why.  If you haven’t and you’re wondering if it lives up to the hype–yes, it does.  I read it as the wave of adoration was beginning to build and that may have helped me love it that much more.

3.  The Fault In Our Stars by John Greene
If you’re dismissing this one because it’s a young adult novel, you’re missing out.   A prime example of why books should not be judged by where they’re shelved in the store or library.

4.  What’s the Least I Can Believe And Still Be a Christian
Ten things that Christians shouldn’t believe and ten bedrocks we should, all Biblically based.  Read it if you haven’t already.

5.  Age of Miracles by Karen Walker Thompson
An end of the world book, but it’s so much more.  I’ve read a lot books about the apocalypse and this is one of the best.  It’s different.  Try it, you’ll like it.

6.  Redshirts by John Scalzi
I was so looking forward to this one, I wasn’t sure it could live up to my expectations. It exceeded them.  Read it. You will love it.

7.  A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Audio versions read by Derek Jacobi.  Reminded me why I love the Holmes stories.

8.  The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume I edited by Robert Silverberg
A great collection of classic genre stories.  If you want to see why the genre is so good and get a good sample of some of the great authors and their stories, this is the only collection you need.

9. Call the Shots by Don Calame
A couple of years ago, Swim the Fly had me in stitches.  This year, I caught up on the next two installments.  Of the two, Call the Shots was the best, reminded of me what I loved about the original.   If you’re looking for a book to get teenage guys to read, this is worth it. Think American Pie, only toned down to PG-13.  But be warned–these are told by guys who think and talk like typical teenage guys.

10.   Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith
If you’ve listened to his podcasts or commentaries, odds are you’ve heard many of the stories Smith relates about his life and career here.  It doesn’t matter.  Smith’s natural storytelling ability shines here and he may even insprire you a bit.  I listened to the audio version of this one and loved it.

My Least Favorites:
Batman: A Death in the Family  — The worst of 90’s comic storytelling.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I think this one was overhyped.  It had potential, but I never could quite connect with it.  Felt overwritten in some places.
The Secret Soldier by Alex Berenson.   Not nearly as great the cover blurb made it out to be.  I plowed through it but guessed most of the twists long before our hero did.

And if you’re curious, I’ve got the full list of what I read last year below.   It’s a long list, broken down into categories.

Now, onward to 2013 and let’s see what’s out there….

Judgment Calls by Alafair Burke
V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler
Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Weiner
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry
Iceberg by Clive Cussler
Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card
Pacific Vortex by Clive Cussler
My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller
Field of Blood by Eric Wilson
Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Bond Girl by Erin Duffy
A Conflict of Interest by Adam Metzler
Where There’s Smoke by William B. Davis
Fragile by Lisa Unger
Raise the Titanic! by Clive Cussler
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Star Trek: The Rings of Time by Greg Cox
The Drop by Michael Connelly
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
Tom Clancy’s Act of Valor by Dick Couch
The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner
Time and Again by Jack Finney
Never Tell by Alafair Burke
Calico Joe by John Grisham
Life Among the Lutherans by Garrison Keillor
Traveling Mercies by Annie Lamont
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Heartbroken by Lisa Under
Replay by Ken Grimwood
Ancestor by Scott Sigler
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Defending Jacob by William Landay
I Suck At Girls by Justin Halpern
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Nocturnal by Scott Sigler
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
Where Are You Now by Mary Higgins Clark
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
A Deeper Darkness by J.T. Ellison
Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer
Around the World in 80 Dates: Confessions of A Christian Serial Dater by Christa Bannister
Mortal Fear by Greg Iles
Star Trek Titan: Synthesis by James Swallow
One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume I, edited by Robert Silverberg
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
Deadline by Mira Grant
And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman
Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Star Trek: That Which Survives by Dayton Ward
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Killing Floor by Lee Child
Star Trek: Spock Must Die by James Blish
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
One Shot by Lee Child
Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
My Life As A White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
The Black Ice by Michael Connelly
The Choice by Robert Whitlow
Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George
Die Trying by Lee Child
The Racketeer by John Grisham
Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
The Affair by Lee Child
The Secret Soldier by Alex Berenson
Hammered by Kevin Hearne
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Tripwire by Lee Child
A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin
The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly
Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross

Young Adult Books
Every Day by David Levitan
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Call the Shots by Don Calame
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Stromeyer
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner
Beat the Band by Don Calame
Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls
I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want To Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
Enchanted by Alethia Kontis
Carter’s Big Break by Brent Crawford
Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt
The List by Shiobhan Vivian
Freshman Year and Other Natural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
Stay by Deb Caletti
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez
The Fault In Our Stars by John Greene
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Winn Jones
Cinder by Marrisa Meyer
Not That Kind of Girl by Shibohan Vivian

Audio Books
Doctor Who and the Ribos Operation by Ian Marter
Doctor Who: The Art of Death by James Goss
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Doctor Who: The Taking of Chelsea 426 by David Llewellyn
Raylan by Elmore Leonard
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Doctor Who: The Stones of Blood by David Fisher
Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma by Eric Saward
Doctor Who: The Chase by John Peel
The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Doctor Who: Earthshock by Eric Saward
Cujo by Stephen King
Doctor Who: Blackout by Oli Smith
Doctor Who: Shada by Gareth Roberts & Douglas Adams
Doctor Who: The Aztecs by John Lucarotti
Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angelberger

Sunday School Books
Christmas Is Not Your Birthday
Beautiful Outlaw
What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be A Christian
Crazy Love

Collected Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Volume I
Batman: Knightfall, Volume I
Doctor Who, Star Trek:  Assimilation Squared, Volume I
Doctor Who: As Time Goes By
Doctor Who: When Worlds Collide
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Death of a Spider-Man
The Avenger, Volume 3
Batman: Year One
Level Up
Batman: A Death in the Family
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Amazing Spider-Man: Flying Blind
Batman: The Widening Gyre
The Sandman: Prelude and Nocturnes
Big Nate and Friends
Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of the Hobgoblin
Amazing Spider-Man: Origin of the Species
Amazing Spider-Man: The Vengeance of Venom
Ctrl+Alt+Del Volume 1: This is a Great Idea
Star Trek: Volume I
Star Trek Classics: Enemy Unseen
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Volume 2
JLA: Tower of Babel
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Original Clone Saga
Essential Web of Spider-Man, Volume 1
Green Lantern: Blackest Night
Doctor Who: A Fairy Tale Life
Morning Glories, Volume I: For A Better Future
Morning Glories, Volume II: All Will Be Free
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume II: Chameleons


Filed under Other, review

5 responses to “Looking Back on 2012: Favorites, Not So Favorites and Everything In Between

  1. Wow! I didn’t get nearly as many books read! Hopefully this year!

  2. Whenever I want to feel warm and fuzzy, I read/listen to Garrison Keillor. Glad to know you liked his Life Among the Lutherans. Its on my to-read list.

  3. I really have been wanting to read Redshirts, but like you I am afraid of the hype. Maybe I should just set that aside and see if I like it.

  4. Wow! That is quite a list!

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