Allison’s Favorite Reads of 2012 (Part One)
I wrote about my ten favorite books last year and since then I’ve been looking forward to doing it again this year. I reached my goal on goodreads of reading 100 books this year, so I really have a lot to choose from. The really fun thing about my reading lately is how many formats I read in now. Usually at any given time I am listening to one book during my commute, reading one book on my Kindle, as well as usually reading one adult book and one children’s book all at the same time. Throw in a good mix of comics and graphic novels and it becomes pretty clear I will read almost anything! I hope you enjoy hearing about my favorites.
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Adult Fiction. In this book, the end of the world as we know it comes in the form of a slowing down of the rotation of the earth. As the days and nights grow longer and longer, throwing the world into chaos, Julia is just an 11 year old girl trying to deal with all the normal parts of growing up. I really love literary speculative fiction and this absolutely fits the bill. Julia’s voice is so fresh and the writing is beautiful and exquisite.
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan. Young Adult Fiction. This novel explores the legend of selkies, seals that are transformed into beautiful women. The island setting is richly evoked and feels so real and haunting, though at the same time is not any one particular time or place. The story is told through different points of view through several generations as a witch uses her magic to summon the seal wives out of the sea. I loved the atmosphere of this book and the magic and mystery of the story.
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. Middle Grade Fiction. This is another magical/historical novel. You can tell what I was really into this year. I like to call it literary speculative fiction, my favorite genre. Anyway, this story is about two orphan children who work for a Puppet Master in Victorian England. It reads very much like Charles Dickens for children, but with puppets and magic and an evil witch thrown in. I loved this book and would be so happy to see it win the Newbery this year. I think it has a good chance too!
Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan. Adult Graphic Novel. For a long time I would have said that Fables was my favorite comic book series. Well, sorry Fables, but there is a new series this year and it is called Saga and it is not only my favorite comic/graphic novel this year, it is probably one of THE GREATEST THINGS I HAVE EVER READ! Okay, I know that sounds extreme but I could gush about this comic for ages. The artwork is exquisite and the world is so unique and richly imagined and the characters and storyline are just awesome, awesome, awesome. This is basically a Romeo and Juliet story, except where the couple in love are from two races of people at war with each other and they have a baby and run away from the trained assassins after them to give their child a better life and take vows of nonviolence in a world where violence is all they have ever known. The storyline of the comic reminds me a lot of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which if you remember made my list last year because I absolutely loved that too. Although I want to recommend this comic to everyone I know, I do have to give a caveat that there is a lot of adult content and some graphic nudity so please be aware.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Picture Book. It certainly helps that green is my favorite color, but I absolutely love this picture book about the color green. Each page illustrates a different shade of green. Peek-a-boo holes in the pages hint at what shade is coming up next. The green of a fresh cut lime, the glowing green of a firefly, the lush green of a forest, it is all there in this beautiful book. I’m dying to share this book with a child and I only wish there was a book like this for every color in the rainbow.