Thursday, December 6, 2012

Favorite Books, 2012



2012 has been a difficult year for my family due to my mother's health. Thank goodness for daily escapes to the land of literature. Here are ten of my favorites, some of which I blogged about individually in past posts:

Anshaw, Carol. Carry the One (Simon & Schuster, 2012). On their way home from a wedding, a car full of young people are involved in an accident that kills a young girl, a tragedy affecting all for years to come. A multi-layered, psychologically astute novel about loss, addiction and friendship.

Boyd, William. Waiting for Sunrise (Harper, 2012). A British actor flees to Vienna in 1913 in search of psychological help for his libido and becomes a spy during World War I. Something for everyone: psychology, romance, history, espionage, plus a literary style reminiscent of Thomas Mann or D.H. Lawrence.

Doig, Ivan. The Bartender's Tale  (Riverhead, 2012). A father-son novel set in small town Montana largely during the summer of 1960. Reunited with his bar-tending father after many years apart, Rusty drinks down a wolloping dose of  manliness and life's mysteries and meanings during one very dramatic summer. Top drawer fiction; surely destined to be one of Doig's classics.

Ivey, Eowyn. The Snow Child (Little, Brown & Co., 2012) A tale of Alaskan survival set in a gossamer white wonderland of magical realism. A woman who has lost a baby meets a small blond-haired wood sprite wearing red mittens who may or may not be real. Read it to find out!  

Machak, Joel. Upheaval (XLibris, 2011). Starring Nokomis, also known as Earth Mother, this Native American-themed novel is set in what is now Arizona some 950 years ago when volcanic activity has very much changed the landscape.  Much of her wisdom is called upon when Nokomis meets a restless young man set on vengeance for his tribe's slaughter. Post-apocalyptic, earth-reverent, suspenseful.

Netzer, Lydia. Shine, Shine, Shine (St. Martin's, 2012). Her mother is dying. Her second child is about to be born. Her astronaut husband has gone to the moon. Secretly bald Sunny stops wearing wigs and reexamines her life. A quirky read chock full of secrets unfettered.

Penney, Stef. The Invisible Ones (Putnam, 2012). What first appears as a missing persons case turns into much more after almost-divorced, half-Romany sad sack Private Investigator Ray Lovell stirs up old stories related to a traveling Gypsy family. Set in England, circa 1980, this complex mystery affords a fascinating look at Romany culture.

Rogers, Morgan Callan. Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea (Viking, 2012). In 1963, twelve year-old Florine Gilham's world is torn upside down when her mother disappears. Neither her lobster-fishing father or down-to-earth grandmother can quite fill the hole in Florine's heart. An emotionally moving coming of age story.

Stedman, M. L. The Light Between Oceans. (Scribner, 2012). On an island off Australia, a lighthouse keeper and his wife find a baby washed ashore in a boat. A man who is probably her father is dead in the boat. They are bereaved, having lost a child. What happens next? This winner of the 2012 Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction is a suspenseful, engaging literary masterpiece.

Tilghman, Christopher. The Right Hand Shore. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012). Maryland peach orchard/plantation owner and spinster Mary Bayly is dying. When possible new owner Edward Mason is given a tour of the place, readers are treated to a feast of stories told about the generations of white and black people who have toiled there. Multi-themed, rich, wonderful; a prequel to Mason's Retreat (Random House, 1996).