Monday, 31 December 2012

best books we read in 2012



we read quite a lot in 2012  how do we do it? we are geniuses that's how.
these are the best books we read in 2012 (here's the link to last year's winners - best books 2011)


this is what i imagine i look like when i read....

Sian's best books of 2012

1. Little Miss Strange by Joanna Rose 
 -loved this novel set in 70s Denver. it had a great atmosphere and great characters too -
i love you Jimmy Henry!

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- John Green is so great and I think this is his greatest.
a super funny super sad novel about cancer.

3. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed
-a memoir about hiking as well as about loss and reading and meeting new people and making peace with oneself. really wonderful.

4. We have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
ahh, the great Shirley Jackson!! I very much love her work
this is creepy, claustrophobic and odd with lots of wonderful imagery.
it's a story about two sisters who live quite isolated lives in a big house with their uncle after the tragic death of their parents, aunt and brother.

5. Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl by Sara Marcus
- this history of riot grrrl turned out to be hugely inspiring! made me want to write a zine and start a band... (neither of which i did)

6. Vali Myers by Gianni Menichetti
-this is a fantastic memoir about the artist Vali Myers written by her long term
 partner and 'slave' Gianni Menichetti.
Myers is such an original, inspiring woman with a fascinating life - she and gianni lived so simply with a huge family of animals, including beautiful foxes.

7.Chi's Sweet Home by Kanata Konami
- cute as pie graphic novel about a kitten called chi. I read five of these books and will be reading the next four in 2013...

8. Winter Journal by Paul Auster
- I am a huge fan of Auster's novels, and was equally impressed by this memoir of his which concerns itself with aging, family, life and death.

9.  Inferno: A Poet's Novel by Eileen Myles
- Eileen Myles should be super famous as she is such a great writer, but also quite a strange writer... which is probably why she's not super famous....
sort of a memoir, sort of a novel, kinda like a more underground 'Just Kids'

10.  Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker
- New York Review Books have not let me down this year - another goody from their classics list...
originally published in 1962, this is a novel about twin girls, one of whom is getting married.
smart, funny and charming. a right old treat.


bert in city lights in san francisco

and....
Bert's best books of 2012

1.  On the Road (original scroll) by Jack Kerouac
-I thought it was about time I read the original scroll, what with the movie coming out this year..this is the book that changed my life when I was 15, and it was just as great as I remembered.  I'm a fool for the Beats.

2.  The Dark Philosophers by Gwyn Thomas
-I loved this collection of three novellas from the 40's, set around the Welsh valleys and full of grim poverty, snappy lines and black humour...good to read something from around these parts.

3.  Dare Me by Megan Abbott
-Criminy, what a treat! Virgin Suicides meets Mean Girls meets Black Swan, with cheerleaders.

4. Winter Journal by Paul Auster
-We both love the Auster. 

5. This Place on 3rd Avenue by John McNulty
-Stories about gin-mills, bartenders, cab drivers and hangovers from that great era of writing from The New Yorker, the 30s and 40s.  Charming, unpretentious and tender. 

6.  Platte River by Rick Bass
-Like Hemingway falling asleep in the tub.  Homely, dreamy and fable-like.   

7.  Tomboy by Hal Ellson
-Classic trashy delinquent 50s pulp for cool kids.  Lots of smoking cigarettes, sitting on stoops and carving initials into each others arms.

8.  The Trees The Trees by Heather Christle
-I love Heather Christle!  She writes little poems with good titles that feel really new and unexpected and beautiful. 

9.  Austin Osman Spare by Phil Baker
-Super-fascinating biography of long lost Cockney visionary artist and occultist Austin Spare.  Evokes a Dickensian London of poverty, gothic horror and buxom landladies.     

10. The Walking Away World by Kenneth Patchen
-Patchen's 'picture-poems' are kind of adorable and disturbing at the same time.  Most of them feature animals, people, or these flea-like ink-splodge creatures that sometimes look happy or maybe frightening, accompanied by a few words, like 'Let us rejoice, then, remembering all the grand (but deserved) things that somehow never managed to come our way' - which is a good sentiment to end the year with.
Kenneth Patchen picture-poem. nice huh?


one of the reasons why i've read so many books may be the fact that
 i got obsessed with 'chi's sweet home'...


bert claims that this is why he didn't read as many books as me this year - he was reading with sadie and he had to wait for her to turn the pages...

head over to goodreads if you want to know what else we've been reading. have you read any of our favourites? what was the best book you read this year and what are you hoping to read next year?

i've linked up to click clack gorilla's blog hop too!

14 comments:

  1. Absolute Genius :) I bought a Kindle - in no way will it replace my love for the physicality of books - I love their smell and feel - but I also love being able to change the font size to large when I am feeling tired. :) I have recently read the balance of Louise Penny's novels, Stephen Fry's Chronicles, and currently I am enjoying a feast of E F Benson.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. i don't have a kindle... but like the idea of being able to change font! i've been meaning to check out some ef benson... thanks for the reminder!

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  2. On your recommendation I read Little Miss Strange. Loved it! (although there was one little bit at the very end I thought out-of-place). Once I get through a couple more books on my shelves, I check the library for your other recommendations. I;m intrigued by the Austin Osman Spare bio and Cassandra at the Wedding sounds like my kind of book.
    With best wishes to you and Bert in the New Year.

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    1. am so glad you liked little miss strange!! (hmm, what was the bit you didn;t like?)cassandra at the wedding is also good - have you read books from the New york review books classics list - every one i've been read has been good!

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  3. Hmmm, maybe it's time to give On the Road another chance. I've had it for at least ten years and only made it a few pages in the couple of times I've tried to read it. Which reminds me that I've never finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance either. Not sure why those two books became entwined in my head but entwined they are.

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    1. Moonwaves! We meet again! And damn it, don't give On the Road a chance! I think if you read it when you are young you probably fall in love with it, but if you read it when you are older for the first time, and are a mildly feminist woman, I can't imagine you liking it. Not to bash your fav Bert!!!! Nothing personal, I just can't stand that book with a passion that I can barely hold in. Lots of other intersting things on your list.

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    2. hi moonwaves!! i love on the road and zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance!!don't listen to click clack gorilla!! (Ha!!) i read on the road when i was younger and have read some other kerouac (and bits of on the road) more recently - i think if you read it when you are young you get that whole freedom exciting life kind of thing, and then if you read them when you are older you read it quite differently i think - with perhaps a kind of more 'sensible' approach and you can see more of the sadness and loneliness in it... and how annoying neal cassiday really is. as for feminsim - yep, the female characters aren't up to much, but the writing is so good i can overlook that and read it as a book written in a different time...

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  4. Yey! I am so happy that there are other people doing this. Here's to an even bigger list for the link party next year!

    A number of books I would like to try out on your list, Sian. But On the Road! I hated that book so much I almost just burned it in the wood stove instead of finishing it. Maybe there was some good writing in it, but I was distracted that none of the female characters are actually people to notice.

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  5. Sorry I freaked out! On the Road does that to me! Haha. I swear I am not usually so negative. :) And also, did I mention how excited I am that you guys do a year end book list and added it to the link party?? Yey.

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    1. thanks for putting the link up !! i'll link it to this post later and have a proper look at your list and links too! we spent about four hours on new years eve drinking wine (in those heady 'sugar' days) and talking about what books we'd read and liked over the year....

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  6. you have a goodreads acount? do i follow you? i really should use that site more.

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    1. have added you as a friend! we have three books in common.... bert's on there too (roberto pastore)

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  7. Great choices Sian. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is om my 2013 to read list. Think I may have to stick a few others om there as well.

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  8. The Fault in Our Stars very nearly made it only my list too! I think that book will stay with me for a long time! Have you read any more John Green?

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hello! so nice to hear from you...

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