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Best-Worst of the Years > Best of 2012

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Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1309 comments Mod
As we approach the end of our first year, what was your favorite book that you read for the challenge?

For me, it is a three-way tie.

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin


message 2: by Val (last edited Dec 28, 2012 01:17AM) (new)

Val Three very good choices Jenny!

I can't decide, so I will pick one for each continent:
North America The Death of Artemio Cruz
South America The Secret History of Costaguana
Europe The Reader
Asia The Railway
Africa A Grain of Wheat
Australasia ?


message 4: by Genia (new)

Genia Lukin Mine are easy:

Cloud Atlas and,
The Leopard


message 5: by Tanya (new)

Tanya (tanya_) | 229 comments I always find it hard to nominate favourites, but I am happy to have discovered Conn Iggulden, Tim Butcher and Tahar Ben Jalloun. I am looking forward to their back catalogues.


message 6: by Rusalka (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 1007 comments Mod
Purge Purge Purge and Purge
Estonia and / or Finland depending on your preference ;)

Second place would be a tie between The Lacuna for Mexico, Cutting for Stone for Ethiopia, and The Windup Girl for Thailand


message 9: by Thing Two (last edited Dec 28, 2012 10:04AM) (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) I always have a hard time with limitations. I read too many books to narrow them down to just one or two. Here are my favorites from foreign countries this year:

From Nigeria - Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

From India - Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

From England - Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot

From Hong Kong - The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

From Japan - 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

From Germany - In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

But my best-loved was:

From Sierra Leone - The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna


message 10: by Thing Two (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) Rusalka wrote: "Purge Purge Purge and Purge
Estonia and / or Finland depending on your preference ;)

Second place would be a tie between The Lacuna for Mexico, Cutting for Stone for Ethiopia, and The Windup Girl ..."


Did you like Purge, Rusalka?


message 11: by Val (new)

Val Gaeta1 wrote: "I was just going to start a thread like this.

The Worst Journey in the World

Does make you want to read it snuggled up in a blanket with the heating turned up, doesn't it?



message 12: by Barbarac (new)

Barbarac (bcb72) | 191 comments For me it's also too hard to list my favorites from this year, there were so many good ones. But the ones that I know I will remember years from now are A Fine Balance, So Long a Letterand Anansi Boys.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1309 comments Mod
Gaeta1 wrote: "Pity my real-life book group dropped Purge due to the overly complicated rules. "
What was the rule?


message 14: by Val (new)

Val Huh?


message 15: by Val (new)

Val I think I would have left the group too.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1309 comments Mod
Ahhh book clubs. They can be so great or so bad. I left one after one lady boycotted my book choice. It was like a 70 year old mean girl. The handful that still came had a great conversation, but I just couldn't handle that kind of pressure.

I'm glad you bolted! Did you find a new group? I'd like to read Purge but haven't tracked down a copy yet.


message 17: by Val (new)

Val I am in a very nice online one, where there is no bitching whatsoever and we have lots of good book conversations and quite a lot of friendly chat about anything else we have on our minds.


Tanya (mom's small victories) (momssmallvictories) | 33 comments Although I just joined the challenge this month, my favorites were Persuasion by Jane Austen (England) and The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar (India).


message 19: by Thing Two (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) Gaeta1 wrote: "Ah. If the winner of the Booker was a female (which it was this year) the June book must be by a male writer, so Purge (the alternate June selection) was dropped.

A bunch of us bolted the group......"


I love it! I quit a book club last year because I got tired of suggesting books (every month it seemed to be up to me!) and then having people tell me how much they hated the book after reading 50 pages. I gave it a good college try, but ... cya!


message 20: by Rusalka (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 1007 comments Mod
Thing Two wrote: "Did you like Purge, Rusalka?"

What on earth gave you that impression? ;)


message 21: by Rusalka (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 1007 comments Mod
That's so frustrating with all your book club experiences (mean little old ladies, stupid rules, picking on your selections).

Ours stopped because the girl we all knew (we were all friends of hers from all over her life) who started it so she could read different books, decided that she didn't like reading different books and stopped it. We didn't have any other members contact details. Lame.


message 22: by Thing Two (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) Hey meanie 2 - does that mean what I think it means? ;) it's a free for all challenge!!!!


message 23: by Rusalka (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 1007 comments Mod
lol nice try ;)


message 24: by Chrissie (last edited Dec 29, 2012 05:07AM) (new)

Chrissie These have been my favorite books read this year:

Dancer
Let the Great World Spin
Birds Without Wings
Rules of Civility
Between Love and Honor
All That I Am
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
Chronicle in Stone
A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
Scribbling The Cat
Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

This may seem a lot, but I have read 157 books this year so far.

The last six are biographical, so I guess you see my preference. All of these books will grab you. None leave you unmoved. They all teach you something too.


message 25: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Jenny, I loved The White Woman on the Green Bicycle too, but I read it last year. I can't put it here!

Val, I have The Reader on my Ipod. I simply must see what I think about this book! The views are so split.

Gaeta, I would grab the audiobook The Book of Night Women if it were only available here in Belgium! I have requested it at Audible. I did like the The Greenlanders, but not quite as much as you.

I finally broke down and bought A Fine Balance when Audible made all their books, even the long ones, cost only one credit. I just hope I find a smidgeon of hope or humor in it.....


message 26: by Krittika (new)

Krittika | 17 comments I failed the challenge by a whopping 48% :) but am so glad that i did it. It introduced me to such a variety of writers and culture that would never had happened if I had not participated. So am going to do it all over again but maybe will not be so ambitious for 2013!

Anyways below is the list of my favorites from 2012.

Brazil: The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles
Canada: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Chile: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Egypt: Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
India: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Jamaica: The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
Japan: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Nigeria: Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie
Palestine: Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
Poland: Night by Elie Wiesel
Rwanda: Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novelby Gaile Parkin
Somalia: Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad by Waris Dirie
Trinidad and Tobago: The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
United Kingdom:The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

It is very hard for me to rank these, as I loved each for its own reason.

Thanks for reading and all the best for 2013!


message 27: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) Krittika wrote: "I failed the challenge by a whopping 48% :) but am so glad that i did it. It introduced me to such a variety of writers and culture that would never had happened if I had not participated. So am go..."

Judging from the list of favorites, you didn't fail at this challenge at all. You had some great reads and that's always a win! :)


message 28: by Krittika (new)

Krittika | 17 comments Thanks Janice for the encouragement.. It's very kind of you :)


message 29: by Chrissie (last edited Jan 04, 2013 10:37PM) (new)

Chrissie I have very much enjoyed several of the books you named:

The Seamstress
The House of the Spirits
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
Night
Half of a Yellow Sun

I think I gave all of them five stars too, but I did not read any of them last year. I agree with Janice, just discovering those books make the whole thing a WIN! Who cares about the numbers! That is not the point.

I really want to get my hands on:
The Book of Night Women
Palace Walk

So you loved these too!


message 30: by Krittika (new)

Krittika | 17 comments Hi Chrissie

Yes, I loved loved loved both of those books and would definitely recommend them.

For " The book of Night women", I did the audio version by Robin Miles, and would recommend that, as the book has a lot of Jamaican dialect and her version of it is simply beautiful.. I don't think reading the book by myself would have been the same experience. So if you are ok with audio books, this is one you should give a try.

And prior to Palace Walk, all i had ever read on Egypt had to do with pharoahs and pyramids (not that i did not love them :)) but this was a very different experience into the cultural and social life of a country I thought I was familiar with :) and Naguib Mahfouz simply has a very eloquent prose. I am definitely planning on reading more of his work this year.

Well, if you read either, let me know later what your thoughts were.

Krittika


message 31: by Lurk42 (last edited Jan 05, 2013 12:46AM) (new)

Lurk42 i think these were my three faves. i think. i recommend the first two as long as you like heavy on the "literary" part of literary fiction. (those are meant to be air quotes and are used somewhat sarcastically), and the third if you are at all interested in the bible from a geographically historical perspective.


The Bad Girl
Suite Française
Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses


message 32: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Krittika wrote: "Hi Chrissie

Yes, I loved loved loved both of those books and would definitely recommend them.

For " The book of Night women", I did the audio version by Robin Miles, and would recommend that, as ..."


I KNOW, I want to get the audiobok of The Book of Night Women, with narration by Tobin Miles. It was Gaeta who made me aware to this! It is not available in Belgium due to, I guess the stupid publishing rules. I have requested that Audible try to make it available. I am also having trouble with "Palace Walk". I DID read two books for Egypt that I very much liked:

Sipping from the Nile
My review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
and
The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World
My review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
I gave both of these four stars They are definitely worth reading. I am very tough with my stars.


message 33: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Gaeta, No One Sleeps in Alexandria is on my to-read lists too. I am curious to read your review.
Yes, I guess I should get the CDs, but that is so complicated. Coopyright laws are annoying.


message 34: by Lurk42 (new)

Lurk42 Gaeta1 wrote: "I will be jumping to Africa soon, with Egypt the first stop. I still haven't settled on a book. I want to read fiction, so I am leaning towards "No one Sleeps in Alexandria."

Judy, I am curious wh..."


long ago, i read a book set in egypt that i completely loved. it was
The Map of Love. a powerful love story, lovely writing, and a pretty good foundation for understanding more about british colonialism in egypt. also, parts of walking the bible are set in egypt--it was a pretty interesting read regardless of your spiritual beliefs.


message 35: by Krittika (new)

Krittika | 17 comments Chrissie wrote: "Krittika wrote: "Hi Chrissie

Yes, I loved loved loved both of those books and would definitely recommend them.

For " The book of Night women", I did the audio version by Robin Miles, and would re..."


Oh I did not realize you were based out of Belgium.. do mention if you have any recommendations of books from Belgium about Belgium.. I would really love to add them to my tbr list..

And I will also add your recommendations from Egypt to it..

Thanks!


message 36: by windy (new)

windy | 13 comments Here are my best and worst of 2012:
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/7...

Flight of the Goose was a surprise winner for me, from an unknown author (self-published?). It's a rather dark love story set in an Alaskan native village. I don't know what's happened to my written review, I'll see if I can find it and repost!


message 37: by Val (new)

Val Krittika wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Krittika wrote: "Hi Chrissie

Yes, I loved loved loved both of those books and would definitely recommend them.

For " The book of Night women", I did the audio version by Robin Mi..."


I decided to go for The Legend of the Glorious Adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel in the Land of Flanders & Elsewhere because I love the music based on it without ever having read the book, but I am open to any better suggestions you might make.


message 38: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (thesevagabondshoes) | 155 comments My favourite book of last year was Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a travel piece/ memoir of the author's air crash in the Libyan desert and a meditation on the romance and excitement of flying.


message 39: by Lilisa (new)

Lilisa | 1975 comments Mod
Gaeta - if you're still looking to travel in Egypt you may want to check out The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World. I read it quite a while ago and enjoyed it - it's a memoir. L


message 40: by Chrissie (last edited Jan 17, 2013 04:03AM) (new)

Chrissie EDIED: due to errors!
Krittika and Val, some books that relate to Belgium are King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa, The Backwash Of War and The Lady and the Unicorn.The author Amélie Nothomb is a good contemporary author. I liked her Métaphysique des tubes, but it takes place in Japan. I too intend on reading The Legend of the Glorious Adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel in the Land of Flanders & Elsewhere. Oh, and don't forget the fabulous classic A Dog of Flanders, which takes place in Antwerp! Reading the book and visiting the Cathedral is great.


message 41: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Vicky wrote: "My favourite book of last year was Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a travel piece/ memoir of the author's air crash in the Libyan desert and a meditation on the romance and excite..."

I love that book too. I assume you have read The Little Prince! After that one should read The Tale of the Rose: The Love Story Behind The Little Prince. Great book, although other readers disliked it, I loved it. My review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 42: by Val (new)

Val Chrissie wrote: "Krittika and Val, some books that relate to Belgium are King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa is a good contemporary author. I liked her Métaphysique des tub..."

I read A Dog of Flanders many years ago and agree that it is an unforgettable classic!


message 43: by Chrissie (last edited Jan 17, 2013 04:07AM) (new)

Chrissie Val wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Krittika and Val, some books that relate to Belgium are King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa is a good contemporary author. I liked her Mét..."

Yeah, it is totally great. My parents read it to me as a child, and here I am now living in Belgium!

I see now that part of message 51 didn't work, I have corrected it.

Another book that I want to read for Belgium is: The Master of Bruges


message 44: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (thesevagabondshoes) | 155 comments Chrissie wrote: I love that book too. I assume you have read The Little Prince! ...

I've never read The Little Prince; I actually hadn't heard of Saint-Ex until I picked up Wind, Sand and Stars in the bookshop.

I know its a children's book, but still worth reading as an adult? I know that the writing will be beautiful regardless.


message 45: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Vicky wrote: "Chrissie wrote: I love that book too. I assume you have read The Little Prince! ...

I've never read The Little Prince; I actually hadn't heard of Saint-Ex until I picked up Wind, Sand and Stars in..."


Oh, Vicky, it is not at all just a kid's book, although you can read it to kids! It is a gem of a book with a great philosophical message! If you then like the philosophy, you will appreciate The Tale of the Rose: The Love Story Behind The Little Prince and you will see why the two fell in love, why they belonged together and still had difficulties. I think I sort of explained this in the review I wrote. But these are just my thoughts.


message 46: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (thesevagabondshoes) | 155 comments Chrissie, I'll definitely look for the Little Prince, then follow it up with The Tale of the Rose if I can find it.


message 47: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Vicky, great! I hope you like them as much as I do.


message 50: by Lilisa (last edited Jan 24, 2013 05:42AM) (new)

Lilisa | 1975 comments Mod
Marcie wrote: "my favorites:
The Housekeeper and the Professor
Moloka'i
In the Time of the Butterflies
The Woman in White"


Thanks Marcie - added a couple to my To Read list.. Loved Molokai!


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