Every year I have a contest with myself. How many books will I read this year?
In 2012 I read 61 books, the same number I read in 2011. According to Pew Research, I’m way ahead of average. Three-quarters of Americans finish just one book a year, an abysmal statistic for a literate society. Bookworms brought up the “average” to six, but that’s only one book every two months.
With all the good books out there, how can anyone settle on so few?
Watch less television. My friends know that we do not have cable TV service. That cuts down on the hours of television watched. Our cable-less diet began when we moved in 2008 and we don’t regret the change.
So what books stuck out for me in the past year? Here are ten in the order I read them:
Waking by Ron Rash. This outstanding North Carolina writer is both poet and fiction writer. I’m not a huge fan of poetry books per se, but Rash is so accessible. Please read this book.
The Dry Grass of August by A. J. Mayhew. I met the author at a book event in February and bought this, her first novel. Her storytelling is superb. Living near Charlotte, I especially appreciated her historical details.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. OK, I gave in to the hype, but I had to see what everyone was talking about, especially since the movie was partly filmed in the next county. A mesmerizing page-turner.
Polar the Titanic Bear by Daisy C. Spadden. Read at the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, this poignant children’s book is so bittersweet.
Goliath by Susan Woodring. It’s not every day I’m privileged to read a novel by a friend published by the big five. This well-crafted story has put the author on the map. Yay Susan!
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. I love Quindlen’s style. This one aimed at us women of a certain age is a classic.
Good Dog. Stay by Anna Quindlen. OK, so I like Quindlen. I’m a sucker for dog books though they always make me cry. Glad I picked this one before we lost our corgi Winnie.
Misfit by Adam Braver. Live Marilyn Monroe’s last weekend as only this author can tell it. His mastery of point-of-view is mesmerizing. So lucky that Adam was one of my mentors in my MFA program.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. All the buzz about this thriller is well-earned. I must read more of Flynn’s work.
Losing My Sister by Judy Goldman. Judy’s long-anticipated memoir is a must-read for anyone trying to cope with life in general and difficult families and serious illness in particular.