My five favorite books I read this year:
The Dovekeepers - Alice Hoffman
I read everything by Alice Hoffman, and that's saying a lot. She's quite the prolific writer. Some of her books I abhor (Practical Magic), while others I can read over and over again (most of them). Her most recent book creates a story weaved from the actual destruction of Masada in 74 CE. More than 900 Jews committed suicide in lieu of being killed or enslaved by the Romans. Two women and five children survived to tell the story to Rome. Hoffman tries to craft this oppressive world from the perspective of four women who care for the doves in Masada.
You have to be in a stoic frame of mind to endure this story, which is full of so much tragedy and strife, it's heart-breaking. And you know from the onset they do not all survive. But Hoffman crafts beauty amidst horror. This novel is incredibly moving. If I had a gripe, it would be that the most powerful voice (the first woman, Yael) was not used for the entirety of the book.
Undercover - Beth Kephart
This book inspired me to read everything else by Kephart (including her non-fiction book, which I highly rec'd - A Slant of Sun). She writes beautifully with delicate prose and wondrous metaphors.
Elisa finds comfort and solace on the ice. She is a gifted skater but not so gifted socially, at school. Boys take advantage of her talent at writing, asking her to craft love notes for girls. It's a story of secrets and hidden gifts, of emerging love and petty hearts.
The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson
This book is weird. Ronson is weird. The people he corresponds with are strange. There is no actual test you get to take to discover your psychopathy. Be thankful.
Despite the fact that the book jumps all over the place (and paints the author as off as the psycopaths he interviews), it is a fascinating exploration of the mind and of the really messed up system that puts and keeps people institutionalized, whether they are dangerous or not.
Necklace of Kisses -Francesca Lia Block
This is a re-read, but whenever I read it, it makes my top five list that year. I don't like all of Block's books, but her Weetzy Bat series is an incredible metaphor for all of our experiences in life. This is the final book in the series. It has a fantastical element to it, as all her books do, but at its heart is the human desire for self-discovery and self-love.
City of Illusions - Ursula le Guin
One of my favorite authors of all time. Period. I will not attempt to describe it, because it is convoluted and complex. So just read it.
Most disappointing book I read: Sisterhood Everlasting - Ann Brashares...in which I learn sisterhood apparently is not everlasting and authors fail at doing basic research, like how genetic diseases are inherited. What a crappy way to really end an otherwise great series of books.
What were your favorite books you read this year?
Complete list below
- Inside of a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz (1/23/11)
- Glimmerglass - Jenna Black (1/30/11)
- Desert Crossing - Elise Broach (1/31/11)
- Blade of Fortriu - Juliet Marillier (2/7/11)
- Entice - Carrie Jones (2/16/11)
- Nightshade - Andrea Cremer (2/27/11)
- Firelight - Sophie Jordan (2/27/11)
- Lord Sunday - Garth Nix (2/28/11)
- Predictably Irrational- Dan Ariely (3/5/11)
- Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning (3/20/11)
- Sapphique - Catherine Fisher (4/4/11)
- Shadowspell - Jenna Black (4/15/11)
- Pale Demon - Kim Harrison (4/24/11)
- Undercover - Beth Kephart (4/29/11)
- Packing for Mars - Mary Roach (4/30/11)
- The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood (5/10/11)
- Entwined - Heather Dixon (5/20/11)
- The Heart Is Not A Size - Beth Kephart (6/19/11)
- The Vespertine - Saundra Mitchell (6/21/11)
- nothing but ghosts - Beth Kephart (6/30/11)
- Dangerous Neighbors- Beth Kephart (7/1/11)
- The Goddess Test - Aimee Carter (7/6/11)
- Abandon - Meg Cabot (7/12/11)
- Angelfire - Courtney Allison Moulton (7/13/11)
- A Slant of Sun - One Child's Courage - Beth Kephart (7/25/11)
- Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris (7/30/11)
- Sister - Rosamund Lupton (7/31/11)
- The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson (8/16/11)
- Wolfsbane - Andrea Cremer(8/20/11)
- Them - Jon Ronson (9/5/2011)
- Unsaid - Neil Abramson (9/19/2011)
- Imaginary Girls - Nova Ren Suma (9/30/2011)
- Paranormalcy - Kiersten White (10/21/2011)
- Lips Touch Three Times - Laini Taylor (10/22/2011)
- Sisterhood Everlasting - Ann Brashares (10/23/2011)
- Necklace of Kisses -Francesca Lia Block (10/24/2011)
- City of Illusions - Ursula le Guin (11/15/2011)
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor (12/11/2011)
- Forever - Maggie Stiefvater (12/11/2011)
- The Dovekeepers - Alice Hoffman (12/17/2011)