Happy 2013, friends! You know, I’m not really a resolution kind of girl, but at the beginning of the year I do like to make professional goals and get organized. Ange and I have been hammering out a business plan for the non-fiction side of things, and I came up with some (hopefully) doable personal writing goals for the year. Also, I cleaned out my desk, which is good, cuz not only does it make me feel all neat and orderly, but it gives me a thrill when I find lost Snickers bars and random dark chocolate-covered almonds rolling around.
They weren’t that old. Don’t judge.
So anyway, I was doing some planning, and for half a second I considered making some reading goals, too, since reading is another passion of mine. But I decided…no. With writing as a career, you do need to be constantly assessing progress, and making adjustments, and setting goals in order to get where you want to go. Reading, on the other hand (despite being necessary to becoming a successful writer), is what I do for fun. I don’t want to start quantifying it and turning something pleasurable into work. So instead, I decided to look back over what I read in 2012 and see what stood out. Here’s what I found:
Books read: 56
Most-Read Genres: dystopian/post-apocalyptic (16) and fantasy (13)
Books I started but didn’t finish for one reason or another: 12. What can I say? I’m a book snob.
And to give you a sampling of what I read, here’s a breakdown of my most memorable books of 2012:
Most Unique Voice: Above (Bobet)
This voice was Un.Be.Lievable. It was so intricate that I actually kind of struggled through the first page, which could easily have been a turn-off, but it clicked in pretty fast—almost like a second language. The uniqueness and consistency were totally impressive.
Best 2nd Book in a Series: Insurgent (Roth)
Second books tend to sag and go nowhere. This one is easily the best second book of any series that I’ve read.
The Book I was Most Eager to Recommend: Wonder (Palacio)
I don’t want to give too much away, but this book was just filled with hope. Normally, I like dark. I like realistic endings where everything isn’t tied up neatly and not everyone gets their way. But the message of this book is something that every child and teenager needs to hear. And to be honest, it was refreshing to read a book that was clean and optimistic enough for all my friends and family to enjoy.
Most Controversial: Drowning Instinct (Bick)
The story was amazing, the writing pristine, the characters empathetic. I finished this book, then couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. But the message was one that I just couldn’t embrace. With all the dark and gritty YA out there, most people will probably be like, This? She has trouble with THIS? But I’m kind of a prude. And as a former educator, I struggled with the message.
Best Craft Book: Writing Screenplays that Sell (Hauge)
I’m pretty good at the technical part of writing but my storytelling needs work, so I’m focusing on that right now. You’ll probably hear me quoting this book, alongside Save The Cat, quite a bit in the new year. Lots of great applications here.
Most Unlikable Hero who Didn’t Drive Me Nuts: The Wicked and the Just (Coats)
Maybe the most self-involved, petulant, vindictive, and overall flawed hero I’ve ever read. But the story was so compelling that I never once considered putting it down. And by the end, I found myself empathizing with the main character. This book is a great example of how to write an unsympathetic hero in a way that doesn’t turn readers off.
Most Unexpected Twist: Tighter (Adele)
I thought I had this one figured out but I was way off. One of my pet peeves is predictability in books, so this was a nice change.
Most Anticipated Sequel:
1) The third book of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy
I finished the second book in December, and never have I been more pissed off that I had to wait for the next book to come out. Seriously. Cannot wait.
2) The third book in the Divergent trilogy
I love this series. I’ll cry when it’s done. And I refuse to believe the propaganda I’ve read about the author possibly killing off Four. If this happens, I may have to go all Dauntless on Veronica Roth.
Biggest Tearjerker: The Fault in our Stars (Green)
John Green. Enough said.
So what about you? What were your most memorable reads of 2012?