Five Favorite Books: 2012

This year alone, I’ve read 77 books and so far reviewed 68 of them. More so than in years’ past, I’ve come across work that I want to shove into the hands of every reading adult I know. In Sara-praise, “I want to hug its face off” ranks highest. Here, then, are my most face-huggable books for 2012: The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch (cover)

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch (2011)

The thought that most often occurred to me while reading this memoir was that The Chronology of Water is perhaps the truest thing I’ve ever read. Even if I have not personally experienced the same things, I know many who have, and in the parts where Yuknavitch and I overlap, her words feel so true that they hurt in the same way a massaged, sore muscle does. I wince for a moment, then think, Please keep going. And within all the turmoil, I find a certain amount of peace.

(My full review appears at The Quivering Pen.)      


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (cover)Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (2012)

Let’s get one thing out of the way up front: Beautiful Ruins is an absolutely perfect book, and if you read any review that claims otherwise, then that reviewer is trying too hard to be a smug killjoy and they should not be trusted. You should perhaps ask them if they also enjoy popping children’s balloons and talking on their phone during movies because only a jerk would hate on this book.

(My full review previously appeared here at P-Mag.)


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (cover)Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (2012)

This book is as amazing as everyone says that it is. There has been and likely will be a lot of hype surrounding this book, and the more contrary among you might want to resist the hype and not seek out Wild. Resist your contrary nature, just this once. The hype is well-deserved. Cheryl Strayed has written an outstanding book, one that is now easily counted among my favorites. Get thee to a bookstore or your library and soak it in. And then tell others to do the same.

(My full review appears on Glorified Love Letters.)

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (cover)Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2004)

I honestly don’t remember when a book last made me want to start at the beginning immediately after finishing its last page. I will likely be one of the many people who feel they lack the adequate vocabulary to concisely encapsulate this book, but oh, I’ll certainly ramble on and try. Cloud Atlas is a marvel and David Mitchell is a genius, and no, I don’t feel that I’m throwing around the terms loosely. I wanted to eat this book, it was so deliciously composed.

(My full review previously appeared here at P-Mag.)

Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith (cover)Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith (2011)

How do I even begin to tell you how wonderful Life on Mars is? Tracy K. Smith’s poetry fills me with peace and such fullness, even when she writes about how inhumane we can be. Her poems are almost meditative – I really enjoyed slowing down and focusing on her words, their rhythm, and the overall picture of the poem before me. Part space opera, part elegy, part wartime commentary, Life on Mars exceedingly deserves the Pulitzer it received, won on Smith’s birthday, no less.

(My full review appears on Glorified Love Letters.)


Though I’m limiting myself to five picks here, there are many more outstanding books I could mention. If you are someone who uses Goodreads, you can also follow my reviews there.

Tell me, what are your favorite books that you’ve read this year?

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

4 replies on “Five Favorite Books: 2012”

I think a large part of the reason I do is that I get so many review copies from publishers and read enough lit sites that they become very omnipresent. Jess Walter, however, I’ve been reading since I lived in Spokane, several years ago — he lives there and everything I’ve read by him is outstanding. Beautiful Ruins was even MORE outstanding, which I didn’t know was possible.

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