Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Favorite reads of 2012

I’m going to try something new this year. I’ve been reluctant to do a year-end list for books because it’s such a daunting task. It’s fairly easy with music because I get tons of new music, I can easily listen to it on the go, and at the end of the year, I feel like I’ve at least heard all of the major releases in my favorite genres.

Books are tougher. In a good year, I figure I read 40-50 books. That’s not even a drop in the bucket as far as what’s released, even just in my favorite genres. Plus, I’m always dipping back a few years to pick up books that I missed or revisiting some classics that I either missed or haven’t read in years.

So this list certainly won’t reflect “the best books of 2012.” Instead, I’ll just call it my list of favorite books that I read in 2012. It doesn’t necessarily mean the book was released in 2012, and I’m not making it a Top 10 or putting any numeric requirement on it at all. If I read it and really liked it, it’s here. Beyond the first two, they’re in no particular order.

“The Wind Through the Keyhole” by Stephen King: I was a little apprehensive going in, but pleasantly surprised by the results of King’s trip back to the world of the Dark Tower. It provided a nice visit back to a world I love that helped flesh out the world and characters.

“Cold Days” by Jim Butcher: Now this is what I’m talking about. After a lull in the action with “Ghost Story,” Butcher gets this series back on track with one of the best installments.

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne: I was a latecomer to this series, but mowed through the first four books and one novella at breakneck pace. The tone and tempo remind me a lot of Jim Butcher, and the stories are just great fun.

“King of Thorns” by Mark Lawrence: The first volume in the tale was one of the favorite books I read in 2011, and this was one of my most anticipated releases of this year. It lived up to its billing.

“Low Town” by Daniel Polansky: In his debut, Polansky introduced us to a grimy, violent world and a flawed, but very likable anti-hero. I can’t wait to follow the story of the Warden further.

The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan: This series brought back some memories and made me remember why I fell in love with fantasy to begin with. The books are great, old school, swashbuckling adventure.

“Dodger” by Terry Pratchett: In one of the most fun tales he’s given us in years, Pratchett offers a different take on Dickens’ Artful Dodger. He also blends historical and fictional events well.

“The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley: Another of several solid debuts that I read this year, O’Malley’s tale of a British secret agency grabbed me from the first line. It was one of the most original reads of the year.

“Deadlocked” by Charlaine Harris: I’ve become increasingly frustrated with Harris Southern Vampire series over the years, but in the last half of this book, I feel like she got it back on track. The next has been promised to be the last one, and if she keeps that promise, it could end on a strong note.

“I Shall Wear Midnight,” by Terry Pratchett: Why does Pratchett get two spots on this list? Because he’s Terry Pratchett, that’s why. I hated to see the tale of the Wee Free Men end, but it ended well.

“Un Lun Dun” by China Mieville: I’ve never really gotten what most people see in Mieville. I find him a great worldbuilder, but a boring read. I have to admit that I quite enjoyed this tale for younger readers from a few years back, though.

Here are a few of the reads I’m looking forward to for 2013.

“Trapped” by Kevin Hearne: It’s up next on my stack. Look for a review in the next week or so.

“A Memory of Light” by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan: I never thought that I’d look forward to another volume in the Wheel of Time series, but I’ve been anticipating this one since I read the last two Sanderson-penned volumes. I’ll finally get something I never thought I’d see with this series – a conclusion.

“Tomorrow the Killing” by Daniel Polansky: Like I said, I really want to revisit the world of the Warden.

“Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris: I’m hoping for an end to this series fitting for those first few books that I enjoyed so much.

“Emperor of Thorns” by Mark Lawrence: The first two haven’t disappointed. I see no reason the third one should.

“Republic of Thieves” by Scott Lynch: Oh please, oh please, oh please can we get it this year?

“The Doors of Stone” by Patrick Rothfuss: Will we get it this year? I hope so.

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