Favorite Reads from 2012

In follow-up to the post I wrote yesterday, I wanted to note some of the titles and authors I enjoyed reading in 2012. Thanks to a blog network plentiful with self-published authors, ownership of a Kindle Fire and Goodreads.com I have truly broadened my literary world.

Two books I wanted to list, first, are from two fellow bloggers, Kate Policani and Maria Tatham. I believe reading these two authors finally gave me the nudge I needed to explore a more varied library of works.

The Lustre – Kate Policani

Queen and the Handyman – Maria Tatham

Of course, I do have my favorite authors. One is William Kent Krueger. His series featuring Cork O’Connor never disappoints. I read Vermillion Drift (#10) and Northwest Angle (#11), which means I have just two more in the series to catch up.

Two trilogies I could not break away from — even to sleep — were Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) and Fifty Shades (E.L. James).

A surprising impulse read that went more quickly than expected was The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. The story synopsis intrigued me. So, I figured, why not?

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch’s is the first in a series of four novels set in Germany, 1660. This first story is what the synopsis promises: a fast-paced, historical thriller. I look forward to reading more thrillers involving the hangman and his family.

On a dreary weekend back in late September/early October, I took a break from socializing with friends and read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard: A Tale of Pride and Prejudice by Belinda Roberts. It was a well-spent social respite.

Then, there is the series I cannot give a decisive opinion on, yet. I read A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice (Book One) by George RR Martin Thanksgiving week. While I liked the story, the level of detail used made the pace feel sluggish. Another observation was the bleak and icy cold of the wall mirrored what I saw looking out my own window during the time I was reading.

Finally, four additional 2012 favorites include…

The Book of Blood and Shadow – Robin Wasserman

The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel – Margot Livesey

The House of Tyneford – Natasha Solomons

Mariana – Susanna Kearsley

Literacy For All Minds

In order to develop my own writing capabilities and to better explore literary genres, I read; or at least I try. Sometimes my daily reading is limited to elementary-level readers and picture books. But, hey,  developing a love for literacy in young minds counts for something, doesn’t it?

Anyway, Issa’s teacher has a literacy program called Book It, which I love. In collaboration with all the second-grade classrooms, Issa’s teacher uses the program to help parents and students explore literary genres, together, and to help students build a love for reading. At the conclusion of each month, students submit a book report on what they read. This month we’re reading about Ireland and about how my grandmother’s great grandparents migrated to Oceola Township, Michigan from Ireland’s Fermanagh and Westmeath counties in the mid-1800s.

Like my daughter, I consider myself to be a student; and use various forms of literature as a component to improve my knowledge of various subjects as well as writing itself. Also, I enjoy having the opportunity to chat with successful authors about their professional journeys.

Therefore, I am introducing, Book It, a spin on Issa’s school literacy program and a new blog category. It will contain book reviews. My first will be on Kate Policani’s, The Lustre.   She is a new blogging friend I admire; and she put me on her list to be a part of her virtual launch party, which includes a chance to review the story before it is released to the public. I’m busy putting up party decorations to help all of you get into the frenzy. I’ll let you know when my Book It party room is ready for all of you to have a look at The Lustre.