2012 has been one of my slowest reading years, but interestingly, it has also been one of my best in terms of the quality of books (by my yardstick). I guess when you have reduced time to read, you are probably "wiser" or choosier in deciding what to read. Also, you tend to be more willing to give up on a book, if it isn't working for you. I stopped counting the number of DNFs last year, because unlike in previous years, I was quick to put down a book, even 5 or 10 pages in.
As a result, it was very hard to come up with a list of favorites. I eventually managed to whittle down my list to five books I really want you to read - four favorites and one special mention!
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer: I haven't reviewed this one yet, but I promise to do it soon! This real-life narrative about a tragedy that unfolded on the peak of Mt. Everest intrigued, shocked, frightened and educated me so much that I still think about its "characters" and their families two weeks later.
What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang: I'm not usually one to enjoy short story collections, but this one had me spellbounded and unbored (which I totally invented) all the way to the end.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce: I have already seen this book on a few favorites list and I can't help but concur. Harold's journey was enchanting, exhilarating and occasionally symbolic of his own life - Rachel's voice went well with the pacing of the story.
The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel: I didn't review this one and possibly may never. The actual details of the brilliance of this book have slowly escaped my mind and there is no way I can clearly articulate the cleverness of the plot, the beauty of Mandel's writing and the gradual way the book grew on me.
And a Special Mention
Make it Stay by Joan Frank: This is a book I rated five stars soon after reading it but forgot all about it until I read my own review. Usually when that happens, I tend to lower the rating of the book. But in this case, along with my recollection of the plot, I remembered everything that I loved about this book (well-etched characters, nice buildup to the peak of the story, lovely writing). I still feel the same way about Make it Stay as I did when I read it, but the details of the book probably won't stay with me.