Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Reading Life Big Reads of 2012

The top 15 books are in order of my regard for the book, after that the order is purely random.  There is not a second rate book on this list.
  1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes-just might be the big read of my life. I hope to reread every year for the rest of my life
  2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy- beyond a point to praise it-War and Peace in 2013
  3. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift-greatest  work of satire ever written-deep as deep can be
  4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-one of the best opening chapters in the history of the novel.
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  6. The Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand  a total must read-in my best 100 books of the 20th century.  One day in the life of an Untouchable in  Indian in the 1930s
  7. Happiness Comes From Nowhere by Shauna Gilligan one of the best debut novels I have read in decades.
  8. Father and Son by Ivan Turgenev -classic-also a short Russian novel!
  9. Silas Marner by George Eliot -a very good very readable work-would be an excellent first Eliot
  10. Hard to Say by Ethel Rohan  I love the work of this writer
  11. Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry-I think he will also be listed in 2013-wonderful Mumbai novel
  12. A House of Cards by Elizabeth MacDonald-a beautiful collection of storiesful set in Tuscany-
  13. Mother America by Nuala Ní Chonchúir  a wonderful very creative collection of short stories
  14. The Vagrants by Yiyun Li  powerful novel about China during the Mao years
  15. Beyond the Beautiful Forever:  Life, Hope and Death in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo-this book will become a classic
  16. The Etruscan by Linda Lappin-might also become a classic 
  17. The Weight of Feathers by Geraldine Mills a very original collection of short stories
  18. Zoli by Colum McCann  great novel set in the Roma culture
  19. Border Lines by John Walsh an excellent collection of mostly set in Ireland short stories
  20. Late Victorian  Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World by Mike Davis-must read history  
  21. The West: Stories From Ireland by Eddie Stack wonderful stories in the tradition of the Irish story teller.
  22. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon this should be your first Pynchon
  23. Listening To Dust by Brandon Shire  the only writer listed for two years in a row-I hope he writes enough and I last long enough to list twenty of his works
  24. What's Not Said by James Martyn Joyce   noir  stories of the dark side of the mean streets of Ireland
  25. Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil  This should have won the Man Booker Prize-it was short listed
  26. Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West  -if you have never read this book, put what ever you are reading on hold and read this at once.
  27. Germinal by Emile Zola depressing but hugely important
  28. The Dancers Dancing by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne brilliant very funny novel about the Literary high life in Ireland during the years of the Celtic tiger-
  29. The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin  very thought provoking
  30. King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild must read non-fiction about the Belgian Congo
  31. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann wonderful work
  32. The Sea by John Banville  place your self in the hands of a master.
  33. A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle the first of a trilogy-the life of an IRA hitman from birth to early twenties.  I read five of Doyle's novels in 2012 and hope to read five more in 2013
  34. 30 Under 30:  Stories by Irish Writers Under 30-edited by Elizabeth Reapy-a great anthology
  35. Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of An American Masterpiece by Michael Gorra -a must read book for anyone into Henry James and a brilliant lesson in how to read a novel.
  36. As Close As You'll Ever Be by Seamus Scanlon  more stories of the mean streets of Ireland
  37. Somewhere in Minnesota by Orfhlaith Foyle  a powerful collection short stories
  38. The China Factory by Mary Costello a debut short story collection by a major talent
I read a lot of good books in 2012.  I hope to read more in 2013.  


JoV said...

I think you have a wonderful year. Hope 2013 will be even better.

shaunag said...

A wonderfully diverse list, Mel, a treasure hove of reading - just as your blog is! So honoured to be featured on the list. Wishing you and your family and friends a very book-filled and happiness-filled 2013!

Susan said...

I really want to read the Shauna Gilligan book, I remember you talking about it last March, but it wasn't out here yet.

You read a wide variety this year and it is fun to see so many different types of books on your best of list for this year, Mel. The Irish reading certainly has taken hold of you, too :-)

Are you going to run the short story week in March again, for IRish writing? I am looking forward to it. I've been looking for a copy of Elizabeth Bowen's ghost stories ever since you reviewed it back then too, and not even our library has it!

Congratulations on such a super reading year, Mel, and I hope 2013 is just as good, if not better, for finding good books, and some favourites.

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

Mel, what a truly impressive list! The only one I've read on your list is Anna Karenina. Now there are so many books on your list Id love to read. Happy 2013 and looking to reading more from you.