Cecile’s Best Reads of 2012

I read a lot more books than I expected in 2012. What helped was losing my voice halfway through in April, which gave me some additional free time to read 1Q84 by Murakami. Also four weeks of vacation worked miracles for shrinking my to-read list. I usually read quite a lot of books during the Christmas holidays too, but this year I didn’t have enough vacation hours left to take off another day or two from work. Here are the books I’d like to recommend:

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84I really enjoy reading Murakami’s books – though I do prefer the novels over the short stories – and 1Q84 was no exception. The book is written from several perspectives with a hint of  the supernatural. It’s both a mystery story and a love story. But there are several other themes touched upon including cult religion, family and history.

What I particularly like is that I, as a reader, am not explicitly told what is going on about everything. For example, the exact whereabouts, details and motivation of the “Little People” didn’t bother me at all. It left me some space to come up with my own interpretation.

Likewise the ending is dubious; the two main characters believe they’re returned to their own world, however, there are some hints that they might not have returned to the world they thought they had.

If you don’t like to be left in the dark when reading a story,then this might not be the best book to read. Then again, none of Murakami’s books are clear cut and straightforward. However, for this reader, 1Q84 is a notable read.

Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

After reading the Harry Potter series, I kept clear from reading any series for a while. This summer I decided to give the Dresden Files a shot. The series is about Harry Dresden – a modern day wizard – rougher and more down to earth than Harry Potter.

The lovely thing about Dresden is that he isn’t this awesome high and mighty wizard who waves his wand and makes everything all right. Often things break, crash and are utterly destroyed leaving Dresden cut, bruised and on the doorstep of death.

After reading the first three books, I can’t wait to read the fourth. But like I did with the H.P. series, I read a couple of different books in between, because certain details are repeated over and over again in each novel. In the case of Dresden, the reader is reminded that magic and technology don’t go together and that’s why he doesn’t use computers etc.

Rivers of LondonRivers of London by Ben Aaronovich

My books were being scanned, my wallet was half open and I was about to pay when my eye caught Rivers of London lying neatly before the till. Usually, I don’t get lured in by the ‘Buy now!’ stickers on books or other small items they sell near the counter. I picked it up, leafed through it, scanned the blurb and knew I had to make a decision. I do love those impulse moments… because they hardly ever work out the way I hope.

This time my hunch to buy it didn’t turn out into some kind of disappointment. This story takes place in London. A new police officer, Peter Grant, finds out that he can wield magic and can see supernatural creatures like ghosts. His life takes an unexpected turn in which he combines practising magic and detective work into one.

After reading Rivers of London and the second novel Moon over Soho, I can hardly wait to read the third book Whispers Underground.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared by Johan Jonasson

The last book I wish to share with you is this Swedish book, which recently appeared in bookstores after being translated into English. I can only say that this book is a real joy to read, extraordinary and funny. It covers the major events of the 20th century history in an amazing journey. If you liked the movie Forrest Gump then there’s a good chance you will enjoy Johasson’s book.

This year I plan to keep a closer track of the books I read by registering them all on my Goodreads account.

Cecile

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3 thoughts on “Cecile’s Best Reads of 2012

  1. Thanks for these reviews, Cecile! One of my colleagues in my writing group, and fellow blogger at Dogpatch Writers Collective, wrote about a different book of Murakami’s after overhearing a conversation about 1Q84. You might find his review interesting. It’s at:
    http://dogpatchwriterscollective.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/at-the-bottom-of-a-well-and-on-top-of-the-world/

    I think I’ll take a look at the Johasson book and see how it suits me. Thanks!

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