by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
This month's cycle at GBC, we're talking about NaNo. The only problem is that I never do NaNo, because my year is typically one big NaNo. For example, since Monday, I've written 14,000 words of a new novel, not to mention blog posts etc.
So instead of talking about strategies for writing quickly, I'm going to do a reading post. Since others else-Internet are posting their Best of 2012 reading lists, although it's not even December yet, and since I'm likely not due up here again until 2013, I thought I'd post my list now.
I keep a reading journal and put stars next to the books I deem the most worthy reads. When I make my end-of-year list, I knock out those books that I can no longer remember. Here then are the best books I read this year that I can still remember:
Best Books Read in 2012
Best Adult Fiction
The Paris Wife, Paula McLain
The Odds, Stuart O'Nan
The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach
Hanging Hill, Mo Hayder
Trick of the Dark, Val McDermid
The Leopard, Jo Nesbo
The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
The Night Swimmer, Matt Bondurant
Night Swim, Jessica Keener
Light from a Distant Star, Mary McGarry Morris
The Lost Saints of Tennessee, Amy Franklin-Willis
Vixen, Ken Bruen
Gone, Cathi Hanauer
The Good Father, Noah Hawley
Helsinki White, James Thompson
The Darlings, Cristina Alger
Broken Harbor, Tana French
Say Nice Things About Detroit, Scott Lasser
The Innocents, Francesca Segal
The World Without You, Joshua Henkin
Alys, Always, Harriet Lane
The Keeper of Lost Causes, Jussi Adler-Olsen
The Shadow Girls, Henning Mankell
The Lifeboat, Charlotte Rogan
Best YA and Middle Grade (MG)
First Day on Earth, Cecil Castellucci (YA)
A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness (MG)
Where Things Come Back, John Corey Whaley (MG)
The Big Crunch, Pete Hautman (YA)
This is Not a Test, Courtney Summers (YA)
The Wicked and the Just, J. Anderson Coats (YA)
The Presidents Club, Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
Note: For the last several years, I've always picked one book that stood above all the others. This year, despite how many books appear on this year-end roundup, there are no books that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Here, then, are some of the books I've given this accolade to in previous years:
This Human Season, Louise Dean
Breath, Tim Winton
Kings of the Earth, Jon Clinch
The Old Romantic, Louise Dean
Little Bee, Chris Cleave
And that's it! A long list of books for you to potentially go out and buy to support your reading habit.
Oh, bloody hell. Even though I never do NaNo, clearly a writer who can string together 14,000 (hopefully) intelligible words in four days knows something about stringing words together, so here are some free tips from me to you:
1) Don't cook. You want to pile up the pages? Other people cook for you - you don't cook for them - or you rely on takeout or, my favorite lunch, Chips In A Bag.
2) Don't clean. If nothing is actively crawling in your house, it's clean enough.
3) Don't apologize or ask for permission. Presumably, all the others in your household, however many there may be, don't apologize because they do things that satisfy their soul in some way. You shouldn't either.
4) Set daily goals. Sure, Twitter etc is a distraction - for all of us - but "I spent too much time on social media today" is no better an excuse than "the dog ate my homework." Be professional about your writing. Set those daily goals and then don't sleep until you've met them. You can always play afterward or in the gaps.
And that's really it! Enjoy your reading list! Enjoy the last day of NaNo!
Oops, before I go, here's one thing you can do for me. I don't expect a whole list, but how about telling me the title of just one book you read this year that you think the world - or at least I! - would enjoy?
Be well. Don't forget to write.
Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of 26 books - and counting - for adults, teens and children, the most recent of which is Pursuing the Times, a comedic romance for adults (buy it! buy it!) You can read more about her life and work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow her on Twitter at @LaurenBaratzL