Armchair BEA 2012: Best of 2012

Hello folks!  It’s day 2 of the Book Expo America in NYC, and I am, once again, participating virtually via Armchair BEA.  I’m not in an armchair, though.  I do all my blogging perched atop a giant blue bouncy ball.  It’s impossible to be unhappy when you’re bouncing like a little girl.

My “chair” and messy desk

Today’s topic for participation is: “Share some of your favorite books so far this year, and/or the the books being promoted at BEA that you hope will end up among your favorites for the year!”  I’m going to interpret that to mean any books I’ve read this year, regardless of their date of publication.

I should have kept a better account of what I have read so far this year.  By going through my Nook library (and trying to recall the few paper copy books I read this year), I’ve come up with 59 books read so far, but I might be missing a few, and I’m not counting in that number any of the nonsense I had to read for school or any of the re-reads that I did.

Cover image, The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

I have posted a few times–here and here and here–about Elizabeth Hoyt and how very good her books are.  My favorite is The Raven Prince, probably because it is the one that I arbitrarily chose to read first.  (A friend once told me that one’s favorite Tom Robbins book is whichever book of his one read first.  So my favorite is Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, and that friend’s favorite is Still Life with Woodpecker.)  The Raven Prince is a delightful blend of whimsical fairy tale and earthy love story, and I loved every bit of it, even the parts that made me blush.  In fact, I loved it so much that I’m reading it again now, even though I just read it a month ago.  It’s just that good (and my memory sucks that much).

Cover image, A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare

I love to laugh, and I really dig it when a book makes me laugh out loud.  There are books that are designed to make you laugh (I can’t read Laurie Notaro’s books in public…  That stuff is ‘privacy of my own home’ reading to me.  There’s just too great a chance that I’ll laugh until I drool or pee on myself…) and there are books that are not exactly humorous books but are hilarious regardless as a byproduct of great writing.  Catch-22 is one of these, and so is A Week to be Wicked.  Romance novels are often funny (unintentionally), but this one has sparkly dialogue and wit that are a perfect balance to the emotionally compelling aspects of the story.

Cover image, Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick

I participated in a workplace book club in February and March of this year at the same time that I was finishing up school and starting this blog.  It was a great experience all around, but mostly I was appreciative of the opportunity to read a book that I would never have picked up on my own.  To read more of my thoughts about the book, check out my posts here and here.  My favorite thing about Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock is that it did not insist on a happy ending.  In southern California, where I live, race relations are generally pretty good (comparatively), but that’s not really the case across the entire country.  I loved that Margolick had the moxie to tell the real story, not the story that we all wanted to read.

So that’s my shortlist of favorites for 2012 (so far).  I’m looking forward to reading some more great books through the second half of the year, and I’m looking forward to the terrible ones as well.

10 thoughts on “Armchair BEA 2012: Best of 2012

  1. I cannot believe I haven’t read Catch-22 yet, and now they’re making it required reading in my son’s high school. I think I better catch up with all of you!

  2. “A friend once told me that one’s favorite Tom Robbins book is whichever book of his one read first.”

    I’m reaching the same conclusion about Christopher Moore. I’m working my way through his work, but none quite match up to my first one, A Dirty Job. But I need to read some Tom Robbins! I’ve never picked up any of his work.

    • It’s wonderful, irreverent stuff (Tom Robbins’ books, that is). I’ve never read any Christopher Moore, but it seems up my alley. 🙂 My TBR list just keeps on growing…

  3. I absolutely LOVE A Week to be Wicked. The dialogue was amazing.

    And OMG, a bouncy ball as a chair? That’s awesome. I’m curious, does it hurt your back if you sit for long periods of time? I’ve thought about getting one, but I have horrible balance.

    • My husband got me a bouncy ball (I think they have a proper name, but they remind me so much of those giant balls with handles that I just can’t think of them as a serious piece of workout equipment) for our home because I wanted to exercise my core. I never did, but it makes a great desk chair! A few years later, my boss saw someone in our building using one as a chair, and she decided to get bouncy balls for our office (because I have the best boss ever). For the first two weeks that I was using it, my back muscles were a bit sore, but now I have far fewer back problems than I did before. Besides… I bounce all day long. It’s fantastic.

    • I’ve been on a real brainless-reading kick for the last sixteen months (since my younger daughter was born), so I didn’t have much to choose from for a “best of” list. The two romance novels that I called out really are outstanding for the genre, but they’re still romance novels, full of springy chest hair and characters licking their lips in nervousness (sigh…). 🙂

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