Sarah’s Top 10 & Worst 5 Books of 2012

Top 10 Books 2012 – in no particular order

Shakespeare on Toast by Ben Crystal – this is the book that made me understand how to read the plays of Shakespeare and enjoy them as much as seeing them performed.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – very late to the party on this one but despite this it blew me away.

The Polish Boxer by Eduardo Haflon – a rare book that despite *having* to read for book group I loved.  I was wary of the book because it listed so many translators but it was beautiful if odd.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr – I won this one in a competition and thought it was going to be a children’s first aid manual. the clever and moving young adult novel that it actually turned out to be was wonderful.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – how can the tale of one man who goes out to post a letter to an old acquaintance be such a great book?

Strange Meetings by Harry Ricketts – I’m known for my dislike of poetry so a book about poets making it into the top 3 of my reads last year means this history/poetry/biography book is something very out of the ordinary.

The American Wife by Paula McLain – I like Hemingway’s collection of stories called A Moveable Feast a lot and this novel captures his lifestyle at this time wonderfully.

These Wonderful Rumours by May Smith – a recently discovered wartime diary of a female teacher in the midlands.  A real insight into a young woman’s war and terrifically funny at times although possibly this was not intentional.

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window by Jonas Jonasson – I only finished this book between Christmas and New Year but I’ve already been recommended it to several people. It is deliciously dark and funny although just occasionally the history isn’t quite accurate.

The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton – this was another book group novel that I’d probably never have picked up otherwise.  It was a dark, unsettling war novel but unlike my favourites by R F Delderfield this was not a comforting read – it was the language and style that made it stand out.

Worst 5 Books of the Year – in no particular order

Care of Wooden Floors by Will Willes – a book on a longlist I was reading, found it a real chore to read and by the end was ready to throw the book at the wall in frustration. I think it would have made a great  short story or novella but as a novel was just dull.

Paddington Races Ahead by Michael Bond – it pains me to put this on the list as Paddington Bear was a great favourite when I was a child, however updating him and getting him to use an Oyster jarred badly with me.

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov – I know it is supposed to be a classic but by the end I was willing them to tie the lead charcters to the trees and then set fire to the orchard. Perhaps I should see this on stage and see if my opinions change?

The Descendents by Kaui Hart Hemmings – this was a hit film so I thought I’d try the book. On finishing it I decided not to bother with the film…

The Fifty Shades trilogy by E L James – I confess I read all three of these (on an eReader so that no one could see that I was doing so). They were dire and for me about as erotic as toothache. The real problem was that there was just enough story in the trilogy that kept me reading to the end as I had to know how it finished – badly, don’t bother!


Search the catalogue for the titles of your choice, best or worst!


One response

  1. Read through the whole 50 Shades trilogy though hating it, because you wanted to know how it ended? There’s some witchcraft going on in those book somewhere. Were the pages laced with some kind of addictive substance? (Oh no, you read it on an e-reader). I enjoy seeing people on the train reading them, there’s something fascinating about watching people read erotica (or what they consider to be erotica anyway). If their eyes light up you have to speculate what may have just happened.

    I was all ready to give sensible opinions on this list but I’m not sure I’ve read any 2012 books I’m afraid. I’ve read books obviously but I’m still mainly catching up on the twentieth century.


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