My Top 5 Books of 2012

Looking back over this year, it seems I’ve read all sorts of different books. Some of them I’m surprised to realise I only read this year – they feel much more distant in my memory than that. But still, I’ve flicked through them and decided on my favourite five, four of which I knew before I began writing this post.

The top three were all published (in English at least) this year, the other two are not overly old either, interestingly enough. Anyway, enjoy!

Billy Connolly Bravemouth5. Billy Connolly: Bravemouth by Pamela Stephenson

Billy Connolly has been my favourite comedian since I was very young, and this was only further cemented when I saw him perform live in 2006, when I was 20, where he talked for over three hours and I laughed so hard I was in pain for days. This book is the follow-up to the best-selling biography “Billy”, in which we learned of his dramatic childhood and rise to comedy stardom. In this, we read about the build up to his 60th birthday, including insights into his still hectic life from the man himself and his wife, Pamela. Just as funny and moving as the first book, I loved this and would highly recommend it to anybody who is a fan.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog4. The Elegance Of The Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

This is one of those books which I loved, and then the majority of people I recommended it to either found it average or simply didn’t understand it. But for me, this story of the bourgeois apartment building in Paris, and of the cultured concierge pretending to be a simpleton and the suicidal but genius pre-teen, both of whom think the world would not appreciate their true selves, was quite moving. Sure, the story was a little slow, though I don’t think this book was about the story, but about the slow revelations that dawn on the characters as they grow, while all around them remains stagnant to an extent. It takes a swipe at a certain kind of society with this progression, all the while written beautifully and thought provokingly. This isn’t for everyone, but I personally quite liked it.

The Time Keeper3. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

My favourite novel by Mitch Albom (Tuesdays With Morrie, The Five People You Meet In Heaven) so far, this story is a careful and clever tale about time, how we spend it, how important it is, and how we shouldn’t allow it to rule our lives in the way we do. It centres around three characters, Father Time, who was the first man to measure time and has since been punished with listening to people’s pleas for more time for centuries, a wealthy businessman who intends to live forever and cheat time, and a teenage girl who is about to give up on life and cut herself short of time. It is beautifully written and very thought provoking, and a book I would recommend to everybody, to be honest.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared2. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

I bought this book on a strong recommendation as soon as it was translated to English from Swedish (the recommender had read it in Swedish a year or two prior), and I can see why it is one of the most popular books from Sweden in recent years. The story quite literally tells the tale of a man who, on his hundredth birthday, decides to jump out of the window of his retirement home and run away. In the process he ends up causing all sorts of havoc, meeting up with various equally crazy characters whilst on the run from a crime gang, police and detectives. His past life is also revealed as the book goes on, adding depth to this seemingly bizarre character. Overall this is one of the funniest books I have ever read, and again I would recommend this to anybody, especially if you like a bit of humour in your stories.

The Fault In Our Stars1. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

I knew as soon as I had finished this book a few months ago that it would remain my favourite for the whole year. It’s the story of Hazel and Augustus, two teenage cancer patients currently in remission, but with full knowledge that their futures are short and unpredictable. As the two spend more time together and develop feelings, Hazel is forced to re-evaluate how she’ll let her illness define and control her, and how this will affect her life and legacy. What I loved about this book is that the characters are so incredibly real, rather than idolised or romanticised. The writing is stunning and often very funny, which helps reel you in as a reader, though the whole time you are of course bracing yourself emotionally for the worst. It is an incredible book, and a testament to John Green’s insightful writing abilities. Though the subject may be a little close to home for some (it is for me), I think if you don’t read this book you are truly missing out on a gem.

What were your favourite books you read this year?

Have you read any of these five books I have mentioned?

8 thoughts on “My Top 5 Books of 2012

  1. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared. Wow, what a title that one is. I love it, and I’m certainly adding it to my TBR list.

    The only book I’ve read from your list is John Green’s TFiOS, which I felt disappointed about, unfortunately (but I still enjoyed it). Although related to TFiOS in content, I think A Monster Calls is a great book, down to the overall idea, writing, illustrations… everything. I’m quite glad I read it this year — among so many other books, of course!

    • Yeah, the title of that one would have sold me alone, if I didn’t have somebody there telling me to buy it when I first encountered it on my travels.
      Ahhh, A Monster Calls sounds interesting, I shall have to investigate further with this one! 🙂

  2. I haven’t read any of them yet! But I’ve been collecting your recommendations as they’ve come out, and the vast majority are now on my TBR list 🙂

    I’m glad you had some many good and inspiring books to choose from!

    • Ahhh yes, apparently I’m to blame for the significant lengthening of a number of peoples TBR lists (though to be fair those same people have had a similar effect on my TBR list). But it’s nice to share recommendations with like minded people, that’s for sure! And it’s always nice when you recommend a book and somebody loves it just as much as you did! 🙂

  3. This is awesome! This was me today at the library: pick up book, look at back, read book jacket, put back down, sigh, move on, lather rinse repeat. I left without a book feeling very disappointed. Now I have two that I want to read! Thanks so much! Happy weekend!

    • Ahhh I hate that – I do that all the time, especially when I’m in the specific mood to buy a book or some new music. But when I don’t feel like doing that I come across gazillions I want.
      So what two books on the list caught your interest, out of curiosity?

      • Mitch Abloms Time Keeper and Jonas Jonasson’s. When I read Ablom’s “Have a Little Faith” it resonated with me and I loved his turn of phrases. The 100 year old one sounds fun. I used to work at an assisted living home for those with dementia and throughly enjoyed it so I’m hopeful I’ll like that story too. 🙂

        I suppose in a world of problems I’ll take not finding a book when I want and finding too many when I don’t… There are worse troubles … sometimes. 😉

        • I know exactly what you mean with Albom, he has a certain way of writing that is simple but beautiful – it’s hard not to be moved by his books. I quite liked Have A Little Faith too, was very interesting. Jonasson’s book is a lot of fun, and apparently it’s being made into a movie as well, which if they get the right actors and director, could be brilliant (I hope they make it in Sweden though, as it feels like a very Swedish story when you read it (in a good way though)).
          And it’s true, there are much bigger problems in this world, and lots of people out there who wouldn’t even be able to read a book. I’ve got so many books on my shelves I’m yet to read, so I’m in no position to complain 😛

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