Five Standout Reads of 2012

I’ve read quite a few books this year. I particularly got sucked into George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but there were a few books that really stood out in my year of reading. I still have several books I’m in the middle of reading, so unfortunately they won’t be on this list. I also have a big pile of to-read books, and I suspect a couple of them could have made a best reads list, had I just gotten to them! Of course this list is completely subjective and personal ;).

Some honourable mentions from the year include Ishtar with novellas by Kaaron Warren, Deborah Biancotti and Cat Sparks, Debris by Jo Anderton, and Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan.

5. Elyora

by Jodi Cleghorn

I only just finished reading this novella, published by Review of Australian Fiction as part of the Down the Rabbit Hole issue (the Rabbit Hole is an intensive writing “race” run by the QLD Writers Centre). A supernatural horror story set in an odd town called Elyora (somewhere off the New England Highway in NSW) the pace is fast and the pages just keep turning. There is some stunning imagery in here, as well as a compelling tale. (You can read the whole novella online though you do have to set up a account and I ended up doing a search for Review of Australian Fiction. “Elyora” is the last story in the issue).

4. Dead Red Heart

edited by Russell B. Farr

I went into this one not really having high expectations, because I’m not really into vampires. I was blown away by the amazing stories, so many original takes on vampires, plus some fabulous stories using traditional vampires as well. Highly recommend reading, ESPECIALLY if you like vampires but even if you’re a bit sick of them.

3. The Windup Girl

by Paolo Bacigalupi

I realise there are some people who have an issue with Bacigalupi’s depiction of Thai and Malay Chinese people. I read The Windup Girl before I read any criticisms levelled at the author and I enjoyed it. I think two people could argue back of forth over whether the book is racist or not, whether the characterisations are stereotypical or not. I’m torn as I’m certainly not an authority on the topic and I am aware that you can write something with the best intentions, trying to be careful, and still piss people off. There is also one particularly graphic rape scene that I would have appreciated being toned down. In all honesty, I enjoyed the story, and I thought the characters were interesting (for the most part) and I didn’t think any of them were one-dimensional. That said, I’m aware that it is a contentious book, so it’s with a bit of delicacy that I put it in here.

2. Sourdough and other stories

by Angela Slatter

I’d never read anything of Slatter’s before I got Sourdough and other stories. I started reading and fell in love with her writing style and the way she wove her stories together. I am itching to get into Midnight and Moonshine (co-authored with Lisa Hannett) and also looking forward to reading more of their books. (Sourdough can also be bought in paperback but I can only find a UK site here).

1. Sea Hearts

by Margo Lanagan

By far my favourite book of 2012. I could gush about Sea Hearts for ages… I think I already have though ;). Eagerly awaiting her next release.

So many books to read in 2013!


One thought on “Five Standout Reads of 2012

  1. I am still stunned to find something I wrote on a list which includes Angela and Margo’s work.

    Thank you for being (I think) the first person outside of Lesley and I, to read it from start to finish in it’s final form. Can’t wait to nab you in person to drill you on what you liked and didn’t like in anticipation of putting it together in a paperback. And thank you for your support all the way through. Glad it lived up to your expectations.

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