Saturday, August 17, 2013

Favorite reads of 2012

Books are AHmazing...they feed our imagination, inspire, entertain and empower.

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, but when I worked a nine-to-five, I was lucky to flip through a mindless magazine, let alone read a book more than a 100 pages. But now that writing is my career, I'm required to read - got to keep up with the Joneses!

Although  after consuming many good titles, it wasn't too difficult to narrow down to my top three favorites read during 2012 (Note: none of these titles were released in 2012, but like that matters. A great read is a great read!).

Number Three on my list is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, his debut novel and with the movie in development. I'm a sucker for anything that feels 80's and holds me in suspense. So I was taken from the very start when Clay receives 13 cassette tapes from Hannah, his crush...and the girl who had just committed suicide. The tape starts out with Hannah stating there are 13 reasons why she killed herself, and that Clay is one of them. So of course, as the reader, I'm dying to know the reasons why.

Suicide is not an easy subject to tackle. And Asher applied a great "trick" in order to show the victim's POV without feeling like trapped in flashbacks. I have to admit that I wasn't the most sympathetic for Hannah, but the plot and it's delivery and anticipating how Clay would make out in the end made for a speedy good read.  


Number Two is City of Bones, the first in the Mortal Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare. And yet another debut with the movie being released this month. Fifteen-year-old Clary Fray witnesses a murder committed by three teens covered with strange tattoos, who are invisible to everyone else at the club. And that's just the beginning...

Readers seem to love or hate this book. I'm not ashamed to admit that I loved it. I found myself avoiding sleep in order to get through just one more chapter. And, yes, for me it was all plot driven. Action, suspense, cliffhangers, twists (okay, maybe some were expected)...and it didn't stop until the end. The characters...um, can't say I cared about any of the main ones, but their personalities (like 'em or not) were pinned down perfectly through dialogue and action. And what I love most is that this book stands alone. I'm SO over first in a series where the main story leaves me with more questions than answers. Yes, it's a series, so I expect a cliffhanger...for the next storyline.

Love it or hate it, Clare paints supernatural effects, setting, action and suspense in such a way that I could see this story clearly play out in my mind...with such detail that I had to rush through to the end.

And my number one pick read during 2012...Kindred by Octavia Butler. Yes, this book was published in the early seventies. And yes, my first time reading it was last year. But a great story holds up over time... 

Celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband, Dana's suddenly snatched from her modern day California home and transported to the antebellum South. Dana has been summoned to save Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner. She's repeatedly drawn back through time to Rufus, each time the stay longer and more dangerous, leaving the reader wondering will Dana ever make it back home to California...permanently.

I am so embarrassed to say I had never heard of Octavia Butler until last year. After reading Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu's Akata Witch, I immediately went online searching for similar titles and came across Kindred. I was so excited to have found another fantasy author of color, especially from back in the day. 

The time travel premise is a wonderful landscape for Butler to deal with love, gender, race, racism, and responsibility. The reader walks away with an intimate perspective of slavery and its effects, not only for the slaves, but also for a contemporary black woman in a mixed race marriage. Not an easy feat, but Butler achieves it beautifully. The prose is simple and engaging. All characters are fully fleshed, real and complex with no stereotypes. Add in the explicit violence and degradation as it occurs naturally (not forced sensationalism), the reader experiences the brutality of slavery without forcing an opinion. This book is one of the most memorable I have read in a long time. A must for everyone.

read on!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

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