My [personal] top 10 books of 2012

This is me hugging a book.

Well guys, 2012 is drawing swiftly to a close and I have nothing to show for myself except a sweet new job and the collective knowledge of ~53 finished books (52.3 if I’m being honest about Les Mis, 58.3 if I count the Gone series and all three FSOG books). A productive year indeed.

Last week I posted the mathematically irrefutable Best Books of 2012, a labor on which I spent an undisclosed number of hours (like five) but after a little rest, relaxation, and weirdly mortifying perusal of my own ramblings from the last 12 months, I’d now like to share a more important list: the books I read this year that made the biggest impact on my little reality-TV-filled brain. Few of these titles were released in 2012, a byproduct of my resigned refusal to spend $27 on hardcovers, but sometimes it’s nice to read a book a few years after its release, when you can absorb it in the vacuum of irrelevance.

So here are the books that touched my shriveled-up heart this year, in dramatic countdown order. Happy reading!

Continue reading “My [personal] top 10 books of 2012”

Spacious Studio, Doorman Building

I’ve been reading some fucked up books about kids lately. First there was Kevin, a mass murderer trapped in a teenager’s body, whose dubious childhood raised the question (or rather, made the assertion) that some people are just born off.

And now I’ve spent a week with Jack, the five-year-old protagonist of Emma Donoghue’s Room, whose entire universe consists of an eleven-by-eleven-foot soundproofed shed. Which brings up an entirely different question: If Kevin, raised with everything, can grow up to be a shit, can Jack, raised with nearly nothing, grow up to be normal?

I should clarify: Jack and his mother don’t live in a shed by choice. Rather, said mother (who remains nameless throughout the novel) was kidnapped some seven years before Room takes place, by a man who has over the years raped her repeatedly, resulting in one stillborn child and anotherβ€”Jack. The novel is told from Jack’s perspective, as a disarmingly content child who sees nothing necessarily strange about his living situation, or his mother’s assertion that what’s inside the room is real, whereas everything on televisionβ€”which she only lets him watch in short burstsβ€”is fantasy. Jack is accustomed to routine, attached to rules and feels only occasionallyΒ stifled by his limited environment. In fact, until Jack’s mother latches onto the idea of staging an escape, the duo exist in something sickly akin to normalcy inside their furnished prison cell.Β  Continue reading “Spacious Studio, Doorman Building”