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!

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Super awesome printed artifact

When I started Super Sad True Love Story a few weeks ago, I knew just a few things about Gary Shteyngart:

  1. His last name is borderline impossible to spell. I’ve had to Google it every time I write it.
  2. He’s funny on Twitter.
  3. (actually 2b) Thanks to Jennifer Weiner, he occassionally watches and even more occassionally live-tweets The Bachelor. I mention this both because it is so fabulously out of character for a literary-minded person, and because it makes me feel about 48% better about my own Bachelor addiction.
  4. He was one of The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 last year, which is how I first read an excerpt of Super Sad True Love Story (SSTLS from here on out).

As it turns out, with the exception of No. 1, these few things are completely appropriate factoids to have when going into SSTLS. The juxtaposition of Shteyngart’s amazing writing and almost unreal ability to both document and parody our current social/political/technological environment is bizarre, awesome and more than a little disconcerting. That this novel could feel both prescient, ludicrous and accurate all within the same page is a testament to how freaking interesting it is to read.

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