Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 of '12

No, not clothes...books. I thought I'd share my favorites that I've read (i.e. listened to) this past year. Please note, just because they appear on this list doesn't mean they were released in 2012 - it just means that's when I got around to them. Soooo, wivout further adoooo, from 10 to 1, with one being my favey crockett, I give you my favorite reads of 2012.

10. Bossypants - Tina Fey

What's not to love about Tina Fey? Smart, funny, self-deprecating, funny, gorgeous and funny? Loved this book, especially the part about her dad, a Clint Eastwood look-alike. Plus it's just nice to see the "end of the movie" when the (fellow) nerd-girl grows up and makes good. Hooray for Tina!!

9. Charlotte au Chocolate - Charlotte Silver

I have a peeping Tom affinity, if you will, for those behind-the-scenes stories of restaurants and chefs and the like, and this was no exception. Written by Charlotte Silver, it chronicles the life of Upstairs At the Pudding, her mother's restaurant, located in Harvard Square. I kept having to go back and check to see how old the author was because it was written like she grew up in the 50s or 60s. In actuality, she is 30, so the story took place much more recently. It was a very quick read, and just a lovely story.

8. Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter
Speaking of lovely, this story, set in present day California and Italy in 1962, Beautiful Ruins is the story of the cinema, the war, love and redemption.

7. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

What can I say? I got sucked into the hype just like everyone else did, and loved this book. I really liked the second one too, but felt like the third wrapped everything up too neatly, and too quickly. But The Hunger Games (or The Hungry Games, as my husband called it), was a spin on the Lord of the Flies for the modern day.

6. Stories I Only Tell My Friends - Rob Lowe

Look, I have had a love affair with Rob Lowe that has endured from his turn as Sodapop Curtis in The Outsiders in 1983, to today, in his role as Chris Traeger on Parks & Rec (one of the most underrated comedies on TV today, in my humble opinion, but that's for another post). Still, I went into this book somewhat skeptically - I mean - LOOK at him, for the love of Ron Swanson. He can't look like that and write TOO, can he? Apparently, he can. I loved this book so much. It told about his not-too-happy childhood in Ohio, his parents' divorce, the move his mother made with Rob and his siblings to California. It talked about his mother's battle with mental health and ultimately, her death from cancer. It talks about his friends and co-workers such as the Sheens, Sean Penn, Robert Downey, Jr., etc. etc., in a completely non-National-Enquirer kind of way (and I find his descriptions of Tom Cruise to be fascinating). The book was glamorous and dark too - I imagine just like Hollywood is. Highly recommend this read.

5. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

The first of Gillian Flynn's three books, it was my personal favorite. Like the rest of the world, I was completely sucked into Gone Girl when it came out, but HATED the ending. Both Sharp Objects and the follow-up, Dark Places, were much more satisfying to me. If you like darkly-written, slightly macabre, but KICK ASS suspense and haven't read Gillian Flynn yet, what the HELL are you waiting for??!!!

4. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larsson

Like Gone Girl, everyone has read Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by now. I loved all of the books in this trilogy, but the first was my favorite. I don't think I need to go into any further description, because if you haven't read it by now, you're probably living on an island without internet connectivity, so you can't read this post anyway. Savage.

3. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal - Christoper Moore

I wasn't sure I was going to like this one, having grown up in a Southern Baptist home. Thought it might be too sacrilegious for my taste, even now, as a non-church-goer (those fire and brimstone sermons stick with you for life). Still, I LOVED Lamb. It was laugh-out-loud hilarious, somewhat historically accurate, smart, and even poignant. Told from the point of view of Christ's slightly irreverent best friend Biff (and by "slightly irreverent" I mean COMPLETELY irreverent), I loved the twist on this story of Christ. If you haven't read it, DO IT. And while you're at it, Christopher Moore has a bunch of other hilarious books you should check out too.

2. Just Kids - Patti Smith

I didn't know a lot about Patti Smith before I read this, other than that I loved her song Gloria, but read great reviews on her book and picked it up. I loved it. Telling about her childhood and young-adulthood in Brooklyn and then New York, I loved hearing about the art and music scene during the summer of love, and her friendship, love affair, and subsequent end of that affair with artist Robert Mapplethorpe as he comes out. Through the book she maintains the thread of intense love, friendship and respect that she and Mapplethorpe had for one another, which was at times tumultuous and ultimately, tragic. I read recently that the book is being made into a movie and that K Stew and R Patz were in talks to play Smith and Mapplethorpe, and I cringed. Come ON. Discover someone for these parts - that's what needs to happen.

1. Mapplethorpe - Patricia Morrisroe

My reading of Just Kids led me to Mapplethorpe, A Biography. I'll say up front this book ain't for everyone. It's pretty sexually graphic, but if you know anything about Robert Mapplethorpe, that's part of who he was. It was also fascinating, again, talking a lot about the 60s, 70s, and 80s art scene in a vibrant city like New York, and what drove Mapplethorpe to be/become the person/artist he was. Sadly, because AIDS burgeoned during that same time, it was heart-breaking at the same time. If you are at all interested in biographies, art, New York, the 70s/80s, I sincerely recommend this book. I hope you won't regret it.

Okay, enough of my suggestions - what were YOUR favorite books of the year? I need to add some new ones to my list for 2013!! With that, my final post of the  year is finito. Have a great, safe, happy New Year's Eve. All my love!!



Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

Perfect timing since I'm looking for a book to read while on vakay next week : )

I've enjoyed reading your honest and funny posts this year.

Happy New year and all the best in 2013!


MerciBlahBlah said...

Thanks Suzanne - I hope you have someplace fabulous to go on vacation, and even if you don't, that you have a great, relaxing vacay! And you'll have to tell me what book you end up reading.

Thank you so much for all of your comments - I appreciate them and you, and am glad I can make you laugh while you're in my tiny corner of the blogosphere!

Holly said...

11/22/63 by Stephen King drew me in and pretty much ruined me for reading anything else until I put Gone Girl in my Kindle. I'll have to check out her other books ASAP.

I loved Bossypants. I have a girl crush on Tina Fey. She totally rocks. Another biography I enjoyed was My Life in France. So beautiful and interesting. Then (re-)watch Julie & Julia.

Thanks for your fun blog posts. I'm not a fashionista - just a mom who enjoys funny stuff and you provide that consistently. Thanks for the White Pants video you posted a while back. I catch myself humming it, too...and I don't even OWN white pants!

Emilyyyyy said...

Thank you, Shans! We are song sisters and book sisters for LIFE. (oh, and food siblings as well. Almost texted you from the grocery store about those ham sammies, about whether you used Hawaiian bread. Then I was all "girl has triplets and she doesn't need to be answering my dumb bread questions." I shouldn't have used Hawaiian bread. I should have texted you. Lesson learned.)
Happy New Year my sweet (and OMG ROB LOWE!)

Jenny @ Spry On The Wall said...

Oh, I'm making note of some of these! I'm trying to read more and just updated my books I've read tab on my blog. I'm reading "Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War" right now and it's extremely interesting.