Top Ten Reads of 2012

Rave: My favorites that I’ve read recently. Just in case you were curious about the kind of stuff that gets my thoughts churning (in no particular order).

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Where has this book been all of my life? Seriously one of the most poignant and inspiring stories I have ever read. Although high school has come and gone for me, I related to so much in the book. The protagonist, Charlie, is such a relatable character and his experiences truly touched me. His letters are brutally honest and often heartbreaking, and that is what makes the book so powerful. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. The movie is great, too.

2. The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling

Whoa. JK has done it again. It’s a far cry from Harry Potter but equally as amazing. I devoured this book, despite its length.  Although the vast amount of characters can be confusing, she weaves their stories together in such a skillful way. The humor is unexpectedly dark but suits the story well. The conclusion is not nearly a happy ending but the message is powerful. Love love love.

3. The Vagina Monologues – Eve Ensler

Had to be read! I’d heard so much about it and I knew that I had to add it to my feminist repertoire. It was a thought-provoking read that made me think differently about my vagina. There were parts that I disagreed with – some pieces seemed to be objectifying vagina in unflattering ways, or separating the vagina from the person and making them different entities instead of part of the body as a whole. But for the most part I really enjoyed it and gained a lot of insight.

4. Refusing to Be a Man – John Stoltenberg

Still in the process of reading this, but it has been great so far. It is a collection of Stoltenberg’s essays on sex and justice and provides an excellent feminist argument from the male perspective. It is extremely heartening to read about gender equality from a man who refuses to fit the stereotype of hegemonic masculinity.

5. East of Eden – John Steinbeck

My therapist  recommended this book over the summer (it’s his favorite, and I can see why). The story is so intricate and the characters so complex, making it one of the most engrossing books I have ever read.

6. Not Becoming My Mother (and other things she taught me along the way)- Ruth Reichl

Not what it sounds like, exactly…Based on letters of her mother’s that Reichl found, she chronicles her mother’s journey through marriage and adult life and the lack of fulfillment she endured as a housewife. Reichl learns that what her mother wanted most for her was to discover an entirely different fate – one that involved self-actualization through work of her choice. It echos my own life in that I know that my mother wants the same for me – only the best.

7. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

Ah, such a beautiful story. Based off of the real Morrie, who sounds like he was an incredible guy. I really related to the book, as my mom is living with a life threatening illness. Morrie’s infallible optimism and kindness are rare and beautiful. The book is a tear jerker, but it ends triumphantly. Morrie wouldn’t have it any other way.

8. Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer

The first time I read this book, I was so glad that I went vegetarian a few months prior. The book didn’t make my decision for me, but it certainly affirmed my reasoning and strengthened my conviction that I’m better off without meat. It is a very interesting read for just about any audience, and it’s got a lot of good info in there. I highly recommend checking it out – omnivores and herbivores alike.

9. Salvage the Bones – Jesmyn Ward

Read this over the summer…really great fictional story based on the turmoil surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Examines the race aspect of disaster efforts and details the struggles of a young black woman who is impregnated in the outset of the horrible storm. She is a strong female protagonist who wins your heart almost immediately. I really enjoyed this read.

10. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

(Reread) My favorite book of all time.

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