A week long event to wrap-up 2012, since we're so very nearly at the end. Click on the banner above to join in.
We start with my favourite list - the top ten books I've read this year. Click here for last year's list. These are in no particular order and weren't necessarily released this year.
1) 11.22.63 by Stephen King
Obviously. I rambled about this enough in my 2012 Book Survey for this to be a given.
Like I said, it's rare to be able to pick one clear winner for the Best Book of 2012 but if I had to, this would be it.
This is the book the word 'amazing' was created for.
2) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I can't believe it took me so long to get round to reading this book. I liked Lord of the Rings but found it a little heavy at times, which is why I've been putting off this one, I think.
I just couldn't believe how accessible it was. I know it's aimed at a younger audience, but it made a huge difference. I was captivated at every moment and was more than a little disappointed when it ended.
Long story short - even if you didn't like Lord of the Rings, read The Hobbit.
3) The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
Part sci-fi, part philosophy, part mind-fuck.
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I picked up The End of Mr Y - I'd heard wonderful things but found Our Tragic Universe to be interesting but basically plotless.
Obviously I ended up loving it (else we wouldn't be sat here talking about it now), but I was unprepared for how much I'd love it. It was so clever, yet so accessible and genuinely interesting to boot.
I pretty much want to read everything Scarlett Thomas has ever written.
4) The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Another surprise. I read this for my (almost over) League of Extraordinary Gentlemen challenge, and to be honest, it was kind of grudgingly. I felt like I should read at least one more off the list and grabbed this one because I'd never read it before.
It's really good! Completely, completely different to the musical and 2004 film. It's much cleverer and creepier and generally, well, better.
And now I've read it, it's clear that the cover to the left is much more appropriate than those white mask and rose covered ones.
5) The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
Because hey, we were starting to get a little serious there.
I love this series though. Apparently they were created only to amuse the author's girlfriend, but the result is a set of hilarious, light books that I'm more than willing to reread again and again.
The film wasn't brilliant, but half the charm is in the narration so how could it be anywhere near as good?
The above five books are the ones that jumped into my head when thinking about this list. I didn't have to consult LibraryThing or scan my shelves - I just knew that they were the best of the best. They're the 'Gold' books, shall we say.
The books below still comprise the remainder of my Top Ten - it's just that they didn't stand out quite as much as the above.
6) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
I'd been warned off this by quite a few people actually. I'd been told it was weird and over-dramatic, but I ended up really liking it. It may just have been my low expectations, but I found the atmosphere thrilling and loved every minute.
It's doubtful I'd ever watch a theatre or film version, but it's likely I'll be returning the book at some point. I can understand why it's not for everybody, I suppose, as some parts are pretty horrific but for me, that's kind of the point - the atrocities committed by children (and therefore people) in the name of authority and structure.
7) Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
And now for something completely different! You just couldn't get a more opposite book to the above than this one, which is funny considering that I read this right after it.
Once again, I didn't even want to bother. I was sent it as an unsolicited review copy and only read it out of that sense of obligation we all get from time to time.
To my surprise, it was amazing. I can be picky with YA, but I just fell in love with this one, cutesy teenage book though it may be.
8) The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Another YA book, although with more of a dystopian/horror twist.
This is (very) loosely based on an Edgar Allen Poe story, so it's obviously very dark. Add in plague, creepy masks and unexpected backstabbers and you've got an unbelievably good story.
I stayed up until past 2am reading this, and then sent it to a friend who did exactly the same thing. I think the next book to this series is my most eagerly anticipated book EVER.
9) Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
I laughed so hard I cried with this book, on more than occasion. I don't normally laugh out loud at books, so the fact that I did so frequently here says a great deal. It's almost beyond funny.
I admit to losing interest once or twice with the more serious matters (hey, I'm fickle) but on the whole it's a hilarious memoir involving ethical taxidermy and clinical depression.
10) The Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
I wasn't that fond of the book before this in the series, so it took me a while to get round to this one. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered that Percy Jackson himself is back and so are a good number of the other characters.
It's much, much more interesting and nearly as good as the original series. It also ends on such a cliff-hanger that I'm desperate to read the next one!
Honourable mentions (or Bronze, if you like):
What's Left Of Me by Kat Zhang, White Cat by Holly Black, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Starters by Lissa Price, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.
What are your best books of 2012? Join in the fun here.