Reading pathways are their own kind of personal journeys - each book you read becomes part of you, and each one leaves you changed in some small way for having read it. I'm grateful for every book that has been part of my reading adventure this year, for my 2012 journey was one full of joy, surprise, challenge, beauty, and reward.
There were novels I couldn't put down - Patrick Somerville's This Bright River (Little, Brown, 2012); Spark by Courtney Elizabeth Mauk (Engine Books, 2012), Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (HarperCollins, 2012), Tommy Zurhellen's Nazareth North Dakota and its sequel, Apostle Islands (Atticus Books 2011 and 2012) and Marcy Dermansky's Bad Marie (Harper Perennial 2010) - and those that left me thinking long after they were done - Myfanwy Collins' Echolocation (Engine Books, 2012), Vanessa Veselka's Zazen (Red Lemonade, 2011), Larry Closs' Beatitude (Rebel Satori Press, 2011) and Peter Wheelwright's As It Is On Earth (Fomite, 2012).
There were books with writing that stretched me as a reader - Zadie Smith's NW (Penguin Press, 2012), Jac Jemc's My Only Wife (Dzanc, 2012), Matt Bell's Cataclysm Baby and Ken Sparling's Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall (both Mudluscious Press, 2012). Others charmed with delightful ease - J.A. Pak's So Easy To Love (Eden Street, 2012) or creative whimsy - Kristine Ong Muslim's We Bury the Landscape (Queen's Ferry Press, 2012).
Short stories made up a good portion of my year in reading, and they were stellar: Monstress by Lysley Tenorio (Ecco, 2012), Understories by Tim Horvath (Bellevue Press, 2012), Steven Gillis' The Law of Strings (Atticus Books, 2012), An End to All Things by Jared Yates Sexton (Atticus Books, 2012), American Masculine, Shann Ray Ferch (Graywolf Press, 2011) and Megan Mayhew Bergman's Birds of A Lesser Paradise (Scribner, 2012), which I technically read in 2011 but with a 2012 pub date it's a lovely excuse to mention it again.
And, too, there were a few memoirs that moved me with their raw honesty: Cheryl Strayed's Wild (Alfred Knopf, 2012) and Andre Dubus III's Townie (W.W. Norton, 2012 paperback edition)
My absolute favorite part of the life of this blog has been the conversation with incredibly insightful authors and writers and other literary folks about their work - to all those who have joined me this year for Q&A here on the blog or over at LitStack: thank you Jared Yates Sexton, Xe Sands, David Abrams, Myfanwy Collins, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Courtney Elizabeth Mauk, Jason Lee Norman, Andre Dubus III, Lena Sledge, and Dr. Robert Pawlicki.
Thanks also to the many other people who have been a part of the blog in 2012: publishers - especially Atticus Books, Dzanc Books and Engine Books - who have kept me well supplied with top-quality reading; and guest contributors Adina Ciment (Writing Elves), Shivanee Ramlochan (Novel Niche), Lisa Emig (Born in 1962), Audra (Unabridged Chick), Marie (Boston Bibliophile), Zohar (Man of LaBook), and Pujitha Krishnan (Stargazer Puj), all excellent writers and bloggers and a true privilege to know.
Special thanks to fellow participant writers (Mike Duncan, Heather Johnson, Lisa Emig, Adina Ciment and others) in LitStack's Flash Fiction Challenges for their camaraderie, encouragement and most of all their incredible stories. A very special thanks to LitStack editor-in-chief Tee Tate who constantly inspires with her never-give-up attitude & with whom it has been a great pleasure to work.
Finally, a deep and profound thanks to everyone who's been reading, commenting, and sharing, for otherwise, it's just sending words into a void.
Best wishes to all for a happy holiday, a Happy New Year, and happy reading.