Last January, feeling nostalgic for the kind of in-depth reading I did as a kid before the Internet intervened to make me a scanner of text, I decided to set of a goal of reading 100 books in 2012. I just finished—and thought I would mention the books that I either enjoyed the most or got the most satisfaction from this year. Other than The Winter of Our Discontent, I deliberately left out books that I re-read this, because Discontent was a very different read now than when was 19.
- This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
- The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck.
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
- Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Honorable Mentions: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides and Demian by Herman Hesse.
- The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Paradox of Love by Pascal Bruckner
- Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary
- One Life at a Time, Please by Edward Abbey
- How to Be an Existentialist: or How to Get Real, Get a Grip and Stop Making Excuses by Gary Cox
The Worst Choices
I disliked three of the books I read this year enough to mention them here. My debate research led me to read a radical environmental text called Deep Green Resistance and a libertarian transportation tract called The Best Laid-Plans. Each was terrible.
The worst fiction title I read was Chris Cleave’s Incendiary. I’m not sure I can remember a book I’ve hated more, despite my admiration for Cleave’s Little Bee.
For 2013, I think I’m going to abandon the goal of 100 books and pursue some weighty classics I haven’t read or haven’t read for years, starting off with East of Eden and Les Miserables, two books I loved in high school. Feel free to send recommendations my way for other excellent reads.