Read any good books lately?

At the beginning of 2012 I joined an online challenge to read 100 books in 2012. This task might appear less challenging if I admitted it was a message board catering to writers of young adult novels. Nevertheless, I failed miserably, booking only 60 or so.

I suppose I could claim special exemption for wandering so far from the compact pages of young adult novels. For instance, I read David Copperfield and Great Expectations, as part of my fill-in-the-holes project. Then I added a couple of historic doorstops, Booker award winner Wolf Hall and Pillars of Earth, Ken Follett’s attempt to dramatize the building of 12th-centry cathedrals. It definitely did not win any literary awards.

Of the books I read, the ones I’m most enthusiastic about recommending are wildly different. I loved Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars, which is a post-apocalyptic tale of a psychically wounded small-plane pilot living in a population-decimated future Colorado. I also heartily recommend young and adult readers to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, especially the audio version read by the author. It was released in England as an adult book; in U.S. as a kid’s book. Read it and decide for yourself.

More recently I’ve enjoyed The Starboard Sea, a boarding school drama, Dark Waters, Laura McNeal’s YA novel┬áset around the California wildfires of 2007, and Doris Goodwin’s widely praised Lincoln history, Team of Rivals.


By Lawrence Tabak

Lawrence Tabak is a widely published magazine writer who is currently focused on writing fiction for young adults. He is the father of two boys. He has worked as a tennis teaching professional, a executive at the United States Tennis Association, and in corporate communications postions in the financial services industry. His essays and feature stories have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including the in-flight magazines for TWA, United, American and Continental; Fast Company, Tennis Magazine,, and The Atlantic Monthly.

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