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 set around the California wildfires of 2007, and Doris Goodwin’s widely praised Lincoln history, Team of Rivals.