Top Five Books of 2012, by Kathy Campbell

Top five books of 2012    (guest post)

My wife of 41 years, Kathy, is not only a great wife, mother and grandmother, she is also a reader and a list-maker.  For many years she has kept a list of her favorite books for the year.  She reads about 40 books a year (not counting all the books that she reads aloud to the grand-kids.)  Here are her top five books for 2012.

I think I am an eclectic reader — my favorite genres are historical fiction and biographies, but I will read almost anything.  (I also have a wide knowledge of all children’s books about firefighting — but that’s another story!)  Two of the top five books for 2012 were published this year.  How thankful I am for bookstores, libraries and for READING!

1. The Light Between Oceans: A Novel
by M. L. Stedman     This is historical fiction, set in Australia in the first half of the 20th century.  It is the story of a childless couple who find a baby washed up on the beach of their little island.  They decided to keep the baby and raise her, but then realize that the baby’s mother is still alive.  Doing what is right for one woman is unimaginable tragedy for the other.  This book is about forgiveness, about redemption and the hard choices that people must make.  Even writing these few sentences about the books makes my eyes well with tears.  It is not only a well told story, it’s writing is beautiful.

2.  11/22/63: A Novel
by Stephen King.  Recognize that date?  (If you do not, it’s only because you weren’t alive at the time).  It is the day that President Kennedy was assassinated.  What if you had the opportunity to go back in time and save Kennedy from death?  I’ve always had a weakness for time travel books, but what sets this story apart is its immersion in the time approaching that fateful date in November.  Jake Epping, the main character can move through a portal that takes him to 1958.  Reading it was not only fascinating, it also brought to mind many of the things that I had forgotten about the late fifties and early sixties.  I’m not generally a Stephen King fan (his horror stories absolutely terrify me) but he can sure tell a tale.

3.  The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun
by Brother Yun (with Paul Hattaway)  This is the autobiography of Brother Yun, a Chinese Christian and leader in the Chinese church.  Brother Yun recounts his early years, his miraculous conversion to Christianity and how God has used him to witness in China.  His story is so incredible that some people have disputed it, but those who believe in the power of God can only marvel that the God of the miraculous in Bible times is still at work.  This book is a great faith builder!

4.  wise mans fearby Patrick Rothfuss   This is the second of the (proposed) Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy.   It is the further story of Kvothe, who encounters great opposition and adventures.  It’s a sweeping story and those who read the first book (Name of the Wind) wonder how Rothfuss can possibly wrap up all the elements of the story in a third volume.  This is fantasy, with mysterious powers, but it has the feel of a coming of age story or even an odyssey.

5.  Fried Green Tomatoes, by Fannie Flagg   This is an old book, first published in 1987.  Now that I live in Kentucky I really like books that celebrate the South’s unique heritage.  This is the story of friendship between women.  It is laugh out loud funny at times and other times heart-breaking.  I also liked the movie (but I like the book better.)

fried green tomatoes
Although I am a public library devotee, my favorite books of the year manage to find their way onto my bookshelves.  Then I can loan them to friends and when I’m “between” books I’ll open the pages of a book that I have loved and spend time with the characters again.  And as for the top 5 books of 2013…. who knows!  Just keep reading!

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