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Blogs don't burn

Emily · In the words of Jason Mraz, "I'm all about the wordplay, and also Russian and East European Studies"
Dec 4 '12

To Do List: What Earned a Dog Ear in 2012

The Millions just had a post encouraging readers to blog/post/sing out about the best books they read in 2012. Which I will do presently.

  • Best short stories: Alice Munro’s Dear Life (and also Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness, which did not come out this year, but which I only got around to reading this year).  
  • Best short stories not written by Alice Munro: Nathan Englander’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank or Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her
  • Best history: Anne “Patron Saint of Writing on Eastern Europe” Applebaum’s Iron Curtain (the actual best history book I read this year was Tony Judt’s Postwar, but that was not published in 2012.
  • Best novel: Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, forever and ever, amen
  • Best novel that did not feel like a novel and sort of defies genre: Zadie Smith’s NW
  • Best novella, which I am considering a novel even though it has “A Novel” on the cover: Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending (it came out in 2011, but I read it this year—let me live)
  • Best biography: John Lewis Gaddis’s George F. Kennan: An American Life, because it took on sort of religious significance for me, and because I was able to get John Lewis Gaddis to come speak at my school, ostensibly to support civic engagement for the Columbia Political Union, but mostly because I wanted to hear him. (Came out at the end of 2011, fine, blah blah whatever.)
  • Best books that I should be ashamed (but am totally not) to have readThe Hunger Games. OH LIKE YOU DIDN’T.