I’ve read 24 books so far this year and most of them have been very enjoyable. There are some, though, that sparkle and shine in my memory like sunshine on the water. These books are precious experiences, novels full of power and delight. They made my soul sing.
1. The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
“This is a spectacular suspense novel and would have been wonderful if it was just that. The fact that it is also a thought-provoking social study is a bonus that I wasn’t expecting. I can’t recall ever having been haunted by a mystery novel before, but this book has stayed with me and has led me to wonder about the lives of all the women who were suddenly thrust outside of their comfort zones when their husbands went off to war.”
2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
“If you like reading books about World War II this is a must read. If you like stories about extraordinary friendships this is a must read. If you like tales of adventure and daring this is a must read. I have immense admiration for the historical accuracy and detail in this novel and for the way Wein completely brings the reality of the French resistance to life. And Verity and Maddie are two characters I came to love and will never forget and I hope you will come to love them too.”
3. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
“Magic and magnificence emanate from this tale. I could enthuse non-stop about how much I loved it, but instead I will urge you to discover the beauty for yourself.”
4. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
“Excellent Women is an excellent book! I am so glad that I finally read it and now I am committed to reading all of Pym’s novels. I love that Pym writes about spinsters who I can identify with. As an old-fashioned girl I’ve never felt like I’ve really recognized myself in any contemporary literary women, but I think there just might be a tiny piece of Mildred Lathbury in me and I’m happy about that.”
5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
“I love this book in a major way. Miller has a talent for making the ancient stories entirely believable and I felt immersed every time I opened the pages. Her writing has that dreamy, lyrical quality that lulls your senses and makes you float along on the cloud of her narrative.”
I adored each of these five books. Have you read any of them? What are your favorite books of 2012?
Have I thanked you for reading lately? Thanks, friends.
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And also, don’t forget about Rosamond Lehmann Reading Week next week! Are you ready?
15 thoughts on “My Top Five Books of the Year Through June”
I have The Song of Achilles and Excellent Women on my reading list for this year. The library queue for Achilles is so long!
You’re still waiting for Achilles? That is a long list!
I enjoyed The Blank Wall and The Song of Achilles too. I haven’t read the others, but all three are books I’m interested in reading, especially Excellent Women.
Oh, Excellent Women is marvelous! I would urge you to read it soon!
That is a lovely quintet. The first three I have the same feelings about for as you, and then there’s one from my library list and one waiting in the next room for the right moment. I hope you find as many books to cherish in the second half of the year.
Thank you, Jane! I hope I do too. I’ve already started off on the right foot with Little Women!
five great choices ,mine be Neuman traveller of the century and Gamerro’s the islands ,all the best stu
I’ll have to check out your choices, Stu! I love reading about others’ favorite books.
I loved Excellent Women. I’ve been collecting more books by Pym but I just haven’t made time for them, which is something I should correct.
And “The Blank Wall” was adapted into an excellent movie a few years ago called “The Deep End” starring Tilda Swinton. It’s a modern updated version but I thought it was great.
I’ve read three Pym novels now and they are wonderful – very rewarding books.
I know I saw ‘The Deep End’ years ago, but I don’t remember much about it. I’ll have to watch it again one of these days.
The only book on your list that I have read is “Excellent Women” and it is truly one of my all time favorite books. I adore it and have read it many times. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about identifying with Mildred, the main character. I feel the same way, and that is why I love her voice throughout the book. Barbara Pym’s books have always reminded me of Jane Austen’s books. You will enjoy reading the others. By the way, I do think I read the Willa Cather ages ago, and will now look into it again based on your glowing review. Thanks for the great list!
Excellent Women has become one of my favorites, too, Sunday! I can see many re-reads of it in my future. I just started A Glass of Blessings and am smitten with it also.
I loved The Song of Achilles too, i thought it was going to be a bit too much like The Iliad until I started seeing bloggers saying it was a moving love story and then I dived right it. One of my faves so far this year too.
It is immensely moving and not ‘academic’ at all. Just a truly great story. Thanks for stopping by!