Kristen D. Randle

Best Books of the Year: My personal Top 20

2012 Juli Frantje-Haus Selfpic.

(After a popular list last year [Link]…)

…here are the 20 very best books I’ve read in 2012:

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20: JASON SHIGA, „Bookhunter“, Graphic Novel, 2007.
Bookhunter

19: GAYLE FORMAN: „If I stay“, Young Adult Novel, 2009.
If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)

18: DAVID MARKSON: „The Last Novel“, (postmodern) Novel / Lists / Trivia Collection, 2007.
The Last Novel

17: SHARON M. DRAPER: „Out of my Mind“, Young Adult Novel, 2010.
Out of My Mind

16: OCTAVIA BUTLER: „Kindred“, (Fantasy) Novel, 1971.
Kindred

15: JOHAN HARSTAD: „Buzz Aldrin, what happened to you in all the Confusion?“, Novel (Norway), 2005.
Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?

14: KRISTEN D. RANDLE: „The only Alien on the Planet“, Young Adult Novel, 1995.
The Only Alien on the Planet

13: DANIELA KRIEN: „Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen“, Novel (German), 2011.
Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen

12: TENNESSEE WILLIAMS: „A Streetcar named Desire“, Play, 1947. […alternative / runner-up: HENRIK IBSEN: „A Doll’s House“, Play (Norway), 1879.]
A Streetcar Named Desire and A Doll's House

11: ARNO GEIGER: „Der alte König in seinem Exil“ (Austrian) Alzheimer Memoir, 2011.
Der alte König in seinem Exil

10: SARAH LEAVITT: „Tangles. A Story about Alzheimer’s, my Mother and me“, Graphic Novel, 2010.
Tangles : a story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me

09: ARNE BELLSTORF: „Baby’s in Black“, Graphic Novel (German), 2010.
Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles in Hamburg

08: SCOTT SNYDER: „Batman: The Court of Owls“, Graphic Novel (and good start for new „Batman“ readers):
Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

07: STEWART O’NAN: „The Odds. A Love Story“, Novel, 2012.
The Odds: A Love Story

06: JOACHIM HELFER, RASHID al-DAIF: „Die Verschwulung der Welt“, Essay (German / Persian), 2006.
Die Verschwulung der Welt.

05: ALEXIS M. SMITH: „Glaciers“, Novel, 2012.
Glaciers

04: JOE HILL: „Locke & Key“ series, Graphic Novels, 2008 to 2013.
Locke and Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

03: MARLEN HAUSHOFER: „The Wall / Die Wand“, Austian novel, 1962.
Die Wand

02: GERBRAND BAKKER: „The Detour / Der Umweg“, Dutch novel, 2010.
Der Umweg

01: RUTH KLÜGER: „Still alive. A Holocaust Girlhood remembered“, Memoir / Essay, 1992.
Weiter leben. Eine Jugend.

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For a complete list of books I’ve read in 2012, please go here [Link].

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In comics, I’ve also enjoyed Guy Delisle’s travelogues / non-fiction graphic novels „Burma Chronicles“ [Link], „Pyongyang“ [Link] and „Jerusalem“ [Link], the „New 52“ DC comic books featuring „Wonder Woman“ [Link], „Green Lantern“ [Link], „Swamp Thing“ [Link] and the „Birds of Prey“ [Link] – and large parts of Naoki Urasawa’s „Pluto“ [Link]

…and „Honey & Clover“ [Link], a „Scott Pilgrim“-like, bittersweet / comedic coming-of-age manga series about five friends at an art school.

Here’s a collage of my notable graphic novel discoveries in 2012:

Wordpress Graphic Novels Best-of 2012.

Have a good 2013! More to come!

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Underdog Literature, September 2012: 15 fresh or compelling, off-the-wall titles

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Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: TOM BISSELL, „Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation“, 301 pages, 2012. [Nonfiction / Creative Writing]

02: JOHN GARDNER, „Nickel Mountain“, 312 pages, 1963.

03: PADGET POWELL, „Edisto“, 192 pages, 1984.

04: MICHEL BUTOR, „Mobile“, 319 pages, 1959. [Journalism / Collage / Nouveau Roman]

05: ROBERT BOSWELL, „Crooked Hearts“, 352 pages, 1967.

06: MOIRA CRONE, „The Not Yet“, 272 pages, 2012. [Dystopia / Science Fiction]

07: ROBERT COOVER, „The Public Burning“, 544 pages, 1977.

08: RICHARD E. KIM, „The Martyred“, 240 pages, 1964. [Korean]

09: WILLIAM SAROYAN, „The Human Comedy“, 256 pages, 1943.

10: LARRY WOIWODE, „Beyond the Bedroom Wall“, 625 pages, 1975.

11: JONATHAN RABAN, „Bad Land: An American Romance“, 384 pages, 1985. [History / Nonfiction]

12: TIM THARP, „Falling Dark“, 256 pages, 1999.

13: ELIZABETH TALLENT, „Museum Pieces“, 233 pages, 1985.

14: DONALD ANTRIM, „Elect Mr. Robinson for a better World“, 192 pages, 1993.

15: LEWIS NORDAN, „Wolf Whistle“, 290 pages, 2003.

16: DOROTHY ALLISON, „Two or three Things I know for sure“, 112 pages, 1995. [Memoir]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: JENNY LAWSON, „Let’s pretend this never happened“, 318 pages, 2012. [Memoir / Comedy]

02: HERMAN KOCH, „The Dinner“, 300 pages, 2008. [Netherlands; German title: „Angerichtet“]

03: KLAUS MANN, „Der Wendepunkt. Lebensbericht“, 737 pages, 1942. [Memoir]

04: MAGDA SZABO, „Door“, 272 pages, 1987. [Hungarian]

05: MILENA MICHIKO FLASAR, „Ich nannte ihn Krawatte“,  [Austrian; Rezensionsexemplar, danke an Verlag Klaus Wagenbach!]

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…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

4 of 5 stars: KRISTEN D. RANDLE, „The only Alien on the Planet“, 228 pages, 1995. [Young Adult; recommended if you liked „To Kill a Mockingbird“]

4 of 5 stars: DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, „This is Water“, 64 pages, 2005. [Nonfiction / short, likeable commencement speech]

4 of 5 stars: ARNO GEIGER, „Der alte König in seinem Exil“, 192 pages, 2011. [Nonfiction / Memoir, Austrian]

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This month, to find new titles, I went through several lists of personal recommendations from my favorite living author, Stewart O’Nan (Link).

The 15 books that I picked weren’t, for the most part, HIS recommendations. But all the authors make appearances on THESE (O’Nan-curated) lists:

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