I saw another blogger post an entry about the book resolutions she has in 2013, which is WAAAAAY better than another stupid weight-loss resolution (I have anger from how many dieting commercials are on TV this month). I'm going to try to copy her idea (I should probably give her credit for it. Her list is here: Gimme Some Reads Reading List 2013), but first, I want to review some of the books I've read in 2012.
One thing I'm always very frustrated with is Bestseller Lists. Most of the books I am looking for are or have been on some bestseller list somewhere. But so has Fifty Shades of Grey and other terrible books. You really can't trust those things. But you really can't live without them. (Maybe this is a snobby English-major complaint, but I'm sure there are people out there who appreciate literature with the same righteous anger I do who aren't English majors.)
So, I'm going to help you out by telling you some of the Bestseller List books that were horrible and some that were wonderful (though books on my list are not strictly best sellers. They also weren't necessarily published in 2012).
The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling - There was no way that I was going to pass this book up. I LOVE J. K. Rowling, and always will. BUT this book was awful. I do have to say that it was beautifully written. I very much admire the way that Rowling moved about from each character's perspective, and managed to make all of the characters full and realistic. It was interesting to see the way all of the characters in this small town related to each other. The problem was the story. It was a brilliant idea, but also SO DEPRESSING. It's not even the good kind of sad either, like the kind of sad you actually like feeling because it's like an emotional exercise or whatever. This book just makes you really upset about the state of humanity. WOULD NOT RECOMMEND.
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn - This novel is absolutely brilliant. But again, probably not for the faint of heart. It is weird as FUCK, sometimes gross, and always grotesque. But I think that's what is so fascinating about it. It's like when you watch TV shows about serial killers and you think "oh, that is so absolutely awful, how depraved, why-I-never," BUT YOU STILL KEEP WATCHING IT. And it's interesting that this book is in the horror genre, though nothing scary or suspenseful ever happens. It's just horrifying, I guess. But really, despite all of that, I love this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a very thought-provoking novel. I believe that this one says a lot about our society, despite the mostly fictional reality it takes place in. Also, not a difficult read at all. Probably about 300 pages. WOULD RECOMMEND.
Swamplandia by Karen Russell - Honestly, what drew me to this book was that the premise sounded a lot like that of Geek Love, and it was a New York Time's Bestseller. This ended up being a very depressing read, and again, not in a good way. Like Geek Love, it features a lot of depravity. Unlike Geek Love, that depravity is more realistic. Instead of being this messed up but clearly fictional family, the family featured in Swamplandia could very well be real. This novel is very much realistic fiction. And the last thing I want to think about is a 13 and 16 year old girl who are both basically abandoned by their father and how that leads to them getting lost, taken advantage of, becoming delusional, and getting raped by someone they grow to trust. And since I've already spoiled that rape bit for you, I'm going to tell you that it was probably one of the worst rape scenes I've ever read/watched (almost as bad as in Beloved by Toni Morrison), because the victim just let it happen. She was 13 and her mother had just recently died, so she had no idea that sex wasn't supposed to be like that. She knew she didn't like it, but she assumed that that was just a part of sex. HOW TERRIBLE IS THAT?! Ugh, it made me want to crawl into a hole and eat Cheetos all day. Also, this book was WAY too long, and way not worth it. WOULD NOT RECOMMEND.