12 Best Books of 2012

So the 2012 reading year was interesting because I think this is the most I’ve explored different genres. I blame my book club for this, especially with our monthly discussions and their book recommendations. As a result, I didn’t reach the 150-ish book goal. However, I did enjoy exploring these other books that I wouldn’t normally read, so it’s still a pretty good year reading year.

I’ll talk about my reading stats more on another post. First, let’s get the best list out. 12 Best Books for 2012. Let’s get at it, shall we?

  1. Angelfall by Susan Ee. Gruesome, creepy and scary but absolutely fun. I read this book because of all the good reviews I read from my Goodreads friends, and I devoured it in several days. I loved Penryn the kick-ass heroine and the equally bad-ass angels who caused the apocalypse. When is the sequel coming out again? Please make it soon?
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The Fellowship of the Ring

Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord of the Rings # 1
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Number of pages: 458
My copy: mass market paperback, bought from National Bookstore

Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power except one — the One Ring that rules them all — which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task when Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

* * *

When the first of the Lord of the Rings movie came out a little over ten (!!!) years ago, I admit that I only watched it for two reasons: (1) everyone in my senior high school class was watching it; and (2) all the girls in my class who has watched the movie were all raving about Legolas. I didn’t care about the book (I can’t even remember if I knew of the book back then), but I only watched it because I didn’t want to be left out. I was sufficiently amazed by the movie (even if my dad slept halfway through it — it was our “date”), and I was charmed by Legolas, but I didn’t become one of the people who would watch it over and over and over again. In fact, when I tried watching it again while I was alone, I fell asleep! When I learned of the book, I knew that I wouldn’t read it anytime soon because I wasn’t a fantasy reader and I honestly thought watching the movie was enough.

My stance on not reading the trilogy remained the same even as I was exploring fantasy and as I started blogging about books. I’ve heard so many things about it — how it’s so hard to read, how it can be boring and how it’s not for everyone, so the part of me that gets intimidated by high fantasy decided to leave it alone. Until of course, it became our book of the month for my book club’s discussion. Being a co-moderator of the book club, I felt like I had no choice but to read it.

I don’t think I need to recap what happened in this book for anyone because I feel that everyone knows about it already. (But if you really need to know it’s this: Frodo Baggins inherits an evil ring of power from his uncle Frodo and he has to go to Mount Doom with friends and some people — who and they eventually form a fellowship — to destroy the ring before the bad guys get it.) So here’s my big surprise with The Fellowship of the Ring: it wasn’t such a hard read after all. Maybe if I attempted to read this back in high school or even in college, I wouldn’t have liked it as much. But now…I actually found it quite easy to get into. Oh, the prologue is kind of boring, but after that? It was really kind of easy. I suppose I had the proper conditioning too, because I read Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker the previous month (which is pretty high fantasy too) followed by George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones a few weeks later, which I read almost simultaneously with this book. I suppose this put me in the proper fantasy mindset, which perhaps helped it become easier for me to read. Sure, the hobbits and elves sang so many times in the book, and sure, Tolkien described the scenery in so much detail that it can be a bit boring at times…but overall? I thought The Fellowship of the Ring deserved all the praises that it has gotten ever since.

I guess it helped that I already had the visualization of the movie while I read the book, so sometimes I can’t help but smile whenever I remember Orlando Bloom as Legolas or Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. I loved the Council of Elrond scene even if it was the longest chapter of the book, and I was excited to get to the Balrog scene with Gandalf shouting, “You cannot pass!” (the movie version seemed more kick-ass, though!). But overall, I realized how much I liked Frodo and Sam’s friendship was written in this book. I never really cared for Sam in the movie (especially after it has been tainted so much because of their seemingly bromantic relationship), but in this book, I thought he was such a darling. Sam’s loyalty was the highlight of this book, and I loved how he was so devoted to his friend in his simple minded ways. It totally changed everything for me when I rewatched the movie.

As with A Game of Thrones, I felt a certain kind of accomplishment when I finished reading this book. LOL, I felt like I was such a cooler geek when I was done with this, but apparently, I think I need to read the other LOTR books before I can be certified. :P Which I really intend to do, especially because I really liked The Two Towers and the ending of The Fellowship of the Ring was kind of a cliffhanger.

To sum it up: I get it. I get what makes this series so amazing — or at least, a part of it, anyway. :) It helps that this appreciation was fueled by our book club’s discussion afterwards. Look at us here:

Goodreads – The Filipino Group Face-to-Face Discussion # 6: Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (photo from Maria)

The Fellowship of the Ring is definitely one of those books that one should read in their lifetime. I’m really glad this won as our book of the month last June. :)

Rating: [rating=5]

Required Reading: June

So where exactly did May go?

I know I asked the same thing last month, but I’m serious. I thought May was a long month, but lo and behold, suddenly it’s gone. And we’re in June, the sixth month of the year and before we know it, the year is half gone! WAIT! I am not ready!

Okay, the real reason I’m kind of freaking out is because I didn’t get to read any of the books I listed last May. I know, right — and it had to be the month I listed two books. I didn’t even reach halfway for one. In fact, I didn’t even put any of the books in my currently reading list — both of them stayed in my office lockers. *headdesk* How lame was that?

On the upside, I did read good books last month, just not the books I was intending to read. I was thinking of putting them in this month’s list again, but who am I kidding? Given the rate I read things now, I doubt I’d be able to squeeze those books in again. (And they seem to be really awesome books, too! *pout*)

I’m going to be realistic this time.

Required Reading - June

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