Of all the poetry I read in 2012, two books stayed with me the longest, and both were published in 2012. So while, I wanted to select one book for each genre I read, I opted to break the rule in the poetry category and highly recommend these two collections:
Both of these collections are powerful in the words and imagery the poets use to discuss not only family, but also the societal expectations and ethnic constraints their subjects face throughout history and int today’s world. These struggles continue to be present, real, and humbling. The poems in these collections strive to give readers pause — to collect their thoughts and to reform their own behavior.
In fiction, this is my top selection for the year:
Umrigar is an author who has yet to disappoint me with her work. She makes the Indian culture come alive for me. I loved this novel and its intricacies about social movements and idealism versus realities and cultural norms. And even when things can pull friends in different directions, there is often the pull of shared history that can hold them together.
In memoir — which I don’t often read a lot of because I don’t find it that enjoyable most of the time — this was my top selection and it shouldn’t be a surprise:
While this Vietnam War memoir is about Delmar Presley, it is also about the hardships that family members of war veterans often face given that violence and war has changed their loved ones into people they do not recognize or often understand. Christal’s experiment to engage with her father, his past in Vietnam, and their shared past is striking, engaging, and emotional. It’s a memoir that any war veteran, family member, or person dealing with PTSD should read.
In Young Adult Fiction, there is no one else’s book that could match Beth Kephart’s mastery of language, character, and setting for me. She tackles tough subject matter with a fine pen and a compassionate hand. So for me, the winner in this category was easily:
Finally, in the short story category, it was a tough choice for me as one of my favorite collections was finished earlier in the year, Tracks by Eric D. Goodman, and another later in the year, Enchantment by Thaisa Frank. But after a lot of thought, I chose Tracks because those characters just made me year to ride the rails with them and enjoy their journeys over again:
What books were on your best list for 2012?