Best book of 2012: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. Hands down. Granted I didn't read many books this year that were actually released this year, but this book speaks to me on a level few others match, to the extent that my therapist suggested using it in our sessions. It also gave me a completely new appreciation for Fire, which I had previously been meh about.
Best book of 2012 not written in 2012: The only other new read I gave five stars to this year was Poison Study by Maria Snyder. It's pretty amazing, but my enthusiasm for it has been dampened by how disappointing the sequels, especially the "Glass" series, were. The world had so much promise, and the subsequent books rarely lived up to that potential, and sometimes had really unfortunate implications. So if you're going to read the book, do yourself a favor and stop there.
Authors of the year: I read 14 books by Tamora Pierce this year and 12 by Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant. They both have series(...es?) that are extremely addictive, and though they write for different age groups, I recommend their books to all fantasy fans who like kickass female heroines. My favorites: Squire and Emperor Mage by Pierce, and the heart-wrenching short story In Sea-Salt Tears by McGuire. And yes, those are all later books/stories that you have to read the earlier books in the series to get to. Muahahahaha.
Chapter of the year: Chapter 26 of Feed. LIFE-DESTROYING.
Also: This year I finally finished my Goodreads Challenge of reading 50 books! I think next year I'll up it to 75. I would like to thank the awesome women who write addicting fantasy series for this achievement.
Musical artists listened to most: According to last.fm, they were Fun., the New Pornographers, Florence + the Machine, Tegan and Sara, and Neko Case. This year was the year I really got into Tegan and Sara, who are amazing.
Favorite songs of 2012:
- Look, I really like "Gangnam Style". It's fun and dancey and strangely subversive once you research the lyrics. Plus, PSY just looks like he's having so much fun. Video: Eeeeeey, sexy lady!
- My love for it has faded a bit due to overexposure, but I can't not mention "Some Nights". The fact that a song I loved this much got so popular warms my heart. You mean regular people really like harmonies and power-pop and Nate Ruess's voice? ME TOO! Let's be friends! Video: This is it boys, this is war.
- "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers is a sweet, simple love song that makes me smile. "I don't know where I belong / I don't know where I went wrong / but I can write a song." Yep, sounds about right. Video: I'd be standing on Canal and Bowery.
- This didn't come out this year, but I discovered it only recently: "Settle Down" by Kimbra. I have Alan to thank for introducing me to this gorgeous song that's more than a little bit unsettling. Video: On just one knee for now.
- Honorable mentions: Of Monsters and Men - "Little Talks", Imagine Dragons - "It's Time", Gotye - "Somebody That I Used to Know", Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (Like... ever.), Jay-Z & Kanye West - "N***as in Paris"
- Guilty pleasure: Maroon 5. Yeah, I know. I can't help it if One More Night is catchy as hell.
Best movie seen in theaters: Come on, did anyone really think I was going to award this to something other than The Hobbit? It's not the best movie ever made (or even the best Middle-earth movie ever made), but I just want to love it and squeeze it and call it George. Martin Freeeeeeman.
Movie I regret not seeing in theaters: The Hunger Games. It was amazing and so true to the book, especially visually.
Favorite TV show discovered this year: Teen Wolf. Shut up. It's one of those shows that's deceptively mainstream, but a lot of thought goes into it if you look past the hott dudes with no shirts on. Although there's that, too. Female gaze FTW.
Honorable mention: The Legend of Korra. It's no Avatar, but it tries.
Best rediscovery: Dollhouse. I never finished watching it the first time, but watching it again for Mark Watches I'm catching all sorts of nuance and awesomeness I didn't see before. Also TOPHER MY HEART.
Biggest life change of 2012 (positive): I got a job motherfucker. It is such a relief to be able to support myself! Working full-time is something I wasn't even sure I would be able to do, but I've been doing it for six months now and so far I'm not dead.
Biggest life change of 2012 (negative): I like my job, but I am really sad that it makes me so busy and tired that I can't foster kittens anymore. I miss my kitties so much. I haven't had one since Pippin and he was almost a year ago... but I remember how overwhelming it was even while working only 20 hours a week, and I know I'd run myself ragged if I tried to do it now. Someday, perhaps, I will be able to foster again. In the meantime, I have my own kitty and she is wonderful (and I'm sure especially happy that I'm not fostering anymore), but I miss getting to know all the different kitty personalities, and there's something special about the teeny-tiny ones. They're challenging and rewarding and when you finally earn their trust and love, it's a wonderful thing.
Speaking of tiny creatures--If it was a big year for me, it was huge for my niecelet, who turned 1 this year. I mean, she learned to walk and run and talk and do sign language! How awesome is that? Even though I only get to see her every few months, I love watching her grow up. She's not just "aww, cute baby" anymore--she's turning into a person.
I hope everyone has an awesome New Year's Eve. Happy 2013!