Even though this is considered a nonfiction blog, every so often I like to read a little fiction. When I do, I usually read international stuff, with some of it translated from other languages. Besides giving me a break from my usual diet of nonfiction, such forays into the world of fiction allowed me to participate in the 2012 Global Reading Challenge and helped me with other reading challenges like the Books in Translation Reading Challenge and the European Reading Challenge. Now, with the end of the year just hours away, I think it’s time for me to reflect on what I read over the course of the year and decide just what are my favorite works of fiction from 2012.
- The Chosen by Chaim Potok – I was surprised at how much this “great American novel” has stood up over the years. Great at addressing such timeless topics as friendship, secularism and cultural rivalry.
- World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks – Even though my Review Policy clearly states I won’t go touch anything dealing with vampires, werewolves or zombies I loved this novel. One of the most creative novels I’ve read in a long time.
- Passage of Tears by Abdourahman Waberi – Another creative novel. Deceptively sophisticated with lots of levels and influences. And come on, how often does one get the opportunity to read a novel set in the small East African nation of Djibouti?
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – It’s been years since I read Handmaid’s Tale, or anything else by Atwood. Can anyone do the end of the world like her?
- Panther in the Basement by Amos Oz – A short but tightly told tale of the founding of the State of Israel through the eyes of a teen boy. Charming and entertaining.
Three other novels came close to making my best of list, but due to their lackluster endings came up a bit short. Satan in Goray, Divorce Islamic Style and The Mirage came very close to making the list. For now, I’ll consider them as honorable mentions.