Even just a few days into the Aardvark’s existence, I was asked, “What should I read in 2012?” Where to begin? (We do read a lot of books here.)
For the sake of brevity, I’ll mention just two books (well, one is a trilogy), that I was enormously glad I read last year and can’t stop recommending to people.
Fiction for good story
The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins). Is there a word for “fear of trends?” I can’t seem to find it (let me know if you do), but I was deeply skeptical about picking up such popular books. However, I was deliciously surprised and impressed. It has been a very, very long time since I’ve encountered such a strong female protagonist in Young Adult fiction. Courage, harsh conditions, battles, politics, humanity, compassion, etc. (Yes, this is YA fiction—I could hardly believe it myself.) I was describing it to a friend, and surmised that it’s somewhat similar to the battle school children of Ender’s Game, only with a female lead. (And if you haven’t read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, you should really do that, too. I re-read that series in 2011, if that counts.)
Non-fiction for learning
Your Money or Your Life (Vicki Robin). A few years ago I’d read the first edition of this, originally published in 1992. It was updated in 2008, and I was compelled to read it to see what they’d added. There are a lot of money books out there. What make this one good isn’t just how it guides you in finding out how you’re actually earning or spending your money, although it does that in practical, objective exercises. What makes it great is that it looks at what money really is and is used for, defining money (spoiler alert) as “something you trade your life energy for.” Then it helps you discover what you’re doing with yours. Robin steps back to non-monetary questions such as “What do you value in life?” and “Are you spending your money in ways that reflect what you value?” which are really at the root of anyone’s financial situation, regardless of how much you have (or don’t). Whether you do the more major tracking exercises they recommend or not, it’s fairly revelatory even just for the reading. It definitely triggered a few epiphanies for me.
So there’s the start of “books we love.” There are millions of books out there. Sadly, a large number of them are not that great. Some are really good. Some are great. Even fewer are those that are crafted so well we feel compelled to tell everyone we know about them.
We’d love to hear which books fall into that last category for you (mostly because we’d love to read them, too).