Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
This story traces the history of a fictional Vermeer painting, beginning in the present day and going back to the painting's origins. Because of the title and subject, I thought this was a companion to Girl with a Pearl Earring, but it is actually a completely different author. The stories of the painting's various owners are intriguing, and it's interesting to see how their lives intersect. I also enjoyed reading about Holland, as I'm not very familiar with its history.
A Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way Through Love, Loss, and Laughter by Rachael Herron
Since I started knitting this year, I couldn't resist when this memoir was offered as the Kindle Daily Deal. It's a sweet, simple book, and the stories about how the knitting community supports one another are heartwarming. It definitely made me depressed about my knitting skills, though; the things she describes knitting are crazy hard!
All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreve
I don't know how Shreve does it, but every single one of her books is such a page-turner. This one takes place in the early 1900s and explores a man's ill-fated obsession with his secretive wife. It starts out a little slow, but by about 1/3 of the way through, I couldn't put it down.
Working by Studs Terkel
I've been working on this huge book since September, reading just one or two short sections each night before bed. It's a collection of interviews of people from all different professions --- from a prostitute to a banker to a union leader. The people basically just talk about what they do and how they feel about it, but it's really quite fascinating. This was written in the 1970s; I'd love to see something similar done today. A worthwhile read, even though it's quite a commitment.
I've enjoyed tracking what I read this year. I think I'll keep it up indefinitely. I have a poor memory for book and movie plots, so it's nice to have a reminder I can look back at. And the simple exercise of summarizing a book helps cement it in my mind.
And since I love lists, I thought it'd be fun to do a miniature "best of" list for my 2012 books. You're welcome. :)
Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Best Food Book
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of 4 Meals by Michael Pollan
"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
Best "Gimmick" Book
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker