First, the tried to reads:
1. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fford - which should have been just exactly my sort of thing, but was too precious for me. I listened to about half before I lost interest.
2. The Cat's Table, Michael Ondaatje - I tried both audio and print (Thank You Library!) and was bored with both. Survived a couple of chapters. It was well written, and no doubt amazing, but it was sooo very male.
3. Torch, Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl, I love you. I just couldn't do a cancer book just now.
OK, on to the good stuff:
1. The Woman Upstairs, Claire Massud - Ah. Maze. Ing. (Although I hated the ending twist.....which I didn't see coming, and really felt like it took a bit of something away.) Truth, I enjoyed it more as a character study than anything else. The plot...eh....that wasn't what counted. As I read it, I felt so deeply the anger and frustration the main character was experiencing. My guess is that Massud has touched upon something which is very, very common to the female experience...but just isn't talked about all that much.
2. Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple (audio) - A different take on the angry/creatively frustrated woman story. It was thoroughly engrossing, and highly enjoyable with an excellent mix of both high comedy and divine melancholy. The fact that it was a modern epistolary novel made it even better! I totally understand why this novel made so many best of 2012 lists.
3. The Hormone Cure, Dr. Sara Gottfried - ahem. The less said the better. Good book, though, and an excellent resource for women wanting to learn more about women's health.
4. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn - She's a sick, sick writer. I enjoyed it, but almost against my will. This is probably the most disturbing of Flynn's books. Have to say, I saw it coming.
5. Dark Places, Gillian Flynn - I enjoyed this one a whole heck of a lot more, but it's pretty disturbing as well. When I finished both, I was also struck with how seedy my Missouri is in Flynn's books.
6. Winter's Bone, Daniel Woodrell - I can't believe that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. Truth be told, I hadn't had any interest in reading it because of the movie (which makes no sense...but whatever). I'm so glad I decided to try it. If you are looking for an amazing female protagonist, Ree is it. I also feel that Woodrell has pulled off the difficult trick of writing of a place and a people without any sort of judgement upon them - good or bad.
7. World War Z, complete audio edition, Max Brooks - If you are at all interested in this book, you simply MUST get the complete audio. Each of the different stories that make up the 'novel' are read/performed by different actors (a rather impressive cast, I might add) and their different voices really add volumes to the text.
8. Wisp of a Thing, Alex Bledsoe - This is Bledsoe's second Tufa book, and it just came out this month. I had preordered it after falling completely in love with Bledsoe's work a month ago when I stumbled upon the first book. The bonus is that I discovered the music of Kate Campbell because of this book!
9. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman - Go read it. Go read it now. That is all. That and I totally agree with Gaiman about carrots.