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Kindle Culture: What I read in 2012

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These days, it seems like I'm just devouring books. I'm not sure if it's because it's so easy to download new books on my Kindle, or the hour plus each day I spend reading on my iPhone while trying to balance on the El, or the fact that I often can't fall asleep at night, but lately I find myself finishing up to three books in a week. While my elementary school teachers would be proud, this habit is not so healthy for my bank account. To save some bucks, I tend to read a lot of not-so great books I find on the lists of free books like Pixel of Ink or on Amazon's books for under $3.99. Sometimes the books on these lists are fabulous, but not always. (Someone recently mentioned to me that the Chicago Public Library lets you check out books for free on your Kindle—gotta look into that.)

Despite all the junk-reading I do, which on top of my reality TV-watching makes me incredibly cultured (not), I did manage to read a lot of great stuff this past year. Not all of these books came out in 2012, and I'm not claiming these are the best books of 2012—though some of them are considered among that list. This list merely represents the best of what's on my Kindle from 2012. 

A Dog's Purpose and its sequel, A Dog's Journey by Bruce Cameron and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein 
Okay, so thanks to my bichon poodle puppy Bialy, I'm a little obsessed with all things canine these days. While the third is not related to the first two, all three of these books are written from the perspective of the dog, which I just adored and because of which now spend a lot of time trying to figure out what Bialy is thinking. Whether or not you're a dog lover, I think you'll love all three of these doggy tales about the special and unbreakable bond between humans and their dogs.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 
Love it or hate it, this thriller about a super messed up marriage is one of the more disturbing, suspenseful books I've ever read—I couldn't put down. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
We learned about this magical book about a circus filled with all kinds of enchantment and mystery that arrives only at night from Oy! blogger Jon Meyer back in June—I read it based on his recommendation and this was definitely one of my absolute favorites from this year. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 
This book came out in back in '99 but resurfaced in 2012 when the movie came out. I hadn't read it before now—it's a classic coming-of-age story about all the awkwardness and angst that is high school and a really good one at that.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson 
This book about Peter Pan's friend Tiger Lily was recommended to me by a friend, otherwise I might never have discovered it. If you love Peter Pan and love stories and you have an imagination, you'll enjoy this book. 

50 Shades of Grey Trilogy, by E L James 
What? You know you read them too.

The Middlesteins: A Novel by Jami Attenberg 
I had to check this one out because it's written by a Jewish girl from the burbs of Chicago about a Jewish family in the burbs of Chicago. While not an uplifting story, the characters are so well-written and real I felt like they were people I knew—and maybe they are. It's a good read filled with local references and landmarks those of you from the North Shore will definitely recognize.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 
This is one of the best and one of the saddest books I have ever read. It's about love, cancer and childhood. Have tissues ready.

As we move into 2013, it's about that time to refresh my Kindle, so tell me—what's on your reading lists? I need your help to keep feeding my crazy reading habits!

PS-While we're on the subject of Kindles, I should mention that the anthology I edited, Living Jewishly: A Snapshot of a Generation, came out on Kindle last month, so if you haven't yet checked it out, now's a good time!

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