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Even Chuck Norris Approves: The Best Books of Cannonball Read IV

By Mswas Sawsm | Book Reviews | December 31, 2012 | Comments ()


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It was the best of books, it was the worst of books. The Cannonball Read IV participants (*even the Junior Cannonballers) have submitted their lists of the best of what they've read in 2012. Read their glowing reviews below and get some suggestions for your "to read" list. You might need some suggestions for when you sign up for Cannonball Read FIVE, but never fear, it's not Pajiba without some scathing reviews. Check out the companion piece, The Worst of Cannonball Read IV, to see where to steer clear.

Petalfrog:
Hell or High Water by Joy Castro
The Help by Kathryn Sockett
Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Scootsa1000:
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
City Under the Moon by Hugh Sterbakov

Bunnybean*:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Joemyjoe*:
Ghost Buddy Zero to Hero by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

TylerDFC:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Terror by Dan Simmons
Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane

Alexis:
King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

KatSings:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts

lyndamk:
NW by Zadie Smith
Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Creation by Gore Vidal

ElCicco:
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Malin:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess

Katie:
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey

CommanderStrikeher:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Replay by Ken Grimwood
Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

faquin:
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz>
Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
bitchfest by Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler

amurph11:
War by Sebastian Junger
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield

Mrs. Smith:
Alif, the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
Washed In the Blood by Lisa Alther
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

taralovesbooks:
Corridor by Robin Parrish
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

bothari:
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
The Moon and The Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre

loopyker:
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life by Kevin Sorbo
Tailwavers by Sally Watson

pyrajane:
The Book of Flying by Keith Miller
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Illustrated by Jim Kay, Inspired by Siobhan Dowd
Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism's Work Is Done by Susan J. Douglas

The Scruffy Rube:
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
We're Gonna Win Twins by Doug Grow

Sonk:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Baxlala:
The Fault in Our Stars: by John Green
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield

Krista:
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
7 by Jen Hatmaker

ambern:
The Fortunate Son by Walter Mosley
Hunting Eichmann by Neal Bascomb
The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde

sevenstories broke it down for us by adult and YA:
Top 3 adult books are:
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Top 3 YA are:
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
My Name is Mina by David Almond
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

idgiepug:
The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
Boy Meets Boy by David Levitan
The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

evenstevens:
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

El L Cool J:
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This is where I leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness by Reinhard Kleist
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

narfna:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Stacey:
The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman

faintingviolet:
Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

What did you think? Have you read many of these? Surprisingly there were no Neil Gaiman books, nor any George R. R. Martin. Rob Sheffield made an appearance with a couple of books and so did Dan Simmons. The book with the most votes was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, with a close runner up of Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess). Find out which books to stay away from in our companion post The Worst of Cannonball Read IV.

(You, too, can be just like these fine folk in 2013. Sign up for Cannonball Read V!)


Off With Their Heads! The Worst of Cannonball Read IV | Off With Their Heads! The Worst of Cannonball Read IV


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Sara Habein

    Hang on, I submitted some, but I must have been lost in the shuffle. Two of mine are already mentioned above, but!

    #1 (easily) Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: http://glorifiedloveletters.bl...

    #2 Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: http://glorifiedloveletters.bl...

    #3 The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch: http://davidabramsbooks.blogsp...

  • German

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline had the most votes (5) followed by The Fault In Our Stars (4) then Let's Pretend (3); reading skill Check, Math skills...DOH!

  • PerpetualIntern

    I wish I could go back in time so I could experience The Night Circus again for the first time. I fell woefully short of a full cannonball last year when I started my new job. Perhaps I should go for the 1/2 this year...

  • Buck Forty

    That header pic: has Chuck Norris taken over from LA Reid as judge in the next X Factor? Awesome!

  • Irina

    The Fault In Our Stars is simply amazing. I cried and cried and cried, but it was all worth it. I tracked down and read everything John Green has ever written and nothing even comes close to this (Waiting for Alaska is a far distant runner-up).
    My favorite book this year was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the movie is quite good aswell.

  • Bodhi

    I really like Gone Girl, but I thought that Sharp Objects, Flynn's 1st book, was better. It was better written & WAY more freaky.

    LOVED Let's Pretend This Never Happened & Secret History.

    I think I need to sign up for at LEAST the 1/2 this year....

  • kirbyjay

    Got a Nook for Xmas and my first read was Gone Girl. There is something more freaky than this? Sharp Objects is on my list, thanks!

  • Bodhi

    I love thrillers & psychological dramas & I never react to them the way I did to Sharp Objects.

    I read the whole thing in a day & woke myself up that night by screaming in my sleep. Oh, it was good & oh, it fucked me up. I loved every creepy word of it, though

  • Semilitterate

    OK, there is something wrong here. I haven't read any of these books (on either list). I read plenty of books, probably average 3+ per week. My wife has read Light Between Oceans. I saw the move (miniseries?) Empire Falls but only because I will watch anything that includes PS Hoffman. Perhaps I don't belong on Pajiba----but then again maybe you guys need folks like me to keep you grounded

  • mswas

    Join Cannonball Read 5 and put some different books on next year's list!

  • Why do I always forget to respond to this kind of e-mail? Because I'm stupid. I'll just throw out This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong, White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland, and A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup by Tokyo SFX Makeup Workshop as my favorites for the year.

  • BLZ Bubb

    Sacre Bleu from Christopher Moore

  • Bodhi

    I'm reading it right now & I'm loving it!

  • The Gods of Gotham was one of the most disappointing books of the year to me. I didn't read it, but I saw it at a bookstore, got very excited, read the back cover, and then got quite irate when there was no mention of Batman.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I track my books through the year, though things slowed down in October. But I think my favorites this year:
    Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert
    Four Ways to Forgiveness by Ursula K. LeGuin
    And Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

    not deep, but fun fun fun:
    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
    The Cardboard Universe by Christopher Miller (esp if you are a Phillip Dick fan!)

    and Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts I picked up for research, but it's pretty fascinating.

  • SabrinaHatesDisqus

    As an ex-Cannonballer, I'm going to add my list here because I thought it would be fun to go back through the last year of reading. That's right, I know how to party.

    Short Stories of F Scott Fitzgerald
    Empire Falls - Richard Russo
    Main Street - Sinclair Lewis
    Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny - Robert Wright
    The Art of Choosing - Sheena Iyengar
    Panic! - Michael Lewis
    The Stuff of Thought - Steven Pinker

    I hadn't heard of The Fault in Our Stars before, I guess I'll have to check it out... And having now checked out the summary online, I have decreed it too depressing for me.

  • mswas

    @df5f10321556b8613cd0555fc997eb16:disqus I thought the same - that it would be too depressing - but somehow it's not. Somehow, it's wonderful.

  • SabrinaHatesDisqus

    It's too late, I read the plot summary on Wikipedia. I'm OK with my life choices.

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