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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking Back: Personal Best

Before the year ends, I am compelled to add my Best Books of 2012 to the cyber sphere. I’ve seen several lists in the last week or two and feel like I should look back over the books I read and enjoyed in 2012 and share my favorites.  
First of all, I’ll always remember 2012 as the year I discovered YA author John Green. My older daughter introduced me to him and I quickly read all his books and heard him speak twice in January. It was a big year for Green with the release of The Fault in Our Stars. I know I wasn’t alone in my enjoyable discovery of his books. I also count reading the Australian fiction standout Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey as one of the highlights of my reading year. I will continue to encourage everyone I know to read that soon-to-be classic.
But the book that stands out from all the rest is a novel I haven’t reviewed yet. I didn’t feel I could do it justice. However, I cannot let 2012 end without sharing the most stunning book I read this year, maybe ever. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, published in 2008, just came to my attention this year, thanks to my book club and dear friends Beverly and Linda.  Words cannot do justice to this perfect novel.
With a theme that offers hope in the midst of a dark situation, this book is based loosely on a true event that took place during the Siege of Sarajevo in 1992. I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew very little about this atrocious violent massacre during the Bosnian War.
The centerpiece of the book is the true story of a professional cellist with the Sarajevo Opera who performed in the midst of a battle zone for 22 days to honor 22 innocent citizens who had been killed while waiting in a bread line. The people of Sarajevo and the music they heard are honored in this book narrated by four main characters. The story is one of humanity and dignity in the face of brutality. The redemptive music is the backdrop for this amazing novel. Don’t make me say it again – read this book.