Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Best Books of 2012


This is always my favorite post to write.  I get to go back and look over all of the books I’ve read through the year and pick my favorites.  I seem to read between 80 and 90 books each year mostly fiction but with a healthy dose of history mixed in.  My list this year is as usual somewhat eclectic.  Half of my choices come from authors publishing their first books, guess that could bode well for great books in the coming years. I’ve chosen six books that are fiction, two that are history, a medical case study and one that almost defies categorization (Beautiful Forevers).  I try to keep my choices to books that are published in 2012 but I read two great books that were published earlier and I’ll mention them at the end.  Follow the link for the complete reviews.  So with no further ado and in alphabetical order my favorites from 2012.

The Age of Miracles (speculative fiction) despite a weak ending this coming of age story set in apocalyptic times is fresh, clever and memorable.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers –   the story of the underclass in a slum city in Mumbai blew me away. It is an unforgettable story that is rich and beautifully written, the characters are heartbreaking and the setting haunting. The story read like the best fiction, unfortunately it wasn’t.  A tremendous accomplishment for this author.

Brain on Fire (medical) the story of a young reporter with an undiagnosed brain infection is well written.  The author synthesizes complicated medical issues into readable prose offering yet another reminder not to enter today’s’ medical system without a strong patient advocate.

Broken Harbor (mystery) more tales of the Dublin Murder Squad result in an excellent psychological  mystery from the queen of them, Tana French. 

Casual Vacancy (fiction) the much anticipated JK Rowling adult novel was not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoyed this English small town story for its immersive experience and well drawn characters.

City of Women (historical fiction) this beautifully told story set in wartime Berlin examines the personal courage it takes to work against a totalitarian government.  Memorable!

Double Cross - (history) the story of British double agents and their deceptions in WWII.  A quirky British tale; great history well told.

Gone Girl – (mystery) this one is on everyones’ best books list and deservedly so.  A complex, suspenseful mystery that keeps you guessing right up until the end.

The Last Lion – (history) the final installment in William Manchester’s massive biography of Churchill is admittedly not for everyone.  But for me the story of this Victorian politician who had only words to fight Hitler in 1940 was superb and inspiring.  I listened to the audio edition and loved it.  Review to come.

In the Shadow of the Banyan (fiction) a fictionalized telling of the genocide in Cambodia in the late 1970s. This story and these characters will be embedded in your consciousness for a long time. 

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Art of Racing in the Rain (fiction) 2009 a poignant family story that is funny, sad and uplifting told from the point of view of the family dog Enzo.  Don’t miss this one.   

Child 44 (mystery) 2008 – a taut, chilling serial killer mystery set in Stalinist Russia.  The mystery is first rate and the back-story of the protagonist is excellent.  Best mystery I’ve read in a long time

2 comments:

Harvee Lau said...

I agree with the 3 that I have read including the Shadow of the Banyan, a first rate historical novel.

Sherry said...

I added three of your favorites to my (very long) TBR list, and I also linked to your list and recommended a couple of books for you for 2013:

http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=19391

Happy Reading!