Best Books of 2012

I recently asked some knowledgeable book people for the best books they’d read in 2012 (whether they were published this year or not.) Since I’m a reader as well as a writer, I’m always looking for something interesting to read. I loved the suggestions–I’d only heard of about a third of the titles, so my 2013 reading list is already underway. Dig in, see what you love, what you don’t know, what you maybe didn’t like as well as these people did, and feel free to add your own comments to the list below.

The Story of Little Orphan Courtenay, Written and Illustrated by Sara Paretsky

Ayo Onatade & Kelly Hager – Attica Locke’s The Cutting Season

Sara Jayne Townsend, Linda Gustavson, Izzanie Ismail, & Stephanie Wilkinson Hargett – Stephen King’s 11.22.63

Bob Calder – Rebecca Stott’s Darwin’s Ghosts

Lisa Eichholtz & Mary Kay Thompson – Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

Jeffrey Robert Broido – Cornell Woolrich’s Night Has a Thousand Eyes

Debra Polk – Beth McMullen’s To Sin Again

Shirley Schwartz – Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance

Pema Newton – Malla Nunn’s The Silent Valley

Beverly Henrich – J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy

Robert Coupée – Molly Ringwald’s When it Happens to You

Patrice Brown – Tana French’s Broken Harbor

Susan Hewitt – Michael Buckley’s The Sister’s Grimm

Stephanie K. Eller – Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power

Christine Morton – Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies

Ken Eisenstein – Chad Hardbach’s The Art of Fielding, Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Pattern, A Rumor of War by Phillip Caputo


  • Susan

    Interesting list – less literature (think the word in quotation marks) and more commercial, and more real for that. I have only read a couple, which means more for the damned TBR pile. Thanks.

  • Neve Rallow

    U.S. presidents have the therapy of receving all of the electoral votes of the states they need to assume the absolute unmonitored power they’ve created the presidency now taught in high school falsely in order to use. Gettysberg, finally getting to Gettysberg. Gettysberg, grouping conspirators, see? Whoa whoa whoa whoa Gettysberg, grouping conspirators, see? I would say 5% only of the Gettysberg map is now the CUSP, the Current U.S. president, his far right military “advisors,” his social agenda massage managers, his pseudo-intellectual university experts. The other 95% is the real United States now. It’s taken work. But as said, the CUSP simply scooped up all of a given state, Connecticut being one, to gain more insured absolute power. When I’m U.S. president my staff will be wearing Russian-style suits for at least the first year, as I will be.

  • Umang

    My favorites this year were ‘Evening is the Whole Day’ by Preeta Samasaran (for previously published books) and ‘Dear Life” by Alice Munro for new publications. please post yours, Sara! Happy new year- Umang

  • Neve Rallow

    So no one is ever going to look at the V.I. Warshawski blog sites? And I suppose no one is ever going to look at the Bonnie Erbe blog sites. And what about the blog sites, those were just some idiot’s dream? Look, we are talking here about possibly the most important legal discovery in the history of the modern United States. If three consecutive U.S. presidential administrations turn out to have been criminal conspiracies, the sky is no limit on what it can mean for the United States! Here are my preliminary estimates of what a modern U.S. president is required to do, and to make clear that he will do. First, he must with absolute rigid dedication pursue domestic law as Constitutional freedoms were intended the 225 years ago to allow a free citizenry to discover ways to make those laws more palpable, and thus more capable of being integrated into the minds of those most inclined to break them. In other words, he must protect women and children. A rough approximation of what has been made central instead is Bernie Madoff, they lost their savings and he’s Jewish. How shocking, someone Jewish in New York lost it. The second item on a real modern U.S. president’s agenda must be stabilizing and enhancing the relationship between Russia and Europe, so that confidence and mobility are the sole unifying principle as that possibly tremendous consortium has the potential to stop the arms trade in Africa and to otherwise intervene. A rough approximation of what has been made central instead is the doctrine that for three years Republicans have blocked the administration. The third item on a real modern U.S. president’s agenda must be to integrate the wrongful use of U.S. troops with the potentials for full law thought in every law-based nation, such as The Phillipines and Brazil since Europe is obvious. A rough approximation of what has been made central instead is the degenerate sexual character of those not in alignment with the administration’s use of U.S. troops. Oh, I get to use the V.I. Warshawski blog after all?

  • Neve Rallow

    The sad result of the criminal conspiracy by a Chicago-using U.S. president (Betty White, “No, it can’t be done, not a legally vastly superior version of a president who in that sense takes risks!”) is that, while posts have been removed just as Jodie Foster (do we need Betty White again here?) in “Contact” lost her right to use the big white radiotelescopes, I know them all. That is the sad reality which can be traced to there being a certain set of in fact hysterical young adult daughters who have chosen symbolically to have someone assign the use of heavy weapons to those needing a societal break of any type. Do we need Betty White a third time? We’re not even out of what would be a paragraph, were this site to recognize paragraphs. The sad reality is that I know and have copies of every post made on this, the V.I. Warshawski blog site, and can easily shuffle my memory deck. I have read all 15 V.I. Warshawski novels. Vivica Fox is the valid actress closest to the name V.I. Warshawski. Do we need Betty White a fourth time? In my previous post, the first criteria for a valid modern U.S. president was contrasted with the Bernie Madoff saga, when in fact he obviously relieved Jews from fears of being arrested, a point found connected to the Lotty character throughout the 15 novels. The second criteria for a valid modern U.S. president was contrasted with smearing Republicans (now, Betty White’s fifth entry opportunity), when the criteria itself matches Angela Merkel saying, “We need more Europe, not less.” As her sixth opportunity, Betty White can note how cute the photo of Merkel with that quote is. The third criteria for a valid modern U.S. president is what I began on above this evening, and so simply accompanies that whatever caused my lower legs to be in the shape they are in, and my mind to be with the terrain map it has currently (subject to change), doesn’t show up on domestic radar. So in this sense I’ve further stabilized my previous post. Perhaps Betty White can agree that doing so counts.

  • Neve Rallow

    Posts still there after more than a week. Where have domestic women been? I had to extensively take notes on them or in all ways “draw them in” from sidewalks and public places during ’11 so as to gain momentum to leave the orbit around Jupiter that being a U.S. citizen under the CUSP, the Current U.S. President, means one is in. ’10 required me to post on it. ’09 required certain kinds of basic legal processes and has to do with the question of the missing wrecky legs of U.S. women. There are many ingredients to leaving orbit around Jupiter (not the same as Jupiter’s orbit). Where is Jupiter’s pull the weakest? But that might not be the right place to use your fuel, since it’s also a question of being aligned to a return to earth. So you need a pretty good on board computer. Then there is the matter of reducing weight. It would be nice to throw stuff out the back of the space vessel, which would in fact create a slight amount of thrust. This has been discussed as a way to change the course of an asteroid, by landing something which would dig into it and spew its mass bit by bit out into space, creating a thrust under the basic Newtonian equation involved. But there’s really no way to throw stuff out the back of the vessel to add to thrust while firing its rocket engine in order to leave an orbit around Jupiter. One simply has to discard the discardable first, tossing it away from the vessel, to lighten it, rely on the on board computer, and then hit the fire button at exactly the right point. With every bit of fuel you have. Where have domestic women been?

  • Neve Rallow

    In order to stop a battle ship with a rowboat (and yes federal judges say there is a rowboat in the 15th V.I. Warshawski novel!), you need to establish that the battle ship does harm with its wake. But battle ships do hardly any harm with their wakes. So, you need to row very, very carefully so as to become able to establish that small differences in harm caused by wakes are actually important in the United States. You have to make sure that the wake from your row boat, proportionally, causes less harm than that from the battleship. And also, you have to do more work that was absolutely needed than the battleship.

  • Neve Rallow

    The illusion to my posts is that discussing what the CUSP, the Current U.S. President, does via apparently sophisticated adult verbal focuses, with the killing of other homo sapiens by U.S. citizen homo sapiens under his methods of attaining power under the circumstances allowing him to attain power during a lengthy timeline, is an isolated activity. Of course it is completely the opposite, the natural business of the United States. It is the natural business of Chicago “women,” the quotes indicating criminal impersonation of them, to dismantle the Cold War nuclear balance of terror. It was a method of destroying judgment about prior mass bombing of civilian women, which during World War II was actually told about the next day in the newspapers, so many runs over Germany. World War II needed to be examined as to exactly what it had to apply, such as flamethrowers. But mass bombing of civilians made that incredibly difficult to do in 1946. Returning to the point this Saturday, January 19, ’13 at 7:46 p.m. easterrn time. “Replay that!” Returning to the point this Saturday, January 19, ’13 at 7:46 p.m. eastern time. “Why did he say that?” Maybe he just tends to note the point in time it is when he thinks. So the CUSP conspired to destroy the ability of women in the United States to assess methods of sexual manipulating both themselves and teens as to the “space” in which “general killing” can occur, directed by himself, the CUSP. My job in part is to return love to women. It is also to completely allow them to discover what was stolen from them. I use both hands to do this. I have all ten fingers. I appear to need only the ten fingers to organize. There really couldn’t be more than this. So I can report that ten fingers are enough. So what will the CUSP say in about fifteen hours in Washington, DC? How will the CUSP pull it off? Perhaps……..the good deeds of young women will be featured in some “interesting” way.

  • kathy d.

    Several favorites of 2012: One I wholeheartedly recommend if Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, who teaches literature at the U. of Miss. It’s a novel of the South, about poverty, racism, friendship lost and found, the human condition. Everyone I know of who has read it loved it. Wonderful character development.

  • I read this a while back and agree; great novel.

  • Thanks, Umang–I’m adding Samasaran to my list

  • Neve Rallow

    In baseball lore, if it works then it works 100%. Posting to create a paper trail, edited out by destabilized Chicago hands or not, which is a component in the process to criminalize the CUSP, the Current U.S. President who takes credit for nothing and is not a hero at all per his terms, has worked. When U.S. citizens are cowed by the repetition of the same routines of fear, the CUSP prosecuting the world to bring justice since it once took place in the United States, as if foreign relations are done by trials with justice the goal, they lose their edges. My job is the bring their edges back fully. Here’s an example of how I do my job. Before I read the front page headline on how daughters will be allowed to prove how macho they are by being front line troops, I tried to shoot the equivalent of a free throw, although the car blocked the exact free throw line so I was shooting from a side angle. To my first attempt, I said, “Just missed.” To my second attempt, I said, “Not even close.” Then I said, “This one will.” It did. Left for pizza and bank officer talk with a smart, smart daughter. I saw the headline. On return, it took me 29 shots to do the same free throw from a side angle, about six of which were NBA level misses. Some were wild misses. After the 28th miss, I asked myself, did you see the headline between sinking the free throw on your third try and this marathon of misses? I realized that the answer was of course yes, I saw it outside the the pizza place. I made the next one, a minor nudge-in from off of the left side of the backboard, close to the basket. I made the next one, after 28, when I asked myself the question.

  • Memphisweaver

    Tana French is an exquisite writer. She is able to balance plot and character driven writing within the same novel. If you are interested in reading about conflicts between blacks and whites in the Deep South of the 1950’s, I recommend “The Ravine” by James Williamson. This novel is based on actual events that occurred in the author’s youth. It is raw and truthful in describing how violence and hatred took over a small Mississippi town’s core. The writing is excellent.

  • thanks for the recommendation about “The Ravine,” which is new to me. I agree with you about Tana French. I loved Faithful Place. I’m just now getting to The Book Thief, which I think is pretty amazing


    My favorite line so far from any of your books, made me laugh out loud! “I read that last sentence three times and decided that
    English might not actually be my first language”. Thanks for that!!


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