The Best Books of 2012
January 8, 2013 36 Comments
I’ve read 203 books in 2012. I had a great year with some wonderful books. How to choose the best ones? I made a list of all 5 star books I reviewed in 2012 and then crossed off books until I ended up with a number of books that I all found equally good, in their own way.
So, here are the books I consider my best fiction reads for 2012, in no particular order – except for the first one: Ready Player One is standing out for me as a book I lived rather than loved. In the days that I was reading the book, even when I was doing other things, the characters in the book stayed alive for me in a sort-of alternate universe. Only when I’d finished the book I could shake off this feeling. In other words, it totally got under my skin. That, for me, is a great book.
Click on the titles to see my reviews
Overall favorite of 2012:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Science fiction.
This book is about a world in which most people use an online system, OASIS, for their daily living. Wade Watts is 18 years old and spends all his time there. He’s looking for a treasure that has been left behind by the inventor of OASIS.
Through playing old-fashioned computer games and movies, he gets closer to the treasure, but the powerful Sixes, who work in a large team, are on his tail. They will stop at nothing to get to the treasure.
Other favorites in no particular order:
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. Historical fiction. Laura moves from the city to an isolated farm in the 1940s, that her husband wants to run. But Laura is culture-shocked. Their tenants are black sharecroppers, and things turn sour when the son comes back from the war in Europe, where he was treated as an equal.
Waterline by Ross Raisin. Literary fiction. A newly widowed man can’t stand staying in the house where he lived with his wife. When he also loses his job he decides to leave. His circumstances deteriorate rapidly.
The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell. Contemporary fiction. Two teenage girls bury their parents in the back garden and try to get on with life. With the death of their neglective parents, it seems the girls’ lives are improving, but what will happen when the bodies are found, as they inevitably will?
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones. Historical fiction. Early 1900s and the impoverished occupants of a country manor aren’t happy to find a group of stranded rail travellers on their doorstep.
Heaven and Hell by Jón Kalman Stefánsson. Historical fiction, literary fiction. A beautiful story about a twenty-year old boy who loses his best friend when they are out at sea finishing in the dark, freezing, sea near Iceland
The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. Contemporary fiction. A death in the parish council leaves a small town in search for a new candidate. Many people get involved.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. Contemporary fiction. A woman lives in small-town Appalachia where nothing much happens, until she finds a large colony of butterflies in the woods. The whole world comes to her small town.
Room by Emma Donoghue. Contemporary fiction. A little boy and his mother have been spending years in a room, kidnapped by a man. Will they ever escape?
Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen. A well-known female politician was captured five years ago and put in a concrete prison. Detective Carl Mork and his Syrian cleaner are solving cold cases and end up on the trail of the kidnappers.
Before I Go to Sleep by S. L. Watson. (re-read) A woman wakes up every morning not remembering who she is and who the man next to her in bed is.
The Discovery of Jeanne Baret by Glynis Ridley. History. In the 1760s, a young French peasant woman sails around the world dressed as a man. Jeanne Baret travels as the assistant of the botanist Philibert Commerson, with whom she has had a relationship that started when they worked together in France.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. When the hurricane Katrina hits, a man stays behind in New Orleans to look after people, animals and houses.
Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson. Fifty is not the new thirty and Tracey Jackson tells you why.
Are any of these books your favorites too?