Amazon’s 2012 Best Books of the Year
Amazon.com just released their list of this year’s best books this morning (November 13, 2012). In contrast to previous years’ lists, the editors admit that this year was tough to select due to what they call a “embarrassment of riches.” All year long they read and loved so many books that in their words, “the usually spirited Best of the Year meetings were, well, especially spirited. For a while there it looked like a winner would be too close to call.” However, they seem to have managed, fortunately for us.
Landing solidly at Number 1 is Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, a veritable masterpiece of writing, story and message, a truly Great American novel from a longtime novelist some might call undersung. There are fabulous debuts, too – like Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a novel by Ben Fountain.
You’ll see names you recognize – Junot Diaz, Dave Eggers, and Salman Rushdie; but if others are less well known to you – Jami Attenberg, Richard Parry, Carol Anshaw –they won’t stay that way for long. They’ve got fiction and nonfiction, light reading and serious stuff, books that entertain and inspire, elucidate and educate (but never in a homework-y way).
Also new this year, they asked some well-known people, including such literary luminaries as John Green, Stephen King and Gillian Flynn, to tell us what topped their reading lists.
From John Green:
“My favorite book published this year was Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, the story of several families in a Mumbai slum. It’s a thrilling page-turner that also captures the complex results of globalization and the spread of industrial capitalism.”
“I also really loved John Barnes’ Losers In Space and D. T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, two books that could hardly be more different but together capture the encouraging breadth of contemporary American literature.”
From Stephen King:
Say You’re Sorry by Michael Robotham: “‘The Bingham Girls’ disappeared three years ago, but their story is far from over. Their fate is gruesome, their courage ennobling. Never-lets-up suspense and beautiful writing.”
And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman: “Heloise Lane is a single suburban mother who also happens to run a high-priced escort service. When the barrier between her two lives starts to crumble, the results are mesmerizing. Lippman writes with clarity and power.”
The Good Son by Michael Gruber: “Sonia Bailey is part of a ‘peace symposium’ that is taken prisoner by Muslim extremists in Pakistan. This is a thriller, but also a novel of the mind–I learned more about the radical mindset in these 320 pages than in all the political punditry I’ve read or watched in the last five years. Highly recommended.”
From Gillian Flynn:
“My favorite book of 2012 was Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Her brilliant fictional account of the deadly war of wills between Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn is so present, so precise that she actually tricks you into thinking you don’t know the ending.”
“My other favorite reads this year were Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye—one of the most unnerving, entertaining, involving period mysteries I’ve read in years (and I read a lot of period mysteries)—and Losing Clementine. Ream’s novel about a manic-depressive artist who is planning her own suicide is poignant and insightful and also surprisingly funny, thanks to its nasty, charming narrator.”