As the year is winding itself up, I’m taking this week to catch up on reviews (this means there’ll be two posts of mini-reviews), do the year end wrap-up posts of various kinds, and dream a little dream of you start looking ahead to 2013.
2012 was an excellent year in reading. I read varied kinds of books and genres and discovered lots of things to love. Below is the list of my favorite books in 2012 in no particular order – any one of these books will give you lots of reading pleasure in what’s left of this year or in the coming year. Each book is linked to my review where you can read much much more about each book.
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane – Lehane’s latest novel follows the career of a rebellious son and his journey through the world of the mob in the twenties. Lehane’s a fine writer and this is a fine book.
The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle – Surprising, beautiful, and profound – this is Victor LaValle’s breakout book. Call it literary fiction, horror, literary horror – call it whatever you like – this is a story.
Blackbirds and Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig – The first two books in one of the best urban fantasy series I’ve ever read. Miriam, Wendig’s main character, continually delighted me with her toughness, her sense of humor, and her inability to stay neutral. Honestly, I want to be Miriam.
Broken Harbor by Tana French – Tana French always proves that she is something other than a writer of crime fiction. Yes, she transcends her genre, although I think crime fiction is often transcendent when written well. Her plots are devilishly complex and she always offer both insight and creep in unexpected ways.
Eat the City by Robin Shulman – I love both food and social history – combine the two topics and I’m in heaven. One of the best and most inspiring books I’ve read in a long time.
The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood – If you loved A Secret History, you’ll love this book. An outsider with a path into an insider world discovers madness.
Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman – I am a huge fan of Ms. Penman’s and loved this long-awaited novel with Richard the Lionhearted at its center. Big, sprawling, epic even – a luxurious and fascinating read.
Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans – For me this was a little black-and-white jewel box of a book. In the best tradition of middle-grade storytelling with a Joan Aiken sort of feel I can’t recommend this one enough.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – If Gillian Flynn wrote the back of a cereal box I’d read it. Another success for her with her trademark sense of wrongness and her ability to make you sympathize with the most unsympathetic characters ever written.
Something Red by Douglas Nicholas – Historical mystery with elements of Irish folklore – a traveler’s tale worthy of Chaucer. Great read!