Favorite Books of 2012 (Published in 2012)


I’m actually surprised I was able to pull out 10 books published in 2012 for my next end of year best of list. Some might say there’s a little cheating going on here, what with the inclusion of two graphic novel titles. They’d be wrong, though, as both featured some of the richest, most expansive storytelling I came across all year. I also have a list of pre-2012 titles I read this year and loved I’ll be putting up in a couple of days, but Since the chances are slim I’ll read any more new 2012 books before the end of the year, I thought it was a good time to lock this in.

10. The Prisoner of Heaven, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Three movements into his Barcelona Quartet (I don’t know if that’s its official title, but it works nicely), Zafon retains all the poetic beauty and energy he displayed in Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game. I can’t tell you how much I’m both looking forward to and dreading the conclusion of this magnificent series.

9. The Signal and the Noise, Nate Silver
I, like many others, put a lot of stock in Silver’s predictions before the 2012 election, and a big reason for that was reading this book.

8. Ransom River, Meg Gardiner
Gardiner writes some of the best, purely white-knuckle action sequences you’ll read.

7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
6. Year Zero, Rob Reid
These two were vastly entertaining, and also offered insight into how we’re navigating the line between tradition and innovation, and the knotty questions of who owns what we read, watch, and listen to.

5. When I Was A Child I Read Books, Marilynn Robinson
Marilynn Robinson’s essays are filled with rich, complex ideas that demand you slow down and turn them over in your mind. This collection challenges you in all the best ways possible.

4. Escape Velocity, Charles Portis
I dip back into this book at least once a day, and am still amazed at how much good writing I find there.

3. Saga, Volume 1, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
This new series from Vaughan and Staples will knock you flat with the inventive, rich world of possibilities it presents. The second series of issues just started, and I look forward to seeing where they take readers

2. Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
On the other end of the spectrum from Saga, Locke and Key is barreling towards the end of our time with the Locke Kids, and Hill and Rodriguez are setting the table for a sumptuous feast of a conclusion. I tore through the first 5 volumes in about 2 days, and still go back to marvel at the intricate artwork.

1. The Devil in Silver, Victor LaValle
Finally, this is hands down the best book I read all year. LaValle is a formidable writer, able to draw you in with a deceptively easygoing voice, then bat your emotions about like a cat with a mouse. He’s a force, and one that deserves a lot of attention in the coming years. If you haven’t read this yet, you’re missing one of the most thrilling, smart, emotional books of the year, and I feel sorry for you.

I don’t know how many of these will end up on other best of 2012 lists, but each one was a pleasure to read this year, and I recommend them all for those of you looking to pad out your 2013 to be read lists. If you’re assembling your own best of 2012 list, leave me a link in the comments, I’d love to see what I should add to my reading list in 2013.



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