The Best Novels of 2012
Working at a library is a constant temptation for me. I always want to bring home just one more book to add to my ever-growing pile.
It’s especially bad when so many wonderful novels come out toward the end of the year. I’m sure this is a strategy by publishers who are hoping their authors will be fresh in reviewers’ minds when picking the best books of the year.
Now that many of the 2012 best book lists are out, I’ve compiled some of them to see if a few titles stood out among the thousands that were reviewed in the last 12 months. I used the lists from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Book Page, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the New York Times and the Washington Post. This blog entry will focus on fiction, and I will do another entry later featuring nonfiction. For more information about the following books, click on the title to go to our library catalog.
Sixty-two titles were named at least twice, while no title made all eight lists. Four young adult books were named, reflecting the growing interest in the genre that is not just for teenagers: "Ask the Passengers'' by A.S. King, “The Fault In Our Stars’’ by John Green, “Code Name Verity’’ by Elizabeth Wein and “Every Day’’ by David Levithan. One graphic novel, “Building Stories’’ by Chris Ware, also made the cut.
Some of my favorites that showed up on the lists included “Beautiful Ruins’’ by Jess Walter, “Flight Behavior’’ by Barbara Kingsolver, “Gone Girl’’ by Gillian Flynn, “Home’’ by Toni Morrison, “The Snow Child’’ by Eowyn Ivey, “Sandcastle Girls’’ by Chris Bohjalian, "In One Person'' by John Irving and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?’’ by Maria Semple.
Three books were listed six times:
1) “Bring Up the Bodies’’ by Hilary Mantel won the 2012 Man Booker Prize. It is the second in a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to Henry VIII, and the sequel to “Wolf Hall’’, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. Mantel delves into the relationships of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell, and provides a captivating story about the downfall of Ann Boleyn. The Library Journal writes, “Mantel's crowning achievement makes Cromwell not just powerful but sympathetic. Mantel is a consummate setter of scenes: stunning, poetic descriptions are embedded in scenes of savagery and earthiness. The historical novel does not come any better than this. It will be as much of a success as its predecessor.’’
2) “This is How You Lose Her’’ by Junot Diaz provides nine interconnected stories about the power of love. Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008 for “The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.’’ Booklist writes, “Fast paced, unflinching, complexly funny, street-talking tough, perfectly made, and deeply sensitive, Diaz's gripping stories unveil lives shadowed by prejudice and poverty and bereft of reliable love and trust. These are precarious, unappreciated, precious lives in which intimacy is a lost art, masculinity a parody, and kindness, reason, and hope struggle to survive like seedlings in a war zone.’’
3)“The Yellow Birds: A Novel’’ by Kevin Powers, who is an Iraqi War veteran, tells the coming-of-age war story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive as their platoon is in the midst of a bloody battle. Author Tom Wolfe calls this debut novel "The ‘All Quiet on the Western Front' of America's Arab wars." The New York Times Book Review said this: "A first novel as compact and powerful as a footlocker full of ammo … Kevin Powers has something to say, something deeply moving about the frailty of man and the brutality of war, and we should all lean closer and listen."
Seven books were listed five times:
3) "Dear Life: Stories’’ by Alice Munro, the master of short stories, examines how a life can be changed by a chance encounter or an action not taken.
Six books were mentioned four times:
Twenty books were mentioned three times:
20) “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank’’ by Nathan Englander: A series of short stories that the New York Times calls "insightful and uproarious.''
Twenty-six books were mentioned two times:
6) “Book of Mischief: New and Selected Stories’’ by Steve Stern (not in catalog): A series of short stories.
I hope this gives you a lot of ideas for new books to read. Another list will be coming soon. In a few weeks the staffers from the Adult Services Department at the Cook Memorial Public Library District will share their best reads of the year. In the meantime, what were your favorite novels of the year?
--Jo Hansen, email@example.comAdd a comment
November Displays at Cook Library
Here's what's new at Cook in November!
Check out this display for fun recipes the whole family can make and enjoy!
A great selection of public television series to curl up with on chilly November evenings.
A tribute to some of the luminaries we've lost in 2012.
Engrossing historical mysteries that will take you from Victorian England to colonial America and many other settings.
"Killer" romantic suspense!
If you have any other ideas for displays you'd like to see at the library, please contact me.
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October Displays at the Library
Have you seen our October library displays yet?
A chilling selection of books and movies, just in time for Halloween!
Lots of info about the November election.
Hearty, homey fall book selections.
"Stellar" science fiction picks.Add a comment
September Displays at the Library
Find lots of new displays up at our libraries this month!
TRUE stories about white-collar crime.
Books written by authors who have visited our libraries, including: Tasha Alexander, Nancy Atherton, Rhys Bowen, Jennifer Chiaverini, Claire Cook, Bryan Gruley, Ann Packer, Karin Slaughter, Jennifer Weiner, and Lauren Willig.
Can't get enough of 50 Shades? Try some authors on this display!
Curious about the steampunk genre? Give it a try with a book from this display. Anachronistic gadgets, clockwork, and steam power abound in these sci-fi stunners.
CMPLD's Book Club selections are now available for browsing at Aspen Drive. Find a new title for your book club or just discover a good read.
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Nate's Spotify Song of the Week- THEESatisfaction
THEESatisfaction are Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White. Their website describes THEESatisfaction's works as "funk-psychedelic feminista sci-fi epics with the warmth and depth of Black Jazz and Sunday morning soul, frosted with icy raps that evoke equal parts Elaine Brown, Ursula Rucker and Q-Tip." To me, this is some of the most sonically interesting music of the year so far. Check out this CD from the library.Add a comment