I have been a fair weather user of Twitter. What I really mean to say is that I had barely used it at all until I was encouraged to participate in tweeting my favorite 2012 titles that I read. For one, people I know and admire, Robin Beerbower, Stephanie DeWolfe Chase and Linda Johns, were organizing the push for more participation this year, so into the Twitterverse I went. I made some mistakes with hashtags, but the real challenge was limiting myself to 12 books published in 2012 and then ranking them, posting the 12th book first and my favorite book last.
I was also impressed with the final list of the top reviewed books by librarians/library staff. It was far less snooty and far more encompassing than your average best list. Check it out, here.
1. Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold: I read more books by Bujold this year than any other author–smart, fun and always surprising. Bujold’s latest, the first in the Vorkosigan series with Ivan in the lead, is chock full of great characters and a winsome romance.
2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple: A pure pleasure. A Seattle satire that sends up the pitfalls and pratfalls of competitive parenting and, well, competitive everything.
3. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe: Loving family memoirs are hard to come by and can be such a breath of fresh air in the dysfunction-ridden market. Schwalbe’s tribute to his remarkable mother and the many, many books they shared together during her treatment for pancreatic cancer is nothing short of wonderful.
4. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton: Morton is one of my new go-to authors when helping readers who need compelling stories with memorable characters written with literary flair.
6. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison: There’s a sad heart beating at the heart of this story of a man caring for a wisecracking, sex-obsessed teenager.
7. Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel: Bechdel’s Fun Home is one of my favorite comic memoirs of all time. She turns the lens more deeply on herself and her own neurosis in a truly brave way, displaying the messy hopes, dreams, connections and distances that make up any life.
8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I have no idea how Green managed to write this generation’s Love Story–making readers of all ages fall in love, cry and not hate him for it.
9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Winner of best two unreliable narrators in one book ever.
10. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain: A 19-year-old Iraq soldier tells his story of war, fame and confusion with humor, wit and amazing panache.
11. The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg: If you enjoy family dramas, this will offer you the full meal plus the dessert.
12. NW by Zadie Smith: I felt the most conflicted about this one, but that’s also why I included it. Smith is stretching here stylistically and while I am not sure I liked where she took her characters, it stayed with me.
What were your favorite books of 2012?