Patricia’s Top 12 Books of 2012

Just in time for Christmas shopping, Patricia and Heidi have picked their top 10 books of the year. Here are Patricia’s picks:


Invisible OnesMy favourite mystery of 2012: The Invisible Ones, by Stef Penney

Investigator Ray Lovell is hired to find missing Romany wife Rose Janko – 7 years after her disappearance. What makes it so good?  You feel like you’re getting an insider’s look into a notoriously private culture.


My favourite comedy of 2012: Hope: A Tragedy, by Shalom Auslander

Laugh out loud funny account of a Jewish-American man who finds Anne Frank alive in his attic. What makes it so good? Absurd humour and lots of it.


Gone GirlMy favourite thriller of 2012: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

A wife goes missing on her 5th anniversary.  Is her husband to blame? What makes it so good?  The plot is so twisted with characters so engagingly evil that it’s impossible to put this book down. 


Shadow and BoneMy favourite series starter of 2012: Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo

Orphan Alina is taken under the wing of Gravka’s second-in-charge, the Darkling, when it’s revealed that she has an unusual power. What makes it so good? The entwining of dark fantasy with Slavic myths.


City of Lost SoulsThe series I couldn’t stop reading in 2012: The Mortal Instruments, City of Lost Souls (Book #5) by Cassandra Clare**

Magic binds Clary’s true love and evil brother together in such a way that you can’t kill one without killing the other. What makes it so good?  Demonhunters in love and difficult moral choices.


InnocentsBest revamping of a classic:  The Innocents, by Francesca Segal

Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence recast in a tightknit Jewish community in modern day London. What makes it so good? It’s a beautifully written examination of the line between comfort and claustrophobia.


Working Theory of LoveMy favourite quirky read of 2012: A Working Theory of Love, by Scott Hutchins**

A recently divorced man falls into a relationship with a girl who’s in a kind of sex cult while working for an IT company aiming to use his dead father’s journals to create a sentient computer. What makes it good?  The father-son relationship between Neill and the computer program based on his dad is bang-on.  A deft balance of humour and heart.


Street SweeperMy favourite literary fiction of 2012: The Street Sweeper, by Elliot Perlman

The Street Sweeper tells the story of the intersection between two lives:  that of an ex-convict who befriends a Holocaust survivor and that of a failing academic who stumbles upon a new calling. What makes it so good?  It’s a wonderfully plotted book, with memorable writing.  Devastating and hopeful, without being too Hollywood.  I loved it.


Fairy Tales from the Brothers GrimmMy favourite short story collection of 2012: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, by Philip Pullman*

Classic tales crisply retold. What makes it so good?  Among other things, the endnotes to each story give a brief history of each tale, which adds depth.


WildBook that lived up to the hype best: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

A twenty-six year old divorcee candidly describes her experience hiking in the wilderness on her own. What makes it so good?  Strayed is so broken and imperfect, yet so relatable, that you can’t help but go on the journey with her.

Holy or the BrokenMy favourite non-fiction of 2012: The Holy or the Broken, by Alan Light*

A history of Hallelujah – one of Leonard Cohen’s most enduring songs. What makes it so good?  The exuberant detail.  I had no idea that Lemony Snicket played “Hallelujah” on the accordion at Neil Gaiman’s wedding in Michael Chabon’s apartment.  Now I know.


Fault in Our StarsMy favourite book of 2012: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Teens Hazel and Augustus meet at a cancer kid support group. What makes it so good?  “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” — from The Fault in Our Stars


Stay tuned for Heidi’s Best Books of 2012 post tomorrow! What were your favourite books? Tell us in the comments.


*NetGalley was kind enough to provide Heidi and/or Patricia with copies of these books. (NW; The Holy or The BrokenFairy Tales from The Brothers Grimm)

**Good Reads First Reads provided Patricia with promotional copies of these books. (A Working Theory of Love; The City of Lost Souls)


  1. Oh Patricia, I feel like this list is totally reflective of our strangely similar and strangely divergent tastes. I love, love, love about half the books on here. Many of them will show up on my list tomorrow. And then there are the other half — books like The Innocents, which I gave 2 stars on Goodreads. And I have to say, I’m a bit surprised by your inclusion of A Working Theory of Love. I liked it, but best of the year? It was too meandering to me… and a bit self indulgent. Hipster-lit. Can’t wait to compare notes tomorrow when I reveal my top 12!

    Also, I love your categories. I’m totally copying you!!

  2. @Heidi, Can’t wait to see your list. As for The Innocents, I am still surprised at your 2**-rating. I wonder if the difference might be the Edith Wharton factor: a love of The Age of Innocence certainly gave the book an added dimension — though even without it the book was still quietly amazing. Any other The Innocents fans out there?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s