Just in time for Christmas shopping, Patricia and Heidi have picked their top 10 books of the year. Here are Patricia’s picks:
My 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.
My 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.
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.
The 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.
Best 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.
My 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.
My 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.
My 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.
Book 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.
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.
My 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 Broken; Fairy 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)