2012 – Best Books

Can you guys believe it is already time to pick the best books of 2012?I’ve picked five books for you in each of five categories – other than audio, where I just couldn’t cut one more out, so there are six. The books are my favorite/the books that have most stuck with me in each category. Books listed in the audiobook category are notable for their content as well as their presentation.

A bit about my process: it is books reviewed in 2012, not necessarily those read in 2012, which are eligible for inclusion here. I’ve been reading books for 2013 for more than a month and it would make no sense to have a book out in February of 2013 on my ‘best of 2012′ list. In addition, I want to make sure that 2012 books I read at the end of 2011 are not penalized because I read them early; this is the same way I structure my ‘picks of the month’ in my monthly wrap-ups.

Without further ado, out of the 187 books I reviewed this year, here are my 26 favorite (please see the end of this post for ways to find additional favorites):


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The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney, narrated by Dan Stevens – published in audio by Penguin Audio, published in print by Putnam Books, both imprints of Penguin

The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma, narrated by James Langton – published in audio by Simon Audio, published in print by Atria Books, both imprints of Simon & Schuster

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks, narrated by  Matthew Brown – published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by St. Martin’s Press, both imprints of Macmillan

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy, narrated by John Keating, Barrie Kreinik, Allyson Johnson, and Adam Lazarre White – published in audio by AudioGO, published in print by Doubleday Books, an imprint of Random House

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, narrated by Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall, and Nick Sullivan – published in audio by Harper Audio, published in print by William Morrow Books, both imprints of HarperCollins

Astray by Emma Donoghue, narrated by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham – published in audio by Hachette Audio, published in print by Little, Brown and Company, both imprints of Hachette



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Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver – published by Harper Books, an imprint of HarperCollins

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub – published by Riverhead books, an imprint of Penguin

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon – published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro – published by Algonquin Books, an imprint of Workman Publishing

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer – published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan


Speculative Fiction and Mystery/Thriller

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – published by Crown Books, an imprint of Random House

Redshirts by John Scalzi– published by Tor, an imprint of Macmillan

White Horse by Alex Adams – published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books, an imprint of Macmillan

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker – published by Random House

Shadow of Night (sequel to A Discovery of Witches, consider this a vote for the series so far) by Deborah Harkness – published by Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin


Historical Fiction

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In Need of a Good Wife by Kelly O’Connor McNees – published by Berkley Trade, an imprint of Penguin

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau – published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gortner – published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye – published by Amy Einhorn/Putnam Books, an imprint of Penguin

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian – published by Doubleday Books, an imprint of Random House



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Double Time: How I Survived – and Mostly Thrived – Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins by Jane Roper – published by St. Martins, an imprint of Macmillan

Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite: The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan – published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago by Gary Krist – published by Crown Books, an imprint of Random House

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson – published by Basic Books

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy published by Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin


For more of my favorite books of 2012, please see my Books I Love in 2012 board on Pinterest. You may also want to follow my Books I Love in 2013 Pinterest board to find the best books of 2013. For ongoing favorite books, I also have the following boards:

What were your favorite books of 2012?

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