This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Your Top Five Reads of 2012!

Book talk

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 3:40pm Top

See the blog post for the books we on the LT staff liked best in 2012. What were your top five?

Dec 17, 2012, 4:09pm Top


The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
Dickens: Public Life and Private Passion by Peter Ackroyd
The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller

Dec 17, 2012, 5:03pm Top

In no particular order.

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

Vince Guaraldi at the piano by Derrick Bang

Rise to greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's most perilous year. by Dave Von Drehle

All told : my art and life among athletes, playboys, bunnies, and provocateurs. by LeRoy Neiman

Pox Americana : the great smallpox epidemic of 1775-82. by Elizabeth Fenn

Being a fan of both Guaraldi and Neiman could have affected my judgment. I wrote reviews for all of them.

Dec 17, 2012, 5:04pm Top

Not a fabulous year, but a few good ones.

Iron House
Outside the Dog Museum
The Book of Basketball
Angel of Darkness best so far of the "dead detective" series
Solar Labyrinth essays give it a slight nod over another reference work about Gene Wolfe, Gate of Horn, Book of Silk

Dec 17, 2012, 5:58pm Top

Desiring God By John Piper
The Prodigal God By Timothy Keller
Crazy Love By Francis Chan
The Cross of Christ By John Stott
The Rise of Christianity By Rodney Stark

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 6:21pm Top

Dec 17, 2012, 6:14pm Top

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 6:19pm Top

The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe
The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe
Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher by Tom Bethell
I Am The Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles Kesler
In the heart of the sea : the tragedy of the whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 11:10pm Top

The Night Circus
The Stockholm Octavo
The Song of Achilles
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
wild card spot: At least three books could go here. Have to think about it.

ETA Well...it's down to two: Knockemstiff, which was astonishingly good, and The Swerve, to which I owe a debt of gratitude for explaining me to myself.

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 7:15pm Top

The Cove by Ron Rash
Dead Point by Peter Temple
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

And the worst read of the year for me was Delicacy by John Foenkinos

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 7:25pm Top

Limiting my selections to five would have made too big stars of the ones I selected. So I picked five non-fiction and five fiction. My selection was based mostly on how much I have returned in my mind to them and found that valuable.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
A History of Russia, Central Asia, and Mongolia by David Christian
Paul Robeson by Martin Duberman
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
The Rise and Fall of Communism by Archie Brown

Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (but not the back matter in the Norton Critical Edition)
Factotum by Charles Bukowski

All out of this list.


Dec 17, 2012, 8:06pm Top

Among Others by Jo Walton
Feet of Clay by Anthony Storr
Mont St. Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams
Myth of the Rational Market by Justin Fox
Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum

Dec 17, 2012, 8:27pm Top

In no particular order, literature (fiction) only:

Palais de glace by Tarjei Vesaas

A Portrait of the artist as a young man by James Joyce

Katinka by Herman Bang

Ihre Hoheit by Herman Bang

Il cimitero di Praga by Umberto Eco

And, I must add Moby-Dick by Pippi Longs-, no; Herman Melville

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 11:06pm Top

Best New Reads: (in order)
1. That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis (one of the best books I've read EVER)
2. Perelandra by C. S. Lewis
3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
4. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
5. Introverts in the Church by Adam S. McHugh

Best Rereads: (also in order)
1. The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
4. The Apology of Socrates by Plato
5. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Dec 18, 2012, 1:41am Top

I've decided that I will assign my top reads into categories....

Best Australian Book/Author: Frank Moorhouse - Cold Light

Best Member's Giveaway: Donald McLean - Unraveling Charlie

Best Non-Fiction: David Herlihy - The Lost Cyclist

Best Science Fiction/Fantasy: Christopher Paolini - Inheritance

Best Erotica: Lucy Tucker - Sasha's List

And my Honorable Mention goes to Geraldine Brooks - I read three of her books (Year of Wonders, Caleb's Crossing and March ) this year and all of them were just fabulous reads....they almost deserve a category of their own!

Dec 18, 2012, 1:59am Top

This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin
Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Betrayer by C.J. Cherryh
A Game of You by Neil Gaiman

It's actually been a real clunker of a year. There haven't been a lot of really outstanding books I've read... but there's still a little more year to go, I guess!

Edited: Dec 18, 2012, 3:00am Top

My top five mixes new reads and rereads. In no particular order:

- Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Paranormality by Richard Wiseman
- The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
- Before They are Hanged + The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie - Yeah, two books but it is technically the same story. I read the first one on 2011 so it cannot be on this list.
- The Gail Simone run of Birds of Prey.

Dec 18, 2012, 4:46am Top

The beekeeper's apprentice - fun very well written spin off the Sherlock Holmes cannon. With actual characterisation and proper attention to details, especially the option of multiple interpreations, somethign that Doyle always struggled with.

Ready Player one very fun retro gaming, near future, SF adventure.

Feed - well detailed zombie thriller. Dealing with the aftermath of the Rising, and how humanity has learnt to cope with the undead. A very different proposition to the more normal, Here They Come scenarios.

Betrayer Lastest CJC installment, and another excellant addition to the series. Internal politics within alien society is hard for humans to follow!

And that was it for 5* books this year. I've read less then usual maybe, but also the selection hasn't been as good.

The 5th slot, highly commended goes to the 4.5* Downside girls short story ER collection - Angels in space moderating local corrupt politicians.

Edited: Dec 18, 2012, 8:03am Top

Our mutual friend by Charles Dickens
The fatal shore by Robert Hughes
Der Keller by Thomas Bernhard
L'usage du monde by Nicolas Bouvier
South Riding by Winifred Holtby

It occurs to me that these are all at least thirty years old, and none of them is by a living person (Hughes died about a week before I started his book): I really should try to enjoy some more recent publications!

Edited: Dec 23, 2012, 2:30pm Top

Unless I sneak something outstanding in between now and January, it goes like this -

Best 5 fiction -
Rules of Civility - Amor Towles
Any Human Heart - William Boyd
Twenty Years After - Alexandre Dumas
The Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells
The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie

Best non-fiction
On the Origin of Species - Charles Darwin tied with 1491 - Charles Mann

Best re-read
Spider - Patrick McGrath

Blog post here if you want the skinny - http://thebookmarque.blogspot.com/2012/12/best-books-2012.html

Dec 18, 2012, 8:23am Top

Five? We have to pick five?!

Abandoning all ideas of what is a 'good' book, what a book has taught me, etc and going straight for pure enjoyment (and in no particular order):
So Much for That
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away
The Snow Child
The English Monster

and honourable mentions go to - The Sealed Letter, The Absolutist, Turlough, The Night Circus, Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance, Gillespie and I, The Book of Human Skin, The Gallows Curse, Gold, Everyone's Just So, So Special and The Marriage Plot.

Dec 18, 2012, 8:54am Top

>27 LesMiserables:
The Sword of Honour trilogy is one of the ones I had on my shortlist too, but finally didn't include because I've read and enjoyed it so many times before.

Dec 18, 2012, 9:07am Top

> 28

I kind of sneaked that in as I really enjoyed all three books and the amazing characters - so true to life.

Edited: Dec 18, 2012, 7:48pm Top

Looking at my list, there were some really excellent reads back at the beginning of the year. That made it really hard to narrow down to five, but I'll go with:


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

(Those are in no particular order; choosing them was difficult enough!)

Honorable mention to Among Others by Jo Walton.

Dec 18, 2012, 11:14pm Top

I have to stop visiting this thread. The library request system isn't asking me to log in anymore. It just knows who I am.

Dec 18, 2012, 11:51pm Top

Only Yesterday by S Y Agnon
Death of a superhero by Anthony McCarten
Twelve minutes of love: a tango story by Kapka Kassabova - memoir on obsession
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (and IQ84 & Wild Sheep Chase) - I'm officially addicted
The Concert Ticket by Olga Grushin, known as The Line in the US
Standing in another man's grave by Ian Rankin - Rebus is back!

I haven't listed any of the wonderful scifi/fantasy and Young Adult fiction that I read.

Edited: Dec 19, 2012, 9:34am Top

I hate trying to come up with "best" lists, I enjoy most things I read, for some reason or another.
But, these were some I loved for multiple reasons, so:

Fahrenheit 451
Gentlemen of the Road
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Night Watch

Dec 19, 2012, 2:29pm Top

Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page by Matt Kish
Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder (v. 1) by Walt Kelly
The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O. Wilson
The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney by Christopher Higgs
The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel by Adam Johnson
HHhH: A Novel by Laurent Binet

Dec 19, 2012, 2:37pm Top

I thought I'd do Top Five fiction and Top Five nonfiction, but it turns out I read too much good fiction and not quite enough good nonfiction. So I've got 6/3

  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness
  • Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch
  • Defending Jacob, William Landay
  • The Expendable Man, Dorothy B. Hughes
  • About a Boy, Nick Hornby

  • Nonfiction:
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  • Half Empty, David Rakoff
  • Destiny of the Republic, Candice Millard

  • 41jcbrunner
    Dec 19, 2012, 3:43pm Top

    Katherine Boo - Behind the beautiful forevers - a book to kneecap hope
    Robert Hughes - The fatal shore and Barcelona - RIP
    Simon Sebag Montefiore - Jerusalem: The Biography - the Rocky of cities
    Daniel Mendelsohn - The Lost : a search for six of six million - the past is still with us
    AS Byatt - Possession - per aspera ad astra, a tough first 100 pages to reveal an amazingly crafted world

    Dec 19, 2012, 5:55pm Top

    Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
    Goodbye For Now by Laurie Frankel
    Clay by Melissa Harrison
    The Canon by Natalie Angier
    Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine

    Dec 19, 2012, 7:16pm Top

    Dec 19, 2012, 7:54pm Top

    > 37

    Excellent choice. Envious.

    Dec 19, 2012, 11:00pm Top

    Welcome to Higby by Mark Dunn
    Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
    Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
    Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
    Home by Toni Morrison

    Dec 20, 2012, 10:16am Top

    My top 5, in no particular order:
    Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
    A Very Long Engagement, by Sebastien Japrisot
    The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver
    A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

    And with my kids:
    Blue by Joyce Hostetter (can't get the touchstone for the novel title to work...)
    The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice Book 1), by John Flanagan
    Matched, by Ally Condie
    The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

    Dec 20, 2012, 11:25am Top

    All public library books:

    The Winds of War - I enjoyed this book. The writing is very entertaining. However, I wonder if I rate books due to genre. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine.

    Locked On - I enjoy Tom Clancy thrillers.

    The Walking Dead - After watching The Walking Dead season one and two over a two-three week period, I was curious about its history. Quickly uncovered the show was based on graphic novels (comic books is what I call them.) Not having much experience lately with that type of book, I went to my library's web page, searched for the stories, and was a surprised it was available via inter-library loan. Zombies are cool.

    Watership Down - The book's beginning was slow, but the end was fabulous.

    Ready Player One - Level one and level three were great. Level two was a let down. I enjoyed the non-gaming moments better than inside the game scenes. I did not find the love story well written. I wish it was as it would have made the book even more enjoyable. Will read more from this author as it is his first book and hopefully his writing will only get better.

    Edited: Dec 20, 2012, 12:19pm Top

    My top five books from 2012:

    Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
    Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games by Lizzie Stark
    The Street Sweeper by Eliot Perlman

    I am so glad to see The Sparrow on top five lists! That one has a place on my top five of all time.

    Dec 20, 2012, 7:34pm Top

    Boomerang by Michael Lewis

    One for the books by Joe Queenan

    Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

    City of Women by David R. Gillham

    Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell

    Dec 20, 2012, 7:38pm Top

    That Hideous Strength is on my list of "best books I've read EVER" too.

    Dec 20, 2012, 7:51pm Top

    The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
    Wizzywig by Ed Piskor
    Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
    Poems and Letters of John Keats
    Swann's Way/Within a Budding Grove

    Dec 20, 2012, 8:24pm Top

    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead
    You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik
    Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn

    Dec 20, 2012, 8:55pm Top

    Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
    Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich
    Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke
    The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
    Washington Square by Henry James

    Dec 20, 2012, 10:33pm Top

    Night Circus
    Code Name Verity
    Ready Player One

    Dec 20, 2012, 10:53pm Top

    Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
    The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers
    Acedia & me by Kathleen Norris
    State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

    BTW, I loved The Sparrow when I first read it (years ago) so whenever it appears on lists like this I'm reminded that I should re-read it sometime. So Thanks! for that.

    Dec 20, 2012, 11:56pm Top

    Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul by John Barry

    No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagon Beetle by Andrea Hiott

    The Disappearing Spoon by Kean, Sam

    flunking sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving my Neighbor by Andrea Hiott

    Dec 21, 2012, 3:44am Top

    A Land of Ghosts David G. Campbell
    A Line in the Sand by James Barr
    11/12/63 by Stephen King
    The Quest; Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by Leen Ritmeyer
    Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi & His Struggle with India by Joseph Lelyveld

    Edited: Dec 21, 2012, 4:38am Top

    1. The Troupe ~ Robert Jackson Bennett
    2. Going Postal ~ Terry Pratchett
    3. Leviathan Wakes ~ James S. A. Corey
    4. Rivers of London ~ Ben Aaronovitch
    5. Kaboom - Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War ~ Matt Gallagher

    Edited: Dec 21, 2012, 9:13am Top

    Ladies of Class
    A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets.
    Tears for the Mountain
    The Mountain Place of Knowledge
    The Diary of an American Expatriate

    Dec 21, 2012, 11:34am Top

    Old Filth - Jane Gardam
    The Man In the Wooden Hat - Jane Gardam
    Fludd - Hilary Mantel
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon
    The Greater Journey - David McCullough

    *Samuel Johnson: A Biography - Peter Martin

    Because the Jane Gardam books are the same story told from different points of view

    Dec 21, 2012, 12:25pm Top

    Tough choice! Here are 5 that I really liked. There were others.

    The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
    The Silvered by Tanya Huff
    The Librarian's Guide to Negotiation : Winning Strategies for the Digital Age by Beth Ashmore, Jill E. Grogg and Jeff Weddle.
    Dodger by Terry Pratchett
    The Magistrates of Hell by Barbara Hambly

    Dec 21, 2012, 12:29pm Top

    Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
    A Dance with Dragons by G.R.R. Martin
    The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

    Dec 21, 2012, 1:04pm Top

    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Lauren Hillenbrand
    The Light Between the Oceans by M L Steadman
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

    Dec 21, 2012, 4:39pm Top

    Light Years by James Salter
    The Invention of Air by Stephen Johnson
    Zona by Geoff Dyer
    The Man Within My Head by Pico Iyer
    The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

    Dec 21, 2012, 5:11pm Top

    In the order that I read them:

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
    Born, Not Raised by Susan Madden Lankford
    The Innocent Man by John Grisham
    Going Back to Bisbee by Richard Shelton
    Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham

    Hmmmm, I've read more fiction than nonfiction this year, but all five of my favorites are nonfiction.

    Dec 21, 2012, 5:26pm Top

    BACH THE MASTER (Rutland Boughton)
    DE RERUM NATURA (despite the goofy translation by the otherwis incomparable William Ellery Leonard)
    RULE BRITANNIA (Daphne du Maurier)
    PHEASANT ALLEY (Jack Wennerstrom)

    Honourable Mention: THE STAR-GAZER (Zsolt Harsanyi)

    Dec 21, 2012, 7:33pm Top

    I forgot to put Roxanna Slade by Reynolds Price in my top five. Of course that gives me top six now, and that isn't the rules, but I get one to grow on. A reader's half-dozen?

    Dec 22, 2012, 3:34am Top

    Here are my favorites so far ....

    UnStrung by Neal Shusterman
    UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
    Iron Finns by Michael Resman
    The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
    Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

    Happy Holidays and Seasons Readings!

    Dec 22, 2012, 9:02am Top

    What a great place to get ideas for new reads!

    The Sense of an Ending
    Rules of Civility
    Dinner With Lenny (Bernstein)
    Steve Jobs
    Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore

    Dec 22, 2012, 10:18am Top

    In no particular order...

    What Is the What by Dave Eggers
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
    If I Stay by Gayle Forman
    And every Jeeves and Wooster book that P. G. Wodehouse wrote, because I read most of them this year.

    Dec 22, 2012, 12:54pm Top

    James Ellroy - Oroligt blod
    Karl Ove Knaustgård - Min kamp
    Salman Rushdie - Joseph Anton
    Uwe Tellkamp - Tornet
    Arundhati Roy - De små tingens gud

    Edited: Dec 22, 2012, 1:06pm Top

    This message has been deleted by its author.

    Dec 22, 2012, 9:00pm Top

    Akhtar, Ayad. American Dervish.

    Miller, A. D. Snowdrops.

    Penney, Stef. The Invisible Ones.

    Veselka, Vanessa. Zazen.

    Zimmerman, David. Caring Is Creepy.

    Dec 24, 2012, 10:07pm Top

    In no particular order:

    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
    The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon
    The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders by Daniel Dafoe
    The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam
    The Savage and Beautiful Country by Alan McGlashan

    Dec 26, 2012, 10:44pm Top

    The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Alvaro Mutis
    Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
    Einstein His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
    Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
    The Willow Cabin by Pamela Frankau

    Hon. mention:
    Son of the Morning Star by Evan S. Connell
    Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
    Wish Her Safe At Home by Stephen Benatar

    Dec 27, 2012, 11:23am Top

    I'm going to cheat here. Having listed by favorite five of 2012 and realizing that they are all nonfiction, I'm going to list my favorite fiction. These aren't necessarily heavy reads or literary works, but just ones I really enjoyed.

    The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
    The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
    The Fine Color of Rust by P. A. O'Reilly
    Big Maria by Johnny Shaw
    Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga
    A Good American by Alex George

    Apparently, in addition to breaking the rules, I have a problem with counting to five.

    Edited: Dec 30, 2012, 1:47pm Top

    11/22/63 by Stephen King who takes time traveling to a new level.

    The Master by Colm Toibin who got under Henry James' very skin to tell a wonderful tale.

    The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal who took me on a personal journey of his family's extraordinary past.

    The Greater Journey by David McCullough who introduced me to amazing Americans who got an education in glittering, art-filled 19th century Paris.

    Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben MacIntyre who can turn historical events into the thrillers they really were.

    Dec 30, 2012, 6:28pm Top

    The Fallen Angel
    The Racketeer
    Black List
    Kingdom of Strangers
    The Giving Quilt

    Edited: Dec 30, 2012, 6:32pm Top

    I re-read le Carré's Karla trilogy in January, which I enjoyed even more this time around due to reading them over a shorter period of time. I'm going to cheat and count that as one.

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    The Honourable Schoolboy
    Smiley's People

    Cool Hand Luke by Donn Pearce was a very interesting book to read. I've never seen the film but I suspect that it cuts out some of the grimmer parts of this tale of prison life.

    I enjoyed John McPhee's book Looking for a Ship which is an account of a journey on a freighter and the lives of the men who sail on her. I don't think McPhee is capable of writing badly, I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read of his, with The Curve of Binding Energy being one of my favourite books ever. McPhee can find the fascinating in anything.

    I read Len Deighton's book Charity which is the final part of the third trilogy of books featuring the character Bernard Samson. It's really as good as the Karla trilogy in my opinion, and even more complicated and long running. Really good espionage fiction is all about what is going on in mens heads and hearts, not gun battles and car chases, although a few of them every now and again is fair game. Samson has an even more taxing time than Smiley. I heartily recommend the series.

    Finally I re-read my favourite book by Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, which is something I am making a habit of during election years. I get more out of it each time I read it, and it certainly nails any daft idea that politics is any dirtier or cleaner than it once was.

    Dec 30, 2012, 7:04pm Top

    I read so many good books this year! How to stick to five?? I'm about to try.

    Heroines by Kate Zambreno
    The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War by Peter Englund
    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
    Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

    Honorable Mention:
    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
    The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood by Diana McLellan
    Among Others by Jo Walton

    ...I tried.

    Dec 30, 2012, 7:15pm Top

    Not a great year, but these were all pretty outstanding reads/rereads:

    The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
    The Shadow over Innsmouth - H.P. Lovecraft
    Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1 - Steve Ditko and Stan Lee
    Neonomicon - Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows
    Who I Am: A Memoir - Pete Townshend

    Honorable mention:

    Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson: Doesn't quite make the top 5 cut (mostly due to prolixity), but when it's good it is stellar.

    Jan 1, 2013, 4:30pm Top

    In no particular order:

    A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
    Watergate by Thomas Mallon
    Arcadia by Lauren Groff
    Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
    The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
    In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes
    The Lower River by Paul Theroux
    Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru
    The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
    Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
    The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
    The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
    Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

    Jan 4, 2013, 3:09am Top

    An outstanding book year....

    The Night Circus - Morgenstern
    Gone Girl - Flynn
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Sloan
    The Buddha in the Attic - Otsuka
    Chronic City - Lethem
    The War of Art - Pressfield

    Revenge - Yoko Ogawa (not yet published)
    After Dark - Murakami
    Bel Ami - Maupassant
    Where'd You Go, Bernadette? - Semple
    Lionel Asbo: State of England - Amis
    Sorry Please Thank You - Yu

    Jan 14, 2013, 9:34pm Top

    I'm also adopting the cheat of "Five Fiction, Five Non-Fiction" (and I'm still tempted to give honourable mentions: there were some good reads this year!). Non-fiction first:

    In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
    Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber
    Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (better late than never: and it was well worth the wait)
    Child of the Jungle by Sabine Kuegler
    Road to Valour by Andres & Aili McConnon

    For fiction:
    The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (rave! rave!)
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
    Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

    Reading everyone else's lists thus far has given me ideas: I may have already found some of my favourite reads of 2013!

    Jan 17, 2013, 4:36am Top

    i am number four by Pittacus Lore
    the power of six by Pittacus Lore
    the rise of nine by Pittacus Lore
    world war Z by max brooks
    the zombie survival guide by max brooks

    Jan 17, 2013, 10:14am Top

    Amazing. When we get to the end of the line, will we look back and say, "Yeah, I'm sure glad I read all those novels"? This is not a slam at anyone, or of it be taken as that, be assured that I am included in the implicit criticism. Peace to y'all, -- Goddard

    Jan 17, 2013, 10:26am Top

    Speaking for myself, yes I will look back and say "I'm sure glad I read all those novels." I'm not sure why you seem to think I shouldn't be?

    Jan 17, 2013, 10:34am Top

    Because, rosalita, I personally -- emphasize, PERSONALLY -- do not regard the reading and writing of novels as a particularly significant human activity, compared to many many others. Granted, I write fiction, and I read it, but as an activity meaningful to me, I place it far far behind music, building, gardening, religion, and personal relationships -- all of which, I belive, quite legitimately claim my time far ahead of chewing mind-candy, which is how I see most fiction-reading. My way isn't yours, or should it be necessarily. Still, I thought some persons might like to think it over. Peace, -- Goddard

    Jan 17, 2013, 10:47am Top

    #106 -- Many people manage to do the activities you mention and read for pleasure as well. Intentional or not, I think your posts are going to come across as insulting to many of the people who have posted on this thread.

    Jan 17, 2013, 11:03am Top

    >106 HarryMacDonald: I wonder how you can sleep at night, knowing you are contributing to all of us idiots reading fiction for pleasure? But thank you for explaining what you meant. Your opinion is of course just as valid as anyone else's. I am not offended by your comment because what you think of my choice of leisure activities is completely irrelevant to me. Just as my opinion of the value of the activities you listed as "more meaningful" is irrelevant to you. The only difference is I do not feel compelled to share my unsolicited opinion with you.

    Jan 17, 2013, 11:25am Top

    106 -- Good post.

    Jan 17, 2013, 11:43am Top

    >104 HarryMacDonald:

    Yes, I certainly will say that (and not just about novels, either - about short stories, non-fiction, comics, poetry, letters from friends and family, you name it), and would much rather say that than "I was given the gift of literacy and I squandered it."

    Jan 17, 2013, 11:46am Top

    #110 Bravo!

    Jan 17, 2013, 6:48pm Top

    106 HarryMacDonald
    I double checked and confirmed this thread is called Your Top Five Reads of 2012!, not Your Top Five Significant Human Activities of 2012!. I also double checked and confirmed this group is called Book Talk. You might want to try another group that would be more meaningful to you.

    Jan 18, 2013, 5:29am Top

    Though I'm also not sure why it's relevant here, I guess we can all think what we like about our own activities. Personally, I'd rate reading even the trashiest fiction way above any time wasted thinking about religion (if you differentiate between the two at all). Then again, I don't go to the Religion groups to criticise what they do and it seems a little odd that anyone would join a group. let alone a site, all about books and reading to express such a view. Perhaps this is what trolling looks like in the older generation?

    Jan 18, 2013, 9:40am Top

    Personally, I'd rate reading even the trashiest fiction way above any time wasted thinking about religion (if you differentiate between the two at all).

    Speaking of which - have you read the Old Testament lately? There's some pretty trashy stuff in there! :D

    Jan 18, 2013, 9:56am Top

    I was lying awake last night remembering some research from one of my textbooks when I was teaching social and emotional development. It found a correlation between achievement orientation in stories in second grade readers, and a rise in the economy when those kids entered the workforce. Only correlation....but I kept fantasizing about what I would like to write and the time I put into choosing books for my grandkids AND appreciation for adults who read and review children's lit. And one of my favs? Tales for Little Rebels.

    Jan 18, 2013, 10:15am Top

    I certainly don't think I'd waste any time reading anything by an author who had no understanding of the benefits of fiction in increasing literacy, understanding human nature and broadening the mind. It's very unlikely their books would have anything I'd care to read about.

    A-a-a-a-nyway, to get back to where we were before we were so rudely interrupted, I am at least reminded that I don't only read fiction. Here are my top five non-fiction reads for the year:

    The Psychopath Test
    If Walls Could Talk
    The Narcissism Epidemic
    The Age of Absurdity

    Jan 18, 2013, 5:15pm Top

    Booksloth - had a little giggle at your title collection there...

    Are you sure you haven't mistaken this thread for one of those where they invite you to compose "title poetry"? ;)

    Jan 19, 2013, 5:13am Top

    I can never do these things deliberately.

    Jan 19, 2013, 11:52am Top

    Sure enjoyed this discussion. Guess it's time to let it go, but one more thing? Anyone else see Sotomeyer's interview where she talked about the influence of Nancy Drew? Pretty fun.

    Jan 19, 2013, 9:01pm Top

    Booksloth - neither can I! No matter how hard I try, even resorting to randomly sorting the stack beside the bed - I can never make them "say" anything!

    Jan 23, 2013, 9:41pm Top

    Around the Tarot in 78 Days, by Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin
    The Contemplative John Muir: Spiritual Quotations from the Great American Naturalist, by Stephen K. Hatch
    Ganesha Goes to Lunch, by Kamla K. Kapur
    Brain Wave Vibration by Ilchi Lee
    The Essential Kabbalah, by Daniel C. Matt

    Jan 31, 2013, 5:47pm Top

    I'm going to feel like an echo here, but:

    Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
    The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
    Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
    Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
    The Line by Olga Grushin

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
    Winter King by Thomas Penn
    Plutocrats by Chrystia Freeland
    The Graves are Walking by John Kelly
    Man Without a Face by Masha Geesen

    Jan 31, 2013, 9:11pm Top

    Mine were:

    Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
    A Touch of Mistletoe by Barbara Comyns
    A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
    Gunslinger by Edward Dorn
    The Door by Magda Szabó

    Feb 4, 2013, 11:19am Top

    1- Swamplandia
    Karen Russell

    2- Salvage the Bones
    Jesmyn Ward

    3- Round House
    Louise Erdrich

    4- Train Dreams
    Denis Johnson

    5- A Hologram for the King
    Dave Eggers

    HM- The Warmth of Other Suns
    Isabel Wilkerson

    HM- The Invisible Bridge
    Julie Orringer

    HM- Canada
    Richard Ford

    HM- Just Kids
    Patti Smith

    Feb 4, 2013, 11:46am Top

    >124 christiguc: Edward Dorn's Gunslinger! Good to see that one. What a fun and unique poem.

    Feb 9, 2013, 4:18pm Top

    Top Five Books:
    The Talisman Ring - Georgette Heyer - (Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery, 5.00/5.00)
    Fire Season - David Weber & Jane Lindskold - (SF/Young Adult, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 publication
    Echoes of Betrayal - Elizabeth Moon - (Fantasy/High Fantasy, rated 4.98/5.00) - 2012 publication
    Faro's Daughter - Georgette Heyer - (Historical Fiction/Romance, 4.96/5.00)
    Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein - (Young Adult/POV of dog, 4.93/5.00)

    Honorable Mentions: Top Short Stories:
    Bugs in the Arroyo - Steven Gould - (SF, 5.00/5.00)
    The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles - Kij Johnson - (Historical Fiction/POV of cat, 5.00/5.00)
    Full Moon - Georgette Heyer - (Historical Fiction/Romance, 5.00/5.00)
    Lee at the Alamo - Harry Turtledove - (Alt history, 5.00/5.00)
    San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats - Mira Grant - (Zombies, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 Publication

    Graphic Novels:
    Catwoman, Volume 1: The Game - Judd Winick - (DC Comics, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 Publication
    Mr. Stuffins - Andrew Crosby & Johanna Stokes - Boom Studios, 5.00/5.00)
    Red Landterns, Volume 1 - Peter Milligan - (DC Comics, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 Publication
    Supergirl, Voume 1: Last Daughter of Krypton - Mike Johnson - (DC Comcis, 5.00/5.00) - 2012 Publication
    Spike: Shadow Puppets - Brian Lynch - (Dark Horse, 4.99/5.00)

    Published 2012:
    Fire Season - David Weber & Jane Lindskold - (SF/Young Adult, 5.00/5.00)
    Echoes of Betrayal - Elizabeth Moon - (Fantasy/High Fantasy, 4.98/5.00)
    Fair Game - Patricia Briggs - (Fantasy/Werewolves, 4.80/5.00)
    Redshirts - John Scalzi - (SF, 4.62/5.00)
    1635: Papal Stakes - Eric Flint & Charles E. Gannon - (Alt History, 4.60/5.00)

    Feb 13, 2013, 5:50pm Top

    #119 No, but just read Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women who Created Her....evidently she was what started all of us down the road to feminism!! Who knew?

    Group: Book talk

    229,757 messages

    This group does not accept members.


    This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




    About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 142,534,560 books! | Top bar: Always visible