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message 1: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments As 2012 winds down, I was wondering what were your most highly rated books of 2012? I gave out 9 5-star ratings:

Fall of Giants (audio)
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
Norwegian Wood
The Housekeeper and the Professor
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Christmas at Eagle Pond
The Hobbit

I like this list because the books are from a pretty wide range of genres (although I definitely did not read enough graphic novels this year), and were spread out over the whole year.

message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 28, 2012 06:29AM) (new)

My favorite reads this year were actually all backlist:

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Children's Book (Ages 8-12) by Barbara Robinson)
The Gates (YA? by John Connelly)
The Ghosts of Belfast (Irish Noir; by Stuart Neville; audiobook narrated by Gerard Doyle)
Go With Me (Novella by Castle Freeman)
I, Claudius (Historical Fiction; by Robert Graves; BBC4 audio adpatation; performed by a full cast starring Derek Jacobi as Augustus)
It's a Book (Children's Book (Easy Reader) by Lane Smith)
The Mark of Zorro (by Johnston McCulley; audio adaptation by Yuri Rasovsky; performed by a full cast starring Val Kilmer)
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Spy Thriller by John LeCarre)
Zombie in Love (Children's Book (Ages 8-12) by Kelly diPucchio; illustrated by Scott Campbell)

Two books that had a huge impact on the way I think/act:
The Weight of the Nation (Non-Fiction; HBO documentary; book by John Hoffman and Judith Salerno, M.D., M.S. with Alexandra Moss; audiobook narrated by Bernadette Dunne) and
Black Genius: Inspirational Portraits of African-American Leaders (Biographies by Dick Russell; audiobook narrated by Kevin Kenerly)

message 6: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I don't hand out five stars very often: that honor is reserved for life-changing reads or books that are so well written and/or researched that I'm lost in admiration. I haven't come across one of those since 2005...or hadn't until I read Spencer Tracy by James Curtis earlier this year.

Other books that didn't make the 5-star mark but deserved more than 4 were Alice Hoffman's The Probable Future, a couple of Nick Hornby's Believer criticism collections, Stephen Fry's The Fry Chronicles, the early Edna Ferber novel Dawn O'Hara, and Kathleen Riley's fine biography The Astaires: Fred & Adele.

message 8: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments I have 5 stars to 4 books. It was interesting for me to note that 3 of the 4 were from the beginning of the year.

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty
Explosive Eighteen
Defending Jacob
The Thirteenth Tale

message 9: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
Amy wrote: "
Explosive Eighteen"

Reminds me of the time I ate eighteen bad oysters.

message 10: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ ha! so funny eric.

message 11: by Chris (new)

Chris | 180 comments I just created my "Best of 2012" bookshelf yesterday! So far, four books, I always try to have a top five, but there are still a few days left of the year! I have a couple waiting in the wings, still trying to decide which makes the top 5! :-)

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillipe Sendker
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
11/22/63 by Stephen King

message 12: by Russell (new)

Russell | 37 comments I have six books that I read this year that I think will really stick with me. They were not all published this year - but I read them this year.

1. Cloud Atlas
2. The End of Your Life Bookclub
3. The Song of Achilles
4. The Fault of Our Stars
5. The Orphan Master's Son
6. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Guidarini | 33 comments My top ten from a fantastic reading year:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
The Blackhouse by Peter May
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green
The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Foster by Claire Keegan
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott
A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

message 15: by Tonya (last edited Dec 28, 2012 05:59PM) (new)

Tonya | 51 comments I am usually generous with my star rating but here are a few of my favorites that I read this year, in no particular order: Destination Truth Memoirs of a Monster Hunter by Josh Gates , Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain , The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach , The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling , Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith don't laugh it is very good, A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) by Beth Revis What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty , The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot , The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

message 16: by Esther (last edited Dec 29, 2012 01:58AM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) 2012 was not a good year for me.
I only have read only 3 5-star books. They were all in the first 1/3 of the year and all fantasy.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins The Hunger Game Trilogy
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin A Game of Thrones
The Left Hand of God (The Left Hand of God, #1) by Paul Hoffman The Left Hand of God

message 17: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 105 comments Looking back over my list I find that the stars I gave immediately after I finished a book do not always reflect how I now feel about the book. These are definitely among the best I read this year - a mix of new and older releases:

The End of Your Life Book Club
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Clara and Mr. Tiffany
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Defending Jacob

message 18: by Susan from MD (last edited Apr 13, 2013 11:11AM) (new)

Susan from MD My favorites (so far) for this year are actually all older books written in the mid-20th century - rated 5/5:

The First Circle - amazing account of a "special" Soviet prison for scientists and engineers
The Bell Jar - honest and compelling account of a young woman trying to start out in life while battling mental illness
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - beautiful story about a teenage girl and an isolated man both of whom are trying to understand themselves and their place in the world
Fer-de-Lance/The League of Frightened Men - the first of the Nero Wolfe books - just a delight

Another group that I really liked very much (4.5/5):

Water for Elephants - an old man remembers his time with the circus as an early adult
The Blind Assassin - three story lines that converge in an interesting way through a woman's life
The Hours - another one with three stories of women who are connected via Mrs. Dalloway
The Things They Carried - memories and stories about young American soldiers in Vietnam

message 20: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) 5 star books published in 2012:
Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat
On an Irish Island by Robert Kanigel
The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

I had 16 other 5 star reads this year but they were all published before 2012.

message 22: by Denise (new)

Denise | 66 comments Melissa wrote: "Best books I read in 2012:
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
Bring Up the Bodies
The Yellow Birds
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AID..."

I have long agreed that
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemicis a truly terrific book.

message 24: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2764 comments Mod
Five star books:
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Between Heaven and Mirth Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by James J. Martin

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Chalk Girl (Kathleen Mallory, #10) by Carol O'Connell

message 25: by Nan (new)

Nan (vtgoat) | 39 comments Some of my favorites of the year were Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, The Sandcastle Girls, The End of Your Life Book Club, Defending Jacob, A Dog's Journey, and 11/22/63. Most of the books were books and/or authors I discovered through Books on the Nightstand!

message 26: by Jay (new)

Jay Bullman Gone Girl.
The Power of the Dog.
The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball.
Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever
This Is Where I Leave You
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
The Song of Achilles
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

An unusual number of 5 star non-fiction for me. That doesn't usually happen. Song of Achilles was the most surprising. I picked it up on a whim from the library and couldn't put it down. I found Jonathan Tropper this year and can't wait to read his backlist.

message 27: by Shannon (new)

Shannon B | 85 comments While many books I read in 2012 did not meet my expectations, there are three that I found phenominal:


The Sisters Brothers

The Devil All the Time

message 30: by Denise (new)

Denise (deniseg53) | 221 comments Some of my top favorites were:

Gone Girl
The Art of Fielding
Defending Jacob
Rules of Civility
The Fault in Our Stars
The Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Fry
City of Women
Cutting for Stone

message 31: by Denise (new)

Denise (deniseg53) | 221 comments Jay, I adore Jonathan Tropper! I've read all of his books. I forgot to list his latest, One Last Thing Before I Go, that came out in 2012.

message 32: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth A (kisiwa) | 193 comments Here are my top 10 reads of the year in order:

1. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
2. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
3. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
4. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
6. Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer
7. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
8. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
9. Faith by Jennifer Haigh
10. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

message 33: by Jay (new)

Jay Bullman Denise wrote: "Jay, I adore Jonathan Tropper! I've read all of his books. I forgot to list his latest, One Last Thing Before I Go, that came out in 2012."

That is on my TBR but I may get it on audio so that I can stick with my 500+ book goal for the year. Always a loophole if you want one.

message 34: by Denise (new)

Denise (deniseg53) | 221 comments My first Tropper was The Book of Joe. I loved it.

message 36: by Jill (new)

Jill I had a few that I really loved last year:
Broken Harbor
Bring Up the Bodies
The Light Between Oceans
Slumdog Millionaire
No Easy Day
The Hangman's Daughter

message 37: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) I got in a lot of reading this year, so it was hard to pick just 10 (I had about 30 4-5 star reads out of 85 or so read)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham
Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
Defending Jacob by William Landay
The Hangman's Daughter by Olivier Potzsch
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Expats by Chris Pavone

Honorable Mentions ---
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet
The Art of Healing Heartbeats by Jan-Philip Sendkar
The Immortal Life of Heinretta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Lust, Loathing and a Little Lipgloss by Kyra Davis

message 38: by Dawn (last edited Jan 07, 2013 07:22PM) (new)

Dawn | 187 comments Dawn wrote: "So interesting to go back and look at my five-star rated books for 2012. In no particular order:
Albert of Adelaide
The Dog Stars
I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats
Days of Des..."

OMG - How did I forget Ready Player One??? and Wolf Hall??

message 39: by Jana (new)

Jana (jazziegirl2010) | 309 comments Runners up:
Ready Player One
Song of Achilles
End of Your Life Book Club

And my #1 best book of 2012: The Dog Stars

message 40: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 80 comments I FINALLY got around to my 2012 wrap-up on my book blog:

My Top Ten (grown-up) Books Read in 2012:

Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet by Jamie Ford
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

With Honorable Mentions for (no it's not cheating!):

Breathless by Dean Koontz
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

(you can check out my top ten list of kids/teen/YA books read in 2012 at Great Books for Kids and Teens: )

All in all, a very good reading year - looking forward to another in 2013!


message 42: by Lil (new)

Lil | 216 comments Eek! Forgot to list The Book of Joe ! Jay, I also discovered Tropper this year and can't wait to read his backlist.

message 43: by Susanne (last edited Jan 16, 2013 10:37AM) (new)

Susanne (heysus74) | 97 comments My favorite books of 2012 (all are first-time reads):

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (YA/fantasy) - the twists and revelations at the end ... just wow!

Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy (Non-fiction/memoir) - an honest look at being a young mom recovering from a plane crash

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption (Non-fiction/memoir) - a tough but good read

The Count of Monte Cristo (Classics/adventure) - I LOVED this book. It gets confusing at times because there are so many characters, but the way things come together is fantastic.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character (non-fiction/educational) - I'm reading more books about how important the characteristic of "grit" is (resilience, stick-to-itivness, trying again) to the success of children in whatever they want to do.

Beautiful Ruins (Adult/Contemporary Fication) - I listened to this book. The narrator is amazing and elevates the story.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor Heaven Is Here An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy by Stephanie Nielson Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas How Children Succeed Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Honorable Mentions
The Snow Child (Adult/Historical Fication) - set in Alaska when the wilderness was being settleed.

The Fiddler in the Subway: And Other Great Pieces You May Have Missed (non-fiction/articles) - a collection of articles that cover an array of interesting topics.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Adult Contemporary) - just a fun, breezy, witty read with a slightly unrealistic premise that the author, thankfully, keeps grounded.

The Shadows (Middle Grades/Adventure)-my 5yo nephew LOVED this book. At the end of each chapter, he wanted to keep reading.

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, #1) by Jacqueline West Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan The Fiddler in the Subway And Other Great Pieces You May Have Missed by Gene Weingarten The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

message 44: by Jolynne (new)

Jolynne The Round House. I was also wondering why this book was not discussed on a podcast?

message 45: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann | 99 comments Jolynne: I just finished The Round House and LOVED it! I think there's so much to discuss here!

message 46: by Gina (new)

Gina Freyn | 24 comments The Sense of an Ending.

message 47: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2764 comments Mod
Jo Ann wrote: "Jolynne: I just finished The Round House and LOVED it! I think there's so much to discuss here!"

I soooooo want to read that book, but have a line-up that won't allow me for awhile. I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

message 49: by Marion (new)

Marion Hill (kammbia1) Here are my favorite reads from 2012:

1) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (RIP)

2) Daughter of Light by Morgan Busse

3) The Transmigration of Timothy Archer by Philip K. Dick

4) The Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson

5) Cover Her Face by P.D. James

6) Bag of Bones by Stephen King

7) The Child Goddess by Louise Marley

8) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


message 50: by Marion (new)

Marion Hill (kammbia1) I almost I forgot to mention The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I start reading it in Dec 2012 and finished in Jan 2013. It has become one of my favorite novels of all time.

It is a must read and I reviewed it for my blog:


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