It’s that time of year, which means The New York Times has released its 100 Notable Books of 2012 list. So I figured it’s time for me to post my top picks of 2012.
I said this last year, and I’ll say it again; I tend to be a bit behind in reading big bestsellers. I usually keep track of all the books I want to read, and just kind of…get around to reading them when I can. That being said, this is a list of the best books I read this year, not the best books that came out this year. For instance, last year my number one pick for the year was Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.
So, enjoy my list of the best 10 books I read this year, and keep reading on for the complete list of books I read in 2012.
10. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. The sexy book that took the world by storm, Fifty Shades is most certainly not well-written, nor is it particularly original. (It did begin as Twilight fan fiction after all.) But all that dirty loving between a young girl and a rich, older man made women unashamed to bask in the glory of sex. That’s quite an accomplishment for a silly old book. Get it now.
9. Bossypants by Tina Fey. We all know Tina Fey for her role on 30 Rock, her performances on SNL, and her comedic writing of Mean Girls. But until she released her bestselling memoir Bossypants, the world never knew quite so much about her, and as it turns out, she’s just as funny in real life as she is on TV. Get it now.
8. Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m. by Sam Wasson. This nonfiction look into the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s not only explicitly explains the behind-the-scenes drama of the old-time classic, but it also details the troubles and talents of Audrey Hepburn, and how this one huge role in cinematic history changed women forever. Get it now.
7. A Mother’s Song by Michael Finaghty. A journey around the world, a journey to find yourself, and a journey to find peace, love and happiness, A Mother’s Song tells the beautiful story of an Australian adopted girl on the quest to locate her birth mother and follow her dreams. This is a story about relationships and deep bonds that last. Get it now for just $1.99.
6. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. This is a bestselling tale of one girl and the two boys she meets and falls in love with — in different ways — in college. Despite the title, however, this is not a love story. It’s a coming-of-age novel about college and the post-grad years, mixed in with sometimes annoying, but mostly powerful and important nods to literary classics. Get it now.
5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, but people not directly affected by it may not realize how much Alzheimer’s can impact an entire family. Still Alice portrays a fictional, but very realistic story about a woman diagnosed at the ripe age of 50 — a devastating diagnosis for her grown children, her husband, and her career. Get it now.
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s an American classic, with good reason. Jay Gatsby is a man who’s financially wealthy but romantically poor. He throws lavish parties at his Long Island estate in the 1920’s, but when he briefly wins back his former love, Daisy, relationships unravel and things get out of hand — a sign that it almost always comes down to love or money. Get it now.
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Another huge bestseller that soared this year, this is a haunting tale about a couple who’s marriage has gone sour, and ends in murder. Nick’s wife, Amy, has disappeared, leaving a small Southern town to basically convict Nick of murder. A stunning twist midway through the book suddenly makes the story deeply disturbing, as if it weren’t already. Get it now.
2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Any love story involves two people playing games, but you’ve seen nothing until you’ve read bestseller The Night Circus. Two magicians, Celia and Marco, are raised to fight each other in an ongoing magic war, but love casts another spell on these two, and they must figure out a way to play for survival. Get it now.
1. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. The newspaper industry is a dying one, but the people who work for this international newspaper are very much alive — alive with stories of love, sadness, and crushed dreams. The Imperfectionists intertwines the stories of 10 different employees — and a reader — at an European-based newspaper. In each chapter, we read about another employee but the overarching story is about the paper — a powerful statement on the current state of journalism and society. Get it now.
And alas, here’s the complete list of books I read in 2012.
The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman
Room – Emma Donaghue
The Tiger’s Wife – Tea Obreht
Nights in Rodanthe – Nicholas Sparks
The Hunger But Mainly Death Games – John Bailey Owen
Sing You Home – Jodi Picoult
The Reader – Bernhard Schlink
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
The Long Hello – Cathie Borrie
Looking Into Your Voice – Cathie Borrie
The Alchemist – Paolo Coelho
A Mother’s Song – Michael Finaghty
The Eclipse of Mrs. Moon – Virginia Galfo
Memoirs of Normalcy – Joleene DesRosiers Moody
Reservation Road – John Burnham Schwartz
Bossypants – Tina Fey
Tribes of Time – Jaymes E. Terry
Fifty Shades of Grey – E.L. James
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See
The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
Fifty Shades Darker – E.L. James
A Horrible Man – Leonie Wallace
The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Perfect Skin – Nick Earls
Have a Little Faith – Mitch Albom
Deuce Delaney – Michael Murray
Fifty Shades Freed – E.L. James
My Story My Song – Luciminaria Roberts
The Night Circus – Erin Morganstern
The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides
The Boy in the Suitcase – Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis
Still Alice – Lisa Genova
Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.: Audrey Hepburn, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and the Dawn of the Modern Woman – Sam Wasson
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
How to Rule the World – Jade Heasley
The Art of Fielding – Chad Harbach
Beyond Parallel – Matthew Turner