As the end of the year dictates (December is a grumpy and demanding month), I have compiled my top reads of 2012. Before we dive into the list, I feel it’s necessary to give brief notes about the process.
1. Yes, evaluating the best in a given year is subjective so if you disagree, great!
2. I rate fiction and nonfiction differently. To me, fiction requires an element of creativity and entertainment; I want to read art. Nonfiction, on the other hand, is evaluated on its educational qualities. Did I learn and apply the principles found in the book? Therefore, I have split lists between fiction and nonfiction.
3. Reading a book is a linear process. It takes time. Thus, I read old and new books equally. Most lists deal with books published in 2012. I have split the fiction list into books published in 2012 and books from the back catalog.
2012: The Best in Fiction
10. Mr. Fox: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi
9. Watergate: A Novel by Thomas Mallon
8. Arcadia: A Novel by Lauren Groff
7. The Vanishers: A Novel by Heidi Julavits
6. Telegraph Avenue: A Novel by Michael Chabon
5. The Street Sweeper: A Novel by Elliot Perlman
4. The Round House by Louise Erdrich
3. The Lifespan of a Fact by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal
2. The Snow Child: A Novel by Eowyn Ivey
1. The Flame Alphabet: A Novel by Ben Marcus
2012: The Best of the Back Catalog
10. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
9. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
8. The Marriage Plot: A Novel by Jeffery Eugenedes
7. The Night Circus: A Novel by Erin Morgenstern
6. In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote
5. Endpoint and Other Poems by John Updike
4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
3. Varamo by César Aira
2. Disgrace: A Novel by J.M. Coetzee
1. Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell
2012: The Best in Nonfiction Published Whenever
10. The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane
9. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
8. Bossypants by Tina Fey
7. The Orthodox Way: Revised Edition by Kallistos Ware
6. The Law of Love and the Law of Violence by Leo Tolstoy
5. Christianity and the Social Crisis by Walter Rauschenbusch
4. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina
3. Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.
2. Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition by Michael Stelzner
1. The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon