Year-End Lists

Notable, searchable lists of the year's best music, movies, and books. End-of-year lists are fingerprints; aggregate statistics are smudges. Therefore, no tallies.

Category: 2012 Books

Dennis Cooper: 21 Favorite Books of 2012

Action-Figure

Dennis Cooper: 21 Favorite Books of 2012 (as numbered on Cooper’s site, but note that he precedes the list with “in no order”)

  1. Action, Figure – Frank Hinton – Amazon
  2. Sky Saw – Blake Butler
  3. You Private Person – Richard Chiem
  4. Baby Geisha – Trinie Dalton
  5. Autoportrait – Edouard Leve
  6. fuckscapes – Sean Kilpatrick
  7. Billie the Bull – xTx
  8. Assisted Living – Nikanor Teratologen
  9. Spreadeagle – Kevin Killian
  10. Confessions from a Dark Wood – Eric Raymond
  11. The No Variations – Luis Chitarroni
  12. The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 – Scott McClanahan
  13. One – Blake Butler/Christopher Higgs/Vanessa Place
  14. Daniel Fights a Hurricane – Shane Jones
  15. Treees – Stephen Michael McDowell
  16. Cataclysm Baby – Matt Bell
  17. The Obscene Madame D – Hilda Hilst
  18. Immobility – Brian Evenson
  19. The Sky Conducting – Michael Seidlinger
  20. Town of Shadows – Lindsay Stern
  21. [tie] Slow Slidings – M. Kitchell

Salon: Top 10 Books of 2012

Behind-the-Beautiful-Forevers

Salon: Top 10 Books of 2012 (a poll of nearly 20 critics)

  1. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – Katherine Boo – Amazon
  2. Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  3. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Ben Fountain
  4. Far From the Tree – Andrew Solomon
  5. [tie] NW – Zadie Smith
  6. How Should a Person Be? – Sheila Heti
  7. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  8. Arcadia – Lauren Groff
  9. Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
  10. The Guardians – Sarah Manguso

Library Journal: Top 10 Books of 2012

NW - Zadie Smith

Library Journal: Top 10 Books of 2012 (alphabetically by author)

  • By the Iowa Sea: A Memoir of Disaster and Love – Joe Blair
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – Katherine Boo
  • A Land More Kind Than Home – Wiley Cash
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Ben Fountain
  • Crusoe: Daniel Defoe, Robert Knox, and the Creation of a Myth – Katherine Frank
  • Some Kind of Fairy Tale – Graham Joyce
  • The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
  • The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer – Anne-Marie O’Connor
  • NW – Zadie Smith
  • Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from “Dear Sugar” – Cheryl Strayed

Benjamin Schwarz: Top 15 Books of 2012

David Abulatia - The Great Sea

Benjamin Schwarz: Top 15 Books of 2012 (as published by The Atlantic)

  • The Great Sea – David Abulafia – Amazon
  • Time’s Shadow – Arnold J. Bauer
  • Good Behaviour – Molly Keane
  • Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  • Moscow, 1937 – Karl Schlögel

The Runners Up

  • What They Do in the Dark: A Novel – Amanda Coe
  • The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 – Brian Cummings (editor)
  • Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of Germans After the Second World War – R.M. Douglas
  • Fairness and Freedom: A History of Two Open Societies, New Zealand and the United States – David Hackett Fischer
  • The Road to Ruins – Ian Graham
  • Evening’s Empire: A History of Night in Early Modern Europe – Craig Koslofsky
  • Dear Life: Stories – Alice Munro
  • Sir Walter Raleigh – Mark Nicholls and Penry Williams
  • Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins – Ian Tattersall
  • The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Volume 6: 1933-1941 – Virginia Woolf, edited by Stuart N. Clarke

New York Times: 100 Notable Books of 2012

Telegraph Avenue

New York Times: 100 Notable Books of 2012 [see also Ten Best Books of 2012]

Fiction

  • Alif The Unseen – G. Willow Wilson
  • Almost Never – Daniel Sada. Translated by Katherine Silver
  • An American Spy – Olen Steinhauer
  • Arcadia – Lauren Groff
  • At Last – Edward St. Aubyn
  • Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Ben Fountain
  • Blasphemy – Sherman Alexie
  • The Book Of Mischief: New And Selected Stories – Steve Stern
  • Bring Up The Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  • Building Stories – Chris Ware
  • By Blood – Ellen Ullman
  • Canada – Richard Ford
  • Carry The One – Carol Anshaw
  • City Of Bohane – Kevin Barry
  • Collected Poems – Jack Gilbert
  • Dear Life: Stories – Alice Munro
  • The Devil In Silver – Victor LaValle
  • Enchantments – Kathryn Harrison
  • Flight Behavior – Barbara Kingsolver
  • Fobbit – David Abrams
  • The Forgetting Tree – Tatjana Soli
  • Gathering Of Waters – Bernice L. McFadden
  • Gods Without Men – Hari Kunzru
  • HHhH – Laurent Binet. Translated by Sam Taylor
  • A Hologram For The King – Dave Eggers
  • Home – Toni Morrison
  • Hope: A Tragedy – Shalom Auslander
  • How Should A Person Be? – Sheila Heti
  • In One Person – John Irving
  • A Land More Kind Than Home – Wiley Cash
  • Married Love: And Other Stories – Tessa Hadley
  • NW – Zadie Smith
  • On The Spectrum Of Possible Deaths – Lucia Perillo
  • Pure – Julianna Baggott
  • The Right Hand Shore – Christopher Tilghman
  • The Round House – Louise Erdrich
  • Salvage The Bones – Jesmyn Ward
  • San Miguel – T. Coraghessan Boyle
  • Shine Shine Shine – Lydia Netzer
  • Shout Her Lovely Name – Natalie Serber
  • Silent House – Orhan Pamuk. Translated by Robert Finn
  • The Starboard Sea – Amber Dermont
  • Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan
  • Swimming Home – Deborah Levy
  • Telegraph Avenue – Michael Chabon
  • The Testament Of Mary – Colm Toibin
  • This Is How You Lose Her – Junot Díaz
  • Three Strong Women – Marie NDiaye. Translated by John Fletcher
  • Toby’s Room – Pat Barker
  • Watergate – Thomas Mallon
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories – Nathan Englander
  • The Yellow Birds – Kevin Powers

Nonfiction

  • All We Know: Three Lives – Lisa Cohen
  • American Tapestry: The Story Of The Black, White, And Multiracial Ancestors Of Michelle Obama – Rachel L. Swarns
  • American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, And The Modern Age Of Golf – James Dodson
  • Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama – Alison Bechdel
  • Barack Obama: The Story – David Maraniss
  • Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity – Katherine Boo
  • Belzoni: The Giant Archaeologists Love To Hate – Ivor Noël Hume
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, And The Real Count Of Monte Cristo – Tom Reiss
  • Breasts: A Natural And Unnatural History – Florence Williams
  • Coming Apart: The State Of White America, 1960 2010 – Charles Murray
  • Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History Of Evolution – Rebecca Stott
  • A Disposition To Be Rich: How A Small Town Preacher’s Son Ruined An American President, Brought On A Wall Street Crash, And Made Himself The Best Hated Man In The United States – Geoffrey C. Ward
  • Far From The Tree: Parents, Children, And The Search For Identity – Andrew Solomon
  • Flagrant Conduct. The Story Of Lawrence V. Texas: How A Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans – Dale Carpenter
  • The Folly Of Fools: The Logic Of Deceit And Self Deception In Human Life – Robert Trivers
  • The Grey Album: On The Blackness Of Blackness – Kevin Young
  • Haiti: The Aftershocks Of History – Laurent Dubois
  • How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, And The Hidden Power Of Character – Paul Tough
  • How Music Works – David Byrne
  • Iron Curtain: The Crushing Of Eastern Europe, 1944 1956 – Anne Applebaum
  • Kayak Morning: Reflections On Love, Grief, And Small Boats – Roger Rosenblatt
  • Lincoln’s Code: The Laws Of War In American History – John Fabian Witt
  • Little America: The War Within The War For Afghanistan – Rajiv Chandrasekaran
  • Memoir Of A Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer – Susan Gubar
  • My Poets – Maureen N. McLane
  • The Obamas – Jodi Kantor
  • Oddly Normal: One Family’s Struggle To Help Their Teenage Son Come To Terms With His Sexuality – John Schwartz
  • On A Farther Shore: The Life And Legacy Of Rachel Carson – William Souder
  • On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines — And Future – Karen Elliott House
  • The One: The Life And Music Of James Brown – RJ Smith
  • The Passage Of Power: The Years Of Lyndon Johnson – Robert A. Caro
  • The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life And Turbulent Times Of Joseph P. Kennedy – David Nasaw
  • People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story Of A Young Woman Who Vanished From The Streets Of Tokyo — And The Evil That Swallowed Her Up – Richard Lloyd Parry
  • Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay: Reflections On Art, Family, And Survival – Christopher Benfey
  • Rule And Ruin. The Downfall Of Moderation And The Destruction Of The Republican Party: From Eisenhower To The Tea Party – Geoffrey Kabaservice
  • Saul Steinberg: A Biography – Deirdre Bair
  • Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, And The Rebirth Of The British Monarchy – Paul Thomas Murphy
  • Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life And Immortal Photographs Of Edward Curtis – Timothy Egan
  • The Social Conquest Of Earth – Edward O. Wilson
  • Sometimes There Is A Void: Memoirs Of An Outsider – Zakes Mda
  • Spillover: Animal Infections And The Next Human Pandemic – David Quammen
  • The Taste Of War: World War Ii And The Battle For Food – Lizzie Collingham
  • Thomas Jefferson: The Art Of Power – Jon Meacham
  • Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution – Linda Hirshman
  • When God Talks Back: Understanding The American Evangelical Relationship With God – T. M. Luhrmann
  • Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson
  • Why Does The World Exist? An Existential Detective Story – Jim Holt

Tina Brown: 7 Favorite Books of 2012

Tina Brown: 7 Favorite Books of 2012 (as published by The Daily Beast)

  • The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson
  • On Saudi Arabia – Karen Eliot House
  • Sweet Tooth – Ewan McEwan
  • The Man Without a Face – Masha Gessen
  • Hitlerland – Andrew Nagorski
  • Prague Winter – Madeleine Albright
  • Kill or Capture – Daniel Klaidman

Economist: 11 Best Books of 2012

Bring Up the Bodies

The Economist: 11 Best Books of 2012 (fiction, essays, and poetry)

  • Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  • The Forgiven – Lawrence Osborne
  • Toby’s Room – Pat Barker
  • The Dinner – Herman Koch
  • The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twang Eng
  • Grimm Tales: For Young and Old – Philip Pullman
  • Winter: Five Windows on the Season – Adam Gopnik
  • Pulphead: Essays – John Jeremiah Sullivan
  • Three Strong Women – Marie N’Diaye
  • Yellow Tulips: Poems 1968-2011 – James Fenton
  • P L A C E – Jorie Graham

Publishers Weekly: 10 Best Books of 2012

Building Stories – Chris Ware – Read Reviews on Amazon

Publishers Weekly: 10 Best Books of 2012

  1. Building Stories – Chris Ware
  2. Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  3. The Round House – Louise Erdrich
  4. Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain – Lucia Perillo
  5. The Devil in Silver – Victor LaValle
  6. Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis – Mark Binelli
  7. All We Know: Three Lives – Lisa Cohen
  8. People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo – Richard Lloyd Parry
  9. The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600–1675 – Bernard Bailyn
  10. Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945–1956 – Anne Applebaum

Kathryn Schulz: Top 10 Books of 2012


Kathryn Schulz: Top 10 Books of 2012 [as published by New York Magazine

  1. Dear Life – Alice Munro
  2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – Katherine Boo
  3. Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story – Jim Holt
  4. Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room – Geoff Dyer
  5. Telegraph Avenue – Michael Chabon
  6. Mortality – Christopher Hitchens
  7. Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story – Lorin Stein, Sadie Stein
  8. When I Was a Child, I Read Books: Essays – Marilynne Robinson
  9. Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest – Wade Davis
  10. House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East – Anthony Shadid

New York Times: 10 Best Books of 2012


New York Times Book Review: 10 Best Books of 2012

Fiction

  • Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  • Building Stories – Chris Ware
  • A Hologram for the King – Dave Eggers
  • NW – Zadie Smith
  • The Yellow Birds – Kevin Powers

Nonfiction

  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – Katherine Boo
  • Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity – Andrew Solomon
  • The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson – Robert A. Caro
  • The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy – David Nasaw
  • Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story – Jim Holt