Best Reads of 2012

2012 is almost completely in the history books, so it’s time to look back upon my reading for the year and highlight my favorites along the way. It’s been a great reading year. Not since adolescence have I read as many books in one year as I have in 2012. As of this posting, I read 108 books (there is a slim chance that I’ll finish #109, but I’m not banking on it) and that’s with only reading three books the entire month of December. This is double the New Year’s Resolution I made in 2007 that prompted me to start blogging. I have to say this made 2012 a fantastic year for me. I have no illusions of keeping that pace up for 2013. 80ish reads per year is about perfect for me, but I challenged myself to read 100 books this year and I did it. I hope that your reading year was just as full of good books as mine.

While compiling my list, I decided only to include those published in 2012. As amazing as Faithful Place and Ready Player One are, I decided to highlight the best of what 2012 had to provide. Below I have listed 15 books I loved in 2012 in the order in which I read them. My top picks of the year in audio and print are highlighted at the end.

Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron (Algonquin Books)
The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney (Penguin Audio/Putnam)
The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy (Crown)
American Dervish by Ayah Akhtar (Hachette Audio/Little, Brown and Company)
The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont (St. Martin’s Press)
A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer duBois (The Dial Press)
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Amy Einhorn Books)
I Couldn’t Love You More by Jillian Medoff (5 Spot)
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Macmillan Audio/Henry Holt and Co.)
Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick (Algonquin Books)
Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck (NAL Trade Paperbacks)
Broken Harbor by Tana French (Viking)
The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro (Algonquin Books)
Safe House by Chris Ewan (AudioGo/Minotaur Books)
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes (Pamela Dorman Books)

Audiobook of the Year

Cover of A Land More Kind Than Home Audio

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash (Harper Audio/William Morrow) is an wonderful example of how an audiobook can enhance the reading experience of an already great book. Lorna Raver and Nick Sullivan certainly set the mood and I’ll never forget the experience when Mark Bramhall begins his narration. It was euphoric relief. The whole package is why I love audiobooks.

Print Book of the Year

Cover of Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown) is the book that kept me on the edge reading like a mad fool. Then, when it was all over, I evangelized this book to anyone who would listen to me. Hearing about their experiences while they read was my reward. This book was smart, entertaining, and communicable. I loved it.

Happy New Year! Here’s to the most prosperous and bookish 2013 for one and all!


  • At 2012.12.31 09:16, Marie said:

    Great list! I enjoyed Broken Harbor and the Baker’s Daughter too, and l-o-v-e-d Gone Girl. What a great read that was! I can’t wait for the movie!

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    • At 2012.12.31 09:21, Jennifer said:

      I had a feeling that Gone Girl was going to be my book of the year when I read it. It would be so darn hard to top. What a great read. I want everyone to read it.

    • At 2012.12.31 09:18, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

      We have a let of overlap on our lists! I also actually have but haven’t read a bunch of the others. Guess I have some reading to do.

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      • At 2012.12.31 09:23, Jennifer said:

        I think we added to each other’s TBR equally. What are friends for? 🙂

      • At 2012.12.31 09:21, bermudaonion(Kathy) said:

        A Land More Kind Than Home made my best list this year as well. I’m the one person who hasn’t read Gone Girl yet but my book club has selected it so I should get it read this year. Happy New Year, Jennifer!

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        • At 2012.12.31 09:24, Jennifer said:

          Wiley Cash knocked my socks off with A Land More Kind Than Home. I hope we’ll hear from him again soon. I hope you love Gone Girl, too. Hopefully the hype won’t hurt. Happy New Year, Kathy!

        • At 2012.12.31 09:24, Heather said:

          That’s a great list of books. I read a lot of them, too, but I won’t get to some of them until next year. Gone Girl is fantastic.

          • At 2012.12.31 10:20, Laurie C said:

            The Starboard Sea made my list of favorites too. I definitely plan to listen to A Land More Kind Than Home one of these days. Read Gone Girl in print, but think I should have gone with the audio!

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            • At 2012.12.31 15:13, Sandy said:

              I couldn’t agree with you more on many of these! Gone Girl and A Land More Kind Than Home were both on my list (unfortunately I read the second one in print…an advanced copy I’m sure some day will be a collector’s item!). I just did start The Art Forger, and am greatly looking forward to the long flight back home in a couple of days so I can make a dent on it.

              • At 2012.12.31 15:22, Rachel said:

                Gone Girl was my favorite of 2012 too – loved it!

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                • At 2013.01.01 09:56, Jennifer said:

                  Fantastic list! Some of my favorites from the year are on your list 🙂 American Dervish…oh I loved that one! Happy New Year to you and yours!

                  • At 2013.01.01 10:37, Serena said:

                    You had a lot of great read. Have a Happy New Year.

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                    • At 2013.01.01 11:04, Beth Hoffman said:

                      I really enjoyed several books on your list. Happy New Year to you and yours, Jennifer!

                      • At 2013.01.01 11:10, Anita said:

                        I was so entranced by the audio of A Land More Kind Than Home…just perfect. I haven’t finished Gone Girl, I must be weird but it had a slow start for me. Great list and I’ve learned so much about audiobooks from you this year. Thanks!!

                        • At 2013.01.01 11:47, Nise' said:

                          Happy New Year! We have a couple of books that made both of our lists! I look forward to The Art Forger. I am probably one of the few that did not put Gone Girl on my fav list. Here’s to great reading in 2013.

                          • At 2013.01.01 14:08, Melanie said:

                            I loved every book on your list that I’ve read/heard, so I’m excited to add the rest to my TBR pile. And though I couldn’t have been happier with Land More Kind Than Home’s audio, I listened to Gone Girl and was utterly captivated, so I rank that over Cash in the audio scoreboard. But then I went and listened to Code Name Verity, which was also an astounding audio – there were so many wonderful titles that my scoreboard is a convoluted mess of joy.

                            • At 2013.01.02 14:56, Ti said:

                              Great list. So many I haven’t read yet, but really want to.

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                              • At 2013.01.03 16:56, Emma @ Words And Peace said:

                                great list! we have 1 in common.

                                you will find my list in this post:

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                                • At 2013.01.05 11:49, Steph said:

                                  I enjoyed reading your list. I really need to get my hands on Gone Girl. 🙂

                                  • At 2013.01.05 18:17, Alex (Sleepless Reader) said:

                                    Bring Up the Bodies seems to be making everybody’s lists and I’m ready to bet it’ll be one of the best of 2013 for me. Looking forward to the Armchair Audies 2013!

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                                    • At 2013.01.14 21:29, Colleen said:

                                      I just finished American Dervish on audio today and didn’t want it to end – it was fantastic!

                                      • At 2013.01.29 14:37, Stacey B. said:

                                        Thank you so much for this fantastic list of books! I am a self-professed chick-lit, romance novel addict 🙂 and I was so happy to come across this posting! I just finished a series of three books (The Look to the Future Series) by author Mary Metcalfe (http://www.lakefrontmuse.ca/). The books are “Winds of Change” “New Beginnings” and “Road to Tomorrow.” Mary Metcalfe’s writing can be compared to authors Nora Roberts and Jodi Picoult. They are all stories about second chances, dealing with loss and starting over again, and allowing love and happiness into your life! I think all of her characters are easy to relate to, flawed, and loveable. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!!

                                        • At 2013.03.03 22:33, Giveaway ~ Heading out to Wonderful said:

                                          […] of my absolute favorite novels of 2012 was Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick. I had the opportunity to meet him and have him […]

                                          (Required, will not be published)

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