Monday, December 31, 2012
The Best of 2012
In 2012 I read 52 books. Some were great; many were not so great. Here are my favorites:
Most Important book of the year: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics by Jonathan Haidt. It changed my outlook on politics and religion.
Funniest: Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. Laugh-out-loud funny skewering Seattle.
Best Essays: We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons by Tim Kreider. A strange and wonderful look at life.
Most Heartbreaking: Defending Jacob by William Landay. Still haunts me especially in light of the Sandy Hook shootings.
Best Cookbook: Simple Pleasures by Cornelia Guest. I loved the recipes and all the photos of Cornelia Guest’s home.
Best Self-Help: Much Ado About Loving: What our favorite novels can teach you about date expectations, not-so-great Gatsbys, and love in the time of Internet personals by Jack Murningham and Maura Kelly. The title tells it all—very clever.
Best Swedish Mystery: Some Kind of Peace by Camilla Grebe and Asa Traff. Masterful work by a sister team.
Best Family Story: The World Without You by Joshua Henkin. Great character development.
Biggest Surprise: Gossip by Beth Gutcheon. Looks like Chicklit. Deeply engrossing character study.
Best Presidential Assassination: Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard. A whole book about an aspect of history of which I knew nothing.
Best Disease Book: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. One of my most popular postings this year.
Best Spiritual: An Unquenchable Thirst by Mary Johnson. A former nun tells about life as a follower of Mother Teresa.
Best Immigrant book: Into the beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. Very funny look at illegal immigration.
Most Self-Serving: Saving Each Other by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy. Mom’s career or daughter’s illness? Which is more important?
Worst Novel: Game of Secrets by Dawn Tripp and Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!”