My Favorite Reads of 2012

cover imageInspired by reading year-end lists on other blogs, I’m posting my own. These are my favorite books that I read in 2012, but some were published earlier. I’m not including any books that aren’t published yet, like The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore (Knopf, 2013.)

A favorites list isn’t the same as a Best Books list, but these are still all excellent books. My 2012 favorites all have that something extra – resonance for me personally, an amazing audiobook narrator, extraordinarily powerful language, the reappearance of favorite characters, or something else – that makes me want to urge these books on other readers to enjoy.

Please chime in in the comments to tell me what your favorites of 2012 were!

Favorite Reads

Accelerated by Bronwen Hruska
Pegasus, 2012
New York City father takes on his child’s pressure-cooker private school.

Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel (Read my review)
Doubleday, 2012
Touching comedy of manners and thoughtful exploration of grief.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Knopf, 2011
Harshly beautiful love story with a magical circus and dueling magicians.

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
Dutton, 2012
A slacker dad/ex-husband tries to make peace with family and loser-ish friends.

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Knopf, 2012
For summer reading with Maine, That Old Cape Magic, and Sag Harbor.

The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont (Read my review)
St. Martin’s, 2012
A Separate Peace for a whole new generation.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
DAW, 2011
Second in a huge epic fantasy trilogy for readers who think they don’t like epic fantasy.


Favorite Listens

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny, narrated by Ralph Cosham (Read my review)
Macmillan Audio, 2012
8th in wonderful series featuring Chief Inspector Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, narrated by the author (Read my review)
Scholastic Audio, 2011
Wildly funny story of teen beauty pageant contestants stranded on a jungle island.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, narrated by Ralph Cosham (Read my review)
Blackstone Audio, 2012
Like listening to a great story while sitting by a roaring English fire.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, narrated by David Pittu
Macmillan Audio 2011
Captures the intellectual and moral confusion of coming of age in the early 80s.

The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant, narrated by Hillary Huber (Read my review)
AudioGO, 2012
A perfectly rendered audio edition of an atmospheric, contemporary gothic story.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton
Random House Audio, 2011
Awesome virtual-reality story with tech-nerd heroes and corporate-drone enemies.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison, narrated by Jeff Woodman (Read my review)
Highbridge Audio, 2012
Award-worthy narration of the voice of Ben Benjamin, a man adrift with grief.

State of Wonder by Anne Patchett, narrated by Hope Davis (Read my review)
Harper Audio, 2011
Marina Singh makes a Heart of Darkness-style journey from Minnesota to the Amazon.


29 thoughts on “My Favorite Reads of 2012”

    1. They are both so loooonnnggg, but I really couldn’t put them down. I didn’t love The Wise Man’s Fear quite as much as The Name of the Wind, but still a great story!

  1. I have to check my list of books read this year, but without looking, I’d say Ready Player One is my favorite. It may not necessarily be the best-written book but I had the most fantastic reading experience with this one!

    I loved The Night Circus too!

    1. I would have missed out on RPO if not for all the book bloggers (maybe you too!) who raved about it. I don’t know why I waited over a year to read The Night Circus. (Just read it this month.) Maybe because I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype, but it did!

  2. I haven’t read any of your favorites, but will listen to One Last Thing Before I Go soon. The Starboard Sea is on my wish list – sounds like a book I’ll love.

    As for the audios, State of Wonder made my list last year and I just started listening to David Copperfield with Simon Vance narrating.

    1. I think I waited too long to read Gone Girl and had heard too much about it by the time I read it! Also regret not listening to the audio. Although I’ve heard the audio edition of The Night Circus is also fantastic!

  3. I loved reading Ready Player One, but wish I had listened to it since everyone has raved about the audiobook and Wil Wheaton! And ooh I wish my library had the audiobook for Beauty Queens! I loved reading your choices of favorites, none of which I’ve read, but Rothfuss is on my reading list.

    1. Ask your librarian if he/she can order Beauty Queens for you from elsewhere. We can request outside our network for most things. Beauty Queens is definitely worth waiting for!

  4. I read Seating Arrangements this year and really liked it – what a whacky family! State of Wonder was excellent. I am putting your others on my TBR.

  5. Night Circus made my list too (although the audio version)–such a beautiful book. I hope to read the print version this year. I can’t help myself!

    I would like to read the first in Patrick Rothfuss’s trilogy this year and maybe the second. My husband loved it–and usually what he likes, I do too. I only wish it was the other way around too. :-S

    Ready Player One is downloaded and ready to go in my phone when I’m ready to listen to it! I am glad you liked it so much.

    Have a Happy New Year, Laurie!

    1. The Patrick Rothfuss books are really long, but I rushed through both of them. I’m thinking I might listen to The Night Circus sometime in the future because I’ve heard from so many people how good the audio edition is.

  6. Yay for the Marriage Plot! I loved The Name of the Wind and have had Wise Man’s Fear here for a while to review, but I’m a bit daunted by its size!

    1. I was worried that Wise Man’s Fear wouldn’t be as good as TNOTW, but I rushed through it just as much. Don’t forget to add Goodbye for Now to your TBR list, though! It’s my candidate for Most Undeservedly Overlooked Book of 2012.

  7. The Night Circus and Ready Player One were also on my list of favs for the year. I listened to Ready Player One, great audio. I also listened to part of The Night Circus with my daughter just to get her to “read” it. Jim Dale is an incredible narrator and the book itself is just beautiful.

    I discovered Louise Penny last year and read the first 7 of the 8 books in a row, one right after the other. I am so smitten with her characters. I have Beautiful Mystery and need to get to it soon.

Would love to have you comment!