Welcome to the 2012 Best Books of the Year: An Embarrassment of Riches

Saranelson

Stop us if you’ve heard this before–but compiling a Best of anything list is always pretty difficult. What, exactly, constitutes “best” especially when it comes to books. Is it plot or writing? Topic? Angle? Character? Ok, well – you know the answer: The best books are the ones that incorporate all of the above, and it’s usually hard to find ones that measure up.

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Except that this year, our team of editors had a different kind of difficulty; we suffered an embarrassment of riches. All year long we read and read and read (and read) and loved and loved and loved (and loved) so many books that the usually spirited Best of the Year meetings were, well, especially spirited. For a while there it looked like a winner would be too close to call.

Eventually, though, we came to our conclusions, which we offer you here. Landing solidly at Number 1 is Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, a veritable masterpiece of writing, story and message, a truly Great American novel from a longtime novelist some might call undersung. There are fabulous debuts, too – like Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a novel by Ben Fountain. You’ll see names you recognize – Junot Diaz, Dave Eggers, and Salman Rushdie; but if others are less well known to you – Jami Attenberg, Richard Perry, Carol Anshaw –they won’t stay that way for long. We’ve got fiction and nonfiction, light reading and serious stuff, books that entertain and inspire, elucidate and educate (but never in a homework-y way).

Also new this year, we asked some well-known people, including such literary luminaries as Stephen King and Gillian Flynn, to tell us what topped their reading lists.

There's something for everyone in this list. It's all at www.Amazon.com/BestBooks2012

Enjoy!

--Sara Nelson

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Omnivoracious, The Amazon Book Review

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