2012 Best Books of the Year: Recommendations by Authors

As the winter and holiday seasons hit their respective strides, the Amazon editors begin to get more requests from friends, family, and customers about what books to read. All the editors have their favorites—you can find them in the 2012 Best Books of the Year store—but we thought it might be interesting to ask some authors what they read and liked this year. After all, wouldn’t it be interesting to know what your favorite author is reading? So in no particular order, here’s a survey from some pretty well-known writers.

George RR Martin:


Best book you read that was published in 2012?

    "The Black Count by Tom Reiss. I never knew anything about Dumas' father before reading this book. His astonishing adventure-filled life became the inspiration for many of his son Alexander's novels, including a prison stay that inspired The Count of Monte Cristo.”

Two other great books you read this year?

Rick Riordan:

51F6JTb0xfL._BO2,204,203,20035,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Best book you read that was published in 2012?

    ”So many great books in 2012, but I think my favorite is Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone. This debut has such broad appeal it could be enjoyed by middle graders, YA readers and adults alike. Set in an alternative Tsarist Russia where magic and technology clash, an orphaned girl Alina discovers she may hold the key to saving or destroying her country. With great use of Russian mythology, Bardugo crafts a first-rate adventure, a poignant romance and an intriguing mystery all in one book! Fortunately, this is the first of a trilogy."

Two other great books you read this year?

    ”Only a writer of China Mièville's prodigiously twisted talent could pull off a book like Railsea, a hilarious take on Moby Dick. Imagine a world where islands of solid ground are surrounded by seas of shifting dirt, crisscrossed by a mysterious system of rails. Our hero, Sham ap Soorap, signs aboard the moler train Medes, but soon learns that the captain is obsessed with finding and killing a giant ivory-colored mole Mocker-Jack, who took her arm years before. Things just get stranger and more fun from there. Great adventure for any readers middle grade and up, whether or not you have endured reading Moby Dick!”

    “Another brilliant middle grade debut, Geoff Rodkey's Deadweather and Sunrise reads like Pirates of the Caribbean as written by Lemony Snicket. Our young hero Egg Masterson lives a miserable life on an 'ugly fruit' plantation until his father finds a mysterious parchment, which leads Egg on a dangerous quest with plenty of pirates, battles at sea, tricky twists of fate, and a beautiful plucky heroine named Millicent. A great mix of dry humor and good old-fashioned derring-do.”

Salman Rushdie:

51wsprLEO0L._BO2,204,203,20035,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Best book you read that was published in 2012?

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. The harsh life of a Bombay slum vividly recreated on the page in unusually beautiful prose. Her characters are irresistibly alive. No slumdogs or millionaires here. Just the truth.”

Two other great books you read this year?

Nancy Pearl:

41vy9vvCjjL._BO2,204,203,20035,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Best book you read that was published in 2012?

Two other great books you read this year?

Karin Slaughter:

51Gu70Xae5L._BO2,204,203,20035,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Best book you read that was published in 2012?

Two other great books you read this year?

    "Where Did You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple--a whimsical and funny read. Semple knows how to make her research sound fascinating."

    "A Wanted Man by Lee Child--Not much to say other than 'the latest Jack Reacher.' Mr. Child never disappoints."

Nassim Nicholas Taleb:

51X+xlJQtkL._BO2,204,203,20035,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Best book you read that was published in 2012?

    "The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O. Wilson. The author presents a powerful theory, and one with a strong mathematical backing, namely that we are not single selfish units interested in our genes, rather that we are the products of groups."

Two other great books you read this year?

    "Philip Mansel's Levant: Spendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean. This is the best book I read this year. It discusses the city states of the Levant (Alexandria, Beirut, Smyrna) with a life of their own, belonging to the Mediterranean not the hinterland."

    "Le Rivage des Syrtes by Julien Gracq. A poignant novel, with humans in the grip of expectation, living in the antichamber of hope."


More author recommendations next week.

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Comments (1)

Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL had so many twists and turns, I was dizzy by the ending, an ending, by the way, at which I said, "NO WAY!" It was awesome!

Posted by: Joseph Rinaldo | Saturday January 5, 2013 at 10:53 AM

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