I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I CANNOT believe the best-books-of-the-year lists are already rolling out. We have more than a month of 2012 left! Yet here is Amazon, splashing its opinions all over the Internet. Goodreads is publicizing its readers’ choice awards for best books of the year, and voting on the finalists is underway. Publisher’s Weekly has its flashy carousel displaying the covers of its editors’ picks in every category and flavor. And the Huffington Post’s editors made their picks in the middle of October. October! That’s like putting holiday lights on your house before Halloween, isn’t it?
Here are some titles that appear on several of these lists, so you can check them out and judge their list-worthiness for yourself. What were the best books you read this year? Let us know in the comments!
- “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in A Mumbai Undercity” by Katherine Boo
This fast-paced work of nonfiction tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.
- “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss and life.
- “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
When a woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, her diary reveals hidden turmoil in her marriage, while her husband, desperate to clear himself of suspicion, realizes that something more disturbing than murder may have occurred.
- “Mortality” by Christopher Hitchens
An insightful collection of essays Hitchens penned after his diagnosis with esophageal cancer. He meditates on life, illness, suffering and religion in an extremely candid manner.
- “The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson
In this fast-paced literary fiction set in North Korea, the son of an influential father who runs an orphan work camp rises to prominence using instinctive talents and eventually becomes a professional kidnapper and romantic rival to Kim Jong Il.
- “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich
When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, fourteen-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.
- “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers
In the midst of a bloody battle in the Iraq War, two soldiers, bound together since basic training, do everything to protect each other from both outside enemies and the internal struggles that come from constant danger.
- “This is How You Lose Her” by Junot Díaz
This collection of stories explores the heartbreak and radiance of love as it is shaped by passion, betrayal and the echoes of intimacy.
- “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe–and built her back up again.