Best Books of 2012
In our final issue of 2012, we are celebrating books we reviewed and loved this year. We've already published our Shelf Awareness Pro reviewers' favorites, here and here, and even so, it was agonizing to choose only 10 titles each for fiction, nonfiction and children's/YA. So we'll squeeze in just a few more worthy books:
Susan Cain wrote about the gifts of introversion in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Crown); for people labeled shy, unsocial or unfriendly, it's a welcome antidote to an extrovert-centric world.
Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen: 2012 was a great year for music memoirs and biographies. One of our favorites was When I Left Home: My Story by Buddy Guy (Da Capo Press), "the epitome of Chicago blues." The ebullient Mr. Guy also provided one of our most delightful interviews.
In "dazzling prose," National Book Award-winning historian Timothy Egan took us into the life and world of an iconic photographer with Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). In anticipation of spring, we must add a baseball book: Bluegrass Baseball: A Year in the Minor League Life by Katya Cengal (University of Nebraska Press), about ordinary people with a passion for the game, from players to groundskeepers to local families.
And what a rich trove of fiction. The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (Harper), wherein a turn-of-the-century orchardist befriends two runaway sisters--loss and revenge in a lush setting; The Rook by Daniel O'Malley (Little, Brown), a paranormal spy thriller laced with sardonic wit; Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (Dial), the poignant, sweet and wise story of a teen who loses a beloved uncle to AIDS; The Art of Heaing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (Other Press), which our reviewer called "a masterful, magical story of a love that endures from 1950s Burma to present-day America."
And now... the envelope, please. --Marilyn Dahl, book review editor, Shelf Awareness