Staff Picks: Best Books of 2012

We polled our staff in early December, asking our more than 200 book reviewers what their favorite books of 2012 were — regardless of having reviewed the book for us. Below is what they told us. We found it interesting that there were no duplicates, which tells you that there were so many great releases this year. On our list, you’ll find a little bit for everyone, from cookbooks to children’s books, to horror.

With Christmas nearing, we thought this would be a handy guide for your gift-giving.

Note: Books that we’ve reviewed link to the review.

23 Shades of Black By K.J.A. Wishnia

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Sacramento, Including Auburn, Folsom, and Davis (2nd ed) by Jane Huber

A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson

A Room with a Pew: Sleeping Our Way Through Spain’s Ancient Monasteries by Richard Starks and Miriam Murcutt

A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie

Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams

Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race but Changed the Nation by Scott Farris

American Antislavery Writings by James G. Basker

Ancient Light by John Banville

And Blue Skies from Pain by Stina Leicht 

At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories By Kij Johnson

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Beyond Here Lies Nothing: The Concrete Grove Trilogy By Gary McMahon

Black Dahlia and White Rose by Joyce Carol Oates

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

Calling Invisible Women: A Novel by Jeanne Ray

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Churchhill: The Power of Words by Winston Churchill and Martin Gilbert

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

College: What It Is and Should Be by Andrew Delbanco

Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson

Dragonborn by Toby Forward

Gone: A Novel by Cathi Hanauer

Grave Mercy by RL LaFevers

Healthy Foods A to Z by Stephanie Maze and Renee Comet

Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques; 101 Fast, Fun, and Fearless Projects: Dresses, Tunics, Scarves, Skirts, Accessories, Pillows, Curtains, and More by Nicole Blum, Debra Immergut

Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

Lionel Asbo by Martin Amis

Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie by Beth M. Howard

Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris, by Marissa Moss

Neville by Norton Juster and G. Brian Karas

Nimpentoad by Josh Herz, Henry Herz, Harrison Herz, and Sean Eddingfield (Illustrator)

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer

Small adventures in Cooking by James Ramsden

So Far From Home: Russians in Early California by Glenn J. Farris

So Far to Run by Louise Geesedeh Barton

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Sources of Lights by Margaret McMullan

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

The Coldest War (The Milkweed Triptych, #2)

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald

The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America by Scott Weidensaul

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen by Stephen R. Brown

The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Tender Hour of Twilight by Richard Seaver

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons, by Barbara Mariconda

Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie’s Story by Freddie Owens

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Willa Bean’s Cloud Dreams by Kristi Valiant

Year Zero by Rob Reid

You Came Back: A Novel by Christopher Coake

 

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