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14 December
The Critical Eye Viewpoints

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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Ruins of Stone Hill


Favors and Lies


A Passing Curse


November 28, 2014
Libby O'Connell - The American Plate
Starts: 12:00 pm
Ends: November 28, 2014 - 1:00 pm
Location: 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco
November 29, 2014
Family Day - Kat Beyer, Kathryn Otoshi, Kathryn Gibbs Davis, & More
Starts: 10:00 am
Ends: November 29, 2014 - 4:00 pm
Location: Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera
Market to Table: Cooking Demonstrations by Cookbook Authors
Starts: 10:30 am
Ends: November 29, 2014 - 12:30 pm
Location: Book Passage at the Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco
Description: On Saturday mornings, chefs and cookbook authors lead free cooking demonstrations using seasonal ingredients from the Farmers Market. Join them in the CUESA kitchen (North Arcade) for tips, recipes, and a sample. Book Passage will be there with the books.
Christina Stevens - Love: The Saint and the Seeker
Starts: 1:00 pm
Ends: November 29, 2014 - 2:00 pm
Location: Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera
Evan Morgan Willis - Thorn
Starts: 1:00 pm
Ends: November 29, 2014 - 2:00 pm
Location: 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco
November 30, 2014
Sunday Morning Storytime with Christopher Smith
Starts: 11:00 am
Ends: November 30, 2014 - 12:00 pm
Location: Author Appearance - , “” Book Passage - 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera
Description: Sunday Morning Storytime with Christopher Smith at Book Passage, Corte Madera
Starting September 12!
Sundays • 11:00 am • Free
Summer is over and Christopher is back! Singer-songwriter Christopher Smith has been writing music and performing in the Bay Area for over 20 years. Smith writes well-crafted story songs that aim for the heart. Children of all ages—and adults—love him!

These events are free and take place at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, unless otherwise noted. For information or to reserve autographed books, call 415-927-0960 or go to
December 1, 2014
Left Coast Writers Literary Salon
Starts: 7:00 pm
Ends: December 1, 2014 - 9:00 pm
Location: Book Passage - 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera
Description: Left Coast Writers®
A Literary Salon Led by Linda Watanabe McFerrin
1st Monday each month • 7:00-9:00 pm • $120 per year
Left Coast Writers meetings provide literary connections, support, counsel, readings, writing tips, literary chat, unabashed networking, and great fun. Many local authors are active members of this group. Meetings feature presentations by Bay Area literary figures. In addition, LCW hosts a variety of other activities to launch the books of members, to explore publishing
alternatives, and to network with others in the industry.




Rush of Shadows