The Best Books of 2012….so far!

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2012 has been an outstanding year for new fiction – in the first few months I read more 4.5+ star books than I did in the whole of 2011. The positive reviews just keep on coming…..

Here are my favourite books of the year so far:

HHhH

HHhH by Laurent Binet 

An original, thought provoking look at the way we perceive historical fiction. Focusing on a mission to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Nazi secret services during WWII, it is gripping and informative. Books don’t get better than this!

The Street Sweeper

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman

An epic book that analyses the way we record history. It combines the racism faced by black Americans and the horror of the Holocaust in a complex, but thought provoking plot. Some of the scenes are disturbing, but all are necessary. This is an emotional read that I highly recommend.

 Tell the Wolves I'm Home
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt 

The premise doesn’t sound that exciting, but this quiet story about a girl and her uncle, who is dying from AIDs, is packed with emotion. Family secrets and relationships combine to form a beautifully story that will stay with you for a long time.

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Simon Mawer

A fantastic love story set during WWII. The central character is a young female parachutist who we see develop as she undergoes training and then performs dangerous secret missions in France. It is wonderfully entertaining and packs an emotional punch.

Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Atmospheric and emotional book about one family preparing for the arrival of hurricane Katrina. It is a powerful insight into the lives of a family who have little in common with me, but I loved the way I was made to understand their problems and motivations.

Heft

Heft by Liz Moore 

A wonderfully entertaining book about what it means to be a family. Focused on a morbidly obese man, this book manages to avoid stereotypes to produce a heartwarming story that will keep you guessing.

The Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey 

Balancing on a thin line between fairy-tale and reality this is an atmospheric book set in the Canadian wilderness. The book begins with a childless couple building a snowchild in their garden. The next morning their snow sculpture has disappeared and they catch a glimpse of a real child running through their garden. Are they imagining it?

The Cook

The Cook by Wayne Macauley 

Combining reality television with the ruthless world of the professional kitchen this dark book is as shocking as it is entertaining. It’s not for the squeamish!

The Colour of Milk

The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon

This short book is a wonderful piece of historical fiction. It is atmospheric, engaging and packs an emotional punch. I recommend giving it a try!

 

You can also find recommendations for other outstanding books on my posts predicting the Orange and Booker Prize longlists.

 

Have you enjoyed any of these books?

Can you recommend any other books that you think could make my “Best of 2012″ list?

 

 

 


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43 Comments

  1. Audra says:

    Oooh, wonderful list — I’ve only read one on your list — Salvage the Bones, and it *was* amazing! I’m dying to read The Snow Child.

    1. Jackie says:

      Audra, The Snow Child is very different to Salvage the Bones – they are almost on opposite ends of the fluffy – dark scale. I’ll be interested to see how you get on with it. Fingers crossed you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. Wendy says:

    The Street Sweeper and Salvage the Bones are definitely two of my favorites as well. I think you liked The Snow Child a bit more than me…although the writing was good. I am dying to read Simon Mawer’s book! Will have to take a look at the others on your list too :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Wendy, I suspect you might be a little disappointed with the lack of literary merit in Mawer’s book, but I found it very entertaining. Fingers crossed you do too.

  3. Anna says:

    Definitely adding HHhH and The Girl Who Fell From The Sky to my wish list!

    1. Jackie says:

      Anna, Yay! Enjoy :-)

  4. Love these lists. Reminds me I still have not got around to reading The Street Sweeper despite it being on my Aussie Author Challenge reading list – its length is probably the biggest factor. I am saving some of the chunkier titles on my TBR pile for holidays I have coming up soon though so can’t wait!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, Yes, The Street Sweeper is a very long book, but I think every page is needed. Such a good book. Hope you get around to it at some point.

  5. Alison P says:

    Heft, Salvage the Bones and The Colour of Milk are all books I have loved and probably wouldn’t have picked up but for your recommendations so huge thanks for that! I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the Snow Child as I don’t usually go for “fairy-tale” type books. HHhH, The Girl who fell from the Sky and The Street Sweeper are all on my wish list waiting for the paperback releases. My mum, who uses me as a personal library service, always comments on the wide range of interesting books I manage to find and it really is thanks to bloggers like yourself who highlight books that perhaps don’t get broadsheet reviews or Waterstones table space. I’m not sure how I ever managed before I discovered blogs! Thank you again for the wonderful work you do.

    1. Jackie says:

      Alison, Thank you for all the kind words! It is so lovely to hear that you’ve enjoyed my suggestions. I hope that you (and your mum!) continue to do so.

  6. Several I want to read and several I already have on my shelves. SHAME on me for not reading them!!! :D

    1. Ifi says:

      Ditto.!! I have all of these on my reader except for ” The Girl Who Fell…” Not enough time!!! Top of the list are Heft and Milk.
      They both sound “different” which is right up my alley.

      1. Jackie says:

        Ifi, They are very different, but I hope you enjoy them both as much as I did.

    2. Jackie says:

      Andi, There is no rush! There are loads of amazing books fighting for my attention too. I try not to feel guilty about it, but it is hard when you realise how few books you can actually read in any given amount of time. Hope you get to one or two of them some time.

  7. JC says:

    Ok, I think I’ve got to read HHhH in translation now. I usually try to read in French but my French tbr pile is already too high.

    1. Jackie says:

      JC, I’m afraid I can’t comment on what you might be missing out on by not reading the original. All I can say is that the English translation is outstanding. I hope you think so too.

  8. stujallen says:

    hhhh maybe just on my list satantango my favourite so far this year ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, I’d love to know what you think of HHhH – it is such an original book. I hope you decide to try it one day.

  9. Heft and The Street Sweeper are on my wishlist. The Snow Child was beautiful indeed. HhhH has been recommended so often that I’ll have to try it even though I’m still not convinced it’s for me. Really, all books that you recommend are worth a try! :-)

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith. HHhH does divide opinion, but I think it is worth reading just so you can join in the conversation. I’d love to know your thoughts on it.

  10. Vasilly says:

    You’re adding books to my tbr list!! :-) I already have a few of these books in my pile. I better get reading!

    1. Jackie says:

      Vasilly, Great to hear that I’m adding to your TBR! Mine is growing all the time too!

  11. Chinoiseries says:

    What a diverse range of books! I only recognise The Snow Child, as it’s on my library pile right now ;) Hhhh sounds really interesting, I’ll be adding that one to my to-read list. I’m sure you have read more 2012 books than I have so far, but in case you haven’t read The Child Who by Simon Lelic, I recommend it as the best psychological thriller I’ve read this year.

    1. Jackie says:

      Chinoiseries, I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve added HHhH to your list. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It is also good to see you recommending Simin Lelic – I was a massive fan of Rupture, but I’m afraid everything since then has disappointed me a little. The Child Who was good, but in a different league to Rupture which I recommend that you read if you haven’t already.

      1. Chinoiseries says:

        I haven’t yet read Rupture, but will add it to my to-read list now :)

  12. Steph says:

    So, I am ashamed to say I haven’t read any of these (heard of many of them, though… that counts for something, right?), but I am SO happy to hear that you are enjoying Tell the Wolves I’m Home! I can’t wait to hear your full thoughts on it!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, Tell the Wolves I’m Home is very good – I’m in the final 50 pages now. I think we’ll be able to combine forces and persuade a few people to read it :-)

  13. Jenners says:

    Sounds like you are having an excellent reading year. Let’s hope for more outstanding reads for the remainder of the year.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, I do think the great books will continue for the rest of the year….I’ve got high hopes for several near the top of my pile. Fingers crossed!

  14. christa says:

    This post is not helping my TBR list Jackie!!!

  15. olduvai says:

    I’ve yet to read any of these, but they now have a firm place on my TBR list!

    1. Jackie says:

      Olduvai, I hope you manage to try a few and love them as much as I did.

  16. Sandy says:

    I loved Heft…it made my runner up Audio list (audio has some tough competition!!). I really REALLY want to read the Perlman, and I already did buy HHhH on Kindle.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I know you”ll love the Pearlman and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on HHhH. Enjoy!

  17. Colin says:

    What a wonderfully varied booklist! I’ve seen HHhH in a lot of bookshops here in Spain. After reading your comments I think I’ll buy it. Thank you!

    1. Jackie says:

      Colin, I’m really pleased that you like my list and plan to try HHhH. Enjoy!

  18. Caroline says:

    How did I miss this list?
    I’m looking forward to the best of lists all year and then I miss them!
    Your two five star choices are the two which interest me the most but they are both quite chunky… Still. I’d like to give them a try.

    1. Jackie says:

      Caroline, Yes. I do have a habit of liking chunky reads. :-) Hope you decide to give them a try anyway.

  19. Currently reading and loving Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Thanks for another great recommendation! Many others look equally tempting. Heft is on order as I type… And given that it’s not at the library, may just have to download The Colour of Milk to my Kindle…

    1. Jackie says:

      Kristie, It is lovely to know you”re enjoying the recommendations. Heft is such a well plotted story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  20. Sherry says:

    I added HHhH to my (very long) TBR list. I also linked to your list and was presumptuous to give you some reading suggestions for 2013:

    http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=19391

    1. Jackie says:

      Thank you Sherry! I”ll head over to look at your recommendations soon.

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