« Winter, this muteness | Main | I've had this meal »

5 Great Novels of 2012

After a rough patch in which every book I read left me with an underwhelming sense of "eh," I'm happy to announce the literary lethargy has passed. In this last month I have enjoyed a joyous rush of really good books. Mind if I share my favorites?

5 Great Novels of 2012  

The Orchardist
by Amanda Coplin
A spare and moving story set at the turn of the century in the Pacific Northwest. A masterful debut in both character and pace.


Beautiful Ruins
by Jess Walter
An Italian history and a modern Hollywood combine for an engaging love story.


Rules of Civility
by Amor Towles
Set in 1930s New York, this fictionalized tale of money, opportunity and social circles is both energetic and touching — and a loving tribute to a glorious city.


The Shore Girl
by Fran Kimmel
Glass Castle meets Ghostbread in this story of lives on the edge, written with clarity and perception by an author who smartly skips the cloying sentimentality that often infuses this topic.


All the Dancing Birds
by Auburn McCanta
In this hand-me-the-hanky fiction, the narrator — a woman with Alzheimer's — shares the story of her eroding mind.


How's your reading life? What's on your shelf, or your mind? What book grabbed you and won't let go?

Reader Comments (6)

Drew, I'm deeply honored by this recognition. Thank you so much for selecting All the Dancing Birds as a 2012 Great Novel, but more importantly, this honor recognizes the millions of people who either live with brain illness, or who are caregivers ... or simply care-ers.

Thank you.


December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAuburn McCanta

I have not heard of any of these books (I'm out of the novel loop right now!). Thanks so much for these excellent recommendations! Looking forward to doing some reading for fun very soon....

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah Stephenson

I loved "The Orchardist" and "Rules of Civility," and look forward to reading the others you mentioned here. Thank you for sharing your faves!

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie Yano

Carrie - Thank YOU for suggesting "The Orchardist." It's one of those books I may have passed by if not for a good word from a trusted reader.

Hannah - Yes! to more "fun" reading.

Auburn - It's my pleasure to share your good work.

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Drew: I am absolutely delighted that The Shore Girl has been included in your 5 Great Novels list for 2012. What an honor. And what a list! It's a cold snowy day here in my small Alberta town, but this post has warmed me from head to toe. Thank you, thank you.
Best to you and your readers, Fran

December 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFran Kimmel

Fran - So nice to 'see' you here. I'm very happy to share good words about "The Shore Girl," and look forward to reading more of your work.

Thanks for dropping by.

December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>