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?