Monday, July 02, 2012

Favorites of 2012

Well, 2012 is half over. It's always fun to look back at the first half of the year, and see which books still jump out at me. What were my favorite six books so far? And, I wonder if they'll still be on my list of favorites of 2012 at the end of the year.

Deborah Coates' Wide Open is one of two debut novels on this list. She brings the prairies of South Dakota vividly to life in a story dependent on atmosphere and weather. Her heroine is a strong, independent woman, a veteran of Afghanistan, determined to stand alone if she needs to against the trouble in her hometown. Oh, and she also sees ghosts.

Adriana Trigiani's epic novel, The Shoemaker's Wife,  was one of my favorites, and one of my mother's as well. Trigiani's story of two lonely people, both yearning for love and family, is a story that spans decades and history, as any epic novel should. It's rich in detail, and rich in the Italian and Italian American experience. It's a novel full of color and music. Best of all, The Shoemaker's Wife is full of life and love.

Gone Missing by Linda Castillo will undoubtedly be on my list of favorite crime novels of 2012. Her latest thriller set in Ohio's Amish country finds Police Chief Kate Burkholder teaming up again with Special Agent John Tomasetti. This time, Amish young people have gone missing, and each of the missing teens seems to have been dealing with problems with their lifestyle, just as Kate herself once did.

In Alafair Burke's latest Ellie Hatcher mystery, Never Tell, the NYPD detective is convinced a teen convinced suicide. She's reluctantly forced to the conclusion that she's wrong in this complex novel that deals with contemporary issues. Ellie's realization that she herself needs to grow is part of the appeal of this outstanding story.

Bestselling author Jodi Picoult teamed up with her daughter Samantha Van Leer for Between the Lines. It's a beautiful book, combining a fairy tale with the story of the prince who desperately wants out of the story, and the reader, a fifteen-year-old girl, who identifies with his story. Both teens have missing fathers, and together they try to change the course of Prince Oliver's story.

I began this list with a debut novel, and I'll end it with Karen Thompson Walker's debut, The Age of Miracles. It's a beautifully written coming-of-age story, told by a young woman looking back at the year she was in sixth grade in California. That was the first year of "the slowing", the time when the earth started slowing down, and life on earth drastically changed.

Last year, some of my favorites from the first half of the year were no longer on my list by the end of 2011. It will be interesting to see which of these books make it in 2012. But, right now, these books are stand out for me. What books did you read that stand out for you?


SandyG265 said...

My favorite book so far this year is The dead Season by Donna Ball

Lesa said...

Oh, I love Donna Ball, Sandy. One of her books, something or other about Castles, was one of my favorite books a couple years ago.

Inside A Book said...

This is an awesome list. I will keep tabs on you see how you feel come the end of December. No pressure!

Thanks for sharing this list. I have confirmed to myself that a few of these really ARE ones I want to read.

I am so grateful for blogs. Now that people are reading on their kindles and e-devices at the beach and at the pool, I can never really get a bead on what people are reading. It makes nosey-ol-me a whole lotta sad.

Hey, now that school is out, are there any great events cookin' over at your library?!?!

Lesa said...

Oh, you have a month & a half to enjoy yourself now that school is out! I don't have anything happening here until Aug. 8 and 9th, though. Aug. 8 is my brown bag luncheon. It's at 11:30 here at Velma Teague. But, it's just an hour of me talking about books, and I don't know if you want to drive from Tucson for that. Sean Chercover will be here Aug. 9 at 2 p.m.

People think blogs are dying, but my numbers have actually gone up. Maybe it's because people still do want to see what others are reading?

Yes, I'll be interested, too, to see if these are still favorites by the end of the year.

Beth Hoffman said...

Terrific list, Lesa! I have several of those titles on my TBR list already.

My reading has been sporadic as I've been so busy with my own writing, but I'd have to say that my favorite book thus far is "Be The Miracle" which I received as a gift from a *very* special friend. And I also loved "The Chaperone".

Hope your week is a terrific one! It's hot as blazes here and the devil is trying to steal my gardens, but thus far I'm winning out!

Love to you and all the kitties.

Lesa said...


I'm so glad "Be The Miracle" is your favorite book so far. It just says "Beth". I hope your writing is going well, and I hope we're going to see it sometime next year!

From your mouth to God's ears, but so far this has been a pretty rotten week, and tomorrow doesn't look any better. Can I say I'm looking forward to Saturday already?

Hot here, too. But, at least we don't have fires. I'm hoping it stays that way.

Love to you, my friend.

Kaye said...

I'd probably put The House at Tynford and The Distant Hours as my faves for this year. I haven't read The Shoemaker's Wife yet but Trigiani is always a stellar read for me. I saw somewhere TSW rated a B-. I don't think so!

Lesa said...


Whoever rated The Shoemaker's Wife a B- must not like epic novels. My Mom & I gave it a solid A. And, it's a favorite of local book groups. Two groups in two different local library systems are doing it right now.

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