Wednesday, November 28, 2012

100 Notable Books of 2012

Published: November 27, 2012 - The New York Times

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and non-fiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Illustration by Julia Rothman

Previous Years' Lists

2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005


ALIF THE UNSEEN. By G. Willow Wilson. (Grove, $25.) A young hacker on the run in the Mideast is the protagonist of this imaginative first novel.
ALMOST NEVER. By Daniel Sada. Translated by Katherine Silver. (Graywolf, paper, $16.) In this glorious satire of machismo, a Mexican agronomist simultaneously pursues a prostitute and an upright woman.
AN AMERICAN SPY. By Olen Steinhauer. (Minotaur, $25.99.) In a novel vividly evoking the multilayered world of espionage, Steinhauer’s hero fights back when his C.I.A. unit is nearly destroyed.
ARCADIA. By Lauren Groff. (Voice/Hyperion, $25.99.) Groff’s lush and visual second novel begins at a rural commune, and links that utopian past to a dystopian, post-global-warming future.
AT LAST. By Edward St. Aubyn. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) The final and most meditative of St. Aubyn’s brilliant Patrick Melrose novels is full of precise observations and glistening turns of phrase.
BEAUTIFUL RUINS. By Jess Walter. (Harper/HarperCollins, $25.99.) Walter’s witty sixth novel, set largely in Hollywood, reveals an American landscape of vice, addiction, loss and disappointed hopes.
BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK. By Ben Fountain. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $25.99.) The survivors of a fierce firefight in Iraq are whisked stateside for a brief victory tour in this satirical novel.
BLASPHEMY. By Sherman Alexie. (Grove, $27.) The best stories in Alexie’s collection of new and selected works are moving and funny, bringing together the embittered critic and the yearning dreamer.
THE BOOK OF MISCHIEF: New and Selected Stories. By Steve Stern. (Graywolf, $26.) Jewish immigrant lives observed with effusive nostalgia.
BRING UP THE BODIES. By Hilary Mantel. (Macrae/Holt, $28.) Mantel’s sequel to “Wolf Hall” traces the fall of Anne Boleyn, and makes the familiar story fascinating and suspenseful again.
BUILDING STORIES. By Chris Ware. (Pantheon, $50.) A big, sturdy box containing hard-bound volumes, pamphlets and a tabloid houses Ware’s demanding, melancholy and magnificent graphic novel about the inhabitants of a Chicago building.
BY BLOOD. By Ellen Ullman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) This smart, slippery novel is a narrative striptease, as a professor listens in on the sessions between the therapist next door and her patients.
CANADA. By Richard Ford. (Ecco/Har­perCollins, $27.99.) A boy whose parents rob a bank in Montana in 1960 takes refuge across the border in this mesmerizing novel, driven by fully realized characters and an accomplished prose style. 

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