With the year finally coming to an end, it's time to look back at the Top Books in 2012! There were so many amazing books that came out this year, which makes having to pick only a few so difficult. In order to make this process a little easier, I'm going to pick only one book for each genre that topped the charts this year, while it also gained rave reviews! My fellow bookworms, let's venture back to recount our Top Books in 2012!
1. Fiction - the Casual Vacancy
No matter what J.K. Rowling writes, she can't keep from being one of the top choices for best novels! Instead of following in the steps of Harry Potter, Rowling has taken a different path with this contemporary mystery novel that made it to this Top Books in 2012 list! "The Casual Vacancy" is split into seven parts, the first depicting the aftermath of the death of a small town's local Parish Councillor, Barry Fairbrother, who suffers an aneurysm in the car park of a local golf course. The town needs to fill the spot left by Barry, but after the election date is announced, the children of those who are up for election decide to make damaging posts on the Parish Council online forum. Think "Gossip Girl" but in a political setting! It's definitely a must for those of you who love J.K. Rowling's writing style, but don't mind the absence of magic from a novel.
2. Non Fiction - Quiet
If you are more into reading about real life over fiction, then here's my top pick for best 2012 Non Fiction. "Quiet" was written by Susan Cain and it describes people known as introverts. People who are considered introverts are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is introverts who have been the main source of the great contributions to society. From Van Gogh’s artwork to the invention of the personal computer! "Quiet" shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. This extraordinary book introduces us to the stories of successful introverts and has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.
3. Mystery/Thriller - Gone Girl
One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers Gillian Flynn takes the top spot for best Mystery/Thriller for 2012 with her novel Gone Girl. In short, Gone Girl is about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong! On their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne finds that his clever and beautiful wife Amy disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Nick, who was once the town's golden boy, supplies an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter — but is he really a killer? All I have to say is wait until you reach the middle of the novel; it will completely blind-side you!
4. Young Adult - Insurgent
With the success of Veronica Roth's first novel "Divergent" in 2011, everyone had been anxiously waiting for the second novel in the series to be released. "Insurgent" was released this year and quickly climbed to the top of the best-selling charts. This second dystopian novel continues the story of Tris Prior who lives in a society where everyone is broken down into five factions. Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). With war between the factions now brewing, Tris must choose sides and save those she loves. Perfect series for those of you looking for something to read after finishing The Hunger Games.
5. Humor - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
This top humor novel also somewhat doubles as a memoir. Jenny Lawson believes that the most embarrassing moments of our lives are in fact the ones that define us. In this novel, Lawson takes us on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her husband, Victor. Just to give you a little taste of how humorous this novel is, here are some of the chapter titles: «A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband,» «My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking,» «And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane." Be warned though, this is not a book for those of you who are easily offended!
6. Horror - the Twelve
Another second book to a series that has made it on the Top Books in 2012 list! This novel by Justin Cronin continues the story of "The Passage" which ended with the great viral plague having left only a small group of survivors clinging to life in a world transformed into a nightmare. In this second volume of the trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by Amy, goes on the attack. Their secret weapon? Alicia, who was transformed at the end of the first book into a half human, half viral creature. But whose side is she really on? Make sure you go back and read "The Passage" first before venturing into this novel or you may be seriously confused.
7. Romance - Fifty Shades Freed
Yes, the final chapter of E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey series made it to the Top Books in 2012 list. When Anastasia Steele first encountered the gorgeous and intimidating young entrepreneur Christian Grey, it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives. Now, Ana and Christian have it all — love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving Christian will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. "Fifty Shades Freed" proves to be a hot and romantic end to the erotic series that has had the whole country talking.
8. Autobiography - Wild
I'm so happy that the top autobiography this year was about a strong woman! At twenty-six, after her mother's devastating death and her own marriage being destroyed, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. With nothing more to lose, she made the impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State... alone. In her autobiography, Cheryl hopes this hike will piece back together a life that had been shattered. "Wild" is the vivid story of a young woman and her journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
9. Fantasy - Shadow of Night
Once again, yet another second installment to a series makes the Top Books in 2012 list! "Shadow of Night" by Deborah Harkness follows the first novel of this series "A Discovery of Witches." The first novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont. Together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782. Now, Diana and Matthew must venture into a world of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
10. Science Fiction - the Long Earth
All you science fiction junkies out there better get ready for a new book series your going to love! The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is the first of a new series of novels. The 'Long Earth' is a (possibly infinite) series of parallel worlds that are similar to Earth, which can be reached by using an inexpensive device called a "Stepper." The "close" worlds are almost identical to 'our' Earth, others differ in greater and greater details. However, the further away you travel, the stranger - and sometimes more dangerous - the Earths get. Prepare to have your mind blown with this new series!
There were tons of amazing books this year and I feel terrible for not getting to list them all. If you have another novel you fell in love with that was released this year, add to this list by commenting below! I myself can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for us book lovers! I always love expanding my "must read" list even if it's unrealistically long!