The editorial team at Amazon has announced what they consider are the best top 10 titles of 2012. Most of these I have read and enjoyed but there are a handful that I need to read to see if I agree. Are there any of these which you need to check out?
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. I've spoken of this title before and reviewers seem to put it in the running for book of the year. This first time authror's poignant story of 2 young soldiers in Iraq has been said to be "compact and powerful as a footlocker full of ammo." The LA Times has said it "might just be the first American literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq war, even if an imperfect one. It is, without a doubt, a powerful and disturbing statement about the brutality of that conflict, and of the deep wounds inflicted on thousands of our citizen-soldiers."
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I've spoken of this one too. I loved this book! A fascinating psychological suspense title about a troubled marriage and how people may not be who you think they are. I've recommended this book to lots of people. If you haven't read it ---do so.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Another book about the Iraq War but this one is set during the Bush administration. This title follows Bravo troop whose skirmish was caught on Fox News making them all heroes. The novel takes place in one day whine the troop is honored at a football game in Dallas Stadium. Huffington Post says "Fountain has written a funny novel that provides skewering critiques of America's obsession with sports, spectacle, and war, but ultimately this is a book about a very young man who has to decide why he fights and if he will continue to do so."
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. The New York Times says that Boo is "one of those rare, deep-digging journalists who can make truth surpass fiction, a documentarian with a superb sense of human drama. She makes it very easy to forget that this book is the work of a reporter."
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. The San Francisco Chronicle says this is an "extraordinary work of timely and provocative themes, including the decline of American manufacturing, the sufferings of the middle class and the collapse of the global economy." It centers on Alan Clay, an out of work salesman, who is trying to land a gigantic IT contract in Saudi Arabia. While waiting for an audience with King Abdullah, he wiles away his time feeling lonely, depressed and superfluous.
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg. the story of a dangerously overweight woman and the relatives who are trying, in various ineffectual ways, to save her life when “everything about her was collapsing.” The Book Reporter says ""With pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor, Jami Attenberg has given us an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession."
Mortality by Christopher Hitchens. This is a collection of essays written during the last 19 months of Hitchen's life. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010 and died in December of 2011. The New Statesmen says "Wit, irony, the consolations of philosophy – these are the reserves we draw on when medicine can do no more. And rarely were they more formidably deployed than by Hitchens." In other words, while definitely written about a depressing subject, this book is not depressing.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Hazel is a 16 year old girl with stage IV thyroid cancer, and has been living with an oxygen tank since she was first diagnosed at 12. She realizes she is going to die, but she is on a drug that is keeping the tumors at bay. At a support group meeting she meets Augustus Waters, who is in remission. They immediately hit it off and change each others lives drastically. This is a teen book that will make you laugh and cry - and realize that not all endings are happy.