Amazon book editors have put their heads together and come up with this year’s Top 100 Books list, with the 10 best listed below followed by explanations as to why they made the cut. And in addition to the Top 100 Books list, the Amazon editors have put together best of lists in more than two dozen categories including Literature & Fiction and Children’s Books. They’re also offering up a new category this year, Celebrity Picks, with Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Salman Rushdie, Molly Ringwald, and more naming their personal favorites.
“Our team of Amazon editors is very passionate about books, and it was tough to choose just one for the top of our list this year,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Books and Kindle at Amazon.com. “We are confident that we’ve chosen a list that customers will be excited about. Our top choice comes from the venerable author, Louise Erdrich; The Round House has been a team favorite since we first read it this past summer, and we kept coming back to this beautifully written novel as our best book of the year.”
Top 10 Editors’ Picks of the Year:
1. The Round House by Louise Erdrich: Likely to be dubbed the Native American To Kill a Mockingbird, Erdrich’s moving, complex and surprisingly uplifting new novel tells of a boy’s coming of age in the wake of a brutal, racist attack on his mother.
2. The Yellow Birds: A Novel by Kevin Powers: With this compact and emotional debut novel, Iraq War veteran Powers eyes the casual violence of war with a poet’s precision, moving confidently between scenes of blunt atrocity and almost hallucinatory detachment.
3. Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn: Masterfully plotted from start to finish, the suspense doesn’t waver for one page. It’s one of those books you will feel the need to discuss immediately after finishing. The ending punches you in the gut.
4. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe: As much an homage to literature as to the mother who shared it with him, Schwalbe’s chronicling of his mother’s death to cancer—they wait, they talk, they read together—is nothing less than captivating.
5. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel by Ben Fountain: Debut novelist Fountain follows a squad of marines as they engage in a “victory tour” in the States. Set mostly during halftime at a Dallas Cowboy’s football game, Fountain skillfully illustrates what it’s like to go to war, and how bizarre and disconcerting it can be for these grunts to return from combat to the country they love.
6. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo: This searing portrait of life in a Mumbai slum reads like a novel, but it’s all-too-true. Pulitzer Prize-winner Boo’s writing is superb, and the depth and courage of her reporting from this hidden world is astonishing.
7. A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers: Both disturbing and funny, this novel from onetime wunderkind Eggers shows surprising depth. A man’s wayward attempt to find himself and retake his life delivers him to Saudi Arabia but the journey abroad is also internal, and it ends up saying as much about life in America as in the Middle East.
8. The Middlesteins: A Novel by Jami Attenberg: A quick read that’s more complex than it seems at first, this story about a Midwestern Jewish family is both recognizable (sometimes uncomfortably so) and entertainingly idiosyncratic.
9. Mortality by Christopher Hitchens: Like the late author himself, this book is funny, smart, entertaining and unflinching to the end. “Mortality” has the power to change ideas that you might have held immutable—which is one of the best things you can say about a book.
10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: This soulful novel originally written for teenagers tackles big subjects—life, death, love—with the perfect blend of levity and heart-swelling emotion.
For more of the Best Books of 2012 lists, visit www.amazon.com/bestbooks2012.