Phil’s 2012 Top Picks


The following titles, which I prefer to list without ranking them, are my top picks among those published in 2011-2012 that I reviewed during 2012. It would be easy to find room for another 5-6 fiction titles, like James W. Hall’s Dead Last and Paul Goldstein’s legal thriller Havana Requiem, but I’m staying with the top ten selected.

Because I review fewer nonfiction titles than fiction, I’ve made this list a “top 8.”

Finally, the first two lists reflect my favorites among the trade publications that I reviewed. Separately, I’ve listed 3 self-published titles that seem to me especially worthy of notice.

FICTION [trade]

Julianna Baggot,  Pure

James Lilliefors, Viral

Lisa Unger, Heartbroken

Irvin D. Yalom, The Spinoza Problem

Moira Crone, The Not Yet

Roberto Ampuero, The Neruda Case [first English publication]

Randy Wayne White, Gone

Amy Hill Hearth, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society

Joanna Campbell Slan, Death of a Schoolgirl

Henning Mankell,  The Shadow Girls  [first English publication]


Kelle Hampton, Bloom

James W. Hall, Hit Lit

Les Standiford, Desperate Sons

Matti Friedman, The Aleppo Codex

Tonya Clayton, How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach

Madeleine Albright, Prague Winter

Michael Grunwald, The New New Deal

Ellen Cassedy, We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust


Allen Malnak, Hitler’s Silver Box

Noha Shaath Ismail, East of the Sun: A Memoir

Leah Griffith, Cosette’s Tribe

1 Comment

Filed under Authors and Books

One response to “Phil’s 2012 Top Picks

  1. Hi, Phil. Was about to write about something else when I saw your Top Picks. I’m a sucker for lists of any kind, esp. books–I’ve printed it out to take with me to the library. Didn’t know you read and review e-books! please consider my new book at this link: “”” The “something else” is a charming book I picked up called “My Ideal Bookshelf,” and I’m just mad that I didn’t think of it first. More than 100 people share a shelf of their favorite books. And you can spend endless time looking to see if your own favorites are on a shelf–or your edition of that book; each person gets an essay page and an art page (the books on their shelves are painted, not photographed). And you notice details, like Patti Smith having two copies of her favorite book, and how often William Trevor makes an appearance. And of course, each shelf is a reading list in itself. Just wanted to tell you about it. Happy holidays and New Year. Martha


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s