Best Books of 2012

The end of the year brings a blizzard of “best books” lists – it’s almost too much of a good thing!

Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies 2012Book lovers familiar with established publishers such as The New York Times, The Atlantic and Publishers Weekly will find some overlap.   Bring Up the Bodies, the second book in Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy, appeared on all three of their fiction lists.  On the flip side, Daily Candy and Slate offer up lists of overlooked and underappreciated books. 

Oprah's Best Books of 2012 include selections from O's editors and favorite writers.  NPR goes beyond the usual fiction, mysteries and Nancy Pearl favorites with categories like "10 Eye-Catching Reads", "Recipe Rebellion: A Year of Contrarian Cookbooks" and "Graphic Novels that Flew Under the Radar in 2012."

For readers looking for something  different -- think edgy, unusual, underground favorites --  check out the “best        books” rankings from the Daily Beast and Book Riot.    The underground -- undersea fiber-optic cables --  gets special mention in Andrew Blum's Tubes, an exploration of the infrastructure of the Internet.

Ready to be surprised and delighted?  Peruse Brain Pickings, a "human-powered discovery engine for interestingness."  Curious mind at large Maria Popova creates best-of-reading lists by subject -- art, science, history, music, graphic novels and more.

For “best books” beyond general fiction, take a look at Tor.com (scifi),  Geeks are Sexy (technology), Photo Eye (photography) and The Dirt (landscape architecture). 

No “best books” list would be complete without the Oregonian’s Top 10 Northwest books of 2012, a tribute to the many talented writers in the Pacific Northwest.  Portlander Cheryl Strayed won raves for Wild,  her inspiring memoir about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. 

Just for fun, search Youtube for “best books of 2012” and marvel at the range of videos.  Here’s where book enthusiasts have a level playing field with big-budget titans. 

Enjoy a gold mine of lists thanks to blogger Largehearted Boy.  For the fifth straight year he's aggregated every online best-of-the-year book list.  How's that for a best for last?!