A Look Back on 2012 from 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to 'The Sense of an Ending'

Some great books — and some not-so-great books — had their moments in the sun this year.

As 2012 ends, let's take a look back at the list of books I reviewed this year, from the infamous "Fifty Shades of Grey" to my favorite book of the year, "The Sense of an Ending."

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes is a gem of a novel. It's short, but worthy of deep discussion, so I recommend it highly for book clubs with members who can never seem to finish the selection.

No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction by Ellen Painter Dollar is the only non-fiction book I reviewed this year. It's a compelling and soul-searching look at the reproductive issues faced by a Connecticut mother with a genetic disease and strong religious beliefs.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Too much ink has already been wasted on this piece of tripe, but no one can argue with the sales figures. It was by far the best-selling book of the year and my best-read review.

Swamplandia by Karen Russell stands out as an exciting and inventive work of fiction. It's not for everyone, but I appreciated the risks the author took.

Canada by Richard Ford was not my favorite novel by Ford, but since he's one of my favorite writers, I still recommend it. The man knows how to tell a story.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed was a huge hit based on Oprah Winfrey's endorsement. Strayed is an excellent writer, but I found her voice a little self-centered and hard to take.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles was a lovely escape to a different time and place — 1930s New York City — by a first-time novelist with a gift for characterization.

We'll tackle a whole new batch of books for 2013. Happy holidays!


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