My Top 5 Reads for 2012

1. CHINAMAN by Shehan Karunatilaka

This is more than a book about cricket though. It is about Sri Lanka and its people, its history and the politics that have plagued the country and almost torn it apart. It is about fathers and sons, myths and legends and friends and family. It is immensely funny and fascinating and may possibly break your heart (it did mine)….read more

2. THE COLD, COLD GROUND by Adrian McKinty

This book is what crime writing is all about. A mystery to keep you guessing, plotted to make you turn the pages as fast as you can but the heart of the story is the place the characters inhabit and the complicated mess in which they must exist and by the end you’re not concerned with who did it or if justice is done because your mind has been opened up to a much bigger picture which can never be black and white….read more

3. THE YELLOW BIRDS by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Birds is gut-wrenchingly beautiful. Which sounds odd for a novel about war but Kevin Powers is able to evocatively capture not only what is happening to the physical landscape of the novel but also the mental landscape. I have never read a book that captures the disintegration of humanity but also the power of humanity quite like The Yellow Birds….read more

4. NORWEGIAN BY NIGHT by Derek B. Miller

I have never been so emotionally moved by a thriller before. This is a sad and beautiful novel that I absolutely loved. Not only does this book emotionally haunt you it is also a gripping and tense thriller with an ending that will leave you gasping for breath and wiping away a tear or two….read more


I  was totally blown away by this book. This is crime fiction at its absolute best. Zane Lovitt literally bursts on to the literary scene with this book and I can say without a doubt is destined for huge things. This is not a new writer who has potential, this is a new writer whose skill and talent just oozes out of the page. From the structure of the novel to Lovitt’s distinct style, from the black as night dark humour and cynicism to the deep recesses of human emotion and frailty this is the most original, absorbing and utterly compelling crime novel I’ve read in a long time….read more

Honourable mentions also go to GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, WOOL by Hugh Howey, BRING UP THE BODIES by Hilary Mantel, TELEGRAPH AVENUE by Michael Chabon and THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach.

What were your favourite reads of 2012?

Pages & Pages’ favourite books of 2012 are displayed below

You can browse the list here

See also

My Top 5 Reads for 2011

My Top 5 Reads for 2010

8 thoughts on “My Top 5 Reads for 2012

  1. Interesting sounding books. I have been a terrible reader this year with the arrival of my first baby, but I did enjoy A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers and The Twelve by Justin Cronin. Most of the other books I read were re-reads


  2. Jeez Jon, you’re giving me a lot of work to do over the holiday season…thanks for the summaries…I recently read Don Winslow’s Power of the Dog on your recommendation and am now ‘addicted’ to his stuff…any gossip about when Peter Temple’s new book will be released?


  3. Thanks for your recommendation last year of Gone Girl. I’m not really into crime novels but this one got me well sucked in and I was exhausted at the end. A brilliant read. One of the best I read in 2012. My son, not usually a fiction reader, read it in two days.
    Other favourites from 2012 were State of Wonder, followed by Run (Ann Patchett); The Sense of An Ending (Julian Barnes); Oxygen (Carol Cassella); The Fault in Our Stars (John Green); and Stargazing: Memoirs of a young lighthouse keeper (Peter Hill). The latter was published a few years ago; it’s one I’ll return to again and again, and not only because the author is my neighbour.
    Currently reading Questions of Travel (Michelle de Kretser) and Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace (Kate Summerscale). Have given up on Canada (Richard Ford) at page 80-something.
    I have Norwegian by Night on my to-read list, perhaps also Chinaman.


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