Tag Archives: Best of

2012: Recap and Adieu!

The Best Book … of Venice: Monumental Venice by Jacques Boulay (photos) & Jean-Philippe Follet (text) The Best Reprint: Tottel’s Miscellany, edited by Amanda Holton The Best Nature Book: The Last Walk by Jessica Pierce The Best Fiction Debut: The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu The Best Biography: Clover Adams by […]

Best Books of 2012 – Nonfiction!

Ambition could well be the watch-word of this year’s best nonfiction: big books on big subjects predominate our list, much to the delight of grown-up readers such as myself. True, there will always be flyweight garbage (“Poo-Poo: A Cultural History,” etc.), but as long as we’ve got books like this top 10, we’ll be OK […]

Best Books of 2012 – Fiction!

Plenty of slim fiction was published in 2012, and a higher-than-normal percentage of it was crap; by some unknown algebra, the balance of the fictional equation this year tipped to fat, ambitious novels, almost a defiant snoot-cocking to those nabobs of negativity who claim the Internet is destroying the reader’s ability to concentrate. This was […]

Worst Books of 2012 – Nonfiction!

As bad as this year’s Worst Fiction entries were, the Worst Nonfiction entries bothered me more, probably because fiction is so inherently variable that it’s hard to hold even its worst excesses against it for long (I have no doubt that some of the authors on that Worst Fiction list will be on future Best […]

Best Books of 2012 – History!

It was a spotty year for another of my favorite genres, history (books, that is – actual history broke somewhat on the side of the good guys, for a change), but there were unmistakable highlights, the top ten of which were these: 10. The Twilight War by David Crist – In this muscular, incredibly readable, and […]

Best Books of the Year – Biography!

As many of you know, I love the genre of biography just a bit more than I do any other genre – at its best, it carries the heft of history, the electric charge of fiction, and the propulsive fascination of mystery (not to mention the bizarre mating-rituals of memoirs). 2012 saw a wet many […]

Best Books of 2012: Fiction Debuts!

Another yardstick useful in measuring the strength of publishing is the health of its new genes. I have a large soft spot for debut novels (having yanked more than my fair share of them out of talented young authors who fought me tooth and nail the whole time), and 2012 was an exciting, encouraging year […]

Best Books of 2012 – Nature!

The news of the world has never shown a grimmer picture of the war on Nature than we saw in 2012 (compensated only slightly by Nature’s increasing proclivity to make war on us), but the superheated, winterless, waterless blight hasn’t been reflected in the beauty of nature-related books hitting stores. Here are the 10 best […]

Best 2012 Reprints!

Despite the usual electronics-fuelled panic about the death of print, print is thriving – as can be seen by one of the surest indices of publishing vigor: non-academic reprints for the so-called common reader. 2012 was a very good year for such reprints, some of which (see #7, for instance) have a kind of financial […]

The 2012 Best Books … of Venice!

2012 was swamped by the customary deluge of Venice-books, of course. It’s estimated that somewhere around 350,000 books were published in English in the last twelve months, and roughly 315,000 of them were about Venice, whose fourteen streets and ten canals hosted approximately 475 billion overfed tourists in 2012. Since all of those tourists were […]


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