Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2012

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Poll Results

The Story Of A New Name by Elena Ferrante 5
Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel 5
NW by Zadie Smith 2
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green 1
The Vorrh by B. Catling 1
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson 1
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin 1
Artful by Ali Smith 1
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker 1
Stonemouth by Iain Banks 0
The Prophets Of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine 0
Camille by Pierre Lemaitre 0
Questions Of Travel by Michelle de Kretser 0
The Sermon On The Fall Of Rome by Jérôme Ferrari 0
Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes 0
Our Lady Of The Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga 0
No Time Like The Present by Nadine Gordimer 0
Honour by Elif Shafak 0
A General Theory Of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa 0
The Cavemen Chronicle by Mikhel Mutt 0
Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin 0
The Spider King's Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo 0
The Testament Of Mary by Colm Tóibín 0
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore 0
Last Days by Adam Nevil 0
Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil 0
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey 0
The Yelllow Birds by Kevin Porter 0
The Mystery Of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes 0
Alif The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson 0
Canada by Richard Ford 0
The Drowning Girl by Caitlìn R. Kiernan 0
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 0
A Hologram For The King by Dave Eggers 0
Home by Toni Morrison 0
Live By Night by Dennis Lehane 0
Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery 0
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon 0
The Chemistry Of Tears by Peter Carey 0
The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker 0
Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung 0

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 30 November 2021 11:48 (one year ago) link

This title/cover combo made me laugh:


Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 30 November 2021 11:49 (one year ago) link

I've read the Mantel, which is great obv, and the Ali Smith, which I remember enjoying a lot. Since the Wolf Hall books kinda meld together for me I'll go Smith.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 30 November 2021 11:50 (one year ago) link

really want to read the Catling, seems v much my thing

imago, Tuesday, 30 November 2021 12:06 (one year ago) link


koogs, Tuesday, 30 November 2021 12:25 (one year ago) link

NW is the only one of these I’ve read and the only Zadie Smith I’ve been able to finish - actually enjoyed it fairly well! So there’s my vote.

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 30 November 2021 12:30 (one year ago) link

Telegraph Avenue was so bad and transparent that it made me retroactively dislike Kavalier & Klay.

hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Tuesday, 30 November 2021 12:31 (one year ago) link

really want to read the Catling, seems v much my thing

Could be, I found it somewhat opaque but not unfinishable. Might throw 2312 a vote over Mantel and Ferrante, it's not quite as epic as the Mars trilogy but otoh doesn't have pages of martian geography to wade through.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Tuesday, 30 November 2021 12:53 (one year ago) link

Wow, I get a chance to vote against Ferrante sooner than expected! I loved NW, which I think was inexplicably seen as a dud from Smith at the time. Just a simple, very felt, beautifully written book, not sure what to say beyond that.

Weirdly, I've read only four on this list (those two and lol Gone Girl and Hologram for the King -- I gotta say, people bag on Eggers because of what he's like but every time I read one of these novels I am reminded that he knows how to write novels) and have heard of very few of them.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 30 November 2021 17:19 (one year ago) link

As with most recent years, only read one on the list, enjoyed it: time for another Ferrante vote.

dow, Tuesday, 30 November 2021 18:24 (one year ago) link

I haven't read any of these.

o. nate, Tuesday, 30 November 2021 18:31 (one year ago) link

have only read the Ferrante and The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker. the Ferrante was good, the other one was so bad that at some point reading it I wondered if I was reading a terrible translation of an English book to French, only to realise that the book was originally written in French. i still don't understand how this terrible book became such a success

Jibe, Wednesday, 1 December 2021 10:24 (one year ago) link

Yeah, my eyebrows were raised at the wikipedia entry suggesting that book was a failure in English speaking markets due to its bad writing as in my experience francophone readers tend to be considerably more demanding when it comes to writing style! Strange anomaly.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 1 December 2021 10:26 (one year ago) link

This is where I get to admit I've only read the first volume of the Ferrante quartet. Bringing Up the Bodies it is, then.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 1 December 2021 10:55 (one year ago) link

Same! Have the second volume staring at me from the shelf tho.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 1 December 2021 10:56 (one year ago) link

I've not even made it as far as buying the second volume!

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 1 December 2021 11:01 (one year ago) link

I've only read Telegraph Avenue. It wasn't very good.

adam t. (abanana), Wednesday, 1 December 2021 11:14 (one year ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 2 December 2021 00:01 (one year ago) link

I read The Yellow Birds; don’t remember a thing about it.

Chris L, Thursday, 2 December 2021 05:35 (one year ago) link

I have Bring Up The Bodies sitting around waiting to be read. I loved the pose in Wolf Hall so picked up a few Mantels none of which I've read outside of Wolf Hall. Shame if they are all as good.
But I think I have been reading pretty solidly.

Stevolende, Thursday, 2 December 2021 07:53 (one year ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 3 December 2021 00:01 (eleven months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2013

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 3 December 2021 12:05 (eleven months ago) link

Write-in vote for The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus, a book that has only gotten more disturbing & relevant since its publication.

Jimmy Iovine Eat World (bernard snowy), Friday, 3 December 2021 13:43 (eleven months ago) link

was orphan master’s son 2012?

grove street (party) direction (voodoo chili), Friday, 3 December 2021 20:55 (eleven months ago) link

I have had that Marcus on my shelf since 2012, you're saying I should read it?

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 3 December 2021 21:01 (eleven months ago) link

You should read what you want to! But I happen to really enjoy The Flame Alphabet, as well as the two short story collections Marcus has since put out. Alphabet was something of an inflection point in his oeuvre, away from fragmentation and towards more accessible narrative forms.

Jimmy Iovine Eat World (bernard snowy), Friday, 3 December 2021 22:19 (eleven months ago) link

Oh shit, yeah, I loved The Age of Wire & String and Notable American Women so so much when they came out. I forgot I had the Flame Alphabet, I need to track that down and read it.

emil.y, Friday, 3 December 2021 22:27 (eleven months ago) link

away from fragmentation and towards more accessible narrative forms.

I think that's why I didn't get into it at the time, I was so so on fire for Age of Wire & String and it was.. not that

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 3 December 2021 22:30 (eleven months ago) link

There is some fragmentation as the book progresses, but yeah, it's certainly not going to scratch the same itch as AOWS


This short story, from his most recent collection, is a pretty good litmus test (imo) for whether or not you're likely to get anything out of the latter-day Ben Marcus.

Jimmy Iovine Eat World (bernard snowy), Sunday, 5 December 2021 21:04 (eleven months ago) link

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