Best Books Of 2012 So Far (According To Me)

Greg Zimmerman

Staff Writer

Greg Zimmerman blogs about contemporary literary fiction at The New Dork Review of Books and holds down a full-time gig as a trade magazine editor. Follow him on Twitter: @NewDorkReview.

Labor Day weekend is something of a turning point in the long haul of the year. We’ve traversed two-thirds of the calendar, and summer’s unofficially over. (Sad face.) With so many great books coming out this fall (Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood, Tom Wolfe, etc., etc.) let’s take a quick moment to reflect on the best books so far of 2012, according to me.

5. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison — As soon as more people discover this warm-hearted tale about a down-on-his-luck fella, there’s little question you’ll be seeing it on a ton of top 10 lists at the end of the year.

4. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter —Fifty years of regret. Fifty years of what might have been. Three hundred pages of awesome! Walter’s new novel sounds sentimental on the surface — an Italian guy in 1962 loves a mysterious American actress. But then loses her. But Walter also revels in skewering the movie industry. Indeed, lots of angles are covered here (hipster rockers, juvenile delinquency, life imitating art, etc., etc.)  — and almost all readers will find something

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn — Duh, right? Believe the hype. This novel’s amazing.

2. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett — Cheating a little here, since the hardcover actually came out in 2011. But I read the paperback, which came out this May. I was absolutely stunned by Patchett’s vivid prose, and even more vivid story — with a shocking ending that gives you that unimaginably good “good-book feeling” in your gut.

1. Arcadia by Lauren Groff — Not just one of my favorites of the year, this story of a commune in upstate New York is one of my favorites in a long, long time. This has been my go-to recommendation all summer, and runaway I’m-probably-annoying-poeple-by-talking-about-it-too-much book.

What’s on your Best of (so far) list?