90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Best Books Of 2012

From the origins of the universe, to the Tudor age, to an Indian reservation in North Dakota, we look at the best books of the year.

Flickr

Flickr

It may not have a cover anymore.  It may be pixels on a screen.  But a book is still a book.  Big, rich, deep – and, when it’s good, transporting.  Transforming.  The books of 2012 have ranged wide.  From the slums of Mumbai to deep North Korea.  From the court of Henry VIII to the ranch of LBJ.

From war to love, to family and clan, to mega-selling sex talk.  Gone Girl.  Round House.  Dog Stars.  Journeys.  Richard  Ford.  Katherine Boo.  Junot Diaz.  Chris Ware.

This hour, On Point:  we’re looking at the best books of 2012.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Lucas Wittmann, books editor for the Newsweek/Daily Beast.

Elizabeth Taylor, literary editor of the Chicago Tribune.

Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi.

From Tom’s Reading List

Top Books list from Slate

Best Books from Publishers Weekly

You can find the Daily Beast lists here 

Your Best Books Lists

Here’s a list of top books from our reviewers and you, our listeners. Please add your suggestions in the comments section.

Lucas Wittmann

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

Dear Life by Alice Munro

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie

The Barbarous Years by Bernard Bailyn

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story by DT Max

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon

Richard Howorth 

Swimming Studies by Leann Shapton

Canada by Richard Ford 

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

One Last Strike by Tony La Russa

My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop 

Dear Life by Alice Munro

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson 

John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk 

A Mission From God: A Memoir and a Challenge for America by James Meredith 

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas – by Eric Witlin

Elizabeth Taylor

Canada by Richard Ford 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson 

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

We Sinners by Hanna Pylvainen

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro

Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley

House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiousity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum

Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay by Christopher Benfey

My Poets by Maureen McLane

Nature Wars by Jim Sterba

Caller Picks

Who Is That Man?: In Search of the Real Bob Dylan

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden

Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows Diana Gabaldon

As the Shadows Fall by Mort Shahmir

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars by Camille Paglia

By Men or By the Earth: A Corporate Lawyer Walks Out on Law, Love, and Life, and Walks Across America With His Adopted Dog by Tyler Coulson

Listeners’ Picks

King City by Brandon Graham

Redshirts by John Scalzi

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Alif the Unseen by G. Winslow Wilson

Gone: A Novel by Cathi Hanuer

Maine by Courtney J Sullivan

The World Without You by Joshua Henkins

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green-Young

The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall

Yellow Green Beret (Vol II and III) by Chester Wong

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs by Tyler Hamilton

A Good American by Alex George

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

Hunger Mountain: A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape by David Hinton

The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning by Daniel Bor

Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

 
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment