Authors’ picks

Authors pick their favorite books of 2012


We asked a few South Florida authors what they most enjoyed reading in 2012. Here’s what they had to say:

•  “Norman Van Aken’s My Key West Kitchen; Whitney Otto’s novel Eight Girls Taking Pictures, Jeanette Winterson’s memoir Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal and Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl.”

Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Birds of Paradise

•  “ Ayiti by Roxane Gay hit me hard. Passionate stories, inventively told, about Haiti and the Haitian diaspora and the many costs of survival. Gay also has a magnificent story in Best American Short Stories 2012, and I look forward to reading much more of her work soon.”

Lynne Barrett, author of Magpies

• “My three favorites this year were Alice Munro’s story collection Dear Life; Lynne Barrett’s story collection Magpies and Julian Barnes’ novel The Sense of an Ending.”

John Dufresne, author of Requiem, Mass.

•  “Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn. Sorry for being the 500th person to tell you to read it, but if you like an unreliable narrator as much as I do, Flynn’s husband/wife are double the fun. Quiet, Susan Cain. I made it through law school without ever raising my hand to speak until the very last day, when I went to class drunk. How could I not love a book about the power of introverts?”

James Grippando, author of Blood Money

•  “Hit Lit, James W. Hall. This thoughtful and characteristically wry look at what distinguishes the most accomplished bestselling novels of the past century is must reading for anyone who cares about books and what compels us to read them. What Comes Next, John Katzenbach, another in a long line of timely, can’t-put-’em-down thrillers. Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, edited by Dan Wakefield. No one but longtime friend and fellow traveler Wakefield could have compiled such an illuminating and forceful collection. Literary enterprise at its finest.”

Les Standiford, author of Desperate Sons: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the Secret Bands of Radicals Who Led the Colonies to War

Read more Books stories from the Miami Herald

  • What are you reading now?

    “I just finished A. Scott Berg’s biography of Woodrow Wilson, which was excellent. Now I’m into Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Bully Pulpit. They both fill in a big hole in American history for me.”

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Updike.</span> Adam Begley. Harper. 576 pages. $29.99.


    Biography offers an enlightening view of John Updike’s work

    Biography offers an enlightening view of his work

 <span class="cutline_leadin">A TRUST BETRAYED:</span> The Untold Story of Camp Lejeune and the Poisoning of Generations of Marines and Their Families. Mike Magner. Da Capo. 299 pages. $27.50.


    Tiny victims of a conspiracy of silence

    One of the saddest places in America has to be the humble stretch of ground at a Jacksonville, N.C., cemetery called “Baby Heaven.” Paul Stasiak, a U.S. Marine, and his wife, Darrell, buried their stillborn daughter, Eileen Marie, there in September 1966.

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