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

 <span class="cutline_leadin">An Idea Whose Time Has Come:</span> Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.. Todd Purdum. Holt. 398 pages. $30.


    Book assesses the impact of the Civil Rights Act 50 years later

    The veterans of the civil rights movement gathered at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Texas this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and assess its impact. Then the living embodiment of that legislation walked on stage.

  • What do you recommend?

    “The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton — it’s a book built around characters and plots inspired by astrological principles. It’s a neo-Victorian murder mystery and a mere 832 pages long, and it made 28-year-old Catton the youngest person to win the coveted Man Booker Prize. The voice is natural, easy to understand and ambitious; she’s a novelist who is seeking to reclaim the authorial, a writer who seeks to entertain and enlighten.”

 <span class="cutline_leadin">The Boom:</span> How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. Russell Gold. Simon & Schuster. 384 pages. $26.


    Book considers the pros and cons of fracking

    Author considers both sides of the controversial issue.

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