And here are my own newly-published books of the year for the series Books of 2012:-
Book of the Year: Robert Caro's The Passage of Power:-
The fourth volume of his extraordinary biography of LBJ, and one of the great story-telling achievements of our age. This is the most dramatic to date, covering Kennedy's assassination and Johnson's assumption of the Presidency, but the immense first volume, covering LBJ's early political years in Texas, is just as thrilling.
And some others:
- Selina Guinness: The Crocodile by the Door - the story of a house, a farm and a family. Here's our review.
- Michael Gorra: Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece. An elegant and beautifully-achieved account of one of English literature's greatest novels.
- Jeanette Winterson: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Storytelling that is painful and funny. Also, a passionate defence of the power of literature.
- Thomas Newkirk: The Art of Slow Reading. Thoughtful meditation on the nature of reading, and on teaching English.
- Alan Jacobs: The Pleasures of Readingin an Age of Distraction. Our review here.
- Belinda McKeon: Solace. Our review here.
- Keith Ridgway: Hawthorn and Child. Innovative and haunting. Read John Self's review on his blog here.
- Roddy Doyle: Two Pints. Two middle-aged men sit in a pub once a week and spout about life. It could be terrible. But it's not. It's seriously funny.
- Kevin Barry: Dark Lies the Island. The second book of short stories from the new shooting star of Irish literature. Here's our review of the award-winning 'Beer Trip to Llandudno'. The rest are very different. Barry has quite a range.
- Donna Leon: Beastly Things. Simply, always pleasurable. Leon's Brunetti detective series maintains its high standard, and in recent years she's expanded her concerns well beyond those of genre fiction.
- Gerbrand Bakker: The Detour. All the virtues of Bakker's award-winning The Twin are evident here too: the calm clarity of the prose (again beautifully translated from the Dutch by David Colmer), the underlying sense of unease, the narrative grip of a story in which, on the surface, not much seems to happen.
- Teju Cole: Open City. Our review here.