The Notables: 2012

November 27, 2012 | 15 books mentioned 13 2 min read

This year’s New York Times Notable Books of the Year list is out. At 100 titles, the list is more of a catalog of the noteworthy than a distinction. Sticking with the fiction exclusively, it appears that we touched upon a few of these books as well:

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  1. What I think is missing from this list:

    The Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot
    The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus
    Threats by Amelia Gray
    The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
    Hot Pink by Adam Levin
    Understories by Tim Horvath
    Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell
    Tenth of December by George Saunders

    And though it was published a few years earlier, I’d still mention The Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava since it gathered a fair amount of attention in 2012 for the first time.

  2. What I think is missing : The Last Moderate Muslim, by Sam Wazan. A semi autobiographical account of a devout Muslim family struggling for normalcy while their world is subject sniper warfare and rocket bombs in Beirut , Lebanon, during the Civil War between Palestine and Israel in the late 70’s.

  3. I agree about The Last Moderate Muslim. In this landmark novel, Ziad the protagonist wages an internal Jihad… To join the militants committing atrocities in the name of Allah; or seek a more moderate way to adhere to his Sunni Muslim faith, while risking the wrath of his father. The Last Moderate Muslim gives a factual account of the struggles, that continue in today’s headlines. The author, Sam Wazan lived this violent life. He emigrated to the US in ’89, in search of a life of opportunity and promise. The Alastair Moderate Muslim is his first novel.

  4. Better late than never: Jesmyn Ward’s “Salvage the Bones”. I love how the author humanizes the subculture of dog fighting without sparing none of the quasi-sport’s brutality. Missing from this year’s list: Don Lee’s “The Collective”.

  5. Agree on Dog Stars and on The Orphan Master’s Son. Both will stick with me for a long time.

    I’d add The Middlesteins, too.

  6. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” was far and away my favorite of fiction published in 2012. Surprisingly my library has had few requests for it.
    Ben Fountain is brilliant!

  7. I agree that it’s astonishing that “The Dog Stars” was left off. A few other books that struck me as ridiculously good and overlooked here: Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil, Ghosting by Kirby Gann, and City of Bohane by Kevin Barry.
    Loved Ben Fountain’s novel, too.

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