Before we toss the confetti, pop the champagne, and begin loading up our devices with 2013’s hottest eBooks, let’s take a moment to reflect on the most unforgettable, controversial and record-breaking books of the past year.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” by E L James
No discussion of the noteworthy books of 2012 could possibly ignore a little book called “Fifty Shades of Grey.” E L James released the third installment in her erotic, trailblazing trilogy in January 2012, and the book has already sold 65 million copies. The steamy romance catapulted to No. 1 on USA Today’s best-selling books list and remained there for 20 weeks in a row, despite widespread criticism of the book’s literary quality.
“Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel
In 2012, nobody won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but English novelist Hilary Mantel scooped up her second Man Booker Prize for “Bring Up the Bodies,” the second in a planned trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, chief minister for Henry VIII. Mantel first won the Man Booker Prize in 2009 for her novel “Wolf Hall.” She is the first woman to win the award twice. The audiobook version, narrated by Simon Vance and available via OverDrive, made AudioFile‘s Best Audiobooks of 2012 list.
“The Round House” by Louise Erdrich
Speaking of acclaimed female novelists, Louise Erdrich received the National Book Award for “The Round House” which critics have compared to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The coming-of-age tale centers on a 13-year-old boy, Joe, who is dealing with the aftermath of an attack on his mother on a North Dakota reservation. The Boston Globe hailed the book as “concentrated, suspenseful, and morally profound.”
“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed
“The Twelve Tribes of Hattie” by Ayana Mathis
Oprah Winfrey made waves in the book industry this year when she reestablished her popular book club and dubbed it “Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.” Among her recommendations were “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” a powerful memoir of self-discovery by Cheryl Strayed, and most recently, Ayana Mathis’ “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.” Mathis’ extraordinary debut follows one family from the segregated South through five and a half turbulent decades.
“The Kill Order” by James Dashner
“Rapture” by Lauren Kate
“Entice” by Jessica Shirvington
Let’s not forget children’s and young adult literature. This was the year of the YA novel, as teens and adults alike gobbled up the latest additions to popular series. James Dashner gave us “The Kill Order,” the prequel to his Maze Runner series; Lauren Kate released “Rapture,” the fourth book in the Fallen series; and Jessica Shirvington offered up “Entice,” the second book in her Violet Eden Chapters series.
“No Easy Day” by Mark Owen
One of the most controversial titles of the year was “No Easy Day,” the first-hand tell-all account of the Osama Bin Laden raid, written by Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette under the pen name “Mark Owen.” As controversy erupted following accusations that the book held classified information, “No Eay Day” climbed bestseller lists as readers rushed learn about the heroic mission.
“Tiny, Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar”
At the top of my own personal best-of list this year is “Tiny, Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.” The book reveals the identity of Sugar, the once-anonymous advice columnist The Rumpus, as none other than “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed. In this collection of Sugar’s advice columns, you’ll find honest answers, at times hard-hitting, but always graced with a touch of tenderness. I empathized with some and cried along with others, all the while reminded that, despite whatever happens, life is what you make it.
As we look to 2013 and the next crop of buzzworthy books, I leave these aspiring authors with some words of wisdom from my favorite author of 2012:
“Be brave. Write what’s true for you. Write what you think. Write about what confuses you and compels you. Write about the crazy, hard, and beautiful. Write what scares you. Write what makes you laugh and write what makes you weep. Writing is risk and revelation. There’s no need to show up at the party if you’re only going to stand around with your hands in your pockets and stare at the drapes.”
Find all of these titles in Content Reserve (availability may vary by region).
Annie Suhy is a Content Sales Associate at OverDrive.