The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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Books Read in 2012

Biographies, memoirs, letters, history
  • Amy:  the world of Amy Lowell and the Imagist Movement, by Jean Gould
  • Beacon Hill, Back Bay, and the building of Boston's golden age,by Ted Clarke 
  • Below Stairs, by Margaret Powell
  • Catherine the Great:  Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie
  • Charles Dickens:  a life, by Claire Tomalin
  • Clover Adams:  a gilded and heartbreaking life, by Natalie Dykstra
  • Consider the fork:  a history of how we cook and eat, by Bee Wilson
  • Elizabeth the Queen:  the life of a modern monarch, by Sally Bedell Smith
  • Gilded Lives:  the Titanic's First-Class Passengers, by Hugh Brewster
  • Great Expectations:  the sons and daughters of Charles Dickens, by Robert Gottlieb
  • The Invisible Woman:  the story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens, by Claire Tomalin
  • Love, Fiercely:  a gilded age romance, by Jean Zimmerman
  • Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace:  the private diary of a Victorian lady, by Kate Summerscale
  • My Dear Governess:  the letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann, edited by Irene Goldman-Price
  • The richest woman in America:  Hetty Green in the Gilded Age, by Janet Wallach
  • Rose:  My Life in Service to Lady Astor, by Rosina Harrison
  • That woman:  the life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, by Anne Sebba
  • Virginia Woolf, by Alexandra Harris
  • What Really Matters in Jane Austen:  Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, by John Mullan
  • Abdication, by Juliet Nicolson
  • The age of desire, by Jennie Fields
  • Beautiful Lies, by Clare Clark
  • The Children, by Edith Wharton
  • A Conspiracy of friends, by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Country Plot, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  • Ghastly Business, by Louise Levene
  • Greenery Street, by Denis Mackail
  • High Rising, by Angela Thirkell
  • The House I Loved, by Tatiana de Rosnay
  • The Innocents, by Francesca Segal
  • A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar, by Suzanne Joinson
  • Lady Fortescue Steps Out, by Marion Chesney
  • The Optimist's Daughter, by Eudora Welty
  • A Rather Lovely Inheritance, by C.A. Belmond
  • Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness
  • The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise, by Julia Stuart
  • The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds, by Alexander McCall Smith
  • An Unexpected Guest, by Anne Korkeakivi
  • The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce
  • The Walnut Tree, by Charles Todd
  • The anatomist's apprentice, by Tessa Harris
  • The assassin in the Marais, by Claude Izner
  • Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch, by Nancy Atherton
  • Anatomy of Murder, by Imogen Robertson
  • Beastly Things, by Donna Leon
  • Before the Poison, by Peter Robinson
  • Believing the Lie, by Elizabeth George
  • The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny
  • A Bitter Truth, by Charles Todd
  • Blood never dies, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  • The Body in the Boudoir, by Katharine Hall Page
  • A Christmas Homecoming, by Anne Perry
  • Circle of Shadows, by Imogen Robertson
  • The Confession, by Charles Todd
  • Death wore a diadem, by Iona McGregor
  • Dorchester Terrace, by Anne Perry
  • Elegy for Eddie, by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Eleven pipers piping, by C.C. Bennisonbr 
  • The food detective, by Judith Cutler
  • Fear in the Sunlight, by Nicola Upson
  • Footsteps in the dark, by Georgette Heyer
  • The House at Sea's End, by Elly Griffiths
  • Island of Bones, by Imogen Robertson
  • The Ivy Tree, by Mary Stewart
  • Jane and the Canterbury Tale, by Stephanie Barron
  • The Jewels of Paradise, by Donna Leon
  • Kill my darling, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  • Lady Audley's Secret. by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • Last Ditch, by Ngaio Marsh
  • Miss Tonks Turns to Crime, by Marion Chesney
  • Mrs. Malory and any man's death, by Hazel Holt 
  • Murder in the Rue Dumas, by M.L. Longworth
  • Murder on Fifth Avenue, by Victoria  Thompson
  • The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • A question of identity, by Anthea Fraser
  • A question of identity, by Susan Hill
  • Robert B. Parker's Lullaby, by Ace Atkins
  • A room full of bones, by Elly Griffiths
  • Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, by James Runcie
  • The Solitary House, by Lynn Shepherd
  • Speaking from among the bones, by Alan Bradley
  • Stage Struck, by Peter Lovesey
  • A Sunless Sea, by Anne Perry
  • The Technologists, by Matthew Pearl
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming, by C.C. Benison
  • A Woman of Consequence, by Anna Dean
  • The Yard, by Alex Grecian
  • Miss Elizabeth Bennet, by A.A. Milne

{The books highlighted in bold type are among the year's best.}


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