Best Fiction Books 2012 for Women
Originally published December 16, 2012 at 5:00 AM | Page modified December 16, 2012 at 7:49 AM
Seattle Times reviewers choose their favorite reads of the year.
By Mary Ann Gwinn
Seattle Times book editor
It’s my unscientific opinion that this was a fabulous year for books, particularly fiction. This best books of 2012 list, compiled by Seattle Times reviewers, supports that notion — 15 novels and 10 nonfiction books were singled out as the best books they read this year.
Every regular reviewer gets a vote, but this year there were some books that were tapped by several reviewers. Multiple votes went to these books:
• “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving” by Bainbridge Island author Jonathan Evison.
• “Capital” by British author John Lanchester.
• “Bring Up the Bodies” by British author Hilary Mantel.
• “Beautiful Ruins” by Spokane author Jess Walter.
I had the privilege of reading these four books. You can’t go wrong with any of them, and you really are missing something if you haven’t read “Bring Up the Bodies” and its prequel, “Wolf Hall, ” which both won the Man Booker prize (in 2012 and 2009). They and other books are described by our reviewers, below. Thanks for their efforts all year long to read long, diligently and well.
We invite you to join the list-making by sharing your favorite titles of 2012 with other readers by commenting on this story at
“In the Kingdom of Men” by Kim Barnes(Knopf). Barnes creates a vivid period mystery about life in a 1960s oil-company compound in Saudi Arabia, melding themes of feminism and colonialism, while weaving in sumptuous detail of luxurious poolside life among ex-pats. — Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett
“Running the Rift” by Naomi Benaron(Algonquin). Jean Patrick, a young male distance runner, full of innocence and warmth, is caught by the horrors of ethnic conflict in Rwanda. Jean Patrick must run the race of his life to save himself and those he loves. — Bharti Kirchner
“The Chemistry of Tears” by Peter Carey (Knopf). A labyrinthine museum of industrial design in London forms the backdrop of this marvelously languid and bluesy tale about an horologist struggling to mend her broken heart while restoring a 19th —century mechanical swan. Carey’s language of sorrow and longing leaves goose bumps. — Tyrone Beason
“The Orchardist” by Amanda Coplin(Harper). The quiet, seemingly placid life of a reclusive apple grower in central Washington state is thrown into disarray when two very young and very pregnant girls appear among his groves. His quest to learn who they are, where they have come from, and what has driven them into his life will also draw him out of himself. — Richard Wakefield
“The Bartender’s Tale” by Ivan Doig (Riverhead). Master storyteller Doig returns to 1960 Montana for this moving coming-of-age story of a precocious boy, his bachelor, bartender father, and an unexpected revelation that threatens to upend both their lives. — Tim McNulty
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Tereska Torrès 1920-20122012-09-25 08:30:26 by porkpiehat
Tereska Torrès, a convent-educated French writer who quite by accident wrote Americas first lesbian pulp novel, died on Thursday at her home in Paris. She was 92.
Her family announced the death.
Though she wrote more than a dozen novels and several memoirs, Ms. Torrès remained inadvertently best known for Womens Barracks, published in the United States in 1950 as a paperback original.
The book is a fictionalized account of the authors wartime service in London with the womens division of the Free French forces