All I Want For Christmas is…the Best Books of 2012

11th Dec 2012

All I Want For Christmas is...the Best Books of 2012

For the past three years I’ve requested those especially expensive essay tomes for my degree – I woke on Christmas morning last year with glee to unwrap the jolly title of Public Rape: Representing Violation in Fiction and Film tucked away in my stocking. Not this year friends. This year I’m free from academic subscriptions and in-depth analysis in favour of…reading for pleasure.

So what titles from the year 2012 could you include in your Christmas requests? Or are you in a rut trying to choose the ultimate gift? I’m here to help you trawl through the trash in order to pick the perfect pressie for the lit lover in your life.

Unless you’ve been cruising with the Mars Rover for the past few months, you’ll be somewhat aware that a little known author who goes by the name of J K Rowling has returned to the literary scene this year, with her first ever novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy.

The Casual Vacancy has received extraordinarily mixed reviews, meaning it really is the ultimate in ‘love it or hate it’ literature. Set in the fictional town of Pagford, Rowling moved away from Hogwarts and broomsticks in favour of sex, swearing, and all manner of debauchery. Plus it’s been announced that the Beeb has secured the rights to the TV adaptation. Make sure you read this before the show comes out in 2014.

Even more unavoidable this year has been the Fifty Shades series. Never has the phrase “like shit in a field” been more apt for describing how all encompassing this erotic series has been. I can’t personally wax lyrical about the collection, but if you somehow know someone who hasn’t read it, it’s on 3-for-2 basically everywhere. It’ll look like a really generous gift.

Caitlin Moran has become the must read author for ‘pop’ feminism since How To Be A Woman became a best seller last year, and now a collection of her Times columns has been published under the title of Moranthology.

She sparked controversy in the Twitter-verse a few months ago in regards to that Girls comment, so her writing is sure to ignite heated conversation around any feminist festive table this holiday season.

As Angela Carter‘s biggest fan, I already have The Bloody Chamber. But no fan could ever refuse the newly released version with brand new illustrations by Igor Karash. Blowing up the Gothic to a mind bending scale can only be a good thing, and this latest version has been given high praise all around. We gave it full marks, and we are hard to please.

I can’t offer you much in the line of a Margaret Atwood this year (apart from her free literature up on Wattpad), but may I suggest something from her protégé? The Liar’s Gospel by Naomi Aldermen has received some brilliant reviews, and you know that if it’s Atwood approved, it’s going to make for quality reading.

2012 has been a fantastic year for both fiction and non-fiction, so allow me to bombard you with some extra quick fire suggestions. Diving Belles by Lucy Wood, The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan, Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth, and Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson are just a few fantastic examples of straight up fiction to have arrived this year.

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel is the graphic novel that For Books’ Sake simply cannot get enough of. For those potty about poetry, put down that Renaissance bile and get to grips with The Glass Delusion by Abi Curtis and Phobia by Jo Brandon.

If your new year’s resolution is to get more book smarts, I also have some non-fiction recommendations for you. Hip Hop Aspara by Anne Elizabeth Moore has been proclaimed as wonderful by many members of our editorial team, as has Women of the Revolution: Forty Years of Feminism by Kira Cochrane.

If my tireless list of suggestions still hasn’t satisfied your literary urges, you can check out our Pinterest board featuring all our highest rated novels of this year. Also, why not show the worlds your love for the literary ladies with our merchandise, featuring my personal favourite, our  ‘I ♥ GIRLS WHO READ’ neon pink tote bags.

Who has featured heavily on your  Christmas list this year? What will you be being the bookworm in your house? And who blew your mind in the worlds of fiction and non-fiction in 2012?

Gina Kershaw

Image via Lauren Manning


  • Amy Rushton says:

    Happy Christmas, For Books’ Sake!

    Normally I wait for paperbacks, but as three of my favourite writers released new books, I snapped them up and greedily read them within days. Happily, they ended up being my favourite reads of 2012:
    * Bring Up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel
    * The Yips, Nicola Barker (never-mind the Bad Sex Award nomination. Grump.)
    * Astray, Emma Donoghue

    As for Christmas, I’ll be unwrapping a Kindle Paperwhite and I fully intend to introduce myself to Philipa Gregory and continue my new acquaintance with AM Homes in 2013.

    Amy xx