Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-10-07
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


BOOKS: Best of 2012
Extended for the online edition of Windy City Times
by Terri Schlichenmeyer

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Drivel, dreck and what the heck.

That kind of sums up the books that were released in 2012. There were some good things, some downright awful things, and some things that, well, they weren't bad but they weren't the best books you've ever read, either.

And then there were the gems.

I read just more than 270 books this year, and (fortunate me!) it was hard to decide on just 5 picks in the three categories below. But here they are, in no certain order, my personal "best of" from 2012….

Adult fiction

For me, the world totally ceased to exist while I was reading The Absolutist, by John Boyne. Set in the years after World War I, it's the story of a former soldier who decides to return some letters to the sister of the friend who wrote them. Years ago, he knew the woman's brother—had a crush on him, in fact—but the man is now dead, and when the sister asks what happened, the narrator tells her. What happens left me absolutely breathless.

I have to admit: I'm not a major Eric Jerome Dickey reader. Some of his books leave me cold but An Accidental Affair chilled me with the action and double-crossing that happens to the book's narrator, who catches his beloved wife sleeping with another man. What he has to do to get her out of trouble will make you turn the pages so fast, you'll practically rip them.

Here's another end-of-the-war novel I loved: Freeman, by Leonard Pitts Jr. It's the story of a former slave who decides to find his wife at the end of the Civil War. He was free in Philadelphia, she was enslaved in Mississippi and there's also a parallel story that moves theirs along. The three tales together make this a novel that'll keep you in your chair for a good long time.

The Midwife of Hope River, by Patricia Harman, tells the story of a woman who becomes a midwife in the years before the Depression. In order to escape her past, she moves to the foot of the Appalachian Mountains to work, but her ways are not like the old ways. This book sings with beauty, love, and appreciation for life and for women. You know you've got a good book when you forget that it's fiction, which pretty much sums up this novel.

No, I wasn't only hooked on historical novels this year. The Trial of Fallen Angels, by James Kimmel Jr., is my last pick in this category because it's one of those novels that asks you to suspend what you don't know because, well, you really don't know it. It's the story of a woman who wakes up in a train station, dead. She was a lawyer in life, and she'll be a lawyer in death, but the court system in this purgatory isn't what she's used to at all. This is a novel of six degrees of separation and of forgiveness, and that's why it's on this Best of 2012 list.

Honorable mention in this category: The Dog Who Danced by Susan Wilson

Adult nonfiction

Concussions and Our Kids, by Robert Cantu, M.D. and Mark Hyman, might seem like an odd pick for this list, but here it is. I put this book on here because what Cantu has to say is chilling, horrifying and cautionary. If you're a parent, an athlete or a sports fan, this may be mandatory reading for this coming year.

The sad fact is that God's Hotel, by Victoria Sweet, won't be on any best-seller's lists. That's too bad, because it's a Zen-like memoir of the author's years spent as a doctor in a California almshouse. As she was working, she began to study the works of a medieval nun who was also a healer, and that—medieval times coupled with stories of modern medicine—make this a wonderful, strangely calming book to find.

Like just about everybody in the country, I had my fill of politics, which is why I was surprised to love Indomitable Will: LBJ and the Presidency, by Mark K. Updegrove, so much. This book, consisting of snippets of interviews of those who worked with, lived with, and knew Lyndon Baines Johnson, is a quick but very fascinating look at a (perhaps unfairly) much-maligned man in office. It taught me a lot, and it sets a lot of records straight. This is a nice antidote to politics-as-usual, which is why it's on this list.

The Undead, by Dick Teresi, absolutely scared the daylights out of me! This is a book that explores death; specifically when it occurs which, as it turns out, we don't fully know. Teresi then turns his attention to the issue of organ donation and … oh, my, if I tell you anything more, I won't sleep tonight. Just go read the book.

And with out further ado, the last book on this list is Wait: The Art and Science of Delay, by Frank Partnoy, which is a scientific book about procrastination and why it's good for business, health and sports. Partnoy also explains why you should teach your kids to delay gratification, why snap decisions are often wrong, and why employers should embrace slower workers.

Honorable mentions in this category: Sweet Hell on Fire, by Sara Lunsford, and Gypsy Boy, by Mikey Walsh

Happy reading!

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Books events: LGBT history; violence against queer people; Black gay identity 2015-10-07
BOOKS Read this! Chatting with 'I Hope My Mother...' author Greg Scarnici 2015-10-07
Jeanette Winterson at Women & Children First Oct. 26 2015-10-05
Faderman puts history in its place in 'The Gay Revolution' 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Miss Buncle's Book 2015-09-30
Performance artist Karen Finley talks AIDS, pope, Planned Parenthood 2015-09-30
Upcoming: Health symposium; Open Books; Lynch; Martin, Short; CrossTown; PrEP talk 2015-09-30
BOOK REVIEW The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle 2015-09-29
BOOKS Douglas O'Keeffe on surviving India's 9/11 2015-09-23
Jackie Collins dies at 77 2015-09-23
1985 BOOKS 2015-09-23
Revealing the real Sally Ride in new photobiography 2015-09-16
Book focuses on transgender women in male prisons 2015-09-16
Steinem, Gay at WC&F Oct. 29 2015-09-16
BOOK REVIEW Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion: Life After Loss 2015-09-16
LGBT history celebration for kids at Open Books Oct. 17 2015-09-10
BOOKS Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism 2015-09-09
BOOKS Uncovering the past: Emily Bingham is 'Irrepressible' 2015-09-02
Feminist book group turns 40 2015-09-02
BOOK REVIEW Nothing Looks Familiar 2015-09-01
National: Ashley Madison and Grindr; RentBoy; Facebook apology 2015-09-01
Writer Oliver Sacks dies at age 82 2015-08-30
Women & Children First to host Gloria Steinem talking with Roxane Gay 2015-08-28
BOOKS New book spotlights out high-school and college athletes 2015-08-26
BOOKS Angela Koenig: Lesbian Chicago novelist on works, influences 2015-08-26
Acclaimed graphic novelist speaks at Unabridged 2015-08-11
Summer reading: LGBT books 2015-08-05
BOOK REVIEW After Woodstock 2015-08-04
Upcoming: Queer graphic novelist; Iddy Id art exhibit; Kinsey Sicks 2015-08-04
BOOK REVIEW The Holy Mark: The Tragedy of a Fallen Priest 2015-08-04
MOMBIAN LGBTQ-inclusive sex-ed book for kids affirms, empowers 2015-07-29
OUTspoken! marks one year of LGBTQ storytelling 2015-07-29
BOOK REVIEW There Is Room for You 2015-07-28
Upcoming: Book Fair; Cannabis conference; marriage law seminar 2015-07-21
Author of Shirtlifter at Unabridged Books Aug. 7 2015-07-21
Upcoming: Hall & Oates; Kelly Clarkson; Black Alphabet Film; Book Fair 2015-07-14
Mark Merlis on 'JD: A Novel' 2015-07-14
Chicago Humanities Fest newsmakers, cultural commentators to include Evan Wolfson 2015-07-14
Women & Children First announces July events 2015-07-10
Angela Koenig: Chicago lesbian novelist on her works, influences 2015-07-10

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.