Some of our favorite authors discuss their favorite books of 2012.
John Irving: "Jack Holmes and His Friend” by Edmund White
"What I admire most about 'Jack Holmes and His Friend' is the seamlessness of the shifts in point of view and narrative voice. It is a novel about the friendship between a gay man and his straight friend, and it is not only written from each of their points of view; it is written in both the third person and the first person. I find that very hard to do, but Edmund makes it look easy."
-John Irving is the author of “In One Person”
Peter Ames Carlin: “Truth Like the Sun” by Jim Lynch
"Set in the Seattles of 1962 and 2001, Lynch’s novel tracks his characters through decades of civic idealism, corruption, death and rebirth. His darkly hilarious portrait of modern journalism is alone worth the price of admission."
-Peter Ames Carlin is author of the Bruce Springsteen biography, “Bruce”
Alan Light: "The One: The Life and Music of James Brown” by R.J. Smith
"This was an ambitious, comprehensive, and long-overdue biography of a towering figure in music across the globe. "
-Alan Light is author of “The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of ‘Hallelujah’”
Stephen Davis: “Moments Captured” by Robert J. Seidman
"It’s a novel about Eadweard Muybridge. This is the guy who invented the moving image. He completely changed the way that humanity sees itself. Edison took it and ran with it, and changed it from something mechanical to something chemical. But this novel is an evocation of a very pivotal time in the history of the moving image, between two-dimensional still image and image that actually moved.
-Stephen Davis is author of “More Room in a Broken Heart: The True Adventures of Carly Simon.”
Chris Cleave: "The Shadow of the Banyan" by Vaddey Ratner; "The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers
"2012 has been a strikingly good year for debut fiction, with almost every month announcing the arrival of a major talent. If I am to single out two novels from this vintage crop, I would choose Vaddey Ratner’s sublime In 'The Shadow of the Banyan' – a beautiful and heart-rending take on the Cambodian genocide – and Kevin Powers’ 'The Yellow Birds', chronicling one soldier’s harrowing experience of war in Iraq. Both writers draw deeply on their own experience, bringing a hard-won wisdom to which their literary gift is equal. This is the novel at its best, taking us far beyond the ordinary for a few hours and leaving us spooked and exhilarated."
-Chris Cleave is the author of "Gold"
Edmund White: "In One Person" by John Irving
"John Irving's 'In One Person' is a gripping, completely readable tale fashioned by a straight man's effort to imagine himself into several marginal sexualities. I loved an earlier book, a thriller 'In Search of Klingsor' by Jorge Volpi about a young physicist in 1945 rounding up Hitler's top nuclear scientists. During four days of blackout due to Sandy I read Willa Cather's inspiring 'Song of the Lark' by flashlight." -Edmund White is the author of "Jack Holmes and His Friend"