I'm about a week late with this, but I so enjoyed reading other bloggers' best of 2012 lists that I was inspired to put together one of my own. Here are the books that I most highly recommend from my reading last year.
As far as classics go, 2012 was the year that I discovered a new love for Edith Wharton. I also discovered two of her lesser known works, Summer and Bunner Sisters , both beautifully written, tragic, and thought provoking. If you're looking to stay in the territory of a more well known classic, I'd recommend The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesy for a well done reimagining of Jane Eyre. And if you're interested in something of a forgotten classic, and don't mind sinking your teeth into a long read, I'd suggest trying The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning, which I found to be surprisingly captivating.
As far as modern literary fiction goes, The Lost Garden by Helen Humphries and Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith were two of my favorites. For more of a period piece, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles combined a compelling story with a fun, 1930's New York setting.
If you're someone who likes reading futuristic fiction or magical realism, I'd recommend giving Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell or 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami a try. Even readers who normally stay far away from those genres might just find themselves engrossed by these epic stories.
If you're in the mood for a nostalgic read that will lift your spirits, I can't say enough good things about Emily of Deep Valley, a sweet novel written by Maud Hart Lovelace, the author of the famous Betsy-Tacy children's series.
And for any nonfiction readers--though admittedly probably just those who are interested in dance-- Apollo's Angels by Jennifer Homans gives a comprehensive and fascinating history of ballet from the 1700s to the present day.
Those are my highlights. What was your favorite book that you read last year?