Picking my favorite books of the year was really tough — there were even more books reviewed on GeekDad in the past year than there were board games. So if your favorite book didn’t make the list, rest assured: many of my favorites didn’t, either.
But this list, for me, serves as a reminder of some of the ones that really got my attention, books that I’ll be picking up for a re-read … once I get through my current review stack a little, of course. I’ll pick my favorite in each category, with a couple of honorable mentions, because I just couldn’t not mention them.
Here are some of our favorite books (reviewed in 2012). I’ve got a couple from various genres; Erik Wecks brings a list of favorite indie titles, and James Floyd Kelly mentions a couple stand-outs from this year. Clearly this year I need to read some more nonfiction, but for now I give you these.
Picture book: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (review) wins, with its excellent combination of simple illustrations and simple sentences telling a very amusing tale. Honorable mention goes to Chloe & the Lion by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex (review) for a wonderful meta-story about picture books.
Kid fiction: Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger (review) edges out the others, if only for the amount of giggling induced. But A Hero for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi (review), a great sci-fi book for slightly older kids, is a very close second and gets an honorable mention. (Okay, WondLa may be my top choice, but my kids were definitely hooked on Fako Mustacho.)
Young Adult fiction: My top two picks were both series and it was tough choosing between them, but Beth Revis’ Across the Universe sci-fi trilogy (review) had me anticipating the final volume, due out this month. Honorable mention goes to the Super Human series by Michael Carroll (review), for a great set of tales about super-powered kids.
Kid comics: This one I’m gonna call a tie: Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (review) and Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado (review) have both been read so many times that they may soon fall apart.
Adult comics: I listed so many in my Comics as Literature series but most of these aren’t actual full reviews or the first time I’d read them. But for me one of the best experiences was finally reading Will Eisner’s work, including A Contract With God (review), and starting to understand just how much he influenced the comics industry. On a less serious note, I’ll add Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown (review) as an honorable mention, for a short but hilarious look at Star Wars and parenting.
Adult fiction: I tried very hard to cut this one down to just two titles, but I couldn’t do it. So we’ll have a tie for winner and tie for runner-up. Winners are Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (review) and Mr. Penubmra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (review), both books that mash up ancient and modern technology, but with very different results. Honorable mentions go to Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (review) about a videogame blogger encountering aliens and Shadow Show, a tribute to Ray Bradbury by various writers (review).
Television Non-Fiction: Future books for fans of televisions shows will have to really shine if they want to compare to this year’s winner, Firefly: A Celebration (review). Leather-bound hardcover with gold-leaf title and more full-color photos than you can count.
Super-Hero Fiction, Foreign: India has all the superheroes in the absolute best superhero fiction novel of 2012, Turbulence (review) by Samit Basu. Excellent storytelling with believable heroes and villains and some new twists on superpowers. (Note: currently only available in the UK, but is available for US preorder now.)