Jocelyn McClurg is the books editor of USA Today.
Jocelyn answered our survey questions. USA Today’s list of 10 books we loved reading was selected by Deirdre Donahue, Jocelyn McClurg, Carol Memmott, Bob Minzesheimer and Craig Wilson.
A complete list can be found here:
“Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver
“Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel
“Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama” by Alison Bechdel
“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce
“The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy” by David Nasaw
“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
“What It Was” by George Pelecanos
“Canada” by Richard Ford
“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo
1. Explain why your No. 1 book was your favorite title of the year: “Fifty Shades of Grey.” We selected E.L. James as our author of the year. She, ahem, dominated the book world this year with her erotic fiction – as well as USA Today’s best-selling books list.
2. What was the strongest debut book of 2012? “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers. As powerful on the page as “The Hurt Locker” was on film.
3. What book sits outside your list, but has either been overlooked or deserves more attention? “The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller – Hemingway meets “The Hunger Games” in this moving depiction of a post-apocalyptic America. With man’s best friend as co-star.
4. Was there one book, either on your list or off your list, fiction or nonfiction, that seems to best encapsulate America in 2012? “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver. This irresistible novel starring a young Tennessee sheep farmer’s wife was as much about the have-nots in America as it was about poor, lost butterflies and climate change.
5. What was the single most memorable character from a 2012 book? Tie between the delightful Dellarobia Turnbow in “Flight Behavior” and “Amazing” Amy in “Gone Girl” – although we’ll give Amy an edge for her sheer psychotic genius.
6. What is the book from 2012, either from your list or not, fiction or nonfiction, that is most likely to join the canon, or still be discussed 20 years from now? We’ll pass on this one.
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