Ron Charles is the fiction editor of the Washington Post.
The Washington Post’s best books package and top 10 list can be found here.
1. Explain why your No. 1 book was your favorite title of the year: “Canada,” by Richard Ford. In the quiet, simply written sentences of this profound novel, Ford lays out a tale of one unexceptional family’s disintegration. He sacrifices suspense and all the pyrotechnics of modern fiction for wisdom and raw, natural elegance.
2. What was the strongest debut book of 2012? “The Yellow Birds,” by Kevin Powers.
3. What book sits outside your list, but has either been overlooked or deserves more attention? “Seating Arrangements,” by Maggie Shipstead (Knopf) — a smart, delightful comic novel.
4. Was there one book, either on your list or off your list, fiction or nonfiction, that seems to best encapsulate America in 2012? Lauren Groff’s “Arcadia” captures our painful nostalgia for an idyllic past we never really had.
5. What was the single most memorable character from a 2012 book? Alice Longworth, the sharp-tongued daughter of Teddy Roosevelt, in Thomas Mallon’s “Watergate.”
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? (This is a fool’s game!, but I’ll say) “Canada” by Richard Ford.
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Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
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Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
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A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
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Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
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Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
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O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
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Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
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When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
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A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
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