Parul Sehgal is an editor at the New York Times Book Review.
Parul's top 10:
1. “Building Stories” by Chris Ware
2. “NW” by Zadie Smith
3. “The Patrick Melrose Novels” by Edward St. Aubyn
4. “The Address Book” by Sophie Calle
5. “All We Know” by Lisa Cohen
6. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo
7. “Far From the Tree” by Andrew Solomon
8. “The Grey Album” by Kevin Young
9. “Why Does the World Exist?” by Jim Holt
10. “Zona” by Geoff Dyer
1. Explain why your No. 1 book was your favorite title of the year: Chris Ware is our great poet of solitude. His latest, “Building Stories,” spans years in the lives of residents of a Chicago apartment, but at its core, it’s a book about who we are when no one is watching: the brooding, snacking, sulking self in all of its terrible and ordinary human loneliness.
2. What was the strongest debut book of 2012? “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.”
3. What book sits outside your list, but has either been overlooked or deserves more attention? “By Blood” by Ellen Ullman.
4. Was there one book, either on your list or off your list, fiction or nonfiction, that seems to best encapsulate America in 2012? “This Is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz.
5. What was the single most memorable character from a 2012 book? The One-Leg from “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.”
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? “Far From the Tree” by Andrew Solomon.