As you may have noticed from the boiling temperatures, it’s the last day of June, which means we’re pretty much halfway through the year. To mark the year’s midpoint, Amazon put together a list of their picks for the best books of the year so far, but of course we have our own ideas about which books have made the biggest splash so far. It’s been a great six months in the book world, but we’ve got some heavy-hitters coming up this fall (new books by Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz and Paul Auster, just to name a few), so we’ll be interested to find out which of the books below hold on to their rankings when the year-end lists come around! Click through to read our picks for the ten best books of the first half of 2012, and let us know which you would have chosen in the comments.
The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson (January 10)
Johnson’s epic adventure takes us on a lush, terrifying journey through North Korea, the characters perfectly balanced between looming danger, sometimes of their own creation, and a deep humanity infused with hope. We follow Jun Do — a tunnel expert trained by the regime — as he transforms from childish pawn of the system to professional kidnapper to rival of Kim Jong Il, whom he opposes in order to save the love of his life.