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Cornelia Haase’s top 5 books of 2012

By Cornelia Haase

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Heart-breaking tale about nine-year-old Liesel who lives with a foster family in Nazi Germany after her parents have been taken to a concentration camp. Not just another dramatic World War II novel, but a brilliant book about family relationships, fear, and human strength.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, translated by Rod Bradbury

It’s Allan Karlsson’s 100th birthday when he decides to leave the old people’s home and goes on an eventful journey, involving a suitcase full of cash, accidental murder, and a pet elephant. The characters are lovable and the tone light and entertaining. My feel-good book of the year!

The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair

A young American woman of Indian ancestry revisits the events of a summer she spent in India as a child — a summer in which she uncovered her family’s biggest secret. Nair manages to keep up the suspense right until the end… a real page-turner!

White as Milk, Red as Blood by Alessandro D’Avenia

A typical teenager, 16-year-old Leo’s life changes completely when he finds out that his love interest Beatrice suffers from leukaemia. The characters are authentic and the story beautifully told. Unfortunately it hasn’t been translated into English (yet?).

The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

Set in Istanbul, this book tells the story of the Kazanci family, where a mysterious family curse causes the men in the family to die in their early forties. As the story unfolds, old family secrets come to light. A great and compelling story!

Cornelia Haase is an Assistant Commissioning Editor in Reference at Oxford University Press.

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