1. Sarah Palin
The governor of Alaska was riding a wave of national recognition at the start of this year, stemming from her 2008 vice presidential campaign, and supporters were eager to see her return to the national stage in 2012. Palin had often used her role as chief executive of Alaska to defend herself against accusations that she lacked experience. That’s why Palin’s surprise resignation announcement on July 3 left critics and supporters alike scratching their heads. But Palin’s eye remains clearly fixed on 2012: She recently released a memoir entitled “Going Rogue” that clinched the top spot on Nielsen’s BookScan in its first week of release.