Last year I read my first ever book by Neil Gaiman (I KNOW.) (American Gods). So 2017, for me, was sort of The Year of Gaiman and I spent it getting my hands on as much of his work as I could. I picked out a few of my top Gaiman reads for the year and gave them one spot on my list (the rules are pretty liberal around here). I did the same for another author I happened to discover this year, Jason Reynolds. Again, as soon as I read my first book by Reynolds I immediately went after more. Playing catch-up is SUPER fun when you don’t have to wait around for an author to put out more stuff for you to read. The rest is, as per me, a little bit of everything. Happy New Year and Happy Reading!
1.) Favorites by Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Graveyard Book, Neverwhere)
2.) Favorites by Jason Reynolds (Ghost- Track Series #1, When I Was the Greatest, All American Boys)
3.) A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
4.) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
5.) The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost
6.) The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney
7.) Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
8.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
9.) The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (The Magicians Series)
10.) The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (The Neapolitan Novels)
Each year I worry that I won’t know what to come up with for my top ten list–this worrying lasts all of two seconds because as soon as I start to look back over a year’s worth of nose-in-a-book, I realize I read PLENTY of wonderful stuff! This year my list is a little bit all over the place, just like my reading preferences. Enjoy! ~Lauren
The Trespasser by Tana French
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Thrice the Brinded Cath Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley
The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
BONUS SECTION: LATE TO THE PARTY
Here are a couple of extra favorites for me this year that I was inspired to read by my coworkers who picked them for their Top Ten lists last year. So if that initial plug wasn’t enough to motivate you, maybe my two-thumbs-up will help!
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff / The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins / The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
Is the name Viktor Schreckengost familiar to you? It should be! Schreckengost (1906-2008) was one of Cleveland’s most prized artists and industrial designers and his work is still celebrated all over the world. Cowan Pottery Museum at Rocky River Public Library is home to a number of works by Viktor Schreckengost, including his most famous ceramic work, the Jazz Bowl from 1931. It’s arguably one of the most important examples of American art pottery ever (for sure, if you ask me).
There have been a lot of Schreckengost items in the local news lately. A couple of his works are being restored and reinstalled in Cleveland institutions (hooray!) and now that the dream of a Schreckengost museum has been abandoned, a huge collection of work that was in the possession of his family is being auctioned off as well as donated to a few local museums (bittersweet!).
Here are some links to catch up on your Viktor-buzz…have a look and you will be sure to wow friends at your next cocktail party!
Schreckengost’s pachyderms at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
City of Cleveland restoring Schreckengost’s “Time & Space”
Schreckengost heirs drop museum idea and plan to auction and donate artworks, designs
NYT- A Designer’s Sale of Memorabilia
It’s International Women’s Day! March 8th is a worldwide celebration of women and their achievements and a call for gender equality. Take today to celebrate being YOU or any of the special ladies in your life! Last night I started reading Gloria Steinem’s latest, My Life on the Road, which feels pretty appropriate for this week. (My signed copy was a Christmas gift!) I tried to jot down a quick list of some of my favorite women authors and I kept thinking of writers of children’s books. It turns out I grew up reading some pretty great women, so I mixed those in with other classics. What women have shaped your bookshelves over the years?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg
Did you watch the Oscars on Sunday night? The Academy Awards are hands-down my favorite awards show. In the months leading up to the big night I get out and see as many of the nominated films as possible and obsessively cross them off my list before finally marking my own ballot in the days leading up to Oscar Sunday. There were lots of great movies this year and it was nice to see some major categories spread around to different films. The Revenant took home Best Director and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio (15-year-old me was THRILLED about this ;)….), Mad Max: Fury Road nearly cleaned up all the technical categories, and Spotlight won for its screenplay and the ultimate prize—Best Picture.
There are always great movies that started out as great books—and this year was no exception! I loved Room by Emma Donoghue and was not disappointed by the film adaptation. Here are the books that inspired a number of this year’s Oscar nominees—check them out!
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (later republished under the title Carol)
The Martian by Andy Weir
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Revenant: a Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
This year I’ve got an even split between fiction and non-fiction! While I am always reading both, I definitely read more fiction in general. I guess if it’s non-fiction it’s something I’ve heard about and really want to read, so I am usually not disappointed. Here are some of my favorites I’ve read the past year–and a chunk of bonus books!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future by Lauren Redniss
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick
My bonus section is reserved for series that I love and that have taken up a lot of my reading time this year–they are mostly historical fiction/mystery, with a little YA and sci-fi/fantasy thrown in. Any of these books’ “partners” in their respective series are a GO.
Hate me all you want, but since this has never happened and likely will never happen again, I would just like to take a small piece of this public forum to announce: My Christmas Shopping Is Already Done. I can’t explain how this has been accomplished (aliens swapped out my brain with that of someone way more proactive about this stuff???), but there are presents–wrapped–under my Christmas tree. If you’re like me, take some time to relax in these usually crazy weeks leading up to the holidays and curl up with a book. Go for it even if you’re not! That’s what typical-me would certainly do.
A Gift from Bob by James Bowen
The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown
The Borden Murders: LIzzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller
The Great Forgetting by James Renner
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins