Every year I say this and every year it’s true: I did not read nearly enough this year! I’ve been perusing all the lists of Best Books including my RRPL coworkers’ lists and realized that I’ve missed so many – the pile on my nightstand is calling…
In the meantime, here’s a list of books, in no particular order, that thrilled, chilled, amazed, and enlightened me – books that took me to other places, be they the heads of other people, fantastical lands or back in time.
The Book of Aaron by Jim Shepard: told through the eyes of a young Jewish boy as the Nazis sweep through Warsaw – the emotional impact, the plain, raw language – just wow.
The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt: I’ve never read Price before, but I am now a fan. A gritty look at crime and cops in New York with a well-drawn cast of characters. I listened to it and the narrator really captured all the voices.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik: a fantastic fairy tale for grown-ups – go strong women!
Purity by Jonathan Franzen: while maybe not the best of Franzen, it’s a fascinating look at secrecy vs. transparency – in families, in societies and on the internet.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: a weird, violent and really different book that sucks you in with its fantastical story and its offbeat, kick-a@* heroine.
H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald : a memoir about recovering from the sudden death of her father – beautiful writing, natural history lessons and a look at T.H. White – an odd mix that works perfectly.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – I love, love, love Lauren Groff – her lush and lyrical writing makes me swoon! It’s the president’s favorite book, too!
A Spool of Blue Thread by Ann Tyler: another audiobook – I’m a sucker for a family story and this slow, meandering look at the Whitshank family through the years resonates.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: this timely book by a writer at The Atlantic is a letter to the author’s son about his experiences as a black man in America. It’s both eye-opening and beautifully written with soaring and passionate prose.
Speak by Louisa Hall: this novel surprised and moved me – it’s told from a number of voices across centuries and explores artificial intelligence while stressing our essential needs for communication and connection.
Enjoy and Happiest of Holidays!